Christmas is fast approaching, and if you haven't done so already, it is probably time to start your Christmas shopping! For those on the lookout for new tech, we have pulled together a blog of 10 new and upcoming gadgets that you may want to add to your Christmas list. Keep an eye out for our next Christmas blog in December on the best stocking filler gadgets for between £10-£40!
1. Google Daydream View
After years of leading the way into cheap virtual reality, Google now has a headset of its own. With the release of its new VR platform, Daydream back in May, the Daydream View headset is now available to pre-order in the UK.
At first glance, it's not immediately obvious that, functionally, the Daydream View is any different from the Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard or any other cheap VR headsets currently available on the market until you spot the companion controller that comes with it. With a clickable touch pad, two buttons, and inbuilt gyroscope for gesture controls, the controller acts similar to that of the Nintendo Wii, allowing you to become more immersed in games and tasks, without having to open the headset and touch the screen of the phone. Daydream certified phones will even automatically optimise themselves for virtual reality when placed into the headset.
The Daydream View appears to offer a far improved VR experience compared to its current main competitor, the Samsung Gear VR at a significantly lower cost. The Daydream View is currently available for Pre-order for £70 on the Google Store and from Carphone Warehouse
2. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Much like Apple's virtual assistant, Siri, and Google Now, Amazon has Alexa, who will provide you with information, news, weather and also play music from your favourite playlists and streaming services.
Taking it a step further, Echo also works with smart home devices such as; lights, switches, thermostats, Hive, Philips Hue and much more. As well as this, Echo will soon support IFTTT (If This, Then That), a third-party service that will allow you to create custom rules to automate how your devices, apps and websites work with each other.
Google have their own equivalent of Amazon Echo called Google Home, which is currently only available in the US. Google Home offers a similar experience as Amazon Echo, yet with the Google service built in will most likely offer better search facilities.
3. Livescribe 3 Smartpen
When it comes to creating lists and taking notes, it seems to be very difficult to move away from simple pen and paper and use an alternative note taking app or program.
Livescribe's Smartpen is the perfect solution that will allow you to continue to write your notes on paper, whilst also recording them to your smart phone or tablet automatically. Utilising an infrared camera, ARM processor, Bluetooth chipset, flash memory and rechargeable battery, the Smartpen intelligently captures your notes exactly as they appear on paper.
The app can then convert your written notes into text and also record sound using your mobile or tablet's inbuilt microphone at the same time.
The Livescribe 3 Smartpen is available on Amazon from £129.99
4. DJI Mavic
DJI's newest addition to their family of video quadcopters (drones) is the Mavic. With a host of improved and additional features compared to its Phantom predecessors, the Mavic is also incredibly portable thanks to the ability to essentially fold it up.
The Mavic offers improved flight precision and obstacle avoidance thanks to its faster processors and additional obstacle sensors. On top of this, the Mavic offers a maximum flight distance from the pilot of 7KM (unobstructed) and a 4K camera.
Although a fantastic and innovative piece of technology, The DJI Mavic does come with a rather hefty price tag, starting at £1099.00 from the DJI Store.
If you are on the look out for a video drone that is a bit more budget friendly, then the Parrot Bebop may be the one for you. Currently on offer at Argos for £199.00 and is capable of capturing high quality, Full HD video and 14 Megapixel stills.
5. Apple Watch S2
Wearable tech is still very popular and recently Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 2. In typical Apple style, the Watch simply looks great, but also benefits from much-needed features that the first gen lacked, such as; GPS and improved waterproofing capabilities.
Apple Watch Series 2 is available on the Apple Store from £269
6. Anki Cozmo
Although not yet available to buy in the UK, we are hoping that the Cozmo will make an appearance before Christmas arrives.
For this of you that have watched Pixar's hit film Wall-E, Anki's Cozmo is as close as you will currently get to having a Wall-e robot of your own. Cozmo is a self-aware robot with a life of his own. He is able to recognise faces and portray emotions through his eyes. He will nudge you to play, search for his cubes, and often sulk if you ignore him. New tricks and games will be unlocked, by completing challenges that the companion app provides.
Regardless of whether you are an adult or a child, Cozmo likes like a great toy to keep you entertained for hours on end, whilst also giving you an insight to the future of Artificial Intelligence technology.
Although Cozmo isn't currently available in the UK, he is currently selling for $180 dollars in the US. Fingers crossed that he arrives before Christmas!
7. HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer
Polaroid cameras are probably the most remembered cameras of their time from their debut in the 60's, until they gradually fizzled out in the 90's with the onset of digital cameras. Recently however, the ability to instantly print your photo's has made a reappearance. An example of which is HP's new Portable Photo Printer called Sprocket.
The HP Sprocket, which is about the same size as your smartphone, allows you to print the photos captured on your phone or tablet right there and then. The best feature however is that it doesn't require ink, but instead uses something called ZINK Zero Ink technology.
To add to the fun factor, you can also add a pop of personality before printing with borders, emojis and more.
If the HP Sprocket is for you, it is currently available for £99.00
8. 360fly 4k Action camera
A recent advancement in the world of video is the ability to capture and display 360 degree video. With the constant improvements in virtual and augmented reality, 360 degree video is a must have, but the equipment to capture such video can come at a huge expense.
However there are more affordable 360 degree cameras available, such as the new 360Fly 4K action camera. A camera that fits in the palm of your hand, capable of filming 360 degree all round video at 4K resolution. Your smartphone becomes your cameras view finder and gives you the ability to share your footage directly to social media from your Androids or iOS device.
9. Fitbit Charge 2
Wearables for an active and healthy lifestyle are still highly popular and Fitbit's newest instalment to their range of fitness watches, the Charge 2, is a great fit.
Aesthetically, the Charge 2 appears to be a great improvement to the previous edition, with an OLED display and mixture of glass and metal construction, you could almost put it on par with higher end smart watches.
You are able to monitor; heart rate, distance travelled, pace, calories burned, steps, heart rate and much more. The only thing it does seem to lack however is GPS, but it can easily be paired to use your smartphones built in GPS when completing your activities.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is available from £119.99
10. Logitech Harmony Elite
Finally on our list of top 10 gadgets is Logitech's Harmony Elite, a fantastic control hub for your connected home. The Harmony Elite is similar to your usual "universal remote", but offers a lot more than just controlling your TV and AV equipment. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as Infrared, it is able to control a whole host of smart devices, such as your; Philips Hue lights, Sonos audio equipment, Nest Thermostat, Samsung SmartThings and that’s just to name a few!
What is great about the Harmony Elite, is that it allows you to control all of your connected devices using one universal remote or mobile app, instead of having to use separate controls for each device that you have. You can also combine several actions into one shortcut. For example, "Watch a film" could mean turning on your TV, turning on a Blu-ray player, dimming the lights, and setting your thermostat to a cosier temperature, all from the click of one button. You aren’t only limited to controlling devices from within your home either, as the smartphone app allows you to control them on the go.
According to Logitech, the Harmony Elite supports over 270,000 devices from more than 6,000 brands and you don't need to go through the hassle of the conventional trial and error technique to link it up to your equipment found on older universal remotes. You can search and link directly to them from Logitech's own database.
The full Logitech Harmony Elite kit is available for £253,26 on Amazon. However, you can always purchase the hub alone to use with the smartphone app for £79.99 and purchase the AIO remote further down the line if you needed it.