The best tech presents to get this Christmas
Madeline Bennett and David Ludlow round up the best tech presents you can give (or ask for) this year
FOR THE STAR WARS FAN Stormtrooper Bluetooth Speaker £25 • From www.firebox.com
Produced by Shepperton Design Studios, this Bluetooth speaker uses the original 1976 Stormtrooper helmet design. Taken from the original moulds, this is as close to the movie prop as you can get.
While a Stormtrooper may not be able to shoot a barn door, this Bluetooth speaker hits the mark. Its 2W audio is surprisingly powerful and clear, far outdoing your smartphone’s speakers; not bad for a device that’s barely bigger than a ping-pong ball.
With up to four hours of battery life, this is the perfect travel companion for any Star Wars fan.
FOR THE KIDS Snuggly Rascals headphones £15 • From www.snugglyrascals.com
Headphones aren’t usually that comfortable for kids to wear, but the Snuggly Rascals are different. Mounted into funky headbands with neat animal designs, these headphones securely wrap around your child’s head.
Sound is delivered through the two flat speakers in the fabric headband, connected to a device via a standard 3.5mm audio jack. These are adjustable, so make sure you get yours lined up with your child’s ears, or the Snuggly Rascals can sound a little quiet.
Our test subject loved hers, finding them extremely comfortable; we got peace and quiet, avoiding the usual deluge of noise from her tablet. What more could you want?
FOR MUSIC LOVERS Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless £100 • From www.skullcandy.co.uk
With flagship smartphones starting to ditch the cables, now’s a good time to go wireless with a Bluetooth pair, such as the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. Don’t let the plain exterior (available in blue, black, red or white) put you off, as these headphones sound excellent.
Thumping bass, clear mid-range and a defined high-end make the most of any type of music or spoken word. It’s hard to find headphones that sound this good for this price. There’s also a built-in microphone, so you can use the Hesh 3 for making and receiving calls, too.
Best of all, a single charge will last around 22 hours, so you can slip these on and make your way through your top playlist of non-Christmas songs.
FOR THE GLOBE TROTTER Battery Bear £30 • From www.firebox.com
USB power banks are boring, right? Wrong! The Battery Bear power brick is just about the cutest thing you can use to charge a tablet or smartphone on the move. Available in a range of smart designs, there’s a Bear to suit everyone’s personality and taste.
Inside is a 10,000mAh battery, enough to charge an iPad once or a Galaxy S7 three times. Even better, with dual USB ports on the base of the Battery Bear, you can charge two devices at once, so you’ll never be out of juice when you’re out and about. Each USB port is rated at up to 2.4A, so you’ll get the benefit of fast charging on any device that supports it.
FOR REAL PHOTO FANS Prynt Pocket £150 • From www.firebox.com
If you want that Polaroid-style experience from your Apple smartphone, the Prynt could be the perfect gift. Connecting via the iPhone’s Lightning port, you slot your handset into the Prynt Pocket and can instantly print your photos on to a 3x1.9in bit of paper.
Images are printed using the Zink thermal paper system, so there’s no need for ink. Quality lags behind the best inkjet, but the photos you get are good fun for passing around and sharing, and they have adhesive backs, too. Replacement packs cost around 50p per photograph.
FOR THE FILM FAN Loot Crate From £24 a month • From www.lootcrate.com
Who doesn’t love cool collectables sent monthly to your home? For that film and TV geek in your life, then, the Loot Crate is the ultimate gift this Christmas.
Sign up for a subscription (from one month to one year), and you’ll get a monthly surprise box containing exclusive figurines, T-shirts, posters and more. Alternatively, there are special-edition crates focused around one film or TV series: the Stranger Things crate (£66) has a bunch of exclusive collectables themed around the second season of the popular show, for example.
FOR ROBOT LOVERS Sphero Mini
£50 From www.firebox.com • Sphero’s smart technology lets you remote control this ping-pong-sized ball from your smartphone, rolling it around the floor. With the Mini, you get some traffic cones and bowling pins to smash into as part of your games.
While you can drive the Sphero Mini with the onscreen joystick, where’s the fun in that? With Face Drive, the Sphero Mini responds to your facial expressions: smiling to go forwards and a sad face to go backwards, for example.
There are games in the app, too, all controllable by holding the Mini in your hand and rotating to control the onscreen action. With replaceable shells, so you can change the way the Mini looks, this is the ultimate Christmas toy.
FOR THE ARTISTIC 3Doodler Create £90 • From www.maplin.co.uk
Forget drawing in boring old 2D; the 3Doodler uses similar technology to a 3D printer so that you can add an extra dimension to your art.
Just plug in the pen and heat it up, load it with the slivers of coloured plastic, and you can create three-dimensional shapes on bits of paper and peel them off to use as you like. For the really competent user, you can draw upwards, building 3D models in front of your eyes.
Each 15cm strand of plastic gives you 150cm of drawing length. Mastering the 3Doodler isn’t easy, but put in the time and effort and you can create some impressive models.
FOR THE PERSON WHO’S BEEN REALLY NICE Dell XPS 13 £1,249 • From amazon.co.uk
Admit it, you’ve been really good this year and deserve a special treat. What way could loved ones demonstrate just how good you’ve been than with a Dell XPS 13 laptop?
Its edge-to-edge Infinity-Edge screen takes up the entire front of the laptop and looks gorgeous. With a ludicrously high resolution of 3,200x1,800, the screen is razor sharp and makes the most of any content, whether that’s photos and movies, or just standard Windows applications. Throw in a Core i7 processor, fast SSD and plenty of RAM, and you’ve got a powerhouse that can cope with everything.
Weighing just 1.29kg and with battery life approaching eight hours, this is a laptop you can take with you everywhere.
FOR THE TECH CONNOISSEUR Computer Shopper subscription 6 issues for just £21.99 • From subscribe.computershopper.co.uk/christmas
What better way to bring a warm festive feeling to a friend or relative than to sign them up to receive their very own monthly copy of Computer Shopper? You can sign them up for six issues for only £21.99. At just £3.67 a month, this is a present that we reckon would be welcomed by anyone into technology. With the UK’s largest reviews section, there are updates on all the latest products to help them select the best kit to invest in, plus plenty of projects for them to try out themselves. Our team of experts are also on hand to answer any computing problems.