What to buy the tech enthusiast in your life? Here are some ideas – from smart speakers and games consoles to smartwatches and headphones. With Christmas rapidly approaching, time is running out to buy the big-ticket items, so we have also included some instant-delivery gifts for last-minute purchases.
Google Nest Mini – RRP: £49 – deals from £25
Google’s cheapest little smart speaker looks like a pincushion and is great for playing the radio, answering questions and controlling smart home devices. It comes in four colours and can even be wall mounted.
Amazon Echo – RRP: £90
The best-sounding smart speaker under £100 is often available for far less in sales. With a new spherical design, bass you can feel and room-filling sound the new Echo will get the party started.
Sonos One – RRP: £199
One of the very best multiroom wifi speakers is also a smart speaker able to switch between Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. If you want fantastic sound, comprehensive music service support and voice control, Sonos is king.
Oculus Quest 2 – RRP: £299
This year has been one in which many of us have needed real escapism, something the fabulous Oculus Quest 2 standalone virtual reality headset can offer. Like a console for VR games, all you need is the headset, some batteries an internet connection and a Facebook account.
Xbox Series X – RRP: £450 (£250 Series S)
Next-gen gaming is here. Microsoft’s top machine is the Xbox Series X, with new monolithic shape and serious graphics power for 4K gaming, but there’s also the cheaper Series S for 1080p gaming. Both are super quick with instant resume and game-switching features.
PS5 – £450 (£360 without disc drive)
Sony’s next-gen gaming machine is the PlayStation 5. A huge, sci-fi-looking tower, it is a 4K power machine with a new DualSense joypad with adaptable resistance triggers and precise haptics that have to be felt to believe. However, the big challenge will be finding one in stock.
Beats Flex – RRP: £49.99
A set of good-value, feature-rich Bluetooth earbuds from a name brand, Apple’s Beats Flex tick most boxes. They have solid sound, battery life and controls, plus the simple pairing and seamless device switching that made the AirPods so popular – even with Android, thanks to the Beats app.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+ – RRP: £159 – deals from £99
True wireless earbuds are all the rage and while Apple’s AirPods are popular, Samsung’s longer-lasting and better-sounding Galaxy Buds+ are my pick. They have a compact case, good controls, comfortable fit and work with Android and iPhones.
Marshall Major IV – RRP: £130
Marshall’s long-running on-ear headphones are in their fourth iteration. The Bluetooth Major IV have great controls, style, sound and tremendous battery life of up to 80 hours between charges. They have wireless charging and can be used with a standard headphones cable, too.
B&W PX7 – RRP: £350 – deals from £299
If you want to give someone the very best-sounding wireless, noise-cancelling headphones out there, the British B&W PX7 are exquisite. Connect via Bluetooth, headphones cable or USB-C audio for stunning sound, great controls and comfort for hours.
Amazon Fire 7 – RRP: £50
If you are after a basic tablet for watching TV shows, playing simple games or browsing the web, the £50 Amazon Fire 7 tablet is the cheapest one worth buying. The Fire HD 8, with a better screen and faster chip, is £90.
Apple iPad Air – RRP: £579
The best all-around mobile tablet, be it for watching video, playing games, Zoom or even a spot of work. The new iPad Air, with a fab new design, great screen, Touch ID power button and top performance and battery. It is expensive, so the £329 iPad is 70% as good on a tighter budget.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – RRP: £630+
If the tablet is really a laptop replacement for getting work done, the Surface Pro 7 is the best Windows 10 tablet you can buy someone. A great 12.3in screen, great build, nifty kickstand, solid performance and battery life, plus Windows Hello face recognition and excellent (but additional) detachable keyboard are a winning combo.
Amazfit Band 5 – RRP: £44.90 – deals from £40
The Amazfit Band 5 is a budget fitness band that packs a lot of higher-end technology for the price. It has an OLED screen, continuous heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, sleep, stress and activity tracking, sport recording and basic smartwatch features, plus Amazon’s Alexa.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – RRP: £399 – deals from £350
The best smartwatch for Android users is Samsung’s stunning Galaxy Watch 3. A great screen, rotating bezel controller, excellent battery, fitness and exercise tracking, plus blood oxygen and soon an ECG function cover almost every base. It is expensive, though, and the older Galaxy Watch Active 2 has most of it for £209.
Apple Watch Series 6 – RRP: £379+
The best smartwatch for iPhone users is the Apple Watch Series 6. It has it all: blood oxygen and ECG, myriad sport and fitness tracking, super comfortable design, great screen, top performance and long battery life. The cheaper £269 Watch SE is pretty good, too, but lacks an always-on screen and ECG.
iTunes – give an app, game, track, book or movie from iTunes – 99p and up
Apple is your friend for very last-minute purchases as you can send practically anything as a gift from the App Store or iTunes, starting from as little as 99p. It can be delivered by email instantly or on a scheduled date.
Game Pass Ultimate – £10.99
Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate for PC and Xbox now includes cloud game streaming to Android devices, too, with a large library of more than 100 small and triple-A games for only £10.99 for one month delivered by digital code.
ComiXology – 79p and up
Books are great but what about something a bit different? Through Amazon’s comiXology service you can give graphic novels, with classics such as the terrific Batman: the Killing Joke on sale for only £7.99. Read it on the web or free apps for Android, iOS and iPadOS.
Spotify – £10
If picking the right song or album sounds challenging, you can buy Spotify gift vouchers, which are good for new accounts and existing Premium accounts. By on card from your local shop or digitally through PayPal for £10 a month or £99 for a year.