If you’re shopping for someone else and feel stuck for ideas, here’s a look at Christmas 2012’s top 10 gadgets to help you decide what to get for your tech-obsessed friends and family this Christmas.
10. Smartphone gloves
Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and neither do gadgets. Take these smartphone gloves for example.
Most smartphones now use capacitive touchscreens, which rely on the conductive properties of the skin on your fingers to register touch. This means that if you’re wearing gloves, the screen won’t respond.
Enter smartphone gloves, which have fingertips made of capacitive materials, so you can use you phone with the gloves on – perfect for when temperatures drop. What’s more, they’re dirt cheap, making a great stocking-filler for around £5.
There are loads of manufacturers online, all selling for various prices. Just search for smartphone gloves.
9. Samsung Galaxy Camera
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a high-spec digital camera with wifi and 3G connectivity, allowing you to share your snaps with the world wirelessly, from wherever you take them.
Many of us snap photos with our smartphones and upload them to Twitter or Instagram – this camera just takes it to the next level with its 16 Megapixel sensor and a range of other features.
A 4.7 inch touchscreen does away with fiddly buttons and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system allows you to download apps for editing and sharing.
The ‘Smart Camera’ will cost you £399.
8. New Furby
Remember this little critter? Well the Furby is back and smarter than ever – meaning you won’t need a ‘Furbish’ dictionary this time around.
The animatronic toy was a huge hit in the 1990s and has been given a 21st Century makeover. It now has LED screens for eyes and you can feed your ‘pet’ via an iPhone and iPad app, getting a translation of its gibberish to boot.
As ever, its makers say the thing will develop a unique personality depending on how you treat it, and learn English words the more you speak to it. Creepy.
It’ll drive you up the wall for just £49.79.
There must be hundreds of abandoned guitars up and down the country, bought with the best intentions of learning but quickly abandoned. Rocksmith aims to solve this problem by turning learning into a video game for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.
Simply take any real guitar (no plastic peripherals here) with a line out and connect it to your console with the USB cable supplied. It won’t be long before you’re strumming and shredding along to songs by the likes of The Animals, Radiohead and The Rolling Stones.
You can pick up the game alone for between £39.99 and £47.99, depending on your platform. There’s also a bundle including the game a full-size Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar for £199.99.
6. Nexus 10
With its first tablet computer, the Nexus 7, Google went for a great value 7-inch tablet – now it’s taking aim at the iPad with its 10-inch rival, the Nexus 10.
It’s got a sharper screen than the newest iPad and equally good (perhaps better) performance thanks to a 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of RAM.
You can download thousands of apps from the Google Play store over wifi, watch videos, read e-books, browse the web, play games and update all your social networks for a starting price of £319 (for a 16GB model) – that’s £80 cheaper than the new iPad.
5. Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire
The newest model of its massively popular Kindle eReader is called the Kindle Paperwhite and improves on its predecessors in almost every way.
With 62% more pixels than the old Kindle, you’ll get the sharpest screen on a Kindle yet. A built-in light is perfect for bedtime reading and the touchscreen does away with clunky buttons.
Using the built in wifi you can download any of Amazon’s 650,000 e-books in less than a minute and the battery will last an amazing 8 weeks from a single charge, even with the light on.
If you’re buying for an avid reader, there’s no competition in the eReader market as the Kindle Paperwhite costs just £109.
The full colour Kindle Fire is a cheap alternative to the iPad mini if you’re after a cheap tablet, though, at just £129. The slightly higher spec Kindle Fire HD costs £159, but both let you read e-books, download films music and apps.
4. Nexus 4
Smartphones are expensive, and we’re not just talking about Apple’s pricey iPhone. Luckily, Google seems to understand that it needs to be competitive on price in order to take on Apple.
The LG-built Nexus 4 is Google’s latest smartphone and, given all its features, is actually a steal at £239 (8GB model, direct from Google).
Its 4.7-inch, high definition touchscreen is almost as impressive as the iPhone 5’s. It also features an 8Megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, wifi, near field communication (NFC) tap-to-pay capability, wireless charging and more.
With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean running things and a quad-core processor powering it, this is an incredibly good value smartphone – proven by the fact that initial supplies sold out in an hour on its release day.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Available for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U, the latest instalment of the blockbuster Call of Duty gaming franchise takes players to a near-future setting for high-tech skirmishes.
In the past, Call Of Duty games carrying the ‘Black Ops’ subtitle have played second fiddle to the series’ main iterations – but with new decision-based gameplay and the near-future angle with its accompanying gadgets, Black Ops 2 offers a new and different experience.
You can expect to pay anywhere between £35 (PC) and £50 (Wii U) for Black Ops 2, depending on your platform.
2. iPad mini
Bigger than an iPod Touch, smaller than the iPad – what’s the point? Well, with the same spec as an iPad 2 and a lower entry-level price tag at £269, this might be the iPad which gets those on the fence about tablet computing into the game.
The 7.9-inch tablet is thinner and lighter than any iPad to date, yet still houses the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and either 16, 32 or 64GB worth of memory. You’ll pay more for the bigger memory models and for the models with mobile connectivity.
You’ll get access to thousands of apps, albums, movies and books, front and back cameras, email and web access, all using Apple’s iOS6 software and an ultra-responsive multi-touch screen.
A 16GB wifi-only model will set you back £269, if you want 3G or 4G connectivity the 16GB ‘cellular’ model will cost you £369.
1. Wii U
Nintendo set the video games market ablaze six years ago when it released the Wii console, getting families around the country off their sofas and waggling their wiimotes.
It was a lightning-in-a-bottle success and one which the video games stalwart hopes to recreate with its follow up, the equally bizarrely named Wii U.
This time the joypad is replaced with a tablet-aping touchscreen controller, complete with the old Wii’s motion controls. This promises a unique dual-screen experience which hasn’t really been done on any other console (though it’s technically possible with the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita handheld).
For example, in the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham City, when you throw a batrang on your TV screen in the game, you’ll get a batarang’s eye view on the touchscreen controller, and you’ll have to guide it through the air using the gamepad’s tilt controls.
This is Nintendo, so you can expect new Mario and Mario Kart games to take full advantage of the dual-screen tech in new and interesting ways. A 32GB Wii U with a gamepad will cost you £299.
Here’s to a peaceful Christmas!