Tech Gift Guide 2012

Our Tech editor takes a look at the apps, gadgets and gizmos you'll spend futile hours showing off to Aunt Mildred over the Christmas turkey

Feature by Alex Cole | 30 Nov 2012

Good headphones at a good price are still a big ask these days, and many just opt for disposable buds that can get lost without busting your wallet. But for those with a tiny bit more to spend, investing in a pair of RHA SA950i’s (£49.95) would be well worth your while. They look great without making you looking like an arse (looking at you, Beats by Dr. Dre), sound brilliant for the price, and will play nice with your iDevice as needed. For those after buds, the MA450i (£39.95) will suit just as well.

Right now, betting on any device for the TV that gets internet goodies is pretty much a crapshoot – no one’s quite sure who’s going to have the most content available. Conservative bets include YouView (£250), which is overpriced but clean and functional, and Freeview+ (£210), which is pretty similar in form. For those with less pocket money and more cojones, go for the Roku 2 XS (£109) or Boxee Box (£132), either of which get you some great content, can sometimes handle Flash (and therefore VoD), and look pretty swanky.

Capturing video on a phone is well and good, but if you’re putting together something a little better than your average jump-off-something-high clip, go with Logitech’s Broadcaster WiFi Webcam (£159). This cam runs on batteries for hours, pipes your HD video straight through wifi with no cables, and means you can live broadcast or record from anywhere you get a signal. Actual talent for your YouTube uploads is helpful, but comes separately.

Androids have always touted how customizable they are over iPhones, but you need a good app to prove it. Tasker (£3.99) from Crafty Apps is one of the best. Tweak what your phone does in terms of when, where and how you use it, from the screen brightness and audio automatically going down at night, to alerts when you’re in a specific location. Just try not to go mad with power. For the off moments, take on the world with Plague Inc. (£Free, in-app purchases), where you play as a crafty disease trying to wipe out the world. Fun times!

Looking for an antidote to Angry Birds? Go for the retro steampunk feel of Steambirds: Survival ((£Free, in-app purchases), featuring turn-based strategic dogfighting in an alternate WWII. When you’ve shot them all down, take on the moral dilemmas of The Walking Dead (£2.99) world with their excellent consequence-riddled game, or take the zombies off the couch with Zombies, Run! (£5.49), a running app that plays out a story with the sounds of zombies chasing you as you haul ass down the street. Then check yourself into Bad Hotel (£1.49), local developers Lucky Frame's newest game that puts you against the elements and evil property owners to keep your hotel safe.

It’s not like you’re going to keep your New Year’s resolutions about getting in shape and eating right, but for those who behave better when they buy something to help, the FitBit (£49-79) is the right way to go about it. The little fob connects to your phone or computer, tracks your routines from running to sleeping, and charts just how well your well-meaning exercise is going. For those with friends trying the same, Fitocracy (£Free), a social network that pits you against your mates in an exercise contest - winner, take, well, whatever you want.