Christmas is a time of plenty for gadget lovers, but finding the latest technology can be tricky. We look at the tech that's hot this festive season
1. Get away from your PC
Microsoft is expecting huge demand for its new gaming technology, which analyses and reads your body movements, facial expressions and gestures to give a new dimension of control.
If active gaming isn't your cup of tea, there are plenty of traditional PC games out this Christmas to feast on. Fallout: New Vegas, Fable 3, FIFA 2011, the latest Medal of Honor and Civilization 5 will all be hitting the shelves in December.
2. Easy video recording
Pocket camcorders have exploded in popularity in the last two years, and there are some fantastic cameras on the market fighting off stiff competition from the latest phones.
If you want something designed for short videos, the new Toshiba Camileo S20 is perfect, with 1080p video and 4x digital zoom for £130 at Amazon. If it's just for the kids, try the Kodak Zx1, which is available for £50 from www.techstore.co.uk, or the Busbi Digital Video Camera at £40 from Firebox.
3. Read your Ebooks in style
Ebook readers are the hottest technology on the market, and the ubiquitous Kindle 3 is the most desirable of them all. Amazon has slashed the price to £109, or £149 for a 3G version, which enables you to browse websites and download books on demand.
However, they are highly sought-after, and if you can't wait three weeks for a delivery, the iRiver Story is also extremely good. It costs £140 from Play.com, and while there's no 3G, you do get full support for Microsoft Office documents and PDFs.
4. Great pictures
Last Christmas was the year of the photo frame, and our love affair is set to carry on into 2011. Kodak came out with top marks in issue 50's digital frame group test with the Pulse, which can be bought for £85 from Play.com.
If that's too much, you can opt for the bargain Jessops 8-inch frame which is just £25 on jessops.com, or just pick up a keyring frame such as the Tao Digital Photo Keychain for just £13 from Firebox.
5. Can you feel the noise?
There are some superb value speakers doing the rounds, and if you're looking for a great gift for a music lover, you're in luck.
If volume and bass aren't your thing, the Logitech Z320 is a decent 2.0 system and costs just £35 at Amazon.
6. Amazing multimedia
If you're looking for MP3 players this Christmas, the updated iPod Touch will be flying off the shelves. Apple has given its new touchscreen MP3 player the high-res, vibrant screen from the iPhone 4, as well as adding a 720p HD video camera.
This makes the iPod Touch a force to be reckoned with, but at £189 for the 8GB version, it doesn't come cheap.
If you're looking for a more cost-effective MP3 player, you can opt for the Sandisk Sansa Clip (from £38 at www.lambda-tek.com).
7. Safe and sound this Christmas
Backing up doesn't conjure up images of the festive season but the fact is that hard drives and USB sticks make really useful presents.
There are some great deals around, such as the Buffalo 320GB MiniStation Lite for £64 at Dabs.com, which has enough room for most backups.
Portable storage is also cheap at the moment, and you can get a rubberised 8GB Corsair Flash Voyager for £12 at Amazon, or a cute USB Flash Hero cuddly toy USB drive, which is perfect for kids, from Firebox for £14.99.
8. Stocking fillers
Photographers will love a Gorillapod (£12 from Amazon), a versatile tripod that can be used anywhere.
Cameraphone fanatics will also love the PoGo printer (£25 from www.scan.co.uk), which enables you to print off pictures via Bluetooth.
If your PC-loving relatives are a little harder to please, try some USB-powered rechargeable batteries.
9. Stay in touch with family
Christmas is about getting people together, but unfortunately, we can't always get to our family and friends over the festive season. The perfect present for distant loved ones is a webcam, so you can still wave hello on Christmas morning, and you can find great quality cameras for bargain prices.
The Microsoft LifeCam HD-6000N can be bought for £32 from Amazon, and is designed to work with Windows Live Messenger, so even the most computer illiterate relatives can get to grips with it.
10. Bargain sat-navs
Sat-navs are expensive, but they do make great presents for road warrior family members. If your relatives are iPhone users, the TomTom for iPhone app works wonders, and at £43 it represents a big saving on the cost of a full unit.
First published in Windows: The Official Magazine Issue 51
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