Whether it has a five figure price tag, or it would give you change from a £20 note, here’s our run down of the most essential or just plain fun pieces of tech available right now, in no particular order.
Lenovo Ideapad Yoga
As Lenovo’s first ‘multi-mode’ notebook, the Ideapad Yoga is a 13in laptop that deserves a place in our top ten best gadgets of 2012 due to its ability to perform as its name suggests: bending and folding into an array of positions so you can enjoy it in different ways.
Available in two sizes of 11in and 13in, we really like how both models’ high-definition IPS touchscreen displays and stylish designs are built with a special hinge that allows them to tilt 360 degrees, folding from a laptop to a tablet in one satisfyingly smooth motion.
But the Yoga isn’t just all style and no substance, it is also quite the powerhouse, with the larger 13in model running the full Windows 8 operating system and powered by an Intel Core processor with up to 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD hard drive and eight hours battery life.
Available in a distinctive orange or silver, the IdeaPad Yoga might be a little pricey for a laptop, retailing for £1000 for the 13in model and £700 for the 11in. However, its sleek and variable design will see that you don’t have to buy a tablet too, saving you dosh while giving you one less device to carry around.
For those who money is no object, and viewing experience is everything, here we have LG’s 84in Ultra High Definition (UHD) 84LM960V Smart TV to keep you occupied. All for a mere £22,500.
Launching in the UK just a few weeks back, LG touts the 84LM960V as “the first of its kind in the UK”. The absolutely huge TV with the not-so catchy name boasts an 84in LED screen powered by a dual core processor with built in WiFi and support for 3D movies.
If price is nothing when it comes to impressing your friends over the festive season, then you’ll be happy to know that the TV’s Resolution Upscaler Plus technology means the TV can render high definition images in higher detail no matter what you’re watching on it.
There are also five pairs of 3D glasses bundled in with the TV, and we’d hope so too, for that price.
The super expensive UHD TV will is available in over 10 stores across the UK and Ireland this Christmas, including John Lewis and Richer Sounds.
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite made its way onto our best gadgets of the year list due to its innovative hardware that allows its softly illuminated touchscreen to be read in the dark without causing the same strain to the eyes that more conventional tablets would.
The Kindle Paperwhite’s 6in display has a 1024×768 resolution at 212ppi, up from the 800×600 resolution on the previous Kindles, making the text clear and sharp. Even with the light turned up bright and text in its smallest format, the Kindle Paperwhite doesn’t allow for any fuzziness around the edges of letters.
The battery is also pretty good, as in tests during our review of the Paperwhite 3G, we managed to use it on and off over the few weeks we had it without needing to recharge from the original 100 percent.
The Paperwhite measures 169x117x9.1mm, just a touch larger than the previous Kindle Touch model. It weighs a very portable 213g for the WiFi model, which retails for £109 and 222g for the 3G model that will set you back £169.
Innergie Portable Charger
Power solutions firm Innergie might not be that well known in the consumer tech market just yet, but it surprised us this year nonetheless when it launched its very simple but very handy Pocketcell portable battery pack.
What’s unique about the chocolate bar-sized Pocketcell isn’t just that it has enough power in it once fully charged to restore an Iphone back to full health from zero percent, twice, but it also comes bundled with a “magic cable” that means it can charge a number of devices once they’ve run dead, including any Micro USB, Mini USB or Apple 30-pin connectors for IOS devices.
It measures just 90x28x20mm and weighs 70g, so is convenient enough to fit in your pocket or bag for those times when you need it most.
Retailing at £79.99, it’s rather on the expensive side for a charging device, but the amount of times it will save your life when your mobile device runs out of juice and you really need to find those directions over GPS, it will definitely seem worth the cost in no time at all.
Humax YouView TV Box
The personal video recorder Youview launched in July this year, offering consumers a streamlined way of accessing free digital programming, such as seven day catch-up and on demand programmes from the content libraries of channels that are on the UK’s Freeview service, without the need for a satellite dish or cable connection.
With Youview, you just need to plug in a traditional rooftop aerial lead and it’s ready to go, tuning into the UK’s Freeview digital TV service.
Competing with the likes of Sky+ and Virgin’s Tivo, Youview also records programmes to a hard disk, with 500GB of storage to store around 300 hours worth of TV and radio shows. It’s also possible record, pause and rewind live TV and take advantage of a backwards electronic programming guide (EPG). Users can also navigate the catch-up services by searching for a keyword or by browsing each service individually.
Backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arqiva, BT and Talktalk, the set-top box made by Humax will cost you £299.
Lifeproof Nuud Case for iPad
Nothing beats the strange sensation of being able to take your Ipad in the bath with you, and for that reason alone we think Lifeproof’s Nuud case for Ipad deserves a place in our top ten gadgets rundown.
With Lifeproof’s special case, you don’t have to worry about getting the Ipad wet ever again because it is submergible up to just over six foot. But it’s not only water that the Lifeproof case protects your Ipad from, it’s watertight so that dirt, sludge and other particles can’t get in there. It’s also shock proof, meaning it frees up the Ipad to go on as many adventures as you do. Cook alongside it, use it as a GPS for your bike, shop online in the shower, and you don’t have to worry about dropping it.
The watertight construction allows you to use the Ipad in the same way you do without it, made possible by the case’s glass lens protector for the camera, a special headphones adaptor, and a protected plastic flap that covers the charge port.
At £150, it’s nothing compared to the price it might cost you to replace the screen if it gets damaged from a drop, for example.
KitSound Audio Earmuffs
The Kitsound Audio Earmuff headphones allow you to keep your ears warm and cosy during the winter months while rocking out to your favourite tunes. Connecting to any device with a 3.5mm jack, they have an adjustable headband so that those with even the biggest of heads should be able to squeeze them on.
Though the Audio Earmuffs are only really usable for a few months out of the year, they are just £15, which isn’t much more than your average set of audio-less earmuffs. They don’t provide much noise cancellation, but if you don’t mind every man and his dog sharing your musical guilty pleasures, these earmuffs are a great hybrid gadget for any music lover during these colder months. They are also surprisingly comfy too.
Logitech Washable keyboard
PC peripheral firm Logitech aimed to put a stop to all our clumsy desk endeavours when it launched its waterproof USB keyboard, the K310 earlier this year, which claims to be fully washable and completely submergible in up to 11in of water.
Being a good option for those of us who spend time shoving food down our gullets while staring at a computer screen, the batheable accessory has unique drainage holes at the back so it can be washed easily and then dries out quickly. The key characters are also laser printed and coated so the letters don’t fade in the wash.
As well as withstanding wet environments, the keys can last up to five million keystrokes so it not only can be kept clean for a long time but will stay in one piece and keep working as well.
At just £34.99, the rugged keyboard comes with function keys and a number pad. There are also twelve hot keys for instant access to the internet, email, play, volume and a function so you can open your most-used applications with one key stroke.
Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones
If you’re looking for a great gadget to buy a frequent traveller, then we’d highly recommend the Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. When we first came across these, we were all ready to write them off based on the huge £299.95 price tag. Why should anyone fork out so much for a pair of headphones, apart from those in the music business, we cried.
But having used these headphones for several long-haul flights, we were completely won over. The main features required for headphones when travelling are comfort for long journeys and blocking out as much background sound as possible, and Bose wins out on both points here.
The padded ear cushions can be used for hours and hours with no discomfort, unlike with smaller headphones or the in-ear versions.
And Bose’s noise cancellation technology, which records background sound and generates an inverse wave to cancel it out, means even travelling on a noisy aircraft becomes a pleasant audio experience. You can actually hear the film soundtrack or songs you’re listening to, or better still, just block out the engine noise to get some sleep – we managed to get hours of restful kip with the aid of these headphones, unlike on previous flights when we’ve been using in-ear sets or even custom-built versions.
You don’t even have to worry if your journey is taking you further afield, as the headphones are able to last for 25 hours before needing a recharge, and Bose includes an in-flight cable and various international adaptors for charging the battery anywhere around the world.
Ok, so these are definitely a luxury item, but when else can you spoil a loved one – or even yourself – if not at Christmas?
Hi-call Bluetooth talking gloves
Hi-Call is a Bluetooth glove that allows you to talk through your hand. The left glove has a speaker and a microphone sewn into the thumb and little finger so you can speak to the phone without freezing in sub-zero temperatures.
Thanks to the capacitive technology on the index finger and thumb, you can also use the gloves to control the touch screen of your smartphone and tablet without having to take them off.
The glove connects to the phone via Bluetooth and is compatible with all modern smartphones. You might feel a bit odd talking into your hand at first, but for £50, it’s still a great and fun gadget to put on your Christmas list.