Christmas is coming, and talk in TechRadar towers has turned to what gadgets and technologies we’d like to discover under the tree this year. Of course, being on the cutting edge of tech does mean our expectations can be a little high, and we may be a somewhat disappointed by the orange, apple and sugar mouse which is the usual fare at yuletide.
But in an ideal world, here’s what each of the TechRadar staff would like to find as they delve into their respective Christmas stockings.
A phone, a camera, an HD box, a wall of sound and free music for life. TechRadar Editor Paul Douglas isn’t asking much for Christmasâ€¦
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Until mobile phones get their own pico projectors, I’ll take a camera that’s got one instead. OK, so the S1000pj isn’t cheap at around Â£350, but you can project stills and movies onto your wall at up to 40″. Shame it’s not powerful enough to project onto buildings â€“ imagine the fun you could have with that.
I’ve had a Windows Mobile phone for the last year and lately I’ve been casting jealous looks at my colleagues’ iPhones. But there’s a third option – an Android phone â€“ and these are rapidly moving up my want list. So I’ve put the Motorola Droid (set to be released under the much more boring name Milestone in the UK) on my list â€“ it’s running Android 2.0 and features a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen. That said, it’s not the most beautiful design and I can’t help thinking that any touchscreen phone that also offers a slide-out keyboard is an admission that the onscreen keyboard won’t do all you’ll want it to.
Read TechRadar’s Hands on: Motorola Milestone review
B&W Panorama Soundbar
When it comes to home cinema, I hate trailing wires and speaker boxes strewn around the room, and so I’ve been putting up with the in-built speakers on my TV. The solution is the Bowers and Wilkins Panorama Soundbar, although it comes in at a cool Â£1,500. The Panorama is also really easy to set up – simply connect your source and you’re ready to go. Great, because I hate reading instructions.
Read TechRadar’s B&W Panorama review
I’ve held off on upgrading from a standard Sky+ box, but this Christmas I’ll be going for a Sky+HD box. The Â£299 price that it launched at has dropped to a very reasonable Â£49, or you can get it free if you take the HD Pack and Sky Movies. And of course, you get Sky’s gorgeous new EPG. If I could add an extra wish, I’d ask for it to be made available in white â€“ I prefer the look of the original Sky+ box if I am honest.
Read TechRadar’s Sky+HD review
A lifetime subscription to Spotify Premium
I say lifetime because I’ve been down the music subscription path already â€“ I had a subscription to Napster To Go for two years and when I cancelled the account my music vanished, so I now have a two-year gap in my music collection.
Couple Spotify with an Android phone such as the Motorola Milestone and who needs an MP3 player? Or a Windows Phone, for that matter â€“ come on, Microsoft, get Spotify onto your mobile phones, it’s on pretty much every other handset. And get BBC iPlayer on the Xbox while you’re at it!
Read TechRadar’s Spotify for iPhone review
To be honest, Santa would be both hugely generous and light of wallet should he furnish me with the things on my Christmas list, what with a TV, THX computer speakers and a camera included. But a man can dream can’t he?
Logitech Z-5500 5.1 THX Speaker System
A lovely bit of kit to connect up to my gaming PC; THX certified, and compact enough that I could probably convince my wife that it could actually reside with us in my tiny London flat. Might have to have a think about where the subwoofer goes though.
MSI Wind U200
I’ve resisted the netbook craze until now, but the likes of MSI’s latest Wind, the U200, have convinced me that it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Powered by one of Intel’s consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) Core 2 Solo SU2500 CPUs, complete with a 12.1-inch screen and MSI’s usual excellent keyboard and yet still light enough to only give my back the odd twinge when I port it round the London underground.
Read TechRadar’s MSI Wind U200 hands-on review
OCZ PC3-12800 Black Edition Ready CL8 Dual Channel
It’s pure greed, seeing as I already have 4GB of this RAM, but I’m so impressed I’d quite like another 4GB to make everything run that little bit faster. Four gigs great, eight gigs better!
Sony CyberShot T700
If we’re out in the countryside then the chances are that we’ll take the Nikon, but after a year of weddings I have to confess that I’m a little irritated at lugging a DSLR round social events. The solution? The rather sexy Sony Cybershot T700 â€“ which will slip neatly in my pocket and not embarrass me when it emerges.
My old Samsung has served me well, but it’s coming around to the time that I start to look a little enviously at the newer TVs. There’s a whole raft of televisions likely to arrive at CES in January, but I’ll happily plump for this awesome 42-inch LG 200Hz screen with 4 HDMIs for all my high-def kit for right now!
Read TechRadar’s LG 42SL8000 review
TechRadar’s Deputy Editor doesn’t like people who refer to Christmas generically as “the holidays”. Or the bastardisation of Christmas as Xmas. Or Argos as its Christmas ads appear too early on TV. But he does like presents. And you can buy him one of these!
Samsung N510 netbook
I really like the Samsung X-Series range, but I think I’ll plump for the N510 with its Nvidia Ion chip â€“ the HD video performance is decent and the screen looks lovely, though I’ll be installing Windows 7 on top of XP straight away. I also like the keyboard. Yes, that really is something I value!
An honourable mention must also go to the Acer Ferrari One 200 â€“ a superb piece of kit running on AMD’s new Vision platform for Â£400.
Read TechRadar’s Samsung N510 review
I’m an iPhoner, but the Hero is an awesome handset that really upped Android’s game. I’m really looking forward to further smartphone wars next year when Android 2.0 emerges. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds in the summer with iPhone v4 â€“ as well as Microsoft with Windows Mobile 7.
Read TechRadar’s HTC Hero review
Samsung UE46B8000 LED TV
I’m a fan of Sony’s MotionFlow tech even if I haven’t been that impressed by some of the HD football I’ve watched on them. Still, I’ll plump for this Samsung LED set with reduced motion blur.
Viewing my Flickr photos on the screen would also be a definite boon.
Read TechRadar’s Samsung UE46B8000 LED TV review
I think I’ll plump for the new 500GB version of this Freeview+ box. Until March I won’t have Freeview, so that means I’m still stuck with just four channels. Really.
I know Paul has asked for Sky+HD – I wouldn’t be that greedy – so I’ll stick with just a PVR and have the Sky sub left in my pocket for a few pints down the pub during the footy. As the Premier League is too stingy to let the BBC put Match of the Day on iPlayer I’ll finally be able to record it instead.
Read TechRadar’s Humax PVR9300T review
Canon Digital IXUS 100IS
This chap isn’t exactly range-topping, but I love the IXUS range and broke my last one last year. We’ve reviewed the 120IS but the reason I really want the 100IS is that it has that old chestnut â€“ a viewfinder. In low light, it’s something I still really value on a digital compact.
As TechRadar’s Reviews Editor, James Rivington is a spoilt little brat. He wants one of everything for Christmas, but promises he’ll settle merely for one each of these…
Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX6090
The Kuro plasma TV is the tech world’s most endangered species. Pioneer stopped making these tellies nearly a year ago now, so the stocks out there are running excruciatingly thin.
Needless to say, this will definitely be the last Christmas when you’ll be able to buy one of these brand new. The LX6090 was the best of the Kuro bunch â€“ it’s still probably the best TV in the world. And if I had the money, I’d be snapping one up before it’s too late.
Read TechRadar’s Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX6090 review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
I want to take photos that look like they were snapped with great skill using a great DSLR. But I want to do it with no skill whatsoever, and I want to do it with a compact camera that’ll fit in a pocket. In short, I want a miracle â€“ which is exactly what the Panasonic Lumix GF1 is.
Read TechRadar’s Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 review
The phone I’m currently using â€“ which shall remain nameless â€“ is driving me up the wall. It’s still being advertised as a super-fast touchscreen wonder, but actually it’s just a brick with benefits. So I want an Android phone â€“ and the Hero is the obvious choice, because it’s brilliant, and it’s not an iPhone.
Read TechRadar’s HTC Hero review
Sony PS3 Slim 250GB
I already have a PS3 at home, but I’ll admit to considering an upgrade. The slimmer, more power efficient innards make for a quieter console which is my only real issue with the original PS3. Watching DVDs on it (with upscaling enabled) for longer than 10 minutes leads to some serious 360-esque fan noise. So a quieter PS3 with more storage and a slimmer chassis is very tempting. Want.
Read TechRadar’s Sony PS3 Slim 250GB review
ATI Radeon HD 5870
The thing about gaming PCs is that they’re never good enough. I have a Core i7 rig which I don’t need. And it’s got a pretty decent GeForce GTX285 card in it â€“ which I don’t need. Yet, as is always the case, when something new comes out, I want it. And currently, the 5870 is the card to have. Give me.
Read TechRadar’s ATI Radeon HD 5870 review
All Gareth wants for Christmas is a big white sheet, a large slab of glass and plastic, tiny bits of metal and a magic picture-making box. That’s normal, right?
Metroplan Eyeline Cool white Manual Wall Screen Projection screen
2009 has once again been about HD – but the thing is we’re now so tooled up for hi-def shenanigans we forget about the other more important stuff.
Having invested in a decent HD projector, I’m losing most of the detail when throwing the image on any old wall, so it’s important to make the most of this cool tech by having a great screen to display images on too.
This might not be everyone’s choice, but it’s the businessman’s iPhone for sure. The screen is massive, the processor so fast it makes your eyes bleed a little and the sheer volume of functionality is mind boggling.
Sure, Windows Mobile is still lagging behind most other operating systems in terms of usability, but that hasn’t stopped HTC customising it to within an inch of its life and making it a very slick device indeed.
Read TechRadar’s HTC HD2 review
Sennheiser MX W1
Bluetooth technology might be cool, but sound quality can be lost. I want these little ear buds because a) they stop you garrotting yourself on the commute to work thanks to no wires and b) the sound quality is so good you might need to stop and take a moment in the middle of your favourite Girls Alou… Pixies track.
They’re so teeny that I’ll blatantly lose them in a heartbeat… but that’s one train ride I’ll savour.
Packard Bell dot m/u
I love netbooks – their shape and size, that is. The innards I like a bit less, given that if you ask your average unit to do more than start up it slinks into a corner, whimpering at the thought of multi-tasking.
The new breed of ultra-portable laptops makes things a little easier – dual core processing, 3GB of memory and a well-spaced keyboard make the whole experience almost desktop-like, while maintaining the bag-friendly form factor.
I’m a complete novice when it comes to cameras – ergo I love one that makes it look like I know what I’m doing.
Apart from having a real decent feature set (that I’d OBVIOUSLY learn to use and would never just rely on ‘Auto’ all day long) it has important things like Live View and a big screen – I like/need to be able to see what I’m taking, as there’s no way I’ll ever be good enough to just snap and be sure I’ve taken a decent pic.
Read the techRadar Sony a350 review
Cinema viewing in the home, fake guitars and a smidgen of mind control, here’s News Writer Marc Chacksfield’s definitive tech Christmas listâ€¦
Star Wars Brain Training game
Just like Silent Bob in Mallrats, I’ve on occasion wanted to prime my brain with some Jedi mind powers, so a game that lets you control things Derren Brown style was always going to be on my Christmas list.
Okay, so it may just involve a wireless headset, a ball and a tube, but as it locks into your brainwaves this could possibly be the coolest game ever. Eat that Bucking Bronco!
Sony BDP-760 Blu-ray player
It used to be that when anyone asked which Blu-ray player to buy you would point them to a PS3, but Sony has really turned things around with the BDP-760, creating a decent BD machine without a PlayStation logo in sight.
With premium audio and video, a speedy start-up â€“ which quickly sorts out even the most Java-heavy discs â€“ and wireless web connectivity, the BDP-760 is one very special stocking filler.
Read TechRadar’s Sony BDP-760 Blu-ray player review
Rarely does a television come on to the market which changes the whole way you view the home cinema experience, but Philips managed it with the 21:9.
Creating a TV screen around the native aspect ratio of movies is a no-brainer, so it’s a shock that it’s never been done before.
Will other manufacturers follow suit? Probably not, but that makes the 21:9 an even more desirable, if rather expensive, gift for the festive season.
Read TechRadar’s Philips 21:9 review
Logitech Black Edition Guitar Controller
Playing Guitar Hero is so addictive that it’s actually taking over the time I used to spend playing the actual guitar. This is rather sad, so the only solution (other than going cold turkey) is to get Logitech Black Edition Guitar Controller, a peripheral that looks just like the real thing.
And, to be honest, pressing four plastic buttons is pretty much akin to the way Status Quo bash out their tunes anyway, so there’s no need to feel too bad that your axe is gathering dust.
Olympus E-P1 Pen camera
Cameras may have come a long way since the Sixties technology-wise but there’s nothing in the current market that can match the rangefinder look that was made famous by David Bailey et al.
Enter the Olympus E-P1. It may not be the cheapest camera on the market but using the Micro Four Thirds technology and aping the style of its Sixties namesake, Olympus has created the ultimate must-have camera which oozes cool.
Read TechRadar’s Olympus E-P1 Pen camera review
Christmas is a time for sharing and what better way to get into the sharing spirit than to buy me one of these for Christmas. Go on, you know you want to!
Philips 21:9 LCD TV
This has got to be the best looking TV ever built and currently the only TV that offers movie fans like me the option of watching films in the aspect ratio they were shot in.
Read TechRadar’s Philips 21:9 LCD TV review
Drobo V2 4-bay storage array
I am possibly one of the weird few that thinks storage is cool, so it’s no wonder the Drobo is in my list of choices. I also have a lot of HDDs lying about so this is perfect for just bunging in some old drives of different capacities and away you go!
Read TechRadar’s Drobo V2 4-bay storage array review
Logitech G27 steering wheel
Being a racing game nut it’s a wonder how I have not bought a steering wheel yet but previous experiences with the cheaper variety have left me wanting more. I recently had a go on one of these bad-boys and the extra outlay really makes the difference!
Windows 7 Ultimate edition
Being a big fan of Windows in general, having this as my main operating system would be a nice change from the years of XP pain I have suffered. And well, lets be honest, if you use your PC to game, then it’s still the platform of choice!
Read TechRadar’s Windows 7 Ultimate edition review
Olympus Mju TOUGH 8000
A solid compact for clipping on to my harness when climbing to get that shot from the top of Cheddar Gorge without the weight being a factor. It may not offer the image quality of a DSLR, but I wouldn’t want to lug one of those heavy beasts all the way to the top of a cliff!
Read TechRadar’s Olympus Mju TOUGH 8000 review
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