You’ve left it a little late, but there’s still time to fill someone’s stocking on Friday with a piece of covetable Christmas kit – especially if you’re happy to go down the old-fashioned route of a trip to the high street.
Here’s my pick of gadget gifts you’ll find readily available at any good electrical retailer, Argos or larger supermarkets...
Vinyl record player. Transferring LPs and cassettes to CDs and MP3 files is a tedious process, but it’s fun for a while – and there are plenty of turntables that will do the job, at around £50 upwards. Make sure you choose one with a USB socket for easy connectivity to a PC or laptop, and perhaps the facility to play 78rpm records.
Bluetooth watch. You don’t need to pay Apple prices to get a smartwatch that connects to your phone and alerts you to incoming calls, emails and tweets. Clas Ohlson in Leeds and Doncaster has a range of Bluetooth “wearables” which, with prices from £50, make up in value what they lack in chic.
GoPro camera. For just under £100 you could treat someone to a Hero “action camera”, a wonderful device that shoots where ordinary camcorders and phones won’t go. Clamp it to a surfboard, handlebar, helmet or anything else you can think of, and it will capture stunning footage you can edit or upload to YouTube.
Bluetooth phone dock. This year, devices to wirelessly stream music from your phone to a loudspeaker come in all sorts of novelty shapes, sizes and prices. You’ll have to pay at least £50 for decent sound and a workable wireless range, but even the cheaper devices are fine for casual use.
Portable hard drive. The geek in your life can never have enough storage, and a portable hard disk is the perfect place to put more data. Drives can be easily hooked up to a network and to many set-top boxes, and they fit into a bag or pocket when you’re not using them. Expect to pay between £50 and £100, depending on capacity.
Radio. Reports of the death of AM/FM sets a few years ago have proved to be greatly exaggerated; from around £10. DAB radios cost more but can pick up digital-only stations and will be appreciated by those who like Radio 4 Extra. Reception isn’t always great but with prices now as low as £20 they’re no longer a big investment.
Wi-fi range extender. It’s less personal than the other gifts but one of these universal devices will go down a treat in many households. They work by boosting the main wi-fi signal so that it reaches the corners of rooms that were previously “dead spots”.
Computer peripherals. A new wireless mouse, webcam or keyboard is always welcome, and if your recipient is a keen gamer, musician or video editor you’ll find specialist accessories to suit. For an aspiring digital artist, a graphics pen and tablet is a wonderful way of encouraging creative experimentation.
Gift vouchers. If all else fails, supermarkets sell vouchers for music and apps on iTunes, and Google Play, and if you don’t fancy watching the Queen and Coronation Street on Friday, you can also gift a Netflix subscription. Happy Christmas.