The 50 Best gadgets
From terrific tablets to slick smartphones, David Phelan selects the hottest hardware for your Christmas wish list
Friday 18 November 2011
1. Dyson Hot Fan
Keep your home office toasty in the winter months. When Dyson launched its AirBlade hand dryer it learned so much about how to move air about that it developed a fan. This uses the same AirMultiplier technology but adds heat to warm a room quickly and evenly. Looks great, too.
How much: £269.99
2. Kobo Ereader Touch Edition
Another reader using e-ink display technology and the same 6in screen as the Kindle, this one has a touchscreen interface and a snazzy textured back. It can hold up to 1,000 books at a time, or more using a memory card. Comes in black and three other colours.
How much: £109.99
3. Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia's latest smartphone is a triumph. It uses the cool windows Phone operating system, has lots of neat extras like a free mapping and directions service called Nokia Drive and all comes in a strikingly beautiful case. It's just out.
How much: From free with contract
4. Jawbone UP Band
Combine this cute band with the iPhone app and the precision motion sensor monitors your activity and sleep. It'll track your steps, calories burned, deep vs light sleep and more. Plug it into the iPhone's headphone socket to transfer the data. Brand new, unique and very cool.
How much: £79.99
5. Tivoli Audio PAL+ Portable Radio
Tivoli is known for sensational audio from little boxes and this new model sounds terrific, even though it only has one speaker. It's easy to use, has a vibrant, clear display so you won't miss a detail and a handy remote control. You can also attach stereo headphones. Comes in five cool colours.
How much: £249
6. Apple TV
This little gadget connects to the internet via your wireless network. It accesses thousands of movies, streaming them smoothly to your telly. If you have iPhone or iPad you can "throw" content from them wirelessly on to the big screen.
How much: £99
7. Sonos Play:3
Sonos makes sensational music systems to play all your digital music wirelessly around your house. The Play:3 is well priced, too. A bridge unit connects to your broadband router and you use your iPhone, Android smartphone or iPad to control it.
How much: £259
8. Samsung UE55D8000 LED-backlit LCD TV
This is a stunning TV, the amazing picture quality matched by the great styling, including a super-thin frame. It has 3D with minimal cross-talk – the ghosting interference that dogs some 3D TVs.
How much: £2,499
9. BlackBerry PlayBook
The PlayBook from RIM has a smaller screen than some tablets and its gloriously high-resolution 7in screen makes it especially portable. The price has recently dropped sharply, too.
How much: From £249
10. Apple iPhone 4S
It may look like last year's iPhone but the 4S is very different inside: faster, with a better camera and much improved signal strength. It also has a fantastic voice-recognition program called Siri .
How much: From free on contract
11. Apple MacBook Air 11in
The latest MacBook Air is terrific. The keys are backlit so you can type in low light easily, the aluminium case is a pleasure to touch and it's small enough to take anywhere.
How much: From £849
12. Nikon V1 Camera
Mirrorless cameras offer bigger sensors than a compact and interchangeable lenses, but in a smaller case than an SLR. This new camera is as easy to use as a compact but with lots of sophistications.
How much: £829.95
13. Revo Heritage G2 Internet Radio
Internet radios tune in to thousands of stations from around the world. This handsome table radio even has a button that directly takes you to Monocle 24, the new current-affairs station.
How much: £300
14. Sky+ HD 1TB
It's still hard to beat the Sky+ system for recording programmes. This 1Tb box with its huge-capacity hard drive means you can store hundreds of hours of HD content.
How much: From £149 plus subscription
15. Apple iPad 2
Still the best-looking, easiest-to-use tablet, just. The sleek iPad 2 is a joy to play with and can even replace a PC for many users. It's a great media player, photo viewer and has more than 100,000 dedicated iPad apps.
How much: From £399
16. Philips Sonicare Airfloss
The Airfloss is a brilliant alternative to flossing that is painless, effective and even fun to use. It shoots water (or, even better, mouthwash) between your teeth at high speeds to dislodge plaque.
How much: £60
17. Kodak Hero 9.1 printer
This is an all-in-one printer so as well as printing documents and photographs it's good for scanning and photocopying. It even works as a fax. It's easy to use with its 4.3in colour-touchscreen.
How much: £199
18. Wi-fi Bathroom Scales
These scales are wireless-enabled and transmit your weight (plus body mass index) through your broadband network to a website where you can track your measurements.
How much: £119.99
19. Arcam rCube
The rCube is the best-sounding stereo iPod dock you'll come across. A hefty battery means it's portable and its clever connectivity means it works as a streaming wireless loudspeaker.
How much: £399.95
20. Virgin Media TiVo Box
TiVo was the first hard-disc recorder in the UK and it remains a tremendous system. And now, it's built into Virgin Media's triple-tuner boxes.
How much: From free plus subscription
21. Amazon Kindle
If you want to read books on a tablet, the display on the Kindle is superb. It uses e-ink, which is easy to read even in bright sunlight. Amazon's range of titles is massive and ebook prices are good. This is the lightest, most affordable Kindle yet.
How much: £89
22. HTC Sensation XE Mobile Phone
This is a smartphone designed to appeal to audiophiles. HTC part-owns Beats Audio and it comes with special headphones and a Beats option to make the music sound its best.
How much: From free with contract
23. Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
If you prefer the convenience of a wireless keyboard but dread the batteries running out when you're in the middle of something important, the solar keyboard charges itself from ambient indoor light.
How much: £69.99
24. Sony PlayStation 3
Not only is the PS3 still a great gaming system, it's a tremendous Blu-ray player and even has BBC iPlayer on board. The range of games is enormous, with huge titles arriving daily in the run-up to Christmas. Plus there's the online network of casual titles.
How much: £199.99
25. Pure Oasis Flow Radio
This radio is weatherproofed so you can listen to it whether you're next to a swimming pool or in the bath. The rechargeable battery gives up to nine hours of playback and it can tune to DAB, FM and internet stations (through a wi-fi network).
How much: £149.99
26. Sony KDL-46HX923 LED TV
Sony TVs like this one have "Intelligent Peak" LED, which offers great contrast levels and deep blacks, usually only found on plasma screens. The Sony image-processing engine improves things even further.
How much: From £2,099
27. Sony Tablet S
If you fancy a tablet PC that uses Android's operating system, with its easy interface and plentiful free apps, this gorgeous piece of kit from Sony is outstanding. It has great extras too.
How much: From £399
28. Beats by Dr Dre Pro Headphones
Big and chunky headphones that are as much of a visual statement as an aural one. They are solid but light, well built and funky, with sound isolation to make sure you only hear the music.
How much: £349.99
29. Livescribe Echo Smartpen
The Livescribe is a pen with a capable microphone at its head. It records audio as you jot notes. The special notepad can link the audio to the exact moment of scribbling.
How much: From £99.99
30. Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera
It looks like a little SLR but this camera is a perfect upgrade from a compact. No interchangeable lenses but the zoom reaches a massive 35x and there are lots of features and special effects.
How much: £372
31. Denon D-F107DAB Mini Component System
The Denon component system is compact enough to fit any room but makes a big sound, with a DAB+ radio tuner, CD player and impressive 65W speakers.
How much: £599.99
32. Humax HDR-FOX T2 Freeview HD Recorder
If you don't have satellite or cable, you can still choose a great HD recorder. This one uses Freeview and has an exceptional user interface.
How much: £279
33. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Super-slim and light, the Android Tab has the biggest screen available (10.1ins) and is fast and powerful. And apps like Google Maps look spectacular at this scale.
How much: £375
34. Jawbone Jambox
The Jambox is a wireless speaker to play music from your mobile phone or computer via Bluetooth, the short-wave radio connection. A battery means it's completely cable-free.
How much: £159.9
35. BT Home Hub 3 Router
BT's latest router has great range, is super-easy to set up and cleverly changes the frequency it's on if there's interference from elsewhere. Other routers have to be restarted to do the same.
How much: £91.89
36. AEG Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Espresso Machine
This machine promises great taste with perfect crema with the minimum of fuss. It uses special capsules that come in eight coffee blends from mild to stay-up-all-night.
How much: From £149
37. Vita Audio R4i
The R4i has FM, DAB and DAB+ tuners (DAB+ isn't used in the UK yet, but may be one day). It has a CD player and iPod dock. Plus: the dial control (the same as found on all Vita machines) pops out to work as a cute remote control.
How much: £549.95
38. Sony BDP-S780 3D Blu-ray Disc/DVD Player
Blu-ray discs offer great high-definition video and audio quality. This player works with 3D Blu-ray discs, so it will function with 3D-capable tellies. It connects wirelessly to the internet to stream extra content.
How much: £219
39. HTC Flyer
Another 7in screener, the HTC Flyer uses Android as its operating system but has a special stylus as well, so you can scribble notes on the screen, annotate photographs and more. Its design is spectacular.
How much: £479.99
40. TomTom Go Live 1005 World Navigation Device
TomTom still makes the best sat navs and this latest model even includes social-networking capabilities. Before you set out you can set it to tweet your arrival time and the device does it with an updated time automatically.
How much: £329.99
41. AEG UltraOne Vacuum Cleaner
If you're going to keep things tidy, the UltraOne is at least one of the quietest ways of doing so. The quiet motor is matched with soft wheels and bumpers. It gets into corners easily, too.
How much: £349.99
42. AQ Audio Smart Speaker
The brushed metal finish of the AQ Audio Smart speaker uses Apple's AirPlay technology to stream all your iTunes music wirelessly and in stereo. Battery power means it's the first wire-free AirPlay system.
How much: £219
43. Philips 21:9 Gold 50in TV
If you're a cinephile, you'll be tired of the black bars that frame a movie on a regular widescreen display. This super-wide screen perfectly matches the original film format.
How much: £1,999
44. Sony Reader Wi-Fi
This stylish e-ink reader from Sony now comes with wi-fi and a touchscreen. Like the Kobo, a slot for a memory card means you can massively increase the storage beyond the Reader's 1,200 book capacity.
How much: £129
45. Three Wireless Modem Huawei E586
If you want to connect your laptop to the internet while you're on the move, this new version of the popular wireless dongle is fast and powerful.
How much: From £10.87 per month
46. HP ENVY110 e-All-in-One Printer
HP's excellent machine has great reliability and print quality into the bargain. It's wireless so you can print from your bedroom to the study.
How much: £169.99
47. Roberts STREAM 63i
Glossy, big and beautiful, the STREAM 63i has a clear screen and lots of features. There's FM, DAB and internet radio via broadband to access internet stations.
How much: £350
48. Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT30 Plasma TV
Plasma screens offer better value than LCD or LED TVs. This 42in model is stunning. The screen has inky deep black and realistic colours.
How much: £884.49
49. Swatch Touch
There are no buttons on this watch – it's all down to the touch-sensitive LCD screen with its big numbers (the biggest ones are the seconds). Available in six unmissable colours.
How much: £100
50. Sony VAIO Z series Laptop
Another great style statement, Sony's super-slim laptop has a 13.1in high-resolution screen, lots of configuration options including Blu-ray disc drive and plenty of power.
How much: From £1,434
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