Top 20 Gadgets to check out this Christmas

tech-giftChristmas is upon us once again. While the festive season is a great time to spend with family and friends it can be a bit of a stressful time when it comes to purchasing the perfect gift. Throughout 2014, IT News Africa has reviewed as well as tested out a host of mobile devices, gadgets, and other devices.

As experts within the tech industry, we have picked out the Top 20 Gadgets to check this Christmas. These devices are available throughout Africa as well as around the world, and can be found at most retailers.

In non-ranking order, you can find our top 20 gadgets to check out this Christmas guide below:

Gadgets & Devices

huawei-ascend-p71. Huawei Ascend P7 Smartphone
The Ascend P7 is most definitely a beautiful device, especially with its glossy back cover and aluminum sides; however, looks are not the only attractive feature of this device.

The Ascend P7 smartphone is powered by a 1.8GHz Huawei Kirin 910T ere’quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and also includes 16GB of flash storage. While storage is limited to 16GB, this can be extended upon with a MicroSD card.

According to Huawei, the device can take a MicroSD card that has a storage capacity of up to 64GB in size. Keeping things up and running is the 2500mAh lithium battery. The battery life of the Huawei Ascend P7 is pretty standard; however, it does last longer than most devices on the market.

HTC One M8 Review

2. HTC One M8 Smartphone
The HTC One M8 comes with Android KitKat 4.4.2, which is a significant improvement over the previous versions of Android that we have had the chance to experience with other smartphones.

To power the operating system, the HTC One M8 features a quad core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor as well as 2GB of RAM. The device also features an impressive 4.7 inch Super LCD3 display, which is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

To accompany the truly impressive display, the HTC One M8 comes with two perfectly placed “BoomSound” speakers. The two speakers are located on the top and bottom of the front end of the device. This is done in order to direct the sound towards you, and not away from you like some devices that feature rear facing speakers.

Acer K135 Review3. Acer K135 LED Projector
Weighing in at 430 grams, the Acer K135 LED Projector is light enough to carry on either extended business trips or while moving from room to room within the comfort of your own home. When it comes to size, the projector is quite literally pocket sized, which means that it won’t take up too much space in a laptop bag.

When it comes to corporate use, the K135 LED Projector’s bright 500 Lumens Lamp performs rather well. Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentation can be seen clearly especially when displaying content in High-Definition. While the K135 projector performs well in most environments, much like most projectors, it does however need a semi dark environment in order to showcase its full potential.

When it comes to entertainment, the darker the environment the better. While the projector won’t entirely replace your entire home entertainment centre, it is a fantastic luxury to have… especially when you feel the need to turn your home into your own private cinema this festive season.

BlackBerry Z3 Review

4. BlackBerry Z3 Smartphone
The BlackBerry Z3 is attractive in design, functionality as well as pricing. While most smartphones come with a RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of around R6000 to R12000, the BlackBerry Z3 is priced at a cool R3000.

The device comes with an entry-level Snapdragon 400 dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, which is accompanied by 1.5GB of RAM. Furthermore, the Z3 packs in a 5 megapixel rear facing camera as well as a 1.1 megapixel front facing camera.

While the device has a rather low storage capacity of 8GB, you can however expand on this, up to 32GB of storage space, via the device’s MicroSD slot.

Alcatel5. Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha
The Idol Alpha is one of the thinnest devices we have come across in while. It is 7.5mm thick and weighs in at 177.4 grams.

While it is probably one of the thinnest phones on the market it is most definitely not the smallest. Overall the Idol Alpha is 138 x 66.6 x 7.5mm, which means that it will fit in just about any pocket with ease.

For the ladies, the Idol Alpha is one phone that won’t be a chore to find in your handbag.

Overall, the Idol Alpha is a sexy, sleek and sophisticated looking device that is solid and reliable in design.

Canon 70D6. Canon EOS 70D
One of the great features of the EOS 70D is its size. It’s incredibly compact for an SLR, and will comfortably fit into any bag if a dedicated camera bag isn’t used.

With a body size of 139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5mm, it weighs around 700g. That might sound like a lot, but for a digital camera, it has extremely manageable proportions.

As with most Canon products, users know that they will be getting a quality device that aims to deliver the best pictures possible. Well, the 70D certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Garmin's Virb Elite action HD camera (image: Garmin)

7. Garmin Virb Elite
The first thing that users will notice is that the Garmin Virb Elite in itself is larger than the GoPro, but this isn’t a bad thing.

The size allows the device to still be operated with a single hand, and also provides a better housing for added functionality.

Taking 16MP still pictures is an absolute breeze, as users just have to press a single button without having set up the device first.

Changing to video is just as easy, as the device has a big switch on the left side that just needs to be pushed forward to start the filming process. Perfect for filming that Christmas get together.

Xbox One South Africa8. Xbox One
Microsoft’s latest gaming console has been out for sometime now; however, with Christmas just around the corner it may be the ideal gift for the family.

Additionally, while the console has already been around for sometime now, there are plenty of games to pick for the console as we head into 2015.

Some exclusive titles to look out for the Xbox One include: Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising 3, Halo The Master Chief Collection, Forza, Project Spark, and many more.

PS4 20th Anniversary console
PS4 20th Anniversary console (Image Source: Sony PlayStation)

9. PlayStation 4
The PlayStation 4 is also a great option when it comes to gaming. The console has also been out for quite sometime and also has a host of games on the retail shelves at the moment.

Additionally, there are plenty of great titles coming out in 2015, which makes both consoles an ideal gift for the festive season.

Sony has also revealed the PlayStation 4 20th anniversary console. The console has been designed to look similar to the very first PlayStation 1 console that entered our lives back in 1994.

According to Sony, only 12,300 of the consoles will be released worldwide; however, the company has not yet stated how consumers can get there hands on the console as of yet. However, according to Sony, all details will be revealed soon.

MTN Steppa Tablet SA10. MTN Steppa Tablet
The MTN Steppa Tablet is ideal for consumers who want Internet and e-mail access, yet cannot afford a full-featured PC or notebook, the Steppa Tablet features a 7-inch 1024×600 pixel screen, the latest Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) operating system and 3,500mAh battery to keep the tablet powered for longer.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor powers the Steppa Tablet, designed to deliver a balance of performance, robust connectivity and better battery life. he Steppa Tablet comes with an impressive list of built-in apps, allowing users to keep up with news, entertainment and sport, maintain social profiles on Facebook and Twitter, stay in touch with contacts via popular messaging services like WhatsApp, download games, search online via Google search, browse videos on YouTube and navigate with Google Maps.

Sony Xperia Z311. Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone
The Xperia Z3 is the premium dual SIM smartphone that does more and goes further. Furthermore, the device compliments the PlayStation 4 as it can be connected to console’s remote play app. This will allow you to keep your game going when your primary TV is in use.

Delivering the highest waterproof rating, according to Sony, so you can take your Z3 or Z3 Compact with you wherever you go – whether you’re answering a call in the rain or taking pictures in the pool.

Beautiful design is matched with powerful performance thanks to the fully integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU with 4G LTE modem for lightning fast browsing, immersive multimedia experiences and stunning visuals.

Tom Tom Golfer12. TomTom Golfer
If you are planning to hit the golf course this festive then be sure to check out the TomTom Golfer.

The TomTom Golfer is a GPS sports watch designed to make it easy for golfers to improve their game. The device offers unique course graphics and clearly show accurate distances to hazards and layups, and the best approach to the green.

Course updates are delivered wirelessly via a unique smartphone app, so golfers can trust they are playing with the most up-to-date course information.

ASus Fonepad 7 Tablet13. Fonepad 7 Tablet
The Fonepad 7 Tablet offers 3G connectivity and the calling features of a smartphone with the hybrid style of a 7-inch Android tablet.

The Fonepad 7 Tablet also comes equipped with a Dual-core 1.6 GHz Intel processor and 1GB RAM. According to Asus, the device also features a 7-inch HD (1280×800) IPS panel with 178 degree viewing angles.

The Fonepad 7 Tablet also has two integrated cameras. These include a 1.2 MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear facing camera.

The device is available in Uganda as well as other African countries.

Samsung Gear S14. Samsung Gear S 3G Smartwatch
Samsung Electronics has removed the wrapping off of the Samsung Gear S 3G Smartwatch. The device features a 3G connection as well as Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.

The device essentially allows users to receive notifications from social networks, calendars and applications without needing to have a mobile device present. While using the device, consumers can utlise the onscreen keyboard or voice commands to control the device.

The Samsung Gear S 3G Smartwatch device can make and receive calls, or get calls forwarded from a Samsung smartphone. The Gear S features a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display and is based on the Tizen mobile operating system. ​The device also includes multi-sensors and built-in GPS to help track a range of health and fitness functions. To add to this, Samsung will also include a wide-range of widgets that can be used on the device.

Power Bank15. Rechargeable Power Bank
In order to keep your devices powered up at all times, a Power Bank Portable Power Supply is a must.

Power Banks come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours; however, always be sure to check whether the power bank is compatible with your device. Especially when it comes to output voltage.

A Power Bank is a great gift, especially when it comes to charging devices like handheld gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets or phablets.

As Stated above, always check the voltage when purchasing a Power Bank, as they come in a wide variety.

huawei_e5151_pocket_wifi16. Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot
To eliminate not having a Wi-Fi connection this festive season a personal Wi-Fi Hotspot comes in as one of the most ideal gadgets to get your hands on this Christmas.

Whether you are staying at home, or traveling down to the coast, you can keep the family online during your travel’s and share your experience via social media.

There are many great personal Wi-Fi hotspots on the market, and some do come package with a data deal. While most personal Wi-Fi hotspots do the job, be sure to check out how many devices the hotspot can be connected to simultaneously.

trakdot17. Luggage Tracker
If you are traveling throughout Africa or internationally throughout the festive season, a luggage tracker will definitely come in handy.

These devices employ newly patented micro-electronics and ground-based cellular telephone technologies to track and report where your luggage is at all times.

While traveling this festive season be sure to visit the beautiful Masai Mara in Kenya, which is home to some of Africa’s most popular wildlife.

There is also nothing like viewing the spectacle that is Victoria Falls located near the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Travel Mug18. USB Travel Mug
Sticking to the topic of travel, nothing is worse than a cold cup of coffee or tea. If your vehicle is fitted with a USB slot, a USB travel mug is ideal for those long trips down to the coast or while traveling throughout Africa.

Furthermore, travel mugs can also be plugged into a personal computer, which means that no matter where you are, as long as you have your laptop on, there is always a hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate waiting around the corner

Additionally, travel mugs come in all different shapes and sizes in order to suit your taste.

Beats by Dr Dre Studio19. Beats by Dr Dre-Studio Edition
Looking for a killer set of headphones this Christmas? Beats by Dr Dre Studio Edition headphones have been precision-engineered and incorporate advanced speaker design.

The headphones also feature powered amplification, and powered noise cancellation.

The Beats by Dr Dre- Studio Headphones will allow you to sit back, relax and hear music the way today’s top artists and producers want you to hear it this festive season.

You can also secretly listen to those Christmas Jingles if you feel the need.

Apple TV20. Apple TV
At IT News Africa, we host loads of events all year round. These include innovation dinners, seminars and even breakfast events. At our events we are always drawn to give away an Apple TV, which makes it one of our ideal gifts to check out this Christmas.

With Apple TV, everything you want to watch — films, some in 1080p, photo slideshows and more — plays wirelessly on your widescreen TV. No managing storage. No syncing to your iTunes library. HD films from iTunes play over the Internet on your HDTV, and music and photos stream from your computer. All you have to do is click and watch.

We hope you have a fantastic festive season.

Darryl Linington