Gadgets for the ideal Christmas gift
Gadgets — and, ahem, gadget-adjacent gifts — go down a treat in a digital-obsessed world, so here’s our list of new and cool goodies for under your fibre-optic tree
Gadgets — and, ahem, gadget-adjacent gifts — go down a treat in a digital-obsessed world, so here’s our list of new and cool goodies for under your fibre-optic tree.
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 instant cameras are a cheerful throwback to the heyday of Polaroids, and that nostalgia seems strong in the market right now.
Several brands are offering this sort of insta-print camera, including Kodak (remember them?) and Leica.
The Instax SQ6 creates almost-square format (86mm x 72mm) prints in three minutes from Instax Square film. Yes, you’ll have to buy film again. These cameras retail from around R1,999, and come in several bright colours.
Love you a latte
Show the caffeine addicts in your life how much you love them with a new Nespresso machine – this one is for latte lovers.
Nespresso’s Lattissima One combines the capsule coffee maker you know so well with an easy milk frother section.
These two functions exist in Nespresso machines already, but the difference here is that the latter pours directly into the same cup for a virtually one-step cuppa. Yuppiechef.com offers these from R3,249 (currently on special for R2,249 including a R400 voucher for capsules from Nespresso boutique stores).
If you’re prepared to wait until the new year to open your present (or have an international visitor to bring one in for you), the HP Spectre Folio convertible laptop is a showstopper.
The outer case is 100% full-grain leather, and the Folio shifts from laptop to tablet format. It offers 16GB memory, up to 2TB solid state drive (SSD) storage, and full high-definition display and (naturally) touch screen. At just 15.2mm thick, it’s travel-ready.
This is not a machine for hardcore gamers or video editors, but the low-power CPU and fan-less format should handle regular browsing and workloads without breaking a sweat. This is a premium-looking machine, with a price tag to match, starting from R24,999 in local stores from January.
Rethink the stereotypes: according to research by the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of gamers is 35, and 44% of gamers are women.
In fact, your average woman gamer is 43 years old — think middle management.
So give the first-generation gamer in your household one of the most eagerly awaited titles of the year, Red Dead Redemption II, for R899 from Takealot and other retailers.
Then, if the family gamer is a proud Pokémon geek, ready to wear their hearts on their sleeves, the Core Group has brought a bunch of Pokémon gear into the country including caps, clothing and wallets, as well as a Christmas-themed sweater just for laughs. See store.nintendo.co.za.
Play that funky music
Portable speakers that connect via Bluetooth and can withstand a few bumps and splashes continue to make for in-demand gifts.
Polk’s Swimmer Duo is an odd shape, but for a purpose. That little tail wraps around things so you can attach it where it’s needed. It’s also dirt-, shock- and waterproof, and can be paired with other Swimmer Duos to boost the sound. They start at R750.
For a more standard format and something with extra punch, Denon’s Bluetooth speaker is good for home or being out and about. It’s also dust- and waterproof, and starts at R1,350. Both of these are distributed by Homemation.co.za, and available at select retailers.
Get a head start on the looming new year’s resolutions with a wearable such as the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro — a water-resistant (up to 50m), lightweight watch that will count your steps, measure your sleep and heart rate, and keep track of your workouts.
It includes built-in GPS, swim tracking and diet logging for information about nutrition. You can link it with third-party apps such as UA Record, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. It should set you back about R2,999.
This price tag is roughly in line with the top-end Fitbits, like the Charge 3, which retails for R2,500-R3,000 and has a similar rectangular watch face incorporated neatly into the band.
If you’re already a Samsung fan, the Gear Fit2 will synchronise pretty seamlessly with the Samsung Health app on your mobile.
Stop denying just how much time you spend Netflixing, or on your device in bed. Let’s be honest, the revelations of iOS’s new-ish screen-time analysis report is the stuff of nightmares. Rather embrace it – but with back support. The Lounge Pillow is functional and comfy, packed tight with shredded foam in a back-and-arm (to reduce shoulder strain) support shape that will hold you in better form for a marathon scrolling session or three-season binge-watch. These are R899 from Vencasa and Tempur showrooms.
Drones, and their price tags, continue to shrink. The Tello, from DJI and Ryze Tech (sold under the DJI brand banner), is the perfect size and price for a gift to bring home for the kids (or adult kids, frankly), as well as for anyone wanting to learn about drones and a bit of coding. At just R1,999 from the iStore, the Tello is a compact and ideal starter device, capable of doing basic flying stunts and shooting quick 720p videos (30 frames a second) using its 5MP camera with electronic image stabilisation.
The educational aspect comes in through Scratch, a programming language designed to be accessible to kids and teenagers. Using Scratch, you can create a pre-planned "mission" for your drone to follow.
If you’ve no desire to learn some coding, you can manually fly the Tello by using the app or supported Bluetooth remote control.
On the other end of the spectrum — if you’re looking to trade up rather than start at the bottom — is the DJI Mavic Pro 2, the company’s latest flagship device. It shoots 4K-format videos and 20MP images, and includes functions such as hyperlapse and panorama.
It’s capable of 72km/h and a flight time of around 30 minutes.
At R29,999, you’ll be thankful that this drone has improved obstacle sensing built in. If you buy the extended Fly More kit, you’ll get two intelligent flight batteries, a car charger and a few more bits and bobs, which will set you back R37,299.