In the market for a knockout gift for that tech-fixated special someone? Here's our run-down of the finest novelties, smartphones, tablets and accessories of the last 12 months.
1 Flux Capacitor car charger
In the exciting-presents stakes, in-car smartphone chargers don't usually place much higher than socks and slippers. But as the Back to the Future's Flux Capacitor model proves, not all in-car chargers are created equal.
It might not be as attention-grabbing as gullwing doors and the Delorean's 'stainless style', silver finish. But it’s still a class apart from other chargers and supports a slew of iOS and Android devices.
Plutonium not included.
2 HD Dashboard Camera
Crashes for cash have hit epidemic levels on UK roads, a recent study revealed.
The HD Dashboard Camera provides a sheen of protection from insurance scammers and shysters by giving you crystal clear, 1080 full HD video footage and admissible evidence of accidents.
With up to 32GB of expandable memory via microSD card support, it also features a 12-megapixel camera for capturing stills and a 2.7-inch LCD Display so you can watch your recordings in your vehicle.
Until black box recorders come to motor vehicles, this is the closest we’ve got. And could even result in your insurance provider cutting premiums in line with the extra layer of proof you can now proffer.
3 Tesco Hudl 2
High-end Android tablets have proved a hard sell in a market willed into life and created by the original iPad.
But it’s at the cheaper end where Android rules the roost. And that’s thanks to the efforts of retailers with their loss-leading devices.
For a very reasonable £129 outlay, the Tesco Hudl gets you an impressively sized 8.3-inch 1080p HD screen, a durable family-friendly shell, Android 4.4 out of the box and a sinewy 1.83 GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor.
That’s a whole lot of tablet for the money. Better still, though, is that although there are some handy Tesco apps pre-installed, overt Tesco branding has been kept to a minimum.
If you’re really on a budget and you’re fast, you might still be able to snap up last year’s version of the Hudl for just £79.
4 Mr Ghost EMF Detector For iPhone
So you’ve had cockles warmed by the Ghostbusters cast-revival episode of Today. And you’ve already bought that natty Lego kit of the Ecto 1. But have you got an EMF Detector for your iPhone?
This pleasingly lo-fi looking appendage teams with a dedicated app and detects electromagnetic radiation from spooks (and gadgets, obvs).
If you're the Keymaster and you've mislaid your Gatekeeper this could be a boon.
Non-believer? You can amuse yourself (and others) and get some use out of the Ghost Detector by checking levels of radiation emanating from gadgets around your home.
5 iPhone 6
On release, the iPhone 6 certainly wasn't perfect.
Apple’s glitch-ridden iOS 8 software, which caused battery-life issues, borked Bluetooth and patchy connectivity, saw to that.
But then iOS 8.1 dropped and delivered fixes for all the above.
The result is that we can appreciate everything that’s good about Apple’s handset.
And once you start looking, there really is quite a lot to appreciate.
For starters, Ive’s redesign instantly makes older-gen, smaller iPhones look instantly superannuated.
Then there's the handset's sleek dimensions, lush build quality and the Reachability feature, which facilitates one-handed use and means you get everything that’s good about larger smartphones while doing away with the bugbears.
Throw in the promising Health app, fun time lapse and 240fps slow motion video recording modes and a more powerful A8 processor and you’ve got the best iPhone so far.
6 Samsung Galaxy Note 4
In a year when Samsung dropped the ball with the Galaxy S5, the well received Note 4, and to a lesser extent the HTC One M8, ensured 2014 didn’t belong to Apple alone.
We liked the switch to more premium materials, with a metal frame and leather-finish rear panel combining to dispel memories of previous-gen models' cheap plastic constructions. And the crisper 5.7-inch QHD screen is a delight.
The camera’s been upgraded from 13 megapixels to 16 megapixels too, while the Fast Charge feature, that lets you charge your handset to up to 50%, goes a long way to addressing the longevity problems that have blighted smartphones for too long.
7 Otterbox Defender case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
There are protective cases and then there are Otterbox protective cases.
Fashioned from three layers of polycarbonate with a hardy silicon coating (and girders, adamantium and old boots, probably), it’s the most robust handset case we’ve come across.
8 Cat Scratching DJ Deck
Give your soft furnishings a deserved break from busy claws with this Hip-Hop-flavoured take on a scratching post.
Tone arms and deck plate come as standard. But if you want a copy of Double Dee and Steinski’s Mastermixes private pressing on vinyl for your pet to practice with, you’re going to shell out extra.
Cool for cats, indeed.
9 Google Chromecast
Google’s Chromecast looks like nothing more exciting than a memory stick/USB dongle.
But plug it into your TV and this £30 smart-stick means you can cast whatever you’re watching on your smartphone or tablet onto your TV.
It’s a gadget that really comes into its own at one of the few times of year when families actually gather around old-fashioned cathode ray tubes for Christmas movies and the newly minted tradition of Elf Sunday.
And it's also pretty handy for those times when a 10-inch tablet screen just doesn’t do justice to the widescreen blockbuster you want to watch.
10 Go Pro Hero 4
Go Pro cameras are ace. But with the top-of-the-range editions going for £300 they’re no-one’s idea of cheap.
The Go Pro Hero is an entry-level model. For £99 you get an on-the-go device capable of lush 4K footage, as well as x2 the dynamic range of earlier models for much better sound quality. Plus, there’s a 12-megapixel snapper for static images too.
At that price, it's also not the end of the world if your wearable camera falls victim to a mishap while you’re doing something macho and dangerous.