Christmas has snuck up once again, meaning it’s the time of year to hastily leaf through some gift guides in search of that perfect present. Unlike in previous years, this needn’t be a stressful endeavour, however, as the guide below offers a quick, easy selection of the best gadgets for every kind of person in your life. Hopefully they’ll read it when choosing your gift too.
For... the gamer
Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller for iPhone – Xbox Edition
Nintendo really struck a nerve with the Nintendo Switch, which finally allowed for console-level gaming on the go. Neither Sony nor Microsoft has a portable console in the same league but the Xbox’s Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller really bridges the gap.
This nifty device turns any iPhone (with iOS 13 or later) into a portable Xbox and after the Backbone app has been downloaded it’s simply a case of snapping an iPhone into the collapsible case and you’ll be playing AAA titles on the bus or during a lunch break in seconds.
HYPERX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset
Any gamer will know that nothing immerses you in a video game quite like a quality headset. On that front, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset is one of the best on the market. It’s compatible with a Mac, PC and every major console (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, etc), and its ear cushions are padded with memory foam that makes them comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The audio is crisp and clear, and the headset comes equipped with a noise-cancelling microphone.
For... the foodie
Cuisinart Griddle & Grill
The Cuisinart Griddle & Grill is guaranteed to become your favourite new piece of kitchen equipment. It comes with interchangeable griddle and grill plates; the former is ideal for making everything from pancakes to frying eggs or fish, while the latter cooks mouthwatering burgers, steaks, veggies and so forth. It comes with a high temperature setting of 240 degrees and a timer dial, and the non-stick plates are nice and simple to wash. All of the above and it’s really easy to store too.
TASSIMO Bosch My Way 2
€70 at tassimo.com
For those who appreciate a fine cup of coffee in the morning but don’t want to deal with a fancy machine with lots of complicated dials and levers, the TASSIMO My Way 2 is the perfect middle ground. This cost-effective coffee machine allows users to set the right temperature and volume and has an inbuilt BRITA filter that ensures a nicer quality cup while preventing limescale. The My Way 2 only takes TASSIMO pods but since they have a near-endless variety of options (espressos, americanos, teas, etc) there’s a hot beverage for every mood.
For... the techie
iPhone 15 Pro
From €1,239, harveynorman.ie
Apple continues its annual tradition of making as much money as possible with the release of a new iPhone. In fairness, the many upgrades behind the iPhone 15 Pro make it a seriously attractive package. The frame itself is titanium, using the same material employed for space shuttles, and is water and dust resistant. It boasts the iPhone’s most advanced camera yet, with seven pro lenses, allowing you to capture high-resolution photos with incredible detail. There’s an A17 Pro chip, making this a powerful gaming device, and a customisable action button so users to jump to their most used features.
META Quest Pro VR Headset
Once seen as the sole domain of gamers, it’s inevitable that virtual reality will make its way into the workspace. For those who want to get in on the ground floor of mixed-reality working, Meta’s Quest Pro headset is the way to do it. Getting started is as simple as mapping out your workspace, and while wearing the lightweight headset, users can project up to three virtual monitors. It’s easy to host virtual meetings and the colour “passthrough” function means you can see the real world alongside the virtual one. The Touch Pro controllers allow for precise movements and writing in VR.
For... those on the move
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Whether it’s a case of travelling for work or just for the hell of it, quality noise-cancelling earbuds are an absolute must. The second edition of Bose’s QuietComfort earbuds don’t come cheap but their reliability is undeniable. They’re incredibly comfortable to wear and the noise cancellation is excellent, as is the sound quality.
SKROSS World Adapter MUV USB
€72 at farnell.com
Packing for a trip overseas can’t but be stressful, as it’s always a four-dimensional chess game of packing what you need while predicting what else will come in handy. The SKROSS MUV USB should be one of the first things you pack, as it eliminates any plug/charger-related problems abroad, whether in the EU, the US... or Switzerland.
For... the fitness fanatic
Bowflex Velocore Bike
€2,799 at mcsport.ie
Peloton has cornered the market when it comes to indoor exercise bikes but, short of asking Santa to deliver one to you, they’re not easy (or cheap) to get in Ireland. The Bowflex Velocore is an excellent alternative, coming with stationary or leaning modes, with the latter offering a great core workout while you cycle. It includes an adjustable seat and handlebars, 3lb dumbbells – for those who want to push the pain threshold even further – and a Bluetooth HR armband for heartrate monitoring. The HD touchscreen gives access to fitness classes, landscapes or to stream the likes of Netflix or Disney+.
Tangram Rookie Smart Rope
€39 at flannels.ie
Sometimes the simplest exercises are the best and they don’t come much simpler than the humble skipping rope. Tangram has given the skipping rope a 21st-century makeover, with its SmartRope app tracking every jump, calories burnt and workout history. Other features include leader boards and goal achievements, and there’s scarcely a more portable piece of exercise kit, making it hard to come up with excuses to, um, skip a workout.