The TechRadar Christmas wishlist
5th Dec 2012 | 10:11
We've been really, really good
The TechRadar Christmas Wishlist 2012
It's been a huge year for technology and here at TechRadar we've been beavering away getting all our tech chores done – the reviews are in, the comparisons are up and we've even swept the technological hearth.
So Father Christmas, check your lists – we should be there under 'Nice'. Here's your virtual mince pie and sherry, and a smart carrot for Rudolph. Please, pretty please, may we have one or two of these lovely toys to play with on Christmas morning?
Paul Douglas's wishlist
Asus Zenbook U500VZ
Now that I've done a fresh install of Windows 8 on my Asus UX32A Ultrabook it's a snappy little thing and a pleasure to use. But moving from a gaming laptop with a 17-inch screen to this smaller 13.3-inch screen has taken a bit of getting used to.
So my head was turned by the Asus U500VZ, which features that familiar aluminium shell but ups the screen to a 15-inch full HD display; although at £1,500 it's around double the cost of the UX23A, sadly.
Google Nexus 7
Because I love my Android tablet, I hate taking it out of the house in case it gets damaged - what I need now is a cheap and cheerful one that I can throw in a bag to watch movies on the go. So the Nexus 7 is one of those devices that I don't really need, but it'd pass the time on long train journeys and I wouldn't stress too much if it got lost or dropped.
It's only nostalgia that keeps a shelf full of CDs in the living room as I haven't bough a physical music CD for years. With a full £9.99 per month Spotify Premium account in my stocking, I could take them, and the CD player, to the charity shop.
Rather than mess around with streaming Spotify from a laptop, I'd prefer the Sonos Play: 3. It features Spotify streaming out of the box and you can control it from an Android phone or iPhone. Plus, it's expandable so if Santa is feeling super-generous, I can put extra speakers in other rooms.
Actually, I already have Windows 8, so this is a gift to you if you've been put off upgrading by tearful tales of the missing Start button or the clash between the desktop and Modern UI interfaces. Windows 8 offers improvements in performance and battery life, and at just over £40 for the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Edition, it won't break the bank.
If you can't live without the Start button, there are third party apps to bring it back and if you hate the Modern UI interface, you can hack the registry so you boot to the desktop. But give the new OS a chance before you start trying to make it look and act like Windows 7 – it's really not as complicated as some early commenters seemed to think.
Patrick Goss's wishlist
iPhone 5 Marvel Armor Captain America case
Finding a decent case for my iPhone is no mean feat, but I have taken quite a liking to this lovely Captain America shield case from PDP. Obviously it would be a bit cooler if it was Rorschach but I can Marvel up for a little while
Black Mesa tshirt
My love for Valve's games is well documented and I like a geeky reference on my T-Shirt without being too obvious, so this Black Mesa research facility offering from Something Geeky is definitely on my list.
Philips Fidelio X1 headphones
Nothing says I love you like forking out £270 on a pair of headphones for a Christmas present. I use the Fidelio M1 headphones for my commute, so having their big brother X1s for home use would keep me full of Christmas cheer.
Logitech ultrathin keyboard case for iPad
With the iPad 4's battery life good enough to actually take outside the house once in a while, having a keyboard for getting a bit of work done is a new priority for me. This Logitech version got glowing reviews from the guys at Tap! Mag but has a bit of a hefty price tag. Sorry Santa!
Panasonic Lumix GF5
And I'll save the priciest present for last. My wife is the photographer in the family, but while she's spending ages finding the perfect flower to take a macro shot of I'd like to be taking some pictures of views and pictures and, you know, normal things. I don't want a weighty DSLR bulking up my luggage so this Panasonic Lumix GF5 compact system camera is definitely an option
Dan Grabham's wishlist
My party for the Olympics closing ceremony was a great success, but aside from the devastation of seeing Russell Brand singing I am the Walrus and Jessie J's outfit, there was one thing that bothered me about the evening's entertainment chez moi – the lack of Full HD. I've got so used to watching Freeview in beautiful HD on my TV that my current standard-def projector didn't do London 2012 justice. Hence this choice, which won our best projector round-up.
My first-gen iPad is now showing its age, despite my very wise decision not to upgrade it to iOS 6. It's time to get a new iPad. And that's really saying something – despite having used versions of Windows 8 every day for most of 2012 and liking it, I was truly disappointed by my experiences with Microsoft Surface. It just doesn't do Windows 8 justice. For me, tablets are still all about the iPad - despite the iPad mini and Nexus 7's excellence, I still want a bigger screen. And that's why this is my choice.
Logitech UE Air Speaker
I use an iPhone and Spotify, so I want AirPlay in my life. Trouble is, AirPlay speakers are expensive. Way too expensive. If I was choosing, I'd go for this Logitech unit which sounds excellent. However, I think I'm more likely to get a £60 AirPort Express, turn it into a network bridge and use my existing stereo set up.
Acer Aspire S7
Just because I'm unfussed about Windows 8 tablets so far doesn't mean I don't want a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop. I'm pretty taken with the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, but at 1.5kg it's a little weighty. We've just had our review unit of the Acer Aspire S7 in and I have to say, it's a thing of beauty and power, with Core i7 under the hood and a Full HD touchscreen display that puts most other PCs to shame. Still, this comes at a rather steep cost - but it does only weigh 1.3kg!
Griffin Lightning cable
Like socks, Apple's new Lightning cable is the kind of thing I can't bring myself to buy but I badly need. At the moment I take my single Lightning cable from home to work to home to work…you get the picture. As a mini protest against Apple's decision to hold the extra cables back and make them crazy expensive, I'm waiting for Griffin to release its cables. Waiting for third-party cables is standing up for the little guy (against the big guy that I've just bought a £500 smartphone from). Hopefully Santa will sympathise with the cause as well. [Griffin]
Gareth Beavis's wishlist
Nike Plus Kinect Training
Sure, tis the season to be jolly but you don't always have to be rotund to feel properly festive, no matter how Santa might look. I've been trying out the range of Nike+ products recently and while the Nike+ Training and Fuel Band gubbins have been fun to use, this is the one that takes the crown. It was the first time I properly used Kinect and I was amazed at how well it kept me in check while I was ballsing up most of the exercises.
LG Tone+ HBS-730 Bluetooth headphones
I picked these up a few months ago and they've rarely left my neck since. I know we're supposed to put things we want in our wishlists, but I really think I'm going to need another pair due to the fact I'm wearing them out a rate of knots. The apt-X technology provides crystal clear sound, the battery lasts for yonks thanks to the headband and the controls are easy to use – plus they can connect to a phone and tablet at once. That's Geek Christmas right there.
Motorola Razr i
As phones and tablets editor, I try to contain myself to one slot each Christmas for these devices given that I write about them all day, every day. It was a tough one this year, as there are so many decent handsets out there – in fact, the Razr i is only at number 11 in our Top 20 best mobile phones list. However, there's something hugely impressive about the edge-to-edge display and the compact size… I spent a few days with its US cousin, the Razr M, earlier this year and it's definitely my back up phone of choice.
PSB M4U 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Two pairs of headphones? I know, madness. But we need different things for different activities and these are tops for long journeys or extended movie marathons on your phone or tablet. These headphones not only feel premium (and they should, for the price) but the noise cancelling is second to none. There are also two modes available to amplify sound as well, so you won't drain your phone battery to get the best audio. Plus they come in a carry case, which is always fun and posh.
Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0
I asked for this two years ago and nobody bought it for me. Perhaps they don't love me; or perhaps they knew that it was rather expensive and I'd break it in about three hours. I still desperately want one. That's the key point really, because as the years advance I get more and more 'practical' presents… what I really want is something to unpack, charge, wait to play with all day and then annoy my Nan with. This ticks all those boxes, plus I can fight John McCann when he gets one too.
James Rivington's wishlist
If you're a music lover who travels around a lot, there's no better gadget to have in your arsenal than a Bluetooth speaker. And not only is the Jabra Solemate compact, it sounds brilliant and the battery lasts for about 63 years without a recharge (moderate exaggeration alert). The Solemate even TALKS you through the Bluetooth pairing process and verbally updates you on the state of its battery! If only it was a bit cheaper I'd give one to everyone I know.
Atomic Floyd SuperDarts
These were on my list last year and they're on my list again this Christmas for the sole reason that they are just the brilliantest earphones I've ever used. They set the benchmark for portable sound quality and nothing beats them in this price bracket. The SuperDarts are also great for making and taking phone calls, and even work with Android if you can live without the volume controls on the remote working. If we were genetically compatible I'd have the SuperDarts' babies.
Philips Fidelio L1
Every music lover needs multiple pairs of headphones in their box of tricks, and the Fidelio L1 is a gorgeous pair if ever there was one. Like the SuperDarts, build quality is first rate: a lot of love and care went into putting these things together and luckily they sound as good as they look, too. Forget Beats by Dre, if you want to hear "music as the artist intended" look no further.
Asus VivoBook S200
I seem to be getting more expensive as I go here, but I'd love to get an Asus VivoBook S200 for Christmas. It's a gorgeous touchscreen Windows 8 laptop that offers a supreme holy trinity of P's – a blend of performance, price and portability.
At £449.99 it's not as cheap as some laptops out there but the build quality, the responsive touchscreen and general loveliness made it an office favourite as soon as it came out of the box.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
I had to include a mobile device in here somewhere, and in my opinion there's nothing out there that comes close to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I simply don't buy into the notion that it's too big or that you look stupid when using it to make calls. I don't buy tech to make me look good (I'll leave that to all those celebrity-endorsed headphone purchasers), I buy it to enhance my life and the Note 2 does that more than any phone I've ever used.
Angela Nicholson's wishlist
The Panasonic G5 has some great features such as an articulating touchscreen and a decent electronic viewfinder (EVF) that make it really versatile. The autofocus system is quick, the Touch Shutter mode is ideal when you want to shoot from an awkward angle and you can set the AF point via the screen while you shoot through the EVF.
Being a mini-SLR style compact system camera, it's also small and neat, but there's a good sized handgrip and plenty of direct controls. What's more, because its a Micro Four Thirds model, there's an extensive selection of lenses available. Oh and the image quality is pretty decent as well.
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 MACRO
I'd really like one of Olympus's 60mm macro lenses to mount on the G5. Even though it looks a bit long and skinny, this lens a has superb build quality and the optics are excellent, allowing lifesize reproduction.
I've been using Snapseed on my iPhone for ages to add retro effects, textures and frames to images - it's a great piece of software. Easy to use, and it applies effects that would take a lot of skill in Photoshop. It's also available for OS X and Windows computers, so I'd like to have it on my computer.
This clever diffuser turns a standard flashgun into a ringlight for funky portraits and shadow-free macro images. With the flash connected to camera via a cable or a radio trigger, TTL metering is maintained so the exposure's a doddle.
Manfrotto geared head
This tripod head gives you some precision when you're lining up a shot and trying to get the horizon level. Instead of wobbling the camera back and forth before tightening up the tilt mechanism, you use the gears to wind it into position. It's a great choice for landscape and still life photography – and I need one!
Kate Solomon's wishlist
Dodocase for iPad (iPad 2. In Black. With the Dreamy Clouds interior.)
It's a brave relative or friend who gets a tech writer a gadget cover as a gift because we seem to have them coming out of our ears. But I'd swoon if someone splashed out on a handmade bookbound Dodocase for me because I am basically insufferable. Preferably personalised with a short quote from a much-loved book that'd make me cry because, again, insufferable. No pressure.
MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display
The battery in my trusty white MacBook has stopped working and I can't upgrade iTunes for some reason and I'm hoping someone I know will win the lottery before December 25 and get me a MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad
The MacBook Pro might be a bit of a stretch, so I'd settle for this super-slender Logitech keyboard cover for iPad, which, now I think about it, is a bit Surface-esque. I don't want a Surface though, thanks anyway Santa.
Star Wars prints
These three Star Wars posters designed by Olly Moss would be the perfect Christmas gift if only they were still on sale. I am nothing if not a high-maintenance Christmas gift kind of gal.
Nintendo Wii U
I don't really want a Wii U at the moment but one day there'll be a Zelda game for it and I want to be ready for that day. Er, I may also need a TV.
John McCann's wishlist
Google Nexus 7 3G
I love the Nexus 7 but I was disappointed when it launched with just 16GB of storage and no mobile data option. Thankfully Google and I get on like a house on fire so the search giant kindly hooked us all up with a 32GB tablet with 3G connectivity – and at £239 it's hardly like I'm asking Santa to break the bank.
OK I'll admit it: I like my beats fast and my bass down low, and nothing gets them lower while looking this stylish than the Sonos Sub. Add into the equation that I can control my foundation-shaking Spotify playlist and Sonos setup from my phone and it's a match made in D&B heaven – although with prices starting at £499 for the Sub alone, I may struggle when asking my nearest and dearest to treat me this Christmas.
My aging PC is on its last legs and I need something new to feed my more hardcore gaming side while not taking up half of my living room. The Alienware M17x may not be the cheapest option out there to begin with but once I've bumped up the storage, processor and RAM we're probably looking around the £2500, but I'm a sucker for backlit illuminations and the M17x fits the bill nicely. Plus I've been really good this year.
If you do a lot of travelling you'll know how important a good set of headphones are and the Sennheiser MM500-X is one of the best on the market. With superb noise cancelling, excellent audio quality, Bluetooth connectivity and a comfortable fit, I fell in love with the MM500-Xs during a brief testing period and now yearn after a set of my own.
GTA Vice City on iOS/Android
It's one of my most loved games of all time, GTA Vice City had the cars, the soundtrack and the plot which kept me entertained for hours on end and it's now making an appearance on the small screen. Landing on both iOS and Android I can't wait to load up this blast from the past on my iPad 4 and HTC One X to celebrate the game's 10 year anniversary in the only way I know how – a tank rampage through the streets.
Amy Davies' wishlist
Sony Cybershot RX1
This gorgeous piece of kit from Sony is the world's smallest full-frame camera. The Sony RX1 features a cracking 35mm lens - the only problem is that it costs more than £2500 so I'm going to need Santa to be pretty generous this year.
iPad Logitech keyboard
As much as I love my iPad, using it to type anything longer than, say, a tweet, is a pain the proverbial. I've never been able to bring myself to spend a good chunk of my own money on such a utilitarian object… but I wouldn't mind receiving one from somebody else.
Adobe Photoshop CS6
I've been using Elements for years now, and while it does all the basics (otherwise known as everything that I ever really need), I'd like to make 2013 the year I really flex my Photoshop muscles. So CS6, which boasts all manner of funky new options, would really be the ideal gift.
Singstar Wireless Microphones
Anyone who's had the misfortune of spending a Friday night at my place will know of my penchant for Singstar. Although the wired microphones have served me well over the past few years, it's time to join the 21st century and go wireless – those pesky wires do have the tendency to get in the way when you're rocking out to the musical interlude, after all.
Photojojo Shot Glass Lens Set
It wouldn't be a photographer's Christmas wishlist without mention of a hilarious drinking implement styled to look like camera equipment. This year I'm hoping for the shot glasses… they're ceramic, there's three in a set and they've got all the same details as a real life lens. What more could you ask for?