Drones and 3D printers are so passé, and what’s more, they won’t fit into the stocking. Here are some of our top choices for hi-tech gifts to keep anyone happy.
1) Vertu New Signature Touch
The New Signature Touch is Vertu’s latest smartphone, with the brand’s largest sapphire crystal screen ever at 5.2 inches, and the signature Vertu sound quality providing perfect clarity for both voice and music. The range has various available finishes, from versions in titanium with jet black or garnet red calf leather, retailing at €8,400, right through to the Pure Jet Red Gold version with red gold detailing on a case in jet black PVD-coated titanium.
At €17,900, this is a little more expensive than your ordinary mobile, but it is much more than just a phone. Every part of the Signature Touch is hand-crafted to an exceptional level of finish and tolerance, on a par with high-end watches.
Ring tones and alert tones were specially created for Vertu and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The phone is an open door to the Vertu Concierge service for 24-hour assistance worldwide providing bookings and lifestyle recommendations.The Vertu Life service offers additional, personally tailored privileges such as exclusive access to private members’ clubs, and VIP packages to sports events.
Technically, the New Signature Touch is state-of-the-art and beyond, with exceptional battery life (up to 300 hours stand-by, up to 5 and a half hours talk time) and quadband connectivity. The pack includes a lovely leather case, wall charger, car charger, micro USB cables, spare battery, a polishing cloth, and documentation. More from www.vertu.com
2) Suunto Kailash
Kailash is the name of a 6,000-metre Himalayan peak that is sacred to four religions and has never been climbed. Suunto has given this name to a smartwatch expressing the brand’s philosophy of outdoor adventure, and unlike most smart watches, it has a truly beautiful design, with a lightweight composite case, and bezel and pushers in titanium with four different finish options, copper, slate, carbon and silver. It has a smooth, comfortable silicone strap.
But it is the watch’s performance that sets it apart from the competition. It is in constant contact with GPS satellites, so that the time displayed is always accurate and correct for the local time zone without any need for manual adjustment.
When you reach a new city, you can set a base location, such as your hotel, and at the press of the 7R function button (the name 7R comes from the name of a gene that apparently gives its possessors a keen sense of adventure), the watch will show you the direction and distance from your base. (Also a great way of finding your car in a big and crowded car park). The Adventure Timeline display shows data such as altitude, sunrise and sunset times, and step counter. The Kailash can be paired with an iPhone on which the Suunto 7R App has been installed, and in this case the watch can be used to receive calls, messages and notifications.
One of the nicest things about this watch is that the battery will keep the watch running for up to 10 days with GPS tracking operating, and up to 30 days with GPS turned off. The watch is presented in an attractive cylindrical case in black anodized aluminium. Price €900. More from www.suunto.com
3) TrackR StickR
This is a great solution to a common problem: finding your keys, wallet, remote control or just about anything else that you tend to lose, or that seems to disappear into the black hole that my bag often becomes. You just attach the coin-sized (31 mm diameter, 3.5 mm thick) disc to the respective item, and then when you lose it, you just have to use the smartphone app to make it beep so that you can find it.
The smartphone will also indicate the distance and location on the map. You may ask, what happens if you lose the smartphone itself? Hopefully you won’t have lost your keys as well, so you just have to press a small button on the TrackR and it will set off an alarm on the phone. At about €27 for one TrackR or $108 for eight, this could be a cheap way of solving a potentially expensive problem. More at www.thetrackr.com
4) Ricoh Theta S 360° camera
This is a digital camera and videocamera with a difference: it creates spherical images and video. It solves the age-old problem of a group not fitting into a photo, and it does lots more, at the exceptional resolution of about 14 megapixels. The internal memory can store up to 8 GB of photos or video, and using the built-in Wi-Fi it can transmit to whichever device you want. A dedicated Theta application enables you to control the camera and share both images and videos directly to social media. The cool thing is that when the file is online, you can explore the image in all directions. About €327. More at theta360.com
5) 3Doodler 2.0
This is a pen that you can use to draw in three dimensions, not just on paper, but on any surface and up into the air. The concept is like a freehand 3D printer, and it looks like a lot of fun. This is not new this year, as you can see from the 2.0 suffix, but it has been greatly improved, 75% slimmer and lighter than the original, and sleek and tough in its anodised aluminium case. The functions are the same, with the addition of a double button control so that you can choose the speed at which the filament emerges from the nozzle to suit your pace of creativity.
The process is based on heating a plastic strand to generate a filament that emerges from the nozzle and then cools rapidly so that it retains its shape. Manual temperature regulation provides precise flow speed control. There are over 65 strand colours available, with some extra accessories such as a pedal control that makes things easier on your fingers. The 3Doodler 2.0 pen costs about €92. Info and purchases at the3doodler.com