Christmas gadget guide part one: under £100
No-one knows what to buy you for Christmas. Help them out with this handy gift guide
You are a dad, therefore you are 'hard to buy for'. That's what they're saying about you right now. Your loved ones, that is.
"I've no idea what to get for him," they're saying. "There's nothing he needs," they complain. This is a problem that you can't ignore, or it's another festive season full of socks for you.
Steer them in the direction of this gadget round-up (or, if they're flush, our over £100 version) and make sure there's something you actually want under the tree this year.
3D printing has gone from science fiction to bargain-basement gadget reality in double-quick time, with the result that you can now get a 3D printer for under £100. Not only that - it's a 3D printer that's like some Star-Trek-inspired piece of magic. Draw in the air with this pen and your doodlings come to life as threads of superstrong plastic - making it possible to create pretty much anything your mind can muster up. There are lots of accessories you can add to boost your creativity, including templates to help you get past any artistic block.
You might already have seen Ollie in Six brilliant remote control toys for kids (that you'll want to play with too). Well, Sphero 2.0 is his rounder brother. What you've got here is a robot squeezed into a ball about the size of an orange, that's controlled by your smartphone. There are lots of apps you can download to control Sphero - many of them games - and you can build on them by programming the robot using the free downloadable lessons.
G-Paws Pet GPS Tracker
Ever wondered what your cat gets up to when it slopes off at night-time? This dinky GPS tracker can show you. Attach it to puss before their evening adventures, retrieve it the next day and plug it into your PC. You'll be presented with a map of your pet's wanderings throughout the night; unusually intriguing stuff. You'll have to charge it up each time you use it: a four hour charge powers eight hours of tracking. Importantly the device is nice and light at just 14g, so it will hopefully not be noticed by your moggy.
£29.99, I Want One Of Those
WikiPad WP005 tablet PC
You don't have to look far to find a decent tablet under £200 - as you'll know if you've read our feature on cut-price slates. But this gaming-focused tablet takes things a step-further. It comes with a gaming controller dock, making controls much more manageable than sliding your fingers around on a touchscreen, and it has a host of impressive features including a quad-core processor and 1280 x 800 seven-inch IPS screen. It's had rave reviews in the US, from where it originates, but somehow costs under £70. A definite bargain.
Sony W830 compact camera
There are plenty of sub-£100 cameras to choose from, but we like this offering from Sony for its combination of a 20-megapixel sensor and 8x optical zoom. As you'd expect from a snapper of this type, it's fully automatic with a range of scene settings and autofocus, making it a true point-and-shoot option. Plus, of course, it will shoot high-def video.
If you love books, there's a lot to love about a proper e-reader. While the popularity of tablets has led many people to read their ebooks on brightly-lit LCD screens - the experience of reading from an e-ink screen such as those on a Kindle is far superior. It's just like reading from a book, in fact, with the big difference that your Kindle can hold thousands of books (and weighs less than a single one of them). The Kindle range starts at only £59 - though we're big fans of the Paperwhite model, with its whiter screen (and better contrast) and built-in light. That model just shades over the £100 mark, at £109 for the wi-fi only model.
From £59.00, Amazon