GIMME: Presents for a happy Xmas
The Financial Mail gift guide is our pick of the top gadgets and tech-inspired choices for people of all tastes
So hot right now
Long, sweltering weekend afternoons are prime shisa nyama occasions. But choosing a heritage-as-old-as-time method of cooking doesn’t mean you can’t bring in a little 21st century. The Oregon Grill Right Bluetooth Thermometer (R949, thegadgetshop.co.za) is useful for making sure that meat is grilled to perfection, and — at the very least — avoiding some decidedly un-festive salmonella from undercooked food. You can specify meat type and even keep a watch on the temperature from your Bluetooth-enabled phone.
Coffee to go
The Minipresso NS is a small, portable and hand-powered capsule coffee maker. If you use a Nespresso or Espresto capsule coffee machine at home, for example, it really makes sense to use this when not in the house. It’s just 17.5cm long, so takes up next to no room in a car or on a camping trip (R1,299, yuppiechef.com).
Stop! Apple time
An Apple Watch is probably on top of many people’s wish lists this Christmas, and with good reason: the recently released third-generation model (Apple Watch Series 3, from R5,899 at myistore.co.za) has some excellent updates.
Like Series 2, it is water resistant, so you can take it for a swim or shower without panicking. The Series 3 now also comes in a cellular connectivity model, which it switches to automatically when away from your matched iPhone.
This means you can stream music, for example, directly from the watch. There’s also an improved heart-rate app and an incorporated altimeter.
After years of Amazon being begged for this feature, it has finally introduced a new Kindle model, called Oasis, which is able to survive an accidental dunking or two. The Oasis is waterproof-rated to IPX8, which means it can survive underwater for up to an hour.
It’s also the largest, highest-resolution display in Kindle (7 inches and 300 ppi).
It can be ordered directly from Amazon for US$250 (roughly R3,400) if you don’t mind waiting out the shipping, or bought for around R6,000 (including charging cover) on takelot.com.
Attack of the drones
Drone tech is shrinking and so is the price, putting these nifty little machines (just) within the reach of hobbyists — well, hobbyists with a bit of cash to blow. The DJI Spark (R7,999 from myistore.co.za) is one such option.
It’s tiny and compact, with some of the cool tech of its big brothers built in, such as HD video, obstacle detection and mechanical gimbal (pivoted support) for stabilisation. It gives you about 15minutes of flying time, but you can run it off the app or fork out R2,999 more for the controller and another R1,999 for an extra battery to boost flight time to about 25minutes.
So 90s, so cool
Live the nostalgic dream with the retro-esque Nintendo Classic SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) gaming console. It looks just like the 1990s icon of home gaming, and offers the games you love and remember.
The difference? It’s smaller, and comes with an HDMI cable to plug into digital TVs. It has two old-school wired controllers and 21 pre-installed games, including Super Mario World and Donkey Kong. It’s available from nintendo.com, or retailers such as Makro and takealot, from R1,249.
Get on board
They’re not quite Back to the Future cool, but two-wheel hoverboards — like Segways without the handles — are here to stay. Most carry a hefty price tag, but the tech keeps improving, with better battery life and range.
There are a few options in the shops, or they can be ordered online from local distributors like hover-board.co.za, where the range starts at R3,899 (sale price usually R5,500), or sascootershop.co.za, where models cost from R5,400.
Upgrade your sound
Whether you’re an obsessive muso or simply need a bit of peace in your open-plan office, decent headphones are the gift that keeps on giving. German-made Sennheiser offers a nice balance between quality and cost. The RS175 wireless system (R3,765 from takealot) retains excellent audio quality even if one moves from room to room, with a range of up to 100m.
Or there’s the Beats Solo3 (R3,999 from myistore.co.za). These headphones offer 40 hours of battery life. iPhone users get an extra seamless experience when they are paired with iOS.