It's time for our annual selection of the most coveted, clever and fun consumer tech products that you – or even better, a generous loved one – can get your hands on this Christmas. From wireless audio to actioncams and RC flyers, these are some of the items we'd like to be unwrapping this year.
1. Move into gamingGaming is now a mature and massive market around the world, so in a year when two of the big players released motion based controllers, these goodies are bound to find there way to the top of many a Christmas wish list. The Playstation Move, which combines handheld motion controllers with body tracking via the PlayStation Eye camera, sells as a starter bundle (PlayStation Eye camera, a single Move controller and the Sports Champions game) for US$100. Microsoft's recently released alternative - the completely controller-less Kinect for Xbox 360, costs US$150.
2. Take a tablet and lie down
While e-book readers will no doubt fill a large slice of Santa's sleigh again this year, 2010 has been the year of the tablet, largely due to the success of Apple's iPad. The iPad costs US$499 for the Wi-Fi only 16 GB version through to $829 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.
The other tablet making waves in 2010 was Samsung's Galaxy Tab. This 7-inch "Smart Media Device" (which also works as a phone) impressed us when we first spied it at IFA in Berlin back in September and it has recently hit the market through several carriers with prices around the US$400 mark on a two year contract.
While on the subject of tablets, there's another (cheaper) gift idea that springs to mind as the cold weather sets in - touchscreen gloves. We've looked at offerings from North Face, Agloves and these clever little add-on finger buttons from Quirky.
3. Parrot's augmented reality RC droneParrot first unveiled its iphone-controlled, twin-camera packing RC quadrocopter at CES in January and it's now available at a price of US$300. The AR Drone flyer features interchangeable hulls for indoor and outdoor use, flight stabilization, autopilot technology, plus it can be networked with other drones for multi-player gameplay - check out the video below to see this in action. Definitely high on the fun scale!
4. Eton SCORPION
If there's an adventurous-type on your last minute shopping list, this solar-powered, all-terrain, multi-functional outdoor companion is likely to impress. The US$50 Eton SCORPION includes a USB cell phone charger, digital AM FM radio tuner, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather band, built-in LED Flashlight and can be powered by solar panel, dynamo hand-crank or DC adapter.
5. Capture the ActionLike most digital imaging products, dedicated actioncams have taken great strides forward in recent times with higher-resolution, wider lenses and more versatile form factors being introduced. We put a couple of our favorites through their paces earlier this year - the US$260 Go Pro HD HERO and Drift Innovations’ US$330 HD170. Check out our video review.
Oregon Scientific also recently released a HD unit that's worth a look - the ATC9K - and if these cameras go over your budget, Go Pro has a cheaper (US$180) slightly-lower res offering, the HD HERO 960.
6. An office workout
If carrying dumb-bells while walking the dog doesn't satisfy your loved ones' urge to stay in peak shape, maybe its time to introduce them to the GymyGym. This ergonomic exercise chair places a full body workout at your disposal without ever having to leave your desk. It's not cheap at US$599 (but then again, neither are decent ergonomic office chairs) and it may save the cost of gym membership.
7. Libratone Beat wireless speakerWhile there a lots of audio solutions out there for those who want to go wireless, the US$655 Libratone Beat made a big impression on us at IFA 2010 and, well, I want one. The cleverly designed unit from Danish audio innovator Libratone reflects the sound off the room's walls to give you the impression that you are always in the sweet spot. It comes with a 30-pin transmitter that attaches to an iPod, iPhone or iPad and wirelessly streams audio from up to 32.8 feet (10 m) away.
If you are shopping for an audiophile, Marshall's new headphone line - the first foray into the space from the well-known amplifier manufacturer - might also whet their appetite.
8. Dyson Bladeless Fan
While many of Gizmag's readers will be rugging up this Christmas, those of you who reside south of the equator will know that late December can be a sweltering affair. If you need to cool down (and impress visiting relatives), then unwrapping a Dyson Bladeless fan could be the ticket. The fans range from US$300 for the 10-inch table model to $500 for the large pedestal fan.
9. Something smellsWe've saved one spot on the list for that elusive gift you need to buy for the person who you really don't want to buy a gift for - enter the Fart-proof 4SKINS underwear. Using odor neutralizer technology from California-based company, Nano-Tex, these undergarments claim to attract, isolate and neutralize odors on the fabric as well as any passing through. Prices range from AUD24.95 to 39.95 (approx. US$24 to $38.50).
If you are not sure what size to buy, there is always the option of the one-size-fits-all Better Marriage Blanket, which uses a slightly different approach, but still aspires to the same odor-free goals.
It's Christmas day, the presents are unwrapped, the batteries are inserted and the fun is about to begin. But who's going to clean up the mess? Well, if there was one of these under the tree, it just might help (as long as the objects weigh no more than one ounce/ 28 g). WowWee’s US$70 Roboscooper has six rubber wheels, a cargo bed, articulated arms and can be guided to objects manually with the remote control, or left in autonomous mode.
What's in your top 10?Of course, any attempt at a top 10 list like this from across our many different categories is bound to create a bit of controversy – lets face it, we couldn't agree on a top 10 ourselves. So what's on your Christmas wishlist? What high-tech bargains have you found online or in-store that we should all know about? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Seasons greeting to all our readers!