Six perfect Christmas gifts for gadget lovers

Dreaming of a tech-filled Christmas? Here are six gadgets to hit the spot.


For when telling the time just isn’t enough

It’s a strange old world. These days, the most sought-after watches fall in to one of two categories. The first includes spectacular feats of analogue engineering, which for all their beauty and ingenuity don’t actually keep track of time as well as the phone in your pocket.  And the second include ‘smart’ watches, which for all their cleverness, invariably look supremely dull, and don’t tell actually tell the time anything like as well as a simple wristwatch. Why? It’s partly because whenever you lift your wrist to take a look, you’re more likely to be greeted by your latest notifications, messages and ‘activity alerts’; and partly because, if you forget to charge them up every day or two then you’ll be left in the lurch.

Yet, all that said… who wouldn’t love to have a magnificent Rolex or a Breitling for when the occasion demands? And equally, what self-respecting gadget lover  would say no to an Apple Watch? The Apple Watch Series 9, which starts at £399, is an incredible piece of kit, which can track your exercise via GPS, make and receive calls (yes, Star Trek-style, where you speak into the watch itself), answer all your messages and thousands more things.

True, many of the functions serve only to save you from the inconvenience of getting your phone out of your pocket, but the health monitoring functions and ambient light sensors add more to the package. And most amusingly of all, among the endless weird and wacky face styles you can choose is an animated Snoopy watchface which is uncannily close to the very first watch I ever owned, at the age of six. 

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Apple Watch Series 9 — from £399

For the pet owner

If you’re still using a vacuum cleaner with a cable that plugs in to the wall, stop. If you’re still using a vacuum cleaner that feels like lifting a moderately-sized dumbbell, stop. And if you’re a pet owner still using a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t have an anti-hair-tangling system and air filtration, stop. These things will change your life in a good way, and they don’t have to cost huge sums. Shark and Dyson models have well-earned reputations for quality, but a Levoit LVAC 200, for example, is currently around £140 and will do a cracking job. It’s not the most powerful vacuum you’ll ever use (although the turbo mode helps hugely) and it has a fairly small dust container, but it’s light, simple, and is uncannily — almost unbelievably — good at avoiding the hair tangles which were once a major headache.

Levoit LVAC-200 — RRP £169.99, currently around £140

For the indecisive gadget lover

What’s that you say? You want a tablet for streaming films and TV, emailing, video calls and so on? But you also want a smart hub for controlling your home? Well, the Google Pixel Tablet has you covered: it’s a top-notch, speedy Android-based tablet which comes with a magnetic dock that turns it into a smart speaker with the sort of sound quality you’d expect from an Amazon Echo Dot or an Apple Homehub Mini. The idea is that you can keep it in the kitchen, hallway, or wherever suits your life, but then take it with you when you’re on the move or wandering around the house.

It’s a neat idea and nicely done: the tablet has good screen, decent sound, a fast processor, while sound from the base unit is good quality. On top of that, the idle-screen options include an adorable animated frog who is shown pottering around his house doing different things depending on the time of the day — my kids absolutely loved it.

But the caveat is that it costs a hefty £499, meaning that you could simply buy a separate Amazon Echo Show for about £60, and a basic iPad for about £320, and you’d have both bases covered with plenty of change to spare.

Still, the Pixel is far slicker than the Echo Show, and having both options in one unit is great — not least because it means all your bits stay in one place.

Google Pixel Tablet, including Smart Dock — £499

For the beer drinker who can’t quite face leaving the house to go the pub

The 21st century’s answer to the homebrew which your dad probably made in the 1980s is the Philips Perfect Draft machine, which has all the ‘fun’ of homebrew — namely, trying to get the thing working, and pour a beer which isn’t all head — without the pesky business of having to wait weeks for the stuff to ferment and brew. These machines were a huge hit during lockdown and still have a following now, and it’s not hard to see why since the beer you get is a significant upgrade from cracking open a can. There is a decent selection of beer options, too, including Goose Island IPA and Camden Hells… but we’d strongly suggest you steer clear of the dismal über-brands like Budweiser.

Perfect Draft starter bundle — £199

For when you just need a little bit of (virtual) space



Obviously, Christmas is a time for spending with family and friends — but we all have our limits. And so, in a parallel universe somewhere, this Christmas I’ll be given the new virtual-reality headset, a Meta Quest 3. The plan is to use it with some noise-cancelling headphones, then escape to a totally different world — even if only for a few minutes here and there — as the seasonal chaos of family life goes on around me.

Meta Quest 3 — £479.99

For the non-trust who wants to party like it’s 1999

At the turn of the millennium, the idea that everyone would have a mobile phone was just beginning to take hold. For those jumping with both feet into the future, the flip phone — a mobile phone which cleverly folded in half to protect its screen — was the must-have accessory which made the original, ubiquitous Nokias look ancient.

24 years later, those hipsters with their original flip phones look about as cutting edge as a cave man wielding a club. Today’s flip phones have foldable screens, so you have a phone that squeezes into your pocket, yet opens out into a ‘normal’ full-size phone screen, with no immediately obvious split down the middle. You cold almost believe its genuine wizardry — and the likes of Samsung’s top-end flip phones have appropriately fantastical prices. But up-and-coming brand Oppo quietly released a superb flip phone this year, the N2 Flip, which somehow remains relatively inexpensive, yet will still leave your friends and family gawping at how such a thing could really exist.

Oppo N2 Flip — £470

For the hipster who still drinks caffeine

tea and coffee alarm clock_

This. This is future.

Do you need it? No. Absolutely not. You have a phone and a kettle.

Do you want it? Yes. Oh yes.

Barisieur, from £350, Joy Resolve,