The standard gadgets recommended in Christmas gift guides across the globe are boring, and they quickly become unused after the first few days of use 'just to show Grandma you're enjoying her present.' It's with this determination to do better, both for you and your loved ones, that we have compiled ten presents that will not only fascinate people upon first use; but stand the test of time.
As they once said on the Big Bang Theory, everything gets better with Bluetooth, and gloves are no exception. Not your typical piece of tech but smart nonetheless, these gloves double-up as a phone receiver for your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and are touch-screen friendly to boot. Okay, so you're not necessarily going to be using them during the summer months, and the habit of charging your gloves at night might take some time to remember, but they're a technology writer's ideal winter-ware.
One of the most fascinating ideas we saw at Gadget Show Live Christmas, it seems insane that nobody has ever thought of a flat-folding UK plug until now. It may be rather pricey at £25; but the premium quality of design and functionality makes this both a novel present idea, and an incredibly convenient long-term piece of technology. Definitely reserved for those you actually care about beyond buying throwaway gifts for.
When it’s cold, exposing our hands to the elements just to use a keyboard can be quite uncomfortable to say the least, and if you’ve tried to use gloves you’ll know typos come fast and furious. The ideal solution? A pair of these cute USB hand warmers. Simply plug them into your PC's USB slot and let them warm your typing digits, allowing you to get to work and type long into the coldest days and most chilling hours of Winter.
This case is the first of it’s kind we’ve seen, letting you turn that boring old mono-SIM iPhone into an exciting dual-SIM version. What is all the fuss about that though? Doesn't the doubling-up of SIM cards introduce new problems? Well, not exactly. The Dual-SIM case not only looks fairly swanky, but with its simple switch mechanic, you'll be able to hop from one SIM to another at the touch of a button, meaning you no longer need to separate your personal life from your working life. So it might not be true 'Dual-SIM' (you can't have both working at the same time), but it does give some added flexibility where there was none.
As we talked about in a previous hands-on with the Twist, the credibility of portable speakers have been somewhat lessened by the influx of second-rate products in the market. Finding those that are actually decent can be quite an ask...this is where I introduce Damson's entry into this market. Simply put, the surface it's placed on is used as the speaker. Using 'Incisor Diffusion Technology,' the idea of using a speaker cone to project sound is completly bypassed, as sound waves are transferred via a resonator plate into the surface. Of course, output varies depending on what the Twist is placed on; but it'll make for a fun experiment in testing every table/desk/human head in the house for sound quality. It's available for £79.99, so make this present count for someone special!
Holy gift guide Batman! So this 'gift' on our guide won't be for everyone's budget, but for those that have cash in abundance, here's something really special for that special someone: a replica of the Batmobile. Based on the Dark Knight's set of wheels from the classic 1966 TV series (as driven by Adam West) and one of Firebox's more handsomely-priced items, it's a fully functional replica of the classic car, replete with the kind of DC-inspired gizmos that make this one of a kind and a must for fans of the comic. From the 'rocket exhaust flamethrower' to the in-built 'bat phone', the attention to detail is incredible. What's even better? The fact that it's entirely road legal.
Tech companies have quickly adapted to panoramic photography: Apple implementing their version into iOS, Google innovating on top of that with a 'Google Street View-esque' spherical panorama. But what about something that very much does this in a physical form? The Bubblepix is a 360 degree lens that is used with your smartphone, attached via a unique case fitting. While day-to-day usage maybe slightly impractical, taking with you to key events gives a more humourous perspective on it all. One to have a laugh with this Christmas.
'You get what you pay for' is the phrase that often comes out of the woodwork when talking about Chinese smartphone imports. And yet, with the Star N8000 you get a whole lot more. Because while hardware specs of the latest handsets tend to be fairly comparable with software often being the true decider, the N8000 has some novel hardware tricks up its sleeve. Not only is it dual-SIM, but there's the added bonus of a TV antenna installed that, while analogue, is still something you don't see on the likes of the iPhone or Nexus range, and might prove a handy distraction when travelling outside of the now analogue-less UK. Running Android 4.0 and relatively strong in the performance stakes, at this price you can't go far wrong.
We've seen photography Christmas present recommendations revolve around Polaroid cameras and lomography. Unfortunately we are nowhere near that Hipster, or 'cool,' so you're going to have to read about a useful gift after the first two days of use. This is cheap and effective lighting for any budding DSLR user, in either photo or video. At £78 for the standard light and £202 for the interview kit, this is pushing the outer border of price range for a Christmas gift; but it presents a rather innovationary step in convenience for photographers and videographers everywhere. Camera nerds will love you forever.
Now before you stop with questions as to "why?" Hear me out. While it won in our eyes against LoveFilm, the landscape of content available for we people here in the UK is pretty bleak: a mere drop in the ocean of what is actually up for viewing. So to turn this seemingly mediocre present into an incarnation of the TV viewing Gods, you're going to need a particular browser plugin called 'Media Hint.' The premise is simple, yet unbelievably awesome: it removes content blocks, very much like a DNS service. However, unlike UnoTelly, it is completely free! Watch as US Netflix is opened before your very eyes. That price of one month's subscription for £5.99, or 6 months for £35.94 doesn't seem like such a conflicting decision anymore, either as a present to yourself, or that special someone (so it's still technically to yourself).
Harvey McDaniel & Jason England
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.