BRAUN SERIES 9 9390CC ELECTRIC SHAVER
There are numerous things that the Series 9 excels at in order to win its place in a stocking. To begin with, its five shaving parts cut more hair in one stroke than any other shaver, while sonic vibrations seek to glide over your skin and eliminate irritation. With a waterproof design for wet/shower shaves and 20% greater battery capacity, this is a stubble tamer that outperforms the competition.
This year has been particularly stressful, so why not give someone (or yourself) a strong massage gun? The Theragun is a “percussive treatment device,” which means it thumps your muscles at fast rates to give you the same calming effects as a soft-tissue massage. Aches and aches are no longer an issue.
AMAZON ECHO DOT WITH CLOCK (4TH GEN)
Amazon’s tabletop Echo, which resembles a Poké Ball dressed in work clothes, has a futuristic air to it, which is amplified by the built-in digital clock that appears to magically sit on its surface. Aesthetics aside, it has all of the Alexa-enabled features you’d expect from an Echo device, as well as strong, bass-filled music sound.
SAGE BAMBINO PLUS COFFEE MACHINE
Steam wand that works on its own… The texture of milk… Handsfree micro-foam… If those words sent shivers down your spine, then you’re the precise person Sage is aiming for with its compact coffee machine. In addition to the aforementioned steam wand, it also features a three-second heat up time from a cold start, promising barista-level quality with its 54mm portafilter. Terminology aside, it makes a damn fine cup of wake-up juice and that’s all that matters.
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NINTENDO RING FIT
Nintendo Ring Fit attempts to get you back into the habit of exercising with a range of enjoyable mini-games that all get you moving in different ways. Working out has never been easier or more pleasant.
SAMSUNG QE55Q90T TV
The Q90T isn’t the exact apex of Samsung’s 2020 TV portfolio (that honour belongs to the £6,999 8K Q900T), but it’s certainly one of the greatest 4K TVs money can buy, serving up bright, punchy 4K content in a sleek form that’ll blend in seamlessly with any room. You’ll be ready for next year’s Euros and Olympics, whether you’re a gamer, a movie enthusiast, or just looking for a change (assuming they go ahead)
RAZER BLACKWIDOW ELITE
The first rule of working from home is to set up a decent office with a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and chair configuration that your back will thank you for, making this the ideal holiday gift. This mechanical keyboard, designed by PC gaming experts Razer, fits the Venn diagram beautifully.
BANG & OLUFSEN BEOPLAY PORTAL
The Portal, which has active noise cancellation, is one of the most costly gaming headphones available. It’s a luxury set of cans with a gorgeous aluminium and lambskin leather design and high-quality wireless audio courtesy of Bang & Olufsen’s gaming engineers, adding some much-needed class to a gaming accessory industry that’s desperately lacking it. It also has a lot of connectivity choices.
FENDER MUSTANG MICRO
The Mustang Micro from Fender is a little amp that allows you to rock on your electric guitar with headphones without the need for heavy gear. It comes with 12 various amp types and effect combinations, as well as sounds from Fender’s full-size lineup. Unfortunately, talent isn’t included.
The transparent speaker combines a clear glass-panel design with carefully tuned speakers to give accurate sound that matches the unit’s appearance. It’s the excellent pick for any minimalist’s home audio setup, as it’s sure to generate a conversation.
The new GoCycle G4i is an electronic bike that takes the work out of cycling while being small and light enough to fold up – perfect for when commuter trains reappear. With integrated lighting, predictive automated gears, and removable pedals, this model should last up to 50 kilometres on a single charge.
MASTER & DYNAMIC MW08
The high-end ceramic construction of Master & Dynamic’s luxury buds stands out from the crowd, and it marries pretty tastefully with a stainless-steel charging case. Aluminium antennas and eleven millimetre beryllium drivers ensure a strong connection and accurate sound, while active noise cancellation helps to filter out the outside world.
MSI GS66 STEALTH
Looking for the best on-the-go gaming experience without the hassle of hauling around a heavy desktop PC? Enter the MSI GS66, a gaming laptop with ridiculous specs. With a 10th Gen Intel i9 processor, 32GB RAM, and Nvidia’s freshest and best blistering-fast Ampere-powered 3080 mobile GPU, its spec sheet is, to put it mildly, absurd. Look no farther if you’re looking for the best portable gaming experience money can buy.
SPECIALIZED TURBO VADO SL
Despite its ordinary appearance, the Vado SL is an electric bike, with its 320Wh batteries discreetly housed within its compact frame. The standard model has a range of up to 80 miles, with an optional Range Extender adding another 40 miles of pedalling help. It’s the ultimate weapon for tackling inner-city roads without breaking a sweat, with a top speed of nearly 15mph and a weight of only 15kg.
SENNHEISER MOMENTUM TRUE WIRELESS 2 EARPHONES
There are numerous wireless earbuds available, ranging from Apple’s high-end AirPods to low-cost knockoffs and everything in between. Sennheiser’s offering is unquestionably at the top of the heap, and they are, hands down, one of the best wireless earbuds available. All owing to their excellent sound, comfortable fit, and solid touch controls that can be tailored to your preferences.
For the novice, turntables can be scary, but this Sony sounds amazing while taking the burden out of your hands. It’s a fully automated system, so all you have to do is connect it to your Bluetooth speaker of choice, pop in an LP, and enjoy the truly excellent quality. This is an excellent pick for anyone who is just getting started with their record collection.
OCULUS QUEST 2
The original Quest was the best solo VR experience available, and the sequel is a strong contender for top VR headset overall. It’s more powerful, too, with proper head and room-scale tracking without the need for other obtrusive sensors, thanks to a clearer screen than far more expensive rivals like the Valve Index or HTC Vive. If you can get beyond the obligatory Facebook account.
XIAOMI MI 10T PRO
The better value smartphone competition is an increasingly interesting battleground, and a particularly exciting contender is the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. An excellent phone for its price point, it boasts plenty of processing power for its buck and a camera that takes beautifully crisp pictures. At a price that beats out many of its Android brethren.
POCKETTALK S TRANSLATOR
Traveling the world may be restricted for the time being, but there’s no harm in being prepared. This handy pocketable device can translate between 74 different languages and comes with an inbuilt sim that delivers free data in more than 130 locations for two years, making it ideal for jet-setting explorers and digital nomads alike. It can also translate text captured in images, in addition to speech.
SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD 2
Samsung’s ultra-luxurious folding smartphone is free of the problems that plagued its predecessor. This device combines the functions of a phone and a tablet into a single lavishly designed device. The Fold 2 has a 6.23-inch display on the front for quick notifications and social scrolling, but the real magic happens when you open it up to reveal a massive 7.6-inch display, perfect for kicking back and binge-watching whether you’re lying on the couch or sneaking a couple of episodes in on your commute. When you combine that with the kind of high-powered camera and internals you’d expect from a Galaxy S20 or Note, you’ve got one heck of a smartphone.
SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES
Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the best presentations for the new PlayStation 5, makes extensive use of ray-tracing technology to give its picture of New York City even more depth. It’s a heartfelt, thrilling superhero adventure that never overstays its welcome.
SONY WH-1000XM4 HEADPHONES
Sony’s over-ear cans are, simply put, one of the best pair of headphones ever created. Improving on last year’s already class-leading model, the XM4s have a revised design for increased comfort, even better sound and fantastic, practically miraculous noise-cancelling technology for blocking out the outside world. The topping on the already excellent cake is a new “Speak To Chat” function that stops playback and intensifies ambient sounds when you converse.
XBOX ELITE CONTROLLER 2
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 is the most premium, comfortable, and customisable game controller available. It’s durable, with rechargeable batteries and USB-C for easy connectivity, and can be modified and tuned to your preferences. Thumb sticks, D-pads, and rear levers are all removable, giving you more control than ever before.
The MacBook Air has been upgraded twice in the last year by Apple. For the first time, I used a considerably upgraded keyboard that provided a far better typing experience. The second time, with Apple’s all-new M1 chip for considerably faster performance and the all-day battery life your 9-to-5 deserves.
A webcam that doesn’t distort their face into a grainy, fuzzy mess would be beneficial to aspiring influencers, gaming broadcasters, and Zoomers alike. The Logitech StreamCam is a full HD 60fps camera that includes software for automatic exposure, framing, and stabilisation, as well as AI face-tracking to keep you in focus at all times. It may also be rotated to photograph vertically, making it perfect for Instagram.
8BITDO ARCADE STICK
Is an arcade stick required for your Nintendo Switch and/or PC? Most likely not. Would they want one, though? We had the same thinking. This ultra-modable arcade stick comes with wired and wireless compatibility, dedicated Switch buttons, and the option to build custom macros, making it an excellent choice for vintage gamers and tinkerers.
SONY PLAYSTATION 5
Nothing beats unboxing a brand-new system, and the PlayStation 5 won’t let you down with its beautiful white curves and revamped controller. While it lacks the raw power of the Xbox One Series X, it has more than enough oomph for 4K games and, in certain situations, 8K entertainment. We’d go with the disc-less digital edition, which is about £100 less expensive than the Blu-ray drive-equipped version but just as powerful.
SONY VLOG CAMERA ZV-1
Do you know anyone interested in becoming the next major Fall Of Fortnite Duty: 7even streamer? If that’s the case, Sony’s tiny powerhouse is all they’ll need to get high-quality outputs with no effort. An fast backdrop blur button for a bokeh depth of field effect, a flip-out screen for keeping oneself in frame, a digital mic with windscreen attachment, and an optimised grip for steady 4K filming are among the key features. Don’t forget to subscribe and like!
XBOX SERIES X
While the Xbox Series X has one of the most awful names in gaming history, it more than makes up for it by being the most powerful. We love its clean, PC-like look, and its GamePass subscription service gives you access to over 100 titles, with more big names being added all the time.
Still the best wireless speaker about, the Sonos One is a perfect, voice-controlled fit for their home office, kitchen countertop or bedside table. Grab a pair of Ones and they can even use them as a surround-sound add-on for an existing Sonos Beam or Arc soundbar. As such, this speaker is a great-sounding and super-versatile entry point into Sonos’ effortless multiroom audio setup.
APPLE IPHONE 12
The iPhone 12 display features rounded corners that are within a normal rectangle and follow a lovely curved design. The screen is 6.06 inches diagonally when measured in a typical rectangular shape (actual viewable area is less).
AUDEZE MOBIUS HEADSET
The LCD-GX, Audeze’s top-tier gaming headset, costs almost a thousand, but you can get the same audio quality in wireless form for less than half the price. The Audeze Mobius is a high-end, high-performance headset with a slew of useful features and sound quality that blows the competition away.
RUARK AUDIO R3 SPEAKER
The Ruark Audio R3 is a gorgeous walnut veneer-clad tabletop speaker with a 30-watt high-fidelity amplifier, which means it produces sublime sound that defies its small size. It has Wi-Fi streaming support for Spotify, Tidal, and Amazon Music, as well as a SmartRadio Tuner and Bluetooth AptX support for more versatility. Oh, and it’s got a CD player, in case you still have any old favourites sitting around.
OK. We’ll tell it like it is. This is primarily a present for yourself, but why not? We’re confident you’ve earned it. For the uninitiated, LG’s Signature line of TVs and home appliances represents the pinnacle of the company’s capabilities, and this 88-inch, 8K OLED screen mounted on a sleek floor-standing design is no exception. LG’s CX OLEDs start at £1,299 and are an excellent alternative if you don’t have Premier League footballer money.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14–ACRNM
Gaming laptops have a well-deserved reputation for having all the elegance and finesse of a Trump-branded casino, but this limited-edition Asus G14 machine defies the norm like a minotaur. It’s an entirely unique creation that’s bold without being blindly aggressive, and it’s designed in partnership with indie fashion company Acronym. It boasts a wacky keyboard with two creative typefaces (because why not?) and a dot matrix LED lid that you can programme yourself. Everything from Doom Eternal to Civ 6 will be a piece of cake with the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU and Ryzen 9 4900HS processor.
Do you want to assist them in making the transition from smartphone photos to DSLR photography? Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras are still unrivalled in an extremely competitive field, and the latest X-T4 model demonstrates why. This model refines a phenomenally accomplished camera for both stills and video, with better battery life and the ability to snap photographs in bursts of 15 frames per second.
LEGO 1989 BATWING
Despite Christopher Nolan’s great series, Tim Burton’s wild and hilarious portrayal of the Caped Crusader will always retain a special place in our hearts. While the Batmobile from the 1989 film is unquestionably a cinematic classic, we’re also great admirers of the Batwing. Now, thanks to Lego, you can build and admire your own small version, complete with figures of Batman, Joker, and Lawrence the Boombox Goon.
If they’re into fitness, a pair of sweat-free headphones to go with their sweat-free pair is a must-have. The new Beats Flex, priced at a very modest £49, fulfilled this requirement without putting a significant dent in your wallet. They’ll sync practically instantaneously with an iPhone or Watch and provide an incredible 12 hours of battery life, thanks to their sturdy fit and great playing capabilities.
GOOGLE PIXEL 4A 5G
Despite its moniker, the Pixel 4a 5G is usually considered to be a better buy than the Pixel 5, thanks to its larger screen, superior stereo speakers, similarly powerful internals, and excellent camera configuration. It’s one of the best bang-for-buck smartphones of the year, for around £400, and it runs the latest and greatest version of Android 11.
GARMIN QUATIX 6S SOLAR
Because of its excellent titanium build, durable good looks, and numerous functions, the Quatix 6s Solar is one of our favourite smartwatches. It has notifications, music controls, and the ability to manage your boat, in addition to the standard fitness gizmos like heart rate, plasma oxygen levels, and GPS tracking. With the exception of an ECG sensor, you’ve got about everything they need, with a 30-day battery life thanks to the screen’s built-in solar panel.
BANG & OLUFSEN BEOPLAY H95
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the description of these Bang & Olufsen over-ears for the interior of a premium Ferrari, with lambskin leather, memory foam, and polished aluminium. They sound as fantastic as they look, due to 40mm titanium dynamic drivers and Bluetooth aptX Adaptive compatibility, and they have up to 50 hours of battery life. If you ask us, it’s not a bad way to celebrate.
METERS MUSIC LEVEL UP
Meters Music’s steampunk-style gaming headphones have built-in RGB-lit volume level metres that react to input from music, movies, and games. They’re compatible with consoles and PCs, and they have built-in 50mm drivers for strong bass and ear-filling sound. They also enable virtual 7.1 surround sound, which is great for locating virtual enemy footsteps.
The device that looks like a cyberpunk hipflask is actually a DAC, or Digital to Analogue Converter. A DAC, for those who haven’t yet dipped their toes into the wide oceans of the audiophile universe, is a device that transforms a digital signal into an analogue signal, which may subsequently be converted into sound by headphones. Yes, they could listen to music without one on your preferred device, but the built-in versions in laptops and phones are mass-produced with poor audio quality in mind. The hip-dac is an excellent place to start if they want to hear more details in their music and start a perhaps dangerously pricey new hobby.
LEAK STEREO 130 AMPLIFIER
Over the years, many enthusiastic people have written innumerable words about amplifiers. We don’t have the room here, but we can tell that this modern retro walnut-slathered throwback (which was Jimi Hendrix’s pick back in the day) is a strong alternative for audiophiles wishing to improve their wired headphone listening experience and/or maximise their turntable setup’s potential. It’ll enhance their listening experience by including CD-quality Bluetooth, as long as they have suitable speakers.
THRUSTMASTER TCA FLIGHT STICK
This year, Microsoft’s classic Flight Simulator made a long-awaited return. We thought the game was so ambitious that we named it one of the most ambitious games of 2020. Of course, the best method to fly is with a stick, just like the pilots. The Thrustmaster TCA isn’t expensive, but it immerses you in the game far more than a regular gaming controller could.
TRUST GAMING GXT 258 FYRU MICROPHONE
A good quality microphone may make all the difference, whether you’re denigrating scrubs in CoD or providing a hot take on the latest quarterly results in Zoom. This three-legged beast from Trust looks clever enough to do the job without being too flashy, and it comes with four different mic settings to suit your needs, including single and omni-directional options for solo or group podcast sessions. It’s a far cry from your laptop’s tinny-sounding equivalent, with integrated pop filters to assist filter out undesirable sounds and modest LEDs to add a touch of colour to proceedings.
SONY XPERIA 5 II
The Xperia 5 II is a unique device for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s produced by Sony, which will set it apart from the multitude of iPhones and Samsung smartphones. Aside from hipster bragging rights, it has a lot going for it, including a sleek 120Hz screen with a distinctive narrow 21:9 aspect ratio for one-handed use. With an amazing triple camera arrangement (with plenty of tinkering options for pros) and a genuine headphone port, this is the best phone Sony has released in years.
DELL XPS 13 LAPTOP
The Dell XPS 13 is widely considered as the greatest laptop money can buy for most people (a.k.a. non-gamers and Apple aficionados), and the latest edition packs in more power than ever, due to the opportunity to upgrade to Intel’s latest generation of CPUs. While the 1.2kg carbon fibre-clad shell and super-slim bezel screen remain mostly intact, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
APPLE WATCH SERIES 6
For most people (a.k.a. non-gamers and Apple devotees), the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop money can buy, and the latest iteration has more power than ever thanks to the ability to upgrade to Intel’s current generation of CPUs. The 1.2kg carbon fiber-clad body and super-slim bezel screen are substantially intact, which isn’t always a negative thing.
FUJIFILM INSTAX SQUARE SQ1
Fujifilm’s innovative take on a tiny instant camera is a certain way to increase your hipster photography street cred. Despite its vintage appearance, it includes modern features such as auto exposure, which allows you to capture photos in low-light situations without having to fiddle with manual settings. A little mirror near the lens allows you to frame yourself for selfies, and the body is appealing and attention-grabbing in white, terracotta, and a pastel blue.