Top five top stocking fillers: Richard Goodwin
Richard Goodwin runs through his top mobile tech stocking fillers for Christmas
The traditional Christmas stocking is dead. Historically a place for sweets, treats, cologne, and nuts, the stocking of 2012 is now a place for inexpensive tech goods, gadgets, and accessories. And that’s fine by me – they’re far more useful and a lot healthier.
Plus, once you remove the chocolate and nuts there’s still plenty of room leftover for a few bottles of aftershave. But with so many accessories and gadgets to choose from out there, what are the best options for your stocking this Christmas?
Here’s my pick of five of the best accessories and gadgets I’d like to see inside my stocking this Christmas. So, mum and dad, if you’re reading this, take Note.
If you love music and insist on using the headphones that shipped with your smartphone you’re basically an idiot. High-end headphones can be very expensive, that is true, but what’s also true is that there’s myriad of extremely viable options for less than £30.
Take the RHA MA350 headphones, for instance, which can be had for as little as £29.99 from Selfridges. These in-ear bud headphones are well-crafted, fit snuggly in your ear canal, and produce a very compelling sound given their low-cost.
So if you’re after a decent stocking filler and don’t want to spend much money and are buying for someone that loves music, then these headphones should be your first port of call. For under £30 you literally can’t go wrong.
Like Apple TV just without all the restrictions, D-Links’ Boxee Box is one hell of a piece of kit. Attach it to your HDTV and you’re free to stream music, video, and film from any device in your home be it a smartphone, NAS drive, tablet, PC, or laptop.
All that’s required from you is to make sure they’re all on the same network. And if all that wasn’t enough, the damn thing even ships with a full on web browser and remote with a full QWERTY keyboard. It does cost more than Apple TV – around £139 – but you’re getting around trice the functionality, so it’s a no brainer in this sense.
Turn your smartphone back into a traditional desktop dialer with the SwissVoice ePure, which connects via a single cord and makes longer calls that little bit more comfortable.
It looks great and is also relatively cheap, too, with prices starting from around £30.
This is a great gift for anyone with an office or study that makes a lot of calls on his or her smartphone. I’ve had one at home for a few months now and I’m never going back. Plus, no more hot ear during hour-long phone calls. Double win.
TV remote run out of batteries recently, forcing you to revert to manually selecting TV channels, volume control, and HDMI extensions? Yep – it’s annoying as hell and batteries are bloody expensive. Thankfully there’s a solution at hand…
Queue ThinkFlood’s RedEye Mini, a nifty little device that plugs into the top of your smartphone via its 3.5mm jack input and acts as a universal remote controller. Once installed the application will control your TV, DVD player, and stereo via Internet Protocol (IP) control.
How is IP better than infrared or Bluetooth? We hear you ask.
Simple, according ThinkFlood: ‘with infrared, your remote sends commands out, but the device you are controlling never responds. With IP control the devices you control actively communicate. That means your remote control can be more sophisticated — displaying things like cover art, current track name, and so forth. You can even do away with those pesky on-screen keyboards.’
And at just £19 for the basic package, it’ll pay for itself within the first year of using it. So say goodbye to batteries this Christmas and hello to a world of IP-connected goodness.
This Bluetooth speaker is cheap, good-looking, and a solid little performer. And at just £49.99 it’s an ideal stocking filler for those that might be feeling a tad generous this Christmas.
But it’s not just for music and also doubles as a conference-calling hub, too. Featuring an enlarged speaker size and two tuned titanium core dynamic drivers with passive radiators, sound is pretty damn clear (ideal for making calls) and can also get very loud (great for wireless music at parties).
A 3.5mm auxiliary cable for connecting non-Bluetooth devices is included in the box, making it ideally suited for use with handheld gaming devices, mp3 players, laptops and PCs.