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Just a few more clicks till Christmas

Some great gift ideas for the techie in your life

It’s last minute dot com, and you still haven’t done your Christmas shopping. So what’s new? Sure, it’s not Christmas until you’ve been up and down Grafton Street on Christmas Eve desperately searching for presents, even though all the good stuff has long ago been snapped up.

But this year, you’ve boxed clever and decided to avoid the 11th-hour dash by pre-ordering techie gifts online. Now there’s just the nail-biting Christmas Eve vigil, as you wait for the goods to arrive in time to go under the tree.

Here’s a selection of gift ideas for the techie in your life. If you hurry, you might get all your Christmas shopping done with just a few clicks.

Apple Watch Series 4 (Littlewoods Ireland, €469)

Giving a watch for Christmas is a nice tradition dating back to the days when watches hung on a fob and sat in the pocket of your waistcoat, and only taken out with great ceremony to determine when the cricket match or opera was about to start.


These days, you give the Apple Watch Series 4 to your significant other. It’s Apple’s most advanced timepiece yet, boasting its biggest display, and a range of features designed to enhance your everyday life, health and fitness regime. If the recipient is keen on keeping fit, the Apple Watch 4 will help with every aspect of their workout routine, and it will keep an eye on their overall health, via heart monitor and fall detection. You can play music from your Apple Music and Podcasts library, and access all your favourite apps right there on your wrist. Oh, and it tells the time too, so you won’t miss the opera.

Christmas can be very draining on your smartphone or tablet battery – that’s because the kids are using your stuff to play their Star Wars and Lego games. When Auntie Bridie calls to see if she can come visit, your phone battery is dead – so that’s a small mercy. Still, you don’t want the worry of what your kids are watching on your phone, so the answer is the Amazon Fire HD8 Kids’ Edition. It’s encased in a kid-proof foam outer covering, and it comes with one year of FreeTime Unlimited, giving the kids access to 20,000 apps, games, videos, books and educational resources – enough content to keep them quiet all the way through the Christmas holidays. And the Fire HD8 beefs up Amazon’s already-advanced safety features, so no chance of the kids getting onto social media, in-app purchases or any other potentially hazardous content. The only problem is the colours – it comes in pink or blue, but I’d suggest going for the neutral yellow.

*Note: The Amazon.co.uk website says it doesn't ship to Ireland, so you may have to search around to get your hands on one of these babies – but it'll be worth it!

This one is the gift you buy yourself – because with the B&W PX noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones, you’re also buying yourself some very precious peace and quiet over the festive season. Put these lovely cans over your head and you can switch off from the sturm und drang of the seasonal chaos and tune into your favourite relaxing music or catch up on your regular podcasts. The noise-cancelling feature means you won’t hear the kids arguing over the X-Box, and you won’t hear the brother-in-law rabbiting on about Trump, Peter Casey or Brexit. Some rivals – most notably Sony – have been biting at B&W’s heels in terms of sound quality and noise-cancelling technology, but none of them can match the PX headphones for sheer looks. You’ll want to be seen with these cans on your head.

Amazon Echo Show (Littlewoods Ireland €309.99)

You’ve been chatting with Alexa for quite a while now, but have you ever wanted more from Amazon’s digital assistant? Well, now Alexa can not only talk to you – she can show you stuff as well. The Amazon Echo Show is basically the Echo with added video, so you can ask Alexa to show you a YouTube video, a map tracking Santa’s progress from the North Pole, or even show you who’s at the door (very handy at Christmas time when unwanted visitors are a worryingly regular occurrence). Echo Show will come in handy when you’re preparing food for Christmas – just ask Alexa to show you recipes and you won’t have to flick your floury hands through a cookbook or get cake mix on your smartphone.

It was 50 years ago today . . . blah, blah. We're in a decade of Fab Four anniversaries, and every year brings a new product to celebrate the legacy of the greatest band that ever was. Pro-Ject has come up with a new turntable to mark 50 years since the release of Yellow Submarine, the band's phantasmagorical animated film. The turntable has a glass platter so you can see the sub's design in all its glory, and sits on shock-absorbing feet to avoid bad vibrations, man. Even the cartridge, specially made by Ortofon, is yellow. It's the fifth in Pro-Ject's Beatles series, which includes a Sgt Pepper drum turntable, and a White Album turntable which, of course, only comes in one colour – a lovely, clean white. This is a limited edition, and sure to be in huge demand (Noel Gallagher is sure to snap up a few), but if you have a problem getting your grubby little hands on this, you can get the Pro-Ject Sgt Pepper turntable via northXsouth.ie for €449.

Google Home Hub (Littlewoods Ireland €195)

The latest home assistant gadget from Google brings you all the features of the Google Assistant, such as connectivity with more than 200 smart devices from over 50 different brands. You can use it for all of those mundane household tasks like turning the lights on with a voice command, changing the TV channel from another room without having to fight for the remote control, and setting your heating to suit your own comfort level if you have a Nest controller. And the 7in touchscreen allows you see everything at a glance, including all your favourite YouTube clips to keep you entertained while slaving over a hot turkey.

Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 (Littlewoods Ireland €139.99)

Imagine taking a selfie, and then being able to pass a fresh print of it around to your friends seconds later. That’s the idea behind the Polaroid Mint, its new sleek, slimline digital camera and printer that’s designed for pumping out fresh prints on the go. By rights, Polaroids should have gone the way of Walkmans and electric typewriters, but somehow they’ve managed to keep their novelty value going for more than 40 years – that’s a good feat. Unlike the clunky classic Polaroid camera we all know (and still love), the Mint is streamlined, so it’s easier to carry with you to events and celebrations, and when you take snaps with it, it’ll seem like you’re using your smartphone – except your smartphone can’t make a lovely, glossy colour print scroll out from its base.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist