Gadgets not just for geeks
These devices would be welcome in any Christmas stocking
Polaroid Pop, €259.99, Argos.
To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Polaroid has come out with the Polaroid Pop; a 20-megapixel camera/printer combo. The chunky design is a mix of old- and new-school, allowing you to snap 3.5x4.25 photos at will. You can also connect a mobile device and print out photos from your phone, and record video in 1080p. It’s a nice update on an old idea. From €259.99; argos.ie.
Google Home is Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo and is a small, voice-activated device that’s here to make your life a little easier. You can ask the Google Home – which is powered by the Google Assistant AI – as many dumb questions as you like without fear of being judged, about news updates, the weather, recipes, traffic, sports, play games, interesting trivia and so on; €174.95; maplin.ie.
HTC Vive headset
If you have especially deep pockets, a high-end PC and feel like finding out firsthand what this virtual reality malarkey is about, then the HTC Vive is one of the best headsets on the market. After setting up your play area and downloading the Vive App, you can experience all sorts of cool VR games – from action titles to sporting games. This serious piece of kit will cost €929.90 from harveynorman.ie – so ask Santa nicely.
Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless noise-cancelling headphones
The world can be a noisy, stressful place and it can be hard to just focus or relax with all the distractions. These modern miracles are beloved for their ability to completely cancel outside noises, in addition to being comfy to wear for long periods. The wireless battery lasts about 20 hours, and you can control the noise cancelling level via Google Assistant. If you really value your quiet time, you can find them at harveynorman.ie from €379.
Nintendo Classic Mini
Last year Nintendo released the Mini Nintendo Entertainment System, which was a miniature version of its classic game console with 20 retro titles built in. The system sold like very expensive hotcakes, so it’s back again with the Mini SNES this Christmas. Once again, the machine comes with two controllers and a number of classic games built in, including Street Fighter II, Castlevania IV, Super Mario World and Kart and Super Metroid. It even includes Star Fox 2, the previously unreleased sequel. This little box of nostalgia is selling fast, so don’t wait too long if you want it. It costs from €89.99 at smythstoys.com.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Christmas is always the ideal time to seek a new phone, and they don’t come much better – or pricier – than the Samsung Galaxy S8. The S8 is widely praised for its amazing screen quality, and the camera snaps excellent pictures. It’s comfortable to grip, has good battery life and is water resistant. Some users aren’t too fond of the facial recognition feature, but some nitpicks aside, the phone is considered one of the very best on the market. From €779.99 at carphonewarehouse.ie.
Microsoft Surface laptop
The Microsoft Surface laptop has a slim, ultra-lightweight design, crystal-clear 13.5in touch screen and long battery life. You can choose between Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, and you can even pick from a number of stylish colours. This sleek piece of kit currently starts at €879.99 from currys.ie.
Tile Mate bluetooth tracker
The downside to shiny new technology is that it can be really pricey on launch; and not always terribly useful. The Tile Mate, on the other hand, is a relatively inexpensive gadget that comes in handy if you regularly lose track of your keys, phone, wallet etc. When important objects go Awol, use the Tile app to track them down, or if they go missing you can find their position with GPS. If your phone goes missing, push the Tile button and it will ring; even if it’s on silent. From €25.99 at currys.ie.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected robotic vacuum cleaner
The Neato Botvac D5 Connected is here to vacuum the house while you put your feet up. The D5 uses laser technology to map out your house, allowing it to navigate around corners and hard-to-reach areas. It’s a thorough little machine too, repeating its route to pick up any strays it missed on the first pass. It can be controlled via Smartphone, and it will even return to the charging station when its battery is running low. From €799.99 at maplin.ie.
Star Wars BB-9E droid
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will be the film to beat this Christmas, which means toys galore for the kids – and empty wallets for their parents. Sphero had great success with its cute little BB-8 droid, and it’s back again with BB-9E. This First Order droid can be controlled with a smartphone and can go for about an hour when fully charged. He also comes packaged with a Droid Trainer, which allows users to play holographic games with him on their phones. If you have other droids – like BB-8 or R2-D2 – they can even interact with each other. You can take BB-9E for a spin from €169 at harveynorman.ie.