Glorious Gadgets

19th November 2010

A Christmas 2010 wishlist, compiled with the
assistance of GadgetHelpline.com founder, Crispin Thomas

1. New Microsoft Xbox 360 + Kinect

It's been a bumper year for the Microsoft’s gaming console, with the release of a new slimline, sleeker, quieter Xbox360 earlier in the year and the seasonal release of the Microsoft Kinect: a stand-alone camera that tracks the user’s motions and movement to represent on-screen characters and actions, allowing a new controller-free gaming experience.

The new motion controller system means the console is set to be a huge hit again at Christmas time and, with a New Xbox 360 + Kinect Bundle coming in at around £300, it is sure to be the hit of the festive period.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – Halo Reach game…

2. Apple iPod Touch 4th Gen

Just when you thought that iPods couldn’t get any cooler, Apple comes along and updates its iPod Touch to keep the mega MP3 player in line with its iPhone 4 handset.

Apple has added a front-facing camera along with ‘Facetime’ features so users can video call each other using a Wi-Fi connection. Other updates include a rear camera capable of 720p HD video footage, plus retina display screen for mind boggling picture clarity and an upgraded A4 chip processor.

This is all neatly packaged in a slimmed down and squared off new design (again similar to the iPhone 4), with a variety of memory sizes available: 8, 32 and 64GB variants, priced at £189, £249 and £329 respectively. The iPod Touch is a definite winner.

must have add on –
Apple gel case for total protection…

3. Samsung LE46C750 46-inch Widescreen Full HD 3D Ready Internet LCD

2010 was the year that 3D went big… jumping-out-of-your-screen-big!

Our current favourite 3D-ready TV is this Samsung offering that will deliver complete access to not only Full HD content from both external connections but also the inbuilt Freeview HD, and is ready and set to offer full 3D playback. To top it off, it’s Internet-ready, too, so owners can also download Samsung widgets, and access websites such as Youtube.com on their TV. Currently the biggest drawback of the 3D revolution is the price to switch over. This model will set you back a cool £1100, so it’s not for everyone – but wow, it’s cool.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – Sky+ HD (with free 3D) Subscription

4. HTC Desire HD

Don’t like iPhones? HTC mobiles are the answer, and with a new range of Android-running super smart device handsets, now is the time to get on board and experience some Open Source goodness.

The HTC Desire is a gorgeous new handset, fully packed with a 4.3-inch LCD screen, 1GHz 8255 Snapdragon processor, 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, 720p video recording, Dolby mobile and the usual collection of smart phone connectivity including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HSPA+ data.

The real appeal of these android phones is the Open Source and the lack of limitations, so if you have an inquisitive tech head or a budding app developer in your family this is the handset to make them smile.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – HTC Sense.com…

5. Apple iPhone 4

The Apple iPhone is set to be high on Christmas wish lists for many years to come as Apple continues to innovate and redefine the mobile phone market with its yearly updates. The iPhone 4 is no different – it’s the biggest overhaul in design and specifications to the iPhone has seen since first release (although ‘antenna-gate’ issues did mar the launch slightly).

Nonetheless, Apple has been updating the units, and new users can rest assured that they’re getting one of the best handsets ever created, with its Retina Display, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and A4 processor chip plus iPod, iBooks, Facetime, Game Centre and Multitasking. It’s a great package, at £499 (16GB) or £599 (32GB).

MUST HAVE ADD ON – iPhone 4 Bumper Case…

6. Amazon Kindle

2010 has also been the year of the eBook reader – and the Amazon Kindle is widely acknowledged to deliver the most realistic reading experience available – with an e-ink screen, that is readable in all environments.

Two versions: 3G & Wi-Fi, at £149, and Wi-Fi only at £109. Both have a month of battery life, and can store up to 3500 books.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – An Amazon Gift card…

7. HTC Wildfire

The Gadget Helpline loves Android phones, but has to acknowledge that they’re not the easiest thing to get into: a whole new ‘user experience’ for most people. This is where the HTC Wildfire comes into play as it has all of the features of a HTC Desire HD (Sense, Facebook etc.) but with a much smaller price tag.

The 2.1 packing Wildfire includes the HTC Sense operating system, a five megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and GPS, but the affordable Android phone comes with a 3.2-inch screen but low 320×240 resolution.

The handset can be bought on a contract for as little as £15 a month or will set you back just £285 SIM-free: great value.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – HTC BH M300 Bluetooth Mono Headset…

8. Apple iPad

2010 was the year Apple set out to change the way that people use laptops and portable computers by releasing the Apple iPad: a fantastic ‘all in one’ entertainment device.

Other manufacturers leapt on the bandwagon, but there’s really nothing better than the iPad at the moment.

Available Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi+3G with a 16GB, 32Gb and 64Gb version of each, priced from at £429.99 to £699.99. Not the cheapest gift – but anyone who receives one will be impressed!

MUST HAVE ADD ON – Keyboard Dock…

9. PlayStation Move

Sony’s venture into motion controller gaming territory has come in the form of the Playstation Move: a wand motion controller with five buttons on it, an attachable second wand which has motion control too, a sports Joystick and D-pad buttons. Together with the use of the existing ‘PlayStation Eye’ camera the movements will reflect in the actions of the game – a bit similar to the Nintendo Wii. However, with Sony’s use of the PlayStation Eye and a more in-depth motion system, Move is set to be a much more responsive and versatile game add on.

Unlike the Kinect, the Playstation Move has wands and buttons to appeal to a more hard-core gamer for twitch controlling. Also unlike the Kinect setup, the Playstation Move kit can be bought for as little as £49.99 (for the PlayStation Move + PlayStation eye + a starter disc pack) – roughly a third of the Kinect kit.

MUST HAVE ADD ON – Move Navigation Controller…

10. Samsung Galaxy Tablet

The year we went tablet-crazy, the year of Android software… and thus one of the most anticipated releases of the year, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

So new, it’s barely released as we go to press with these pages, this is an Android 2.1 (FroYo)-running tablet with a 7 inch screen, 1GHz processor, front facing camera (for video calls) and a heap of Google and Android features set to get all Android lovers hearts a-flutter.

The current list price of around £550 seems a little steep, but it certainly looks a little bit special – and Christmas gifts don’t come much newer. So new, in fact, that we can’t think of a suitable add-on. It’s enough on its own…

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