Toys and games

Lego Hidden Side£25

A Paranormal Bus 3000 from the Lego Hidden Side range
A Paranormal Bus 3000 from the Lego Hidden Side range. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Lego’s new Hidden Side range mixes the joy of physical toys with smartphone-based augmented reality to bring your creations to life in a whole new way, from shipwrecks to haunted schools.

Sphero Mini£33

Sphero Mini robotic ball
Sphero Mini robotic ball Photograph: Bryan Rowe/Sphero

The smallest, cheapest version of long-time favourite Sphero, this mini robotic ball is great fun to drive, but can be hooked up to the Sphero Edu app for bit of creative learning too.

Hot Wheels ID – cars from £7, kits from £90

It’s the Hot Wheels you know and love dragged into the 21st century with smartphone integration for tracking speed, laps and giving cars unique identities thanks to embedded NFC chips.

Nintendo Switch Lite£180

Nintedo Switch Lite
Nintedo Switch Lite Photograph: Nintendo

The cheapest version of the Nintendo Switch is all about solo play, ditching the ability to hook up to the TV in exchange for a cheaper, lighter machine that’s still fantastic.

Oculus Quest£399

This all-in-one headset takes virtual reality to the next level of fun, ditching the cumbersome PC cables while keeping the quality including the Vader Immortal Star Wars experience and the must-play Beat Saber.

Health and fitness

Xiaomi Mi Band 4£35

Cheap but fully-featured, the Mi Smart Band 4 ticks all the boxes with heart rate monitor, 50 metres water resistance, OLED screen and vibrates for alerts.

Withings Body+ smart scales£90

Keep track of not only your weight but your BMI, hydration levels, fat percentage and muscle and bone mass, all synchronised to your phone for easy logging for up to eight people.

Withings Sleep£100

Sleep is essential to your health and wellbeing. Understanding your restful – or not so – nights is a lot easier with good data from a sensor you simply slip under your mattress for automatic tracking and advice.

Garmin Forerunner 235£150

One of the best dedicated running watches available has dropped in price since it was replaced by the Forerunner 245, making it a reasonable buy at less than £200.

Apple Watch Series 5£399

Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The king of smartwatches covers practically every base on health, plus all-day battery life and comfort, great notifications and a plethora of straps, colours and watch faces.


Marshall Major III Bluetooth£70

They sound great, the look fab, they last a long time, they fold up for travel and have both great controls and rock-solid Bluetooth, at £70 the Major III Bluetooth are a bargain.

Samsung Galaxy Buds£110

Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds Photograph: Samsung

The Galaxy Buds started the year as the best true wireless earbuds for most people and at a smidgen over £100 they’re still good value. They’re comfortable, sound great, last long enough and have a nice compact case.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT£160

A Bluetooth update to the legendary Audio-Technica M50x, loved by sound engineers everywhere, is an instant classic – they sound great, last ages and are robust enough to survive the daily grind.

Apple AirPods Pro£249

The AirPods Pro tick practically every box: sound good, last long enough, great case and surprisingly effective noise cancelling – so good actually buying them may be a challenge.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700£270

Want the best noise cancelling headphones in a sleek new design? The new Bose are brilliant, just forget about the overly clunky name.


Amazon Fire HD 8£80

Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet
Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet Photograph: Amazon

If you want a tablet for watching video that won’t break the bank, but will go the distance, the Fire HD 8 is a bargain at £80 – or £150 for the more powerful 10in version.

Amazon Echo Dot£25

Alexa’s great for quick tasks from finding out the football scores, setting timers and controlling smart lights to just playing the radio. Google’s Nest Mini £34 is better if your life is already all-Google.

Kindle Paperwhite£119

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The latest Paperwhite is water resistant, easy to hold and read with a crisp, front-lit screen that’s only beaten by devices twice the price.

Apple iPad£350

The iPad is the champion of tablets with wider service and app support than any other. £350 from Apple, £300 elsewhere buys the entry-level 10.2in version which is plenty good enough for watching video and playing games.

Apple iPhone 11£729

If you’re buying a phone for someone else you can’t go far wrong with the iPhone 11 with a good camera, iPhone-style and long battery life.

Digital – instant delivery

Gift an app, game, track, book or movie from iTunes – 99p

Apple is your friend for very last-minute purchases as you can gift practically anything from the App Store, iTunes Store of Books app, starting from as little as 99p and delivered by email instantly or on a scheduled date.

Vanity URL - from £1

With a little bit of cyber DIY, anyone can have their very own website on a custom URL. Once registered, services such as Tumblr allow you to use a custom URL for free, making a blog an affordable reality

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate£1

Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft Xbox One Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Microsoft’s “Netflix for games” gives access to more than 100 games for a £10.99 a month, but can be bought for £1 to start with and gifted instantly through Microsoft’s store.


Books are great, but what about something a bit different. Through Amazon’s comiXology service you can gift graphic novels, with classics such as Alan Moore’s Watchmen just £3 at the moment – recently turned into a hit HBO/Sky show.

Spotify – £10

If picking the right song or album sounds challenging, you can buy Spotify gift vouchers which are good for both new accounts and existing Premium accounts. £10 a month or £99 for a year.


Martin Scorsese’s movie The Irishman on Netflix.
Martin Scorsese’s movie The Irishman on Netflix. Photograph: AP

Give the gift of access to one of the largest and best streaming services available and instantly watch Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman or the brilliant Final Space.

LastPass Premium$36 (£27.35)

Give the gift of better security and remove the headache of trying to remember all those logins with a password manager such as LastPass. It might sound boring but they’ll thank you later.

• This article was amended on 20 December 2019 because Amazon gift cards cannot be used to pay for Prime subscriptions in the UK


Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

The GuardianTramp

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