o matter how many times the festive songs tell us that Christmas presents should come in the form of toddling dolls and Hopalong boots (your guess is as good as ours), typically, what most people really want come 25 December comes in a small box and isn’t set with diamonds. We are, of course, talking about the latest in tech. Smartphones, tablets, speakers, headphones: if it promises to make life easier or more entertaining, it’s going to be a surefire hit. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best tech gifts and gadgets to slip into stockings for Christmas 2021.
As you’ll have learned from the many, many, many park picnics and parties you’ve been invited to over the past two years, a portable speaker is a godsend for creating atmosphere at al fresco events. You’ll likely also have realised that a lot of them offer tinny, subpar sound quality that, frankly, doesn’t do your carefully-curated playlists justice. In the Stockwell II, audio expert Marshall has created a portable speaker with an adjustable bass and treble and splash-proof exterior that looks as good as it sounds.
Bowers & Wilkins
If spending so much time at home has also helped you realise that your ‘top-of-the-range’ home sound system might not be quite as incredible as you first thought, allow us to turn your attention to Bowers & Wilkins' next-gen Zeppelin speaker. A wireless speaker designed for home use, its sci-fi style silhouette houses some serious audio expertise, while the Zeppelin is also compatible with Spotify Connect, iOS, Android, AirPlay 2 and the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, as well as having built-in Alexa, putting your favourite songs at your fingertips.
Leica M10-R camera
Don’t be deceived by the Leica M10-R’s analogue good looks. This vintage-style camera may be based on a piece of photography history but it’s packed with high-tech features. Boasting the same compact design as 1954’s original Leica M, this modern counterpart boasts interchangeable lenses, an ultra high-res 40.89 million megapixel sensor, a huge array of exposure options and the most discreet shutter of any Leica to date. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it.
Nest Hub 2
You should never gift someone something you also want yourself but, should your significant other find the latest Nest Hub under the tree, we’re sure they’ll be willing to forgive the faux pas. The newest Google home hub boasts a host of new features, including Sleep Sensing technology to help you get a solid eight hours sleep, integration with Reese’s Book Club for the latest reading suggestions and compatibility with a range of smart home devices such as doorbells, lighting systems and heating. When not in use it also acts as a speaker and digital photo frame, sharing your personal images from Google photos.
Ray-Ban smart glasses
Smart glasses have, admittedly, not been the biggest hit when it comes to must-have gadgets, but hear us out. Firstly, this pair features Ray-Ban’s universally flattering Wayfarer design, which overcomes the aesthetic stumbling block that tripped up a lot of previous attempts at the tech. Secondly, they do just enough without doing too much. There’s no dystopian on-lens display or disembodied voice assistant but they’re iOS and Android compatible, have a battery life of three hours and can store up to 500 photos and 30 videos
Already anticipating January’s inevitable health kick? PTs and exercise professionals swear by Theragun devices for speedy recovery – and the Theragun Pro is the top of the line for serious fitness fans. Aiding with muscle soreness, mobility and relaxation, it comes with six attachments and a special app to guide you through exercises specially curated for your specific needs.
Have a budding Calvin Harris in your family? This slick turntable from Austrian audio brand Pro-Ject – widely regarded among those in the know as creating the best turntables in the business – also acts as a record player, phono stage, Bluetooth receiver and amplifier.