Christmas can be an expensive time, but the best gifts aren't always the ones that cost the most. If you're buying for someone with a hobby, they probably already have the essentials (a gamer will have a great graphics card, and a photographer will own the lenses they need). It's the smaller, carefully chosen presents that really make a difference and show you know them well.
If you're sticking to a budget this Christmas, we've put together a list of the very best tech gifts you can buy for under £100 (and sometimes a lot less). We've also tracked down the very best prices for you, so you don't need to spend time shopping around to get a great deal.
SteelSeries Rival 600
A premium mouse that'll delight the PC gamer in your life
PC gamers are notoriously particular about their peripherals, but we're pretty sure they'll be happy to find the Rival 600 in their stocking this Christmas. This mouse has a customizable weight, true RGB spectrum lighting, and just the right number of side buttons.
The Rival 600 proves that money isn't everything, and performs better than a mouse in its price range has any right to. It boasts a 12,000 DPI sensor, mechanical switches, and a depth sensor that virtually eliminates cursor sway when the mouse is lifted up in the air.
Manfrotto Pixi Evo
A handy take-anywhere tripod for keen photographers
Although enormously useful, tripods can be bulky and cumbersome, and the photographer in your life is unlikely to want to carry a full-size one 'just in case'.
A mini tripod like the Pixi Evo is the perfect alternative. Some tiny tripods are quite flimsy, but the Pixi Evo is robust enough to trust with A DSLR, while still offering decent flexibility. It has a ball head and extending legs, which make it easier to position on uneven surfaces. You'll have to use it on a wall or table, but it's enormously useful and the low working angle means you'll get some interesting viewpoints.
Beasts of Balance
Competitive, balancing fun for iPad owners of all ages
If you know someone who's inseparable from their iPad (or a person lucky enough to be receiving one from Santa this year), Beasts of Balance is a great budget gift to accompany it. Despite its fun looks, Beasts of Balance isn't just a game for kids, fusing evolution with Jenga skills in a battle of mutational dominance.
It's easy to pick up, but tough to master, and you can bring the plastic model animals to life via the accompanying mobile app, which also keeps track of the different beasts you create. We had great fun going head-to-head to see who could create the most beasts, and we predict it'll go down a treat when all the wrapping paper is cleared away.
A super affordable fitness tracker for keen runners
Fitness trackers are fine, but they're of limited use to keen runners, who want to know more than just how many steps they've taken, or how long they've spent putting one foot in front of the other.
Moov Now is different, and is designed specifically for people who enjoy sports. Although it monitors steps and sleep, like all other fitness trackers, it can also do a lot more thanks to the accompanying phone app. This lets you track other workouts, including swims, and includes a cadence training tool to help you stride more quickly when running.
It also has a six-month battery life, so you won't be giving someone the gift of endless charging.
Urbanears Plattan II on-ear headphones
Affordable and comfortable – a perfect set of budget cans
Urbanears' original Plattan headphones were fine, but why settle for that? These second-generation cans address many customer quibbles (including comfort, sound quality and isolation), resulting in a far superior product for a bargain price.
These wired headphones don't have a ton of features, but they sound great, feel good, and their minimalist design (in a wide range of colors) means they look far more expensive than they actually are.
The ultimate writing software – a great gift for aspiring novelists
If you know someone whose new year's resolution is to finish (or start) a novel, they'll be delighted with Scrivener – a word processor specifically designed for authors and screenwriters. Microsoft Word and Apple Pages are okay, but Scrivener makes it far easier to manage a manuscript, plus all the notes and plans involved in creating it. Think of it as a system of index cards, but without the inherent risk of dropping them all over the floor and ending up with a scrambled mess.
Scrivener also offers a distraction-free writing mode that hides away all the menus, notes and icons to leave only an empty page. It's possible to set targets and track work with statistics and progress bars if your writer friend fancies gamifying their typing experience.
Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar
A first step into coding that'll keep little hands and minds busy
Coding toys can be expensive, but the Code-a-Pillar (designed for kids aged three to six) is an exception. The fun robotic beast breaks into sections, each of which represents a chunk of code, and can be rearranged to make the bot take a different route when switched on.
The cute Code-a-Pillar comes with one sound segment, three straights, two left turns and two right turns, and extra pieces are available to buy separately once your young coder has grasped the idea and is ready to try something more challenging. Provided you have enough floor space, it should give youngsters a head start in understanding programming principles, without even realizing they're learning. Sneaky.
Mammut Xeron Courier 25
A great laptop bag tough enough for the daily commute
Anyone who commutes to work or college by bike will appreciate this robust backpack, which is designed to keep a laptop safe and snug in a fleece-lined compartment. Its roll-top design means it's nice and secure too, and helps keep out the elements.
It's also a great option if you know someone who finds carrying their laptop uncomfortable, thanks to its ergonomically designed, padded shoulder straps that distribute the weight evenly and won't dig in.
- Find the perfect gift for everyone with our ultimate Christmas guide