By James Yates, Highlander
Tech features heavily each year in the ‘most wanted’ Christmas gift lists and has now infiltrated everything from children’s toys to fashion as well as the obvious consoles that have always enjoyed additional hype at this time of year.
I’ve picked out my top five gifts for budgets of all sizes and for kids big and small! I’ve also broken them down by the categories they sit in, which is another indication of just how much tech has spread across our daily lives.
Fitness trackers and smart watches now account for a huge share of the consumer tech market, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing with new entrants to the market and more and more features being added each year.
It would be easy for me to opt for the ubiquitous Apple Watch Series 7 which is indeed impressive but instead I’m plumping for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. This Android device is packed full of biometric sensors and health tracking features including measures for body fat, track workouts and sleep.
With a price tag of around £269 it’s well worth a look for those not already sworn to the flag of Apple.
Best Gaming Console
First, I should probably wish you luck! Despite the fact both the PS5 and Xbox Series X were launched in 2020, they remain incredibly short in supply. This is in part due to demand but mainly due to a global components constraint that has led to shortages across IT.
My pick should you be fortunate enough to lay your hands on one is the Xbox. Backward compatible with all your existing games and with an expanding catalogue of fantastic titles, at around £450 it’s hard to beat.
Probably one that falls into the category of practical rather than desirable, webcams sales have gone through the roof since the pandemic forced most of us to work from home and spend endless hours on Zoom and Teams meetings.
Many bought in haste however or used integrated webcams on laptops that don’t deliver on sound or image as required. The Logitech C920 excels in both with clever features such as face tracking to ensure you’re always in frame and automatic focusing and colour balance.
It’s more than a stocking filler at around £60, but could prove a popular gift for those with a ‘new normal’ that still includes home working.
Best Item Tracker
Another area that has seen significant growth is item tracking. Apple’s AirTag makes a great accompaniment to your iPhone using ultra-wideband technology and provides turn-by-turn directions to your stuff, aided by handy vibrations as you get closer.
With a 4-pack available for around £90 I think it makes a great gift for those people in your life who are constantly asking ‘have you seen my…’
Best Smart Display
My final choice for this year’s must have tech items is a smart display. If you’ve never heard of ‘Alexa’ then this is probably the wrong article for you but for everyone else, you’ll realise how much of our daily lives these devices have become part of.
Much as the smartphone cannibalised the PC and laptop market by giving us a computer in our pocket, smart devices have rolled Bluetooth speakers, DAB radios, alarms, digital photo frames (remember them?!) and much more into one sleek device.
My choice is the Amazon Echo Show 8 at around £120 which is packed full of features and has an upgraded processor and 13mp camera. Its capabilities and uses are seemingly endless and once you’ve made the jump, you’ll wonder how you managed without one in your life before. That, or you’ll instantly regret it if you have kids of a certain age like me!