Crack­ing kit to help fill your stock­ing...

You don’t have to spend thou­sands to treat the tech fan in your life this Christ­mas

Manchester Evening News - - DIGITALLIF­E -

GREAT tech is the gift that keeps on giv­ing all year round – here are some ideas for the tech-savvy spe­cial peo­ple in your life.

All these are priced around £100 and up­wards.


NEW Echo de­vices with screens

– and much lower prices – hit the Ama­zon store this year, and the Show 8 is no doubt the pick of the bunch.

The screen is big enough to be use­ful from a dis­tance for video call­ing, and also works close up if you’re fol­low­ing a recipe in your kitchen.

Ob­vi­ously, Alexa is built in, so you can con­trol your smart home de­vices and gain ac­cess to the wealth of knowl­edge on­line just by us­ing your voice. There’s a phys­i­cal slid­ing cover to hide the camera when not in use, too. ■ Price: £119.99 from ama­zon.


COF­FEE is great, ob­vi­ously. But smart cof­fee is even bet­ter – and that’s what you get with this ma­chine.

It’s con­trolled us­ing an app on your phone, which links it up to Ama­zon Alexa and voice con­trol. It’s a bean-to-cup ma­chine, so all you have to do is add the roasted beans of your choice and wa­ter, and the ma­chine will do the rest. Set your strength and grind re­motely, from lit­er­ally any­where. ■ Price: £179.99 from ama­


THE al­ways-con­nected smartwatch for children keeps you up to date on where your kids are all the time, and al­lows you to con­tact them eas­ily via di­rect voice mes­sages from the app on your phone.

You can set a lo­ca­tion re­minder and be in­formed if the wearer has left a cer­tain lo­ca­tion, and the watch also has a SOS but­ton if you are needed ur­gently.

■ Price:

£99.99 (plus £4 per month ser­vice) from voda­


PLAYS­TA­TION’S VR set-up might be a bit long in the tooth, but still of­fers ex­cel­lent value for those wish­ing to get into the vir­tual world.

This pack con­tains ev­ery­thing you need (apart from the PS4 it­self) to get started. Re­mem­ber, it’s not just about games – there are a grow­ing num­ber of ‘ex­pe­ri­ences’ on of­fer in the PlayS­ta­tion store. I climbed Ever­est the other day... ■ Price: £259.99 from


THE Se­ries 5 might be the top of the pile at the mo­ment, but the Se­ries 3 of­fers most of the same fea­tures at a much lower price – the bar­gain of the bunch if you will.

You don’t get the larger, al­ways-on screen, the ECG fea­ture, or the com­pass, but the Se­ries 3 can mon­i­tor your health and ac­tiv­ity, and keep you con­nected when away from your phone with mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity.

It’s wa­ter­proof and in­cludes GPS, too – so per­fect for those on an ad­ven­ture.

■ Price: From £199 for GPS ver­sion (From £299 for GPS plus cel­lu­lar ver­sion) from ap­


LOOK­ING for a great value phone with all the fea­tures at a frac­tion of the cost of the main play­ers in the game?

Look no fur­ther than the V10 from Voda­fone. It has great cam­eras (12MP on the back, 5MP on the front), a 5.9in screen with edge-to-edge dis­play, and comes with 32GB of stor­age that can be ex­panded up to 128GB with a SD card. It’s not the fastest, but it could be the best value for money at the price. ■ Price: £105 (pay-as-you-go) from voda­


THE vinyl re­vival shows no sign of slow­ing with sales of ac­tual phys­i­cal records still thriv­ing in the dig­i­tal age.

This turntable from one of the most re­spected mak­ers on the planet of­fers the best of both worlds.

It’s small, so can fit into spa­ces other turnta­bles can­not, but also of­fers Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, so you can stream your ana­logue sounds to com­pat­i­ble speak­ers and head­phones with­out wires. Per­fect for those who al­ready have the speak­ers, but want to gain en­try to the won­der­ful world of vinyl. ■ Price: £169 from john­


PHILIPS Hue is prob­a­bly the lead­ing brand in the world of smart light­ing, of­fer­ing a wide range of so­lu­tions across the board, and rock-solid re­li­a­bil­ity. Like most smart-light­ing brands, though, you need a wire­less hub to con­nect ev­ery­thing up. Then you’ll need bulbs and a con­troller would be nice, too.

This starter pack has all that – three bulbs, a wire­less dim­mer switch, and the hub. Once you have the hub, adding more de­vices to the sys­tem later is a sim­ple process. You can con­trol it with your phone, or with a voice as­sis­tant – it works with Alexa, Siri, and the Google As­sis­tant.

■ Price: £119.99 from


AP­PLE TV 4K got a lot more use­ful this year with the launch of Ap­ple Ar­cade and Ap­ple TV+.

The TV stream­ing ser­vice of­fers some great shows and films al­ready, but will con­tinue to grow over the com­ing 12 months – and if you buy a new Ap­ple TV you’ll get ac­cess to it all for free for the first year.

The gam­ing side of the coin is Ap­ple Ar­cade, which brings some su­perb games from the top de­vel­op­ers to all your Ap­ple de­vices, in­clud­ing the TV 4K, for £4.99 a month. Team it up with a wire­less con­troller (there is com­pat­i­bil­ity for both the PlayS­ta­tion’s Dual­Shock 4 con­troller, and the Xbox Wire­less con­troller) and you’ve got a games con­sole as well as ev­ery­thing else the Ap­ple TV 4K can do.

■ Price: From £179 from ap­


NOW in a bur­gundy fin­ish, this wire­less por­ta­ble speaker echoes the legacy of the rock ’n’ roll his­tory of the brand, fea­tur­ing a mi­cro­phone-in­spired metal grille, a gui­tar-style strap, and the iconic Mar­shall logo.

It boasts 20 hours of wire­less lis­ten­ing and de­liv­ers a bold, pow­er­ful sound that is syn­ony­mous with the Mar­shall name.

■ Price: £269 from mar­shall head­

■ Next week, we’ll have some bud­get tech as we make rec­om­men­da­tions that cost less than triple dig­its.

The Ama­zon Echo Show 8, left, is the pick of the bunch from the re­tail gi­ant’s tech of­fer­ing this year Playsta­tionVR starter pack

Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3

Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit

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