2015 Holiday guide: Top tech gadgets to give this season

What innovative and interesting technology is on the market in this year's holiday season?
1 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Sphero BB8 droid

It's unlikely you're going to get past this holiday season without hearing about the Sphero BB8 app-controlled droid -- especially with the Star Wars movie on the horizon.

Compatible with both iOS and Android devices, you let your child control their own droid through a smartphone, whether it be movements or commands such as sleep or run.

If your child wants to see BB8 do their own thing, there is also an autonomous mode for the toy.

An interesting feature is the augmented reality mode -- which shows videos stored on mobile devices through projection.

Price: $149.99

Via: Best Buy

2 of 20 Microsoft

Microsoft Xbox One game console

Reduced in price ahead of the holiday season, Microsoft is offered the Xbox One gaming console with bundled games for as little as $299.

Price: $299+

Via: Microsoft

3 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Parrot Bebop 2 drone

Drones are some of this year's hot presents. Parrot is well-known maker of hobbyist unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and has now come out with the Parrot Bebop 2 in time for the holiday season.

Bebop 2 is a 500 gram quadcopter capable of flying for up to 25 minutes at over 300 feet at a rate of 37 mph horizontally and 13 mph vertically.

Controllable via your smartphone, the drone's embedded fisheye camera takes HD shots and video for you while off the ground quickly and at a decent quality -- likely to appeal to any enthusiast this Christmas.

The drone will be on sale on December 14.

Price: $550

Via: Parrot

4 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Polaroid Cube+

We've moved far from the days of chunky camcorders and action cams of many colors are hot products every Christmas season.

Photojojo's Polaroid Cube+ is one such camera, a tiny and frankly adorable cube which can be used to shoot videos and take pictures with mobile syncing included -- allowing users to edit and upload videos on the fly through a mobile device. The cube is shock and splashproof, and can either be fixed in place on metal surfaces through its built-in magnet or mounted on transport with an additional accessory.

The cube is equipped with a 10mp camera and is able to take HD 1440p video.

Price: $149.99

Via: Photojojo

5 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Nixplay Seed digital photo frame

For a personalized gift which displays photos of friends and family, Nixplay's Wi-Fi digital photo frames make both fun and sentimental gifts for a loved one. The latest in the range, the Nixplay Seed, comes in 7, 8 and 10-inch models and a variety of colors.

The high resolution display pulls images stored into a cloud-based account or shared through your mobile device in a slideshow format -- and the Seed update now also includes motion sensors which turn on the device when you enter the room, or off when you exit.

Price: $89.99 - $169.99

Via: Nixplay

6 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet


A constant feature on my coffee table is the QiStone+, a portable, wireless charger which is actually attractive -- makes a change from the range of chunky bricks that chargers often take the form of. The charger is compatible with any device that accepts Qi Wireless charging, which includes many new flagship phones including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy 6S and Nokia Lumia 950 XL. What makes this particularly interesting as a charger is the stone-like feel and look of the device, making it a feature in the home rather than an eyesore.

Price: $79.99

Via: Fone Salesman

7 of 20 Apple

Apple iPhone 6s

Powered by Apple's A9 processor, the iPone 6s is the latest flagship model in the tech giant's line.

Available in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, and equipped with Retina display, TouchID and Apple Pay capabilities, the smartphone is likely on any Apple fan's wishlist this Christmas.

Price: $649+

Via: Apple

8 of 20 Etsy

LED jewelry

The online marketplace Etsy is a great place to find unusual, handmade gifts.

One that stands out for a female fan of tech is this LED sterling pendant, complete with LED lighting and circuitry.

There is a wide variety of technology-inspired jewelry in the market if you're willing to spend a few moments wandering through individual shops.

Price: £51.30

Via: Etsy

9 of 20 Logitech

MX Master wireless mouse

For those that don't get along with trackpads or prefer desktops, a good mouse is often a must. Gamers especially appreciate a mouse which can be customised to their wishes. One such mouse which is a great possible gift this holiday season is the MX Master wireless mouse from Logitech -- a stylish product for Windows and Mac machines.

The mouse is comfortable and reduces the strain of a traditional mouse on your wrist, and not only can you pair up three devices to be controlled via Bluetooth, but you can customize the mouse's buttons and wheels for whatever action you require.

Price: $99.99

Via: Logitech

10 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Dell XPS 13

PC systems with sleek designs, improved capabilities and touch screens have come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and if you have enough of a budget this season, perhaps a family member could do with a laptop refresh. One system of note is the Dell XPS 13, a futuristic-looking 11-inch laptop encased in a carbon fiber chassis with impressive specs to match. Powered by the Windows 10 operating system, the 13-inch laptop is customizable with a touch or non-touch screen, up to 8GB memory, an Intel i7 Core processor and 256GB SSD storage.

The wow factor of this laptop is the basically borderless design, an interesting feature for friends or family with a technology bent.

Price $799.99+

Via: Dell

11 of 20 TomTom

TomTom Rider 400

One thing that drives me mad every year is working out what to buy a motorcycle rider each year beyond gloves and clothing. If you have a partner that spends more time on-road than off it, a decent gadget which they are likely to appreciate is the TomTom Rider 400.

Battery cables, a motorbike mount, RAM mount and lifetime, updated maps are all included in the albeit expensive price, but for those on a rideout, the route planning is great fun.

You can plot long or short rides depending on route preferences, or the software will plan a route for you depending on where you would like to explore.

Price $499.99

Via: TomTom

12 of 20 Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2​

Available in white, black or gold, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 is the firm's flagship tablet. Equipped with an AMOLED display, 32GB internal storage, an octa-core processor and a set of apps to improve syncing between your devices, this tablet could make a great gift for someone looking for an upgrade.

Price: $399.99

Via: Samsung

13 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Fitbit activity trackers

Most of us do it -- eat ourselves into a coma at Christmas and then promise ourselves faithfully to get back into shape in the New Year. If gyms are not an option, one gift you could give to help people keep track of their activity is something from the Fitbit range.

The wearable activity and fitness trackers include mini gadgets and wristbands which monitor everything from heart activity to sleep patterns.

Price: $Various

Via: Fitbit

14 of 20 Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 8

One of the latest gadgets in Amazon's tablet range is the Fire HD 8, an 8-inch tablet equipped with a 1280 x 800 HD display, a quad core 1.5 GHz processor, 8 or 16GB storage and access to Amazon Underground -- an app marketplace filled with free apps and free in-app "purchases."

The tablet is thin, light and runs on Fire OS 5, a fair alternative to the iOS or Android ecosystem. It's probably best to buy this for someone who is already an Amazon Prime customer as the tablet is geared towards entertainment rather than productivity.

Price: $149.99

Via: Amazon

15 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Seagate wireless mobile storage

As we move towards streaming and downloaded content such as games and movies instead of physical mediums, we have more need for storage. However, the trend of cutting the cord is also in fashion and the less we have to deal with mountains of USB cables, the better.

One option which could make a great gift for gamers, streamers and professionals on the move is the Seagate Wireless mobile storage device. With 500GB of storage space, you can safely store movies, games, documents and music -- while setting up the device as its own Wi-Fi hotspot without the need for cables. For such a small device the battery life isn't bad either when on the go -- lasting up to six hours per charge.

Price $89.99

Via: Seagate

16 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Fancy car finder

Fancy, a GPS beacon, is a great gift for those who constantly forget where they've stashed the car. Plug it into a car's power outlet and once the engine is turned off, Fancy's work begins.

The device's accompanying app marks where the car is and gives the driver a timestamp so they can keep an eye on parking meters.

Price: $50

Via: Fancy

17 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Canon Connect Station CS 100

A cool piece of kit for friends and family who enjoy photography is Canon's Connect Station CS 100.

The 1TB storage device is somewhere photos can be stored -- simply by tapping your camera. Through NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity, the need for transferring files over SD cards is eradicated -- and if you add an HDMI cable, images can be viewed immediately on an HD TV. In addition, images can be printed directly from the storage device.

Price: $299

Via: Amazon

18 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Pebble Time Smartwatch

If you want to give someone a smartwatch this Christmas, it doesn't have to be obscenely expensive.

The Pebble Time Smartwatch, compatible with both iOS and Android, is equipped with an E-Paper display so the wearer can clearly see notifications such as missed calls and app alerts, the weather, news and sports updates.

Price: $149.99

Via: Best Buy

19 of 20 Jawbone

Jawbone UP2 activity tracker

The Jawbone UP2 activity tracker is a lightweight, stylish gift for those working on getting fit or keen to improve their exercise regime.

The Bluetooth-enabled wristband, which comes in a selection of colors, works with an accompanying app to track your fitness and sleep patterns, offer advice, display stats on your activity -- including distances traveled and calories burned -- and recommend ways to slowly edge towards a healthier lifestyle.

Price: $99.99

Via: Jawbone

20 of 20 Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

A gift to be appreciated for the working professional is Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. The company has always said it wanted to replace the laptop with a viable tablet -- and the Surface now seems to hit the mark.

The 12-inch tablet runs on the Windows 10 operating system and comes with up to 8GB RAM, an Intel core i7 processor and up to 128GB storage.

Price: $699

Via: Microsoft

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