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November 25, 2010

Christmas present ideas: 2010

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by Brian Turner

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat - and finding ideas for Christmas presents for everyone this year could prove just as challenging as any other year.

Have no fear, Techwatch is here with some personal recommendations to help you along with your Christmas shopping.


The 80′s are back!

1980′s retro stuff is back in, and there are loads of simple but entertaining 80′s presents you can buy your auntie/uncle/mum/dad/granny.

So You Think You Know The 80s and TV Trivia Quiz - 80s are definitely worth considering - whether you want to join in or just distract them to get some peace is entirely up to you!

Even better for a laugh though would be a bit of humour, such as The Crap Old Days, which takes a funny look at the late 70′s and early 80′s without the rose tinted spectacles.

Great for bringing back memories and bringing on laughs with its sharp observational wit (and the early entry about Action Man is especially priceless).


PS3 Move/Xbox Kinect

This year has seen Sony and Microsoft playing catch up after the massive success of the Nintendo Wii.

Now the PS3 and Xbox have seen the launch of their own motion controllers to make gaming - especially among friends or family - especially fun.

The Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move controllers are definitely worth considering as presents - for yourself, for the kids, for the family.

There are also a number of games on release at the moment, not least Black Ops 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and Gran Turismo 5.

Certainly the games market is looking anything but dull.



Mobile phones

Time for a new mobile phone?

The mobile operators certainly seem to think so, with 3 mobile, T-mobile and Orange all launching a raft of new consumer offers for Christmas.

O2 also has some nice sim-free phone tariff‘s available.

This is not least for the Apple iPhone, with a variety of tariffs offered now that it’s no longer tied.

There are also the HTC Wildfire and Blackberry Curve to consider - not forgetting of course the classic Nokia N8.

However, there are loads of other options out there, so if you were considering a new mobile as a gift, there is plenty of choice on the market at the moment.



Kids toys

Children are generally pretty easy to buy for, and this year is no exception.

While there are a few new novelty toys for this year’s Christmas market - not least Buzz Lightyear - it’s hard to go wrong with the basics.

Play toys, educational toys, and art materials, all continue to be popular with my own children, and this is what Santa will tend to his in his sack this year for them.

A couple of special bargains I’ve found on Amazon especially:

1. Kids microscope - less then a tenner, and loads of positive reviews, not least for its longevity,

2. Crystals set - something for boys or girls, that offers potential educational value,

3. Magic Tree crystal growing kit - another nice educational present, for less than a fiver

There are also other toys obviously being sought after this Christmas.

We’ve seen Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster come up on the younger girl’s list, obviously this year’s novelty, though positively reviewed overall excepting for the high price plastic play sets.

And of course there are various Nintendo DS games - the latest one we’ve been asked for is Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs. The title may be over-the-top, but the Pokemon franchise is still running strong.

Finally, we find Lego remains a timeless favourite for any age. And then there are the basic stocking fillers.



Blu Ray & DVD

2010 has been a pretty decent year for film releases, not least because Blu-ray won the “next format” war, resulting in a load of new and older films hitting the Blu-ray trail.

There have also been a string of decent new releases on Blu-ray, including Iron Man 2, extended Avatar, Sex and the City, plus new Disney releases such as Beauty and the Beast and Fantasia..

There is also a whole slew of the big film back catalogue being put into the higher-definition format, though do watch out that this is achieved with only varying degrees of success.

Still, if you haven’t yet jumped onto the Blu-ray band wagon, or you’re still holding onto your existing DVD collection, it’s certainly worth considering the move to Blu-ray.

This is especially as there are now a range of cheap Blu-ray players available on the market, so cost is no longer so much of an issue.

Even more good news is that many new and re-releases on Blu-ray are now priced at a similar level to DVD’s, and there are a range of Blu-ray film bargains to be found.

Merry Christmas!

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