Have yourself a techie little Christmas

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As we approach the end of yet another year of technological innovation, we look at 35 of the best bits of kit currently on the market

Vita Audio R1 MkII

Form and function are the yin and yang of good design. And a radio needs to sound as well as look good. Vita Audio's tabletop DAB radios score highly for immaculate styling as well as stand-out audio. This latest radio is a limited-edition model in glorious red. The large screen automatically adjusts its brightness to suit the environment and there are dual alarms. As well as DAB there's FM and as-yet-unavailable DAB+ so it's future-proofed. An optional battery means you can take it to the park for alfresco sounds. Spectacular.

Where from: www.petertyson.co.uk

How much: £179.90

More technology news and features

Voice recognition revolution
Living smart with SmartPhones
Archives aim to save games


Fujifilm X10

The X10 is a deeply cool-looking camera and, at first sight, looks like an SLR, but this has a fixed lens. The retro styling is attractive and the camera's 12-megapixel sensor is larger than on many rivals, which, along with the 4x zoom precision lens, helps deliver high-quality results. There are plenty of manual override settings, but it's easy to point and shoot as well. Features include motion panorama, which stitches together images as you pan the camera; burst mode, which shoots seven frames a second, and more. It feels great, too: light and strong. It powers on quickly and is ready to shoot in a second.

Where from: www.amazon.co.uk

How much: £499.95

Logitech BoomBox Mini Speaker

It may be small enough to sit comfortably in your hand, but the Mini Boombox is deceptively powerful and loud. The specially designed acoustic chamber gives a great sound and even helps with decent bass. It pairs to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth so you can play tracks straight from your phone, say. Because it has a microphone on board, you can use it as a speakerphone, which is handy to take calls when you're driving. It's battery-powered and lasts for up to 10 hours between charges. The backlit touch panel is easy to use.

Where from: www.logitech.com

How much: £69.99

Motorola RAZR

This is the latest smartphone from Motorola, named after the company's super-successful super-slim phone from the nineties. This one is also very thin – at its thinnest it's just over 7mm – and its high-resolution screen gleams with rich, vivid colour. It's tough too, with gorilla glass front screen and Kevlar fibre back. It even has a splash-guard coating. The fast processor and generous operating memory mean this phone using the Android operating system is very nippy in use, and takes great photos on the eight-megapixel camera. You can also shoot HD video. The 4.3in screen is big enough for watching those movies back comfortably.

Where from: www.carphonewarehouse.com

How much From: free with contract

Ministry of Sound MOS006 headphones

Audio quality and stylish looks usually command a hefty price, so these high-grade, anodised aluminium cups with a comfortable foam headband should be pricey, no? No. The sound is crisp and clear, with lots of bass rounding them out. The cables are designed to resist getting in a tangle, which is splendid. Choose from four colour mixes, including a deeply cool gunmetal and orange combination. All have the Ministry of Sound logo, so they have cool value, too.

Where from: www.ministryofsound.com

How much: £39.99

Olympus PEN

The PEN range of cameras from Olympus are stunningly designed, highly effective cameras. They take high-quality images but instead of the mirror reflex system of an single lens reflex, these compact system cameras manage without, so they're smaller and lighter. The PEN cameras have interchangeable lenses and Olympus's photographic savvy to ensure they're simple to use but have lots of features to suit experienced photographers as well as the rest of us. The latest model, the E-P3, has fast autofocus so you're never kept waiting. It also shoots HD movies and has a touchscreen display to choose focus and even fire the shutter. Excellent.

Where from: www.olympus.co.uk

How much: £799.99

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean toothbrush

Sonicare's toothbrushes are consistently good, with the brushes vibrating at such speed it creates sonic waves that give the impression you're shaking the plaque off. Whatever the science, it feels good. This latest deluxe version of its toothbrush is its lightest and slimmest, with the best plaque removal. This is partly thanks to the new brush heads, which have diamond-shaped bristles. It has five different modes including sensitive and whitening settings and claims to improve gum health in two weeks. The charging system – stand the brush in a glass that connects to a socket – is eccentric but elegant.

Where from: www.shop.philips.co.uk

How much: £250

iDapt i4 charger

If your desk is covered in power plugs and chargers, don't despair. The new iDapt is here to tidy things up and keep all your gadgets ticking over. So you can put your BlackBerry on one spot, your iPhone on another and your digital camera on the third. And if that's still not enough there's a USB socket on the side so you can charge another device at the same time. The charging tips are interchangeable so you could charge four Apple devices simultaneously. Six tips are supplied but you can get extras to fit a Nintendo DSi or a Nokia phone, for instance.

Where from: www.idaptweb.com

How much: £39.99

Amazon Kindle

Ebook readers still aren't as wonderful as real books, but they sure are convenient. This new model from Amazon is the company's lightest and cheapest yet. It can hold more than 1,000 books and you can download more over wi-fi from Amazon's colossal store, with each download taking under a minute. E-ink screens, like this 6in one, are easy to read even in the brightest sunshine. But the breakthrough on this Kindle is that the intrusive flashing every page turn as the content refreshes has been reduced to every six pages. Typing isn't great using the direction pad and onscreen keyboard, but you so rarely have to do that. Brilliant.

Where from: www.amazon.co.uk

How much: £89

Sony NEX-5N camera

Sony's range of compact system cameras are uniformly strong but the latest model is the slickest yet. This one matches last year's NEX-5 in styling but ups the pixel count to 16.1 megapixels. As a result, images are even better, especially in low lighting. The display is now a touchscreen, which aids easy use. Sony's sweep panorama mode is especially satisfying and you can shoot 3D panoramas too, although they can't be played back on the camera. The HD movie mode is especially good and shoots at top 1080p quality. The NEX-5N feels good in the hand.

Where from: www.argos.co.uk

How much: £529.99

Jawbone UP

It's cute, funky and surprising: the UP wristband aims to get you healthy. Jawbone, best known for making superb Bluetooth headsets, has created a bracelet with a motion sensor which monitors your movements to analyse how much exercise you're taking, how deeply you're sleeping and more. It works in conjunction with an iPhone app that stores your stats and lets you take photos of your meals so you can track your food intake. It even wakes you with vibration, gauging the best time to wake you (when you're coming out of a deep sleep cycle), although it won't let you oversleep. Very clever.

Where from: eu.jawbone.com

How much: £79.99

Xbox 360 Wireless Headset

Lightweight, neat and easy to set up, this is designed to be used by gamers playing online against others. It's comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, which is handy if you've got a lot of virtual adversaries to defeat, and sound quality is good. Different ear bud sizes mean you can fit it exactly to your lughole. A green light glows when you're gaming. But this headset also has Bluetooth, so you can use it for hands-free calls on any Bluetooth-equipped phone as well. In this situation, the light glows blue. Good value, too.

Where from: www.play.com

How much: £29.99

Olympus TG-310 waterproof compact camera

Whether you're congenitally clumsy or need a camera that will survive a skiing holiday, the Olympus is an affordable, rugged companion. Drop it from 1.5 metres? No problem. Into water up to three metres deep? It's fine. Leave it in the snow or temperatures as low as -10 degrees C? The TG-310 will be okay with that too. Even better, the bright red case is easily found if you do drop it. Oh yes, and the 14-megapixel camera also takes good photos, from close-ups to landscape shots, for those rare moments when you haven't dropped it.

Where from: www.argos.co.uk

How much: £124.95

Samsung UE60D8000

If you're going to have a big TV, you want one that looks great whether it's turned on or off, such as one from the D8000 series. This 60in screen is the biggest in the range yet and has a brilliant, minimalist look to it, thanks to the tiny bezel round the screen. And what a screen: both 3D and 2D programming look amazing on this telly. Contrast levels are high, colours are rich and vibrant. Plus, it's internet-enabled and features the Samsung Smart Hub portal of dozens of apps and programmes including BBC iPlayer.

Where from: www.johnlewis.com

How much: £3,999

Philips AS851 Fidelio Android dock

It's easy to get a good iPod dock, but good-sounding music from an Android phone is harder to find. There are so many different phones, fittings and socket arrangements, for a start. Philips has cunningly come up with a system that accommodates lots of different Android phones with a movable micro-USB connector. That handles the recharging, while the music uses Bluetooth. Sound quality is exceptional, thanks to advanced Philips Digital sound processing.

Where from: www.currys.co.uk

How much: £199.99

BlackBerry Bold 9900 mobile phone

The sleek, chic Bold 9900 is BlackBerry's best phone yet, with a super-comfortable keyboard that has perfectly spaced, highly accessible keys between row dividers like guitar frets. It's also a touchscreen, so you can poke at the screen as well as navigating by trackpad. BlackBerry is still the best device for speedy, secure email delivery. Previous phones have had internet browsers that were unexceptional but this has been hugely improved here. The screen looks glorious and, thanks to a processor that's impressively fast, the graphics are fluid and smooth. The 2.8in screen is big enough to make photos and video look good too.

Where from: www.vodafone.co.uk

How much: From free with contract

Film2SD Negative Scanner

Those boxes of photo prints are all very well, but how often do you look at them? And what would happen if they got lost? With this scanner you can turn the negatives into digital files, ready to be emailed, used as phone wallpaper, turned into slide shows on your PC or, you know, printed. It's simple to use and this model doesn't even need a computer to work; it saves images to SD cards, the kind found in many cameras. This is a straightforward and convenient way to ensure you always have access to precious images.

Where from: www.firebox.com

How much: £109.99

Pure Evoke Flow

Internet radios have access to thousands of stations from around the world, plus podcasts and listen again services. This handsome radio from DAB radio masters Pure has FM, DAB and internet radio. It's simple to connect it wirelessly to your broadband network. The Pure Lounge means it's easy to pick your favourite stations via computer as well as on the radio. The bright organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen is always readable and an ambient light sensor means it won't blind you if you're using the radio as a bedroom alarm clock.

Where from: www.pure.com

How much £149.99

Apple iPhone 4S

The Nokia Lumia 800 may be nipping at its heels but this is still the best smartphone around. The design is near-identical to last year's phone but it's different inside as the processor is faster. It also has an upgraded camera: eight megapixels with a wide aperture and fast focusing that give great results. And there's Siri, the voice-recognition programme that works as your personal assistant and does an uncanny job of recognising what you say. Tell it to remind you to do something when you leave work, and the phone's global positioning system (GPS) spots when you're on the move and alerts you. Sensational.

Where from: www.orange.co.uk

How much: From free with contract

Sony Tablet S

Android tablets are thick on the ground but this is the stand-out. Its screen, at 9.4ins, is marginally smaller than some but gives the Sony an extra-portable feel. It's designed to look like a folded magazine, which means the weight is pleasantly centred on one edge. This makes it easier to hold for longer, which is handy if you're using it as an ebook reader, say. Then there are the Sony specialities such as the facility to use it as a clever remote for all your home entertainment devices, or the ability to "throw" content wirelessly from the tablet to your TV, for instance. The most stylish tablet available.

Where from: www.sony.co.uk

How much: From £399

Nokia Lumia 800

A strong contender for phone of the year, this new mobile goes on sale today and is Nokia's best smartphone yet, using Windows Phone, the gorgeous operating system from Microsoft. It works with a screen of tiles that update automatically, showing you the latest weather, how many emails are waiting, and much more. You can even create tiles for individuals, so you'll see new Facebook updates and so on. It has a superbly responsive touchscreen and its highly tactile polycarbonate casing is a delight. A triumph.

Where from: www.vodafone.co.uk

How much: From free with contract

BlackBerry Playbook

This 7in tablet is supremely portable but its high-resolution display makes it suitable for watching video and more. It's a splendid piece of kit; the hardware is well-built and highly desirable. An update is on its way, which means it will soon be a great standalone device for email (currently you need the BlackeBerry phone too) that is as strong on security as other BlackBerry machines, capable of internet surfing and much more. The interface is especially intuitive and enjoyable to use and the range of apps available is growing fast. It's recently dropped in price, so this tablet is highly affordable.

Where from: www.carphonewarehouse.com

How much: From £249

BT Vision

Put this box under your TV and you have one of the most stylish Freeview recorders available. It also has one of the best and most accessible interfaces so it's easy to record programmes and series, and the box now includes BBC iPlayer as one of the channels. There's a huge range of streamable content from TV series to pay-per-view movies in high definition, though HD programmes have to be downloaded to the box's hard drive first. You need to be a BT broadband customer with a BT Home Hub as your router.

Where from: www.bt.com

How much: From £4 a month

Nintendo 3DS

This portable games console has two screens: one touch-sensitive, the other 3D. While you have to wear glasses to watch 3D on television, here you don't. You need to hold the 3DS still and in just the right position to get the best effect, but once you've got that down, the effect is tremendous. The range of games is wide and growing, including the wonderful Super Mario 3D Land, out on 18 November. There are twin camera sensors so you can take 3D photos as well. The price has dropped recently, making this sophisticated machine something of a bargain.

Where from: www.amazon.co.uk

How much: £129.99

Olympus SZ-30MR superzoom camera

Don't be fooled by this camera's small size, the zoom stretches to a huge 24x, enough to shoot wildlife at a distance or grab that action shot in sport. It's also great for landscape shots and its smart panorama function captures wide vistas simply by panning the camera. It's a high-level gadget but manages to be very easy to use and point-and-shoot photographers won't be disappointed. You can shoot HD video at the highest resolution (1080p) and even shoot two recordings at once, high and low-resolution, say. The camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and cute extras include pet detection: it shoots automatically when Tibbles looks at the lens.

Where from: www.johnlewis.com

How much: £269.95

Sonos Play:3

Sonos is the leading company when it comes to wireless multi-room music. This is the latest beauty and means your digital music can play from one source through several speakers. Each speaker connects wirelessly to a bridge unit that attaches to your broadband router. Then you can play music from your PC wherever you want. Sonos has apps for iPhone, iPad and Android phones to act as remote controls. Sound quality is rich, detailed and wholly persuasive. A tie-up with Spotify means premium subscribers can play Spotify through the Sonos speakers as well.

Where from: www.johnlewis.com

How much: £259

Philips AquaTouch AT890 shaver

This new shaver is fully waterproof so you can use it in the shower or wet with shaving foam. The idea is that it combines the convenience of an electric shaver but avoiding the nicks of a razor for a smoother shave. It's aided by heads designed to fit the curves of your face. There's a pop-up trimmer for sideburns and you never have to wait to shave; if the battery is completely flat a three-minute charge will be enough for one shave. And a full charge delivers more than 50 shaves. The fact that it's waterproof also means rinsing it under the tap is a not a problem.

Where from: www.philips.co.uk

How much: £50

Apple iPad 2

For sheer range of dedicated tablet apps, the iPad is still out in the lead. There is a huge variety of extra capabilities to add to the iPad's versatility as a media player, email device, web browser, camera and more. The iPad is especially strong on games, with thousands available from casual titles to classics for diehard gamers, but reading books isn't as good on the backlit iPad screen as on the Kindle. The cool smart cover keeps the screen safe and other companies make sleeves and protectors (Sena Cases are outstanding for this).

Where from: www.apple.com/uk

How much: From £399

B&W Zeppelin Air

This iPod speaker has unmissably distinctive looks and it sounds great, too. The bass is big and powerful, staying sharp even at its loudest, without distortion. Vocals are natural and exciting and the big speakers have a wide soundstage. The Air in the title of this model indicates you can use Apple's AirPlay feature to stream music wirelessly from your PC or Mac as well as from an iPad and so on. Sound quality using this arrangement is still good, although a docked iPod has the edge.

Where from: www.selfridges.com

How much: £499

Denon NC-800 noise-cancelling headphones

These headphones are chunky but deeply comfortable. They sound good to start off with but, if you're in a noisy environment, the noise-cancelling is very effective. It's ideal in an aeroplane, where the endless thump of the engines can be enervating, as it quells regular noise but still lets announcements through. There's even a switch so you can hear the outside world as well, which is handy when the air steward asks you what you want to drink. They come in a protective case and once you've tried them you may not want to travel without them.

Where from: www.amazon.co.uk

How much: £208

HTC Sensation XL phone

How big can a mobile phone be? This one has a whopping 4.7in screen (that's a full inch more than the Nokia Lumia 800). However, because it's reasonably slim at 10mm from front to back, it feels manageable in all but the smallest hands. The display makes watching video especially comfortable. The XL sounds spectacular, thanks to special Beats Audio headphones. When you're playing music or video you have the choice to have Beats Audio enhancement on or off although you'll probably want to keep it on – it makes a noticeable difference. This is an Android phone, with HTC's trademark overlay that makes the software shine.

Where from: www.carphonewarehouse.com

How much: From free with contract

Sony KDL 22EX320 LED TV

The EX320 is a small screen TV (22ins) that has lots of features normally found only on big-screen models including internet smarts and wi-fi. These mean you can stream YouTube to its screen and the wireless connection is even suitable for Skype video calling, although you'll need to add a microphone and camera. What's more, it has light-emitting diode (LED) technology, which gives greater contrast and deeper black shades than a regular liquid crystal display (LCD) TV could manage. It even upscales non-HD programming to make it look better. Sony's picture processing engines are good at maximising image quality.

Where from: www.sony.co.uk

How much: £299

Swissvoice ePure telephone

Sure, it looks like an icon to represent a landline phone, and it is one. The handset is wireless and contains the keys and display so you can make and receive calls. However, although its design looks simple, it squeezes in a lot of features including classy ringtones, a clock and a 100-number directory. The battery lasts for up to 10 hours between charges and the cordless handset works when it's up to 50m from the base station.

Where from: www.firebox.com

How much: From £69.99

Dyson DC26 Multi-floor vacuum cleaner

Dyson vacuum cleaners are hard to beat. This model is tiny but, thanks to patented root cyclone technology and the fact that Dysons are bagless, the suction power stays strong as you vacuum. This model has a carbon fibre turbine head tool with highly conductive filaments to get hard floors really clean. There are also nylon bristles to have a similarly deep-cleaning effect on carpets. It's light, easy to manoeuvre and ideal for urban apartments with little storage space. Dyson upright and cylinder vacuum cleaners all come with five-year guarantees.

Where from: www.dyson.co.uk

How much: £269.99

Tissot Visodate watch

It's good to find an elegant automatic watch that's stylish and affordable. It's one of a range of heritage watches designed to match iconic watches from Tissot's past. This one is a version of a 1957 Tissot classic with a simple, clear face. It comes in stainless steel with a black or white face and the gold version which is actually steel with a high-tech physical vapour deposition ( PVD) gilt coating. The original broke the mould because it featured both an automatic movement and a date window. Tissot's website has a cool augmented reality feature where you can see exactly what many models look like on your wrist.

Where from: www.tissot.ch

How much: From £380

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015