The TechRadar Christmas wishlist

21st Dec 2011 | 11:00

The TechRadar Christmas wishlist

Our essential gadgets of the year

The TechRadar Christmas wishlist

The weather outside may be frightful but the tech around these days is so delightful that we simply had to share with you just what's on our Christmas wishlists this year.

We hope Father Christmas understands that we're not really and truly expecting £9,000 TVs and expensive cameras in our stockings – we haven't been that good – but hey, a tech writer can dream.

So, in the spirit of Christmas and mass consumerism, and on the off chance that a wealthy benefactor is waiting in the wings of our lives to swoop in and spoil us with all the tech our hearts desire, here it is: the TechRadar Christmas Wishlist 2011.

Patrick Goss: Editor

Patrick Goss: Editor

Kindle Fire

I was actually really impressed with the Amazon Kindle Fire and if its price stays close to the £200 mark when it finally arrives in the UK it will very much fit into the (generous) present band. People who complain that the Fire is too shopping-centric probably should spend a bit more on the gorgeous but pricey iPad 2.

Kindle fire

PS Vita

I still have questions about battery life and whether I will get used to the rear touchpad – but after irrationally loving the original PSP I can't help but want to get my hands on a portable console with dual joysticks and a stunning screen.

PS vita

Original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray

Two of my favourite films of all time (and a bonus one with some Ewoks) in stunning high-def on Blu-ray with tons of extras: what's not to like?

Star wars

Apple iPhone 4S

I don't NEED to upgrade my iPhone, but a couple of features made me siri-ously consider it (I'm leaving that joke in 2011, by the way). For me it was between this and the Samsung Galaxy S2 for phone of the year, and the lovely flowers in my walled garden mean I'm plumping for Apple's baby.

iPhone 4s

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Actually, properly, genuinely on my Christmas list this year and my friends over at CVG tell me that I'm not going to regret it in their Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review. Plus it will pass thetime until Valve get round to announcing Half Life 3.

Skyrim

Kate Solomon: Staff Writer

Kate Solomon: Staff Writer

Lomography LC-Wide

Messing around with film is far more fun than digital photography to this lowly amateur, and Lomo's LC-Wide would be my favourite toy for the pleasure.

Pricey for a plastic camera it may be, but the wide angle lens, quality of the shots and the freedom to mix and match exposures and film types cinches it for me. And hey, if it's a present, I'm not paying.

Lomo

Wacom Inkling

While I prefer words to pictures, I can see the Wacom Inkling being literally hours of fun. Scanning is dead, but as a serial doodler, some of my best paper-based work is done incidentally during meetings… I mean, during long hours of contemplation at home, honest boss.

Okay, okay. Realistically, I can't see when I'd use a digital sketch pen but it'd be good for at least three hours of post present-opening use and that's what Christmas is all about, right?

Wacom

MacBook Air

It's getting to the point where I'm ashamed to be seen in my local Starbucks with my white MacBook while I get some serious man hours in on my screenplay.

It's about a lowly tech writer who gets bullied by commenters but a handsome young tech CEO swoops in and… well, you'll have to wait and see. I could finish it in 2012 if only I had a MacBook Air.

macBook air

Kitchen AidArtisan Stand Mixer

It's not even as though I do much cooking, but the iconic design, the array of colours, the implication that I'm a model homemaker and the near-unattainable price tag all speak to something inside me. I just know life would be better with a Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer in my kitchen, I just know it.

Kitchen artisan

HTC Sensation XL

Genuinely not just including this to appease the iHaters out there getting ready to accuse me of being on Apple's payroll, but I want to ditch my iPhone and this is the handset I want to replace it with.

The Sensation XL might not be the top of the Android tree, but I like it. It's a combination of the big-but-not-too-big screen, the understated design and the promise of Ice Cream Sandwich. The only thing that I'm not too fussed about is Beats Audio, since I do most of my music listening through Spotify these days.

HTC sensation xl

iPad 2

Sorry, but it's still the best tablet out there and I want one, I want one bad. I don't know why, I don't know what I'd use it for, I don't even know which colour I'd go for, but I still want one.

Although, of course, I'd return it and keep the store credit for the iPad 3 in early 2012.

iPad 2

Dan Grabham: Deputy Editor

Dan Grabham: Deputy Editor

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

I've never been that fussed about Android, although I did quite like the S2 this time last year. Now, however, I'm rather taken by the Galaxy Nexus. The screen is terrific and the hardware is top notch. However, I think funds will ensure I'll be sticking with my iPhone 4 for the foreseeable.

Samsung galaxy nexus

Apple MacBook Air

I've tried a fair few of Intel's new Ultrabooks now, but none of them comes close to what Apple has to offer in terms of desirability, while the 11-inch MacBook Air represents good value against many of its rivals. The Ultrabooks just aren't cutting it at the moment – they remain expensive or flawed. I rather like the Lenovo U300S, mind.

MacBook air

Samsung LED TV

I don't need a huge new TV – probably only 40-inch – but I do want a nice pancake-flat screen and a smattering of smart features. The Samsung UE40D6530 would do nicely and it has a built-in Freeview HD tuner to boot (I don't have Sky).

Samsung tv

James Rivington: Reviews Editor

James Rivington: Reviews Editor

Atomic Floyd SuperDarts

Top of my Christmas list this year are the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts. They're simply the best earphones you could ever conceive of needing – but don't just take my word for it – you'll need to see, hear, feel, smell, taste and sleep with them to fully appreciate their omnipotent brilliance.

Atomic floyd

Duracell Portable USB Charger

Admittedly, the £199 asking price for the SuperDarts is rather steep, so second on my list is the Duracell Portable USB Charger. It's a gift that would go down well with any gadget lover as it effectively extends the battery life of any mobile gadget. It's small enough to carry in a bag without noticing its weight, and will help charge your mobile devices when you're stuck without power.

Duracell

HTC Sensation XE

But of course, a pair of earphones and a mobile charger are no good without a device to make the most of them so I'd also like to stick the HTC Sensation XE on my list. In my book, HTC is the only Android handset manufacturer that ticks all the hardware and software boxes comprehensively – Sense UI is still the best Android experience out there, and so the Sensation XE, for me, is the best Android phone available.

HTC sensation xe

Creative Ziisound D5X

Of course, assuming my long-lost millionaire God parents are reading, I'd also like some new kit to deck out my house. A Creative Ziisound D5X would be marvellous, thanks very much. It's a great-sounding iPod dock/Bluetooth speaker system. The trump card with this speaker, though, is that you can upgrade at a later date. You can buy the Ziisound DSX – a wireless subwoofer – or even another Ziisound D5X dock and they'll all wirelessly sync with each other to harmonise in either 1.1 or 2.1 mode for a deeper, richer sound. So that's Christmas, birthday and second birthday sorted, thanks.

Creative zii

Oh and did I mention I'd also like a new TV, a new gaming PC and an amazing Android tablet as well? Thanks Santa!

Marc Chacksfield: Deputy Editor (News)

Marc Chacksfield: Deputy Editor (News)

Sony VW95ES

If Santa is feeling more than a little generous, then he can make my year by getting me the Sony VW95ES 3D projector.

Despite all the negativity surrounding the format, 3D on the VW95ES is simply stunning. This is because of the massive 150,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, its ability to do 2D to 3D conversion and the fact it was the world's first 3D home cinema projector.

Even Jaws 3D would look good if it was piped through the VW95ES.

Sony projector


Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8

Bang & Olufsen is well known for marrying design and technology, but I've never been totally enamoured by the company's products – until now.

The BeoSound 8 Speaker Dock is stunning to look at and also offers audio quality which is usually associated with bigger speaker systems. It's also one of the only docks which can cradle the iPad without looking absolutely stupid, and this is despite it being nearly a year old.

And I love the fact it looks like a strongman's dumbbell... if you look sideways and squint a bit.

Beo sound

OnLive

On first hearing about OnLive, I immediately thought the service wouldn't work. The UK has been long hampered with bad broadband and the idea of streaming games just didn't sit well with me and my bulging shelves of games.

One play, though, and I was hooked. Not only are there a number of triple-A titles on-board, now it has come to Android and soon iOS, this really could be the future of gaming.

OnLive

Pure EVOKE-1S Marshall DAB radio

Pure is normally renowned for functional additions to the DAB market, so it's great the company tried something different with the EVOKE-1S Marshall DAB radio.

These Marshall-style radios have been around for a few good years now, but it is with the latest version's design and usability that Pure has nailed it. Couple this with the new Pure Music service which is certain to give Spotify a run for its streaming money and what you have is a great little musical package.

Pure

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

Having been an Android fan since day one, it's been something of a long wait for a tablet which offers everything decent about the Android platform but also houses it in a chassis which won't embarrass you when you whip it out on your daily commute.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is that tablet and truly shows a turning point for the Android platform. The size is great, too – perfect for those who find the iPad 2 that little bit too big.

And now that Android has finally fixed Market so that you actually want to download content from it, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is without a doubt one of the best tablets around.

Samsung galaxy tablet

Gametel controller

I was one of the few that was looking forward to the Sony Xperia Play coming out and subsequently was one of many who were disappointed by the device and its fugly form factor.

This is why I have a soft spot for the Gametel controller – it's a clip on controller which turns pretty much any Android phone into a real gaming device. There's around 30 games compatible with the device – and more added all the time – and because it works off of Bluetooth, it can be used as a wireless controller for tablets.

Handheld gaming has come along way in the last year because of the power of smartphones increasing. Virtual buttons, however, do mean that many games are clunky to play – something Gametel fixes with aplomb.

Gametel

Angela Nicholson: Head of Testing, Photography

Angela Nicholson: Head of Testing, Photography

Panasonic Lumix G3


I've been thinking about getting a compact system (CSC) for a while and the Panasonic G3 has just about all the attributes I want; an articulated touch-screen for shooting from low angles and speedy autofocus point selection, an EVF for use when the sun is too bright (ha!) to compose images on the screen, and plenty of manual control options.

Panasonic g3

Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS

Naturally I'll need at least one lens to go with the camera and I've got my eye on three. First off, I'd like the new X-series 14-42mm power-zoom because it's a decent quality optic yet it collapses down to a small size, so it's perfect for everyday use – and I plan to take the G3 everywhere.

Panasonic lens

Lumix G 20mm f/1.7

One problem with the 14-42mm lens is that its maximum aperture is f/3.5-5.6, so I'd also like the 20mm f/1.7 to allow me to blur backgrounds bit more. Its 40mm focal length equivalence is also a great choice for street photography.

Panasonic lens

Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA OIS

Third on my lens list is the Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA OIS. It's a high quality lens that doesn't come cheap, but its macro credential means it will enable me to get closer to the subject.

Panasonic lens

Gareth Beavis: Mobile Devices Editor

Gareth Beavis: Mobile Devices Editor

Optoma HD300X projector and screen

I've been hankering after a proper home cinema display for ages - I've got a six year old projector, but it's been sat on the floor and projected onto a magnolia-coloured wall.

So I'm after something to take me into this century - an Optoma HD300X full HD 3D projector, a 90-inch pull down projector screen and ceiling mount too. The whole package only costs a shade over £1200, which is still expensive but gives many people an achievable home cinema that would have cost five figures a few years ago.

Optoma

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

This isn't technically out yet, but dear lord, I'm excited about this tablet. It's the screen that's got my pulse racing: the Super AMOLED Plus screen seen on the Galaxy Note but boosted up to a whopping 7.7-inches with an HD resolution.

Add in the fact it's under 8mm thick, packs a dual core engine and Samsung's TouchWiz overlay (and an Ice Cream Sandwich update due out soon) and I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Galaxy tab 7.7

Onkyo TX-NR709 with Acoustic Energy Neo Max 7.1 Surround Sound system

After salivating over the Optoma set up, I realised my current surround sound is, well, rubbish and might as well a few tin cans connected to each other by string.

So I'm thinking bigger now - the Acoustic Energy system is superbly balanced and absolute winner in our eyes (and ears), and the fact that you're getting it for under £2,000 is an even more compelling reason to check it out.

To match the power on offer, we have to go for something like the Onkyo TX-NR709 - it does everything I'm after, from Spotify Playback to dual HDMI outputs (for the projector and TV - plus 4k x 2k video upsampling... although let's be honest, I'll never use that feature, but I can impress the missus' father with the ability nonetheless.

Onkyo

Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro

This is a slightly odd choice, but I've already got the phone I'd recommend (the Samsung Galaxy S2) so I'd like this as an alternative back up. With a powerful processor, clear screen and QWERTY keyboard, plus the quite-usable TimeScape overlay, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro would be a great phone to have around when you need pocketability over a top end media player.

Mini pro

Plantronics Marque

Something smaller to end with - but I have a confession. My name is Gareth, and I have abnormal ears.

I've yet to find a headset that fits in these disfigured lugholes, but the Marque, with a great range of earbuds, is the first that I can put on and believe it will stay in for longer than five seconds.

It also has a dedicated application to show you how to use it, and make pairing a snap - plus you can just say 'Answer' when a call comes in so you can feel like you're in the future. We're still waiting for the future to happen, but this'll do for now.

Plantronics

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Liked this? Then check out CES 2012: What to expect

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