Christmas is quick approaching, and with it comes the problem of seeing what’s on Santa’s record for relations who’re socially distant resulting from regional lockdowns and limitations on interactions.
Regardless of the trials and tribulations 2020 has introduced, come Christmas Day they’ll nonetheless admire presents underneath the tree. So what do you have to get the tech-curious or obsessed in your life?
Preserve scrolling to see our high tech solutions to your family members. We’ve received the small print on tablets for video calls, standard TV streaming providers and PC gaming equipment.
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The distant member of the family
Coronavirus restrictions will in all probability imply lowered journey and lowered numbers across the Christmas tree, so items to assist with household togetherness will probably be necessary for some folks this yr.
For household catch-ups, take into account shopping for them a Facebook Portal (from £129). We’ve been getting fairly comfy with video-calling through the pandemic, however for many who need to keep away from feeling like they’re simply in additional enterprise conferences, Fb’s webcam-enabled system is the best solution to have informal conversations.
There’s a standalone mannequin that appears like a pill, or a model that connects to your TV – clipping to the highest of it relatively like a webcam on a pc monitor.
One in all its benefits is its sensible webcam, which pans and zooms robotically to maintain you in body whilst you chat: useful for those who’re attempting to natter to the household whereas additionally getting ready the turkey.
We’ve gone hands-on with the Fb Portal to see if it’s a great way of maintaining involved together with your family members. To see how we received on, head over to our Facebook Portal first look review.
Movies and TV
In the event that they’re a fan of movies and TV reveals, a subscription to Netflix (from £5.99 a month, netflix.com) or Amazon Prime Video (£79 for a yr) will maintain your far-flung relative entertained over the Christmas holidays.
Or if they like British comedy, drama and documentaries, the brand new streaming service Britbox, a three way partnership from the BBC and ITV, prices £5.99 a month, whereas Disney+, which presents all of the Disney blockbusters, additionally prices £5.99 a month or £59.99 for a yr (disneyplus.com).
Extra of a music fan?
You should buy present playing cards for Spotify, the music-streaming service, by way of PayPal, with one month costing £10, three months for £30 and 6 months for £60.
Uncover the highest choices for music lovers with our professional information on the best music streaming services.
The tech-sceptic senior
They’re not satisfied by the smartphone revolution and would favor a bodily sudoku ebook relatively than an app. However voice calls over the landline aren’t reducing it and the household would love to have the ability to see them nose to nose while you communicate.
Get comfy with a pill
Take into account shopping for your tech-novice giftee an entry-level pill and serving to them set up apps that may construct their confidence with utilizing expertise whereas on the similar time being helpful.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 comes with 32GB of storage – ample area for household pictures, plus a number of video games and apps – however doesn’t value the earth (from £139).
There are some points with maintaining older Android units up to date with the newest safety safety in opposition to viruses. If this can be a concern for you take a look as a substitute on the dearer however longer-lasting iPad Mini (from £399).
You could possibly preload a pill (Android or iPad) with apps they could take pleasure in and discover helpful, such because the Kindle app from Amazon, from which they will purchase ebooks to maintain them entertained, the BBC iPlayer app to meet up with tv programmes they could have missed, plus Skype to allow them to communicate with the remainder of the household. You could possibly additionally add apps reminiscent of Flipboard, which aggregates information sources and pulls them into a sexy magazine-style format – and even add a sudoku app, too.
You could possibly additionally set them up with a free electronic mail account reminiscent of Outlook or Gmail, which can assist them communicate with others, and set up budget-management apps reminiscent of Cash Dashboard or Yolt, which can permit them to maintain observe of their spending and saving.
Or begin with an e book reader
An e book reader, such because the Kindle from Amazon (from £70) couldn’t solely cut back the pile of bodily books on the bedside desk, however make studying simpler on older eyes with its capacity to extend the font dimension. And the truth that it’s much less advanced to make use of, with fewer bells and whistles than a pill, may imply they acquire confidence with it extra shortly.
The tech-curious senior
Your older relative may need been an early adopter of the BBC Micro however has since misplaced contact with the tempo of tech. Maybe they know their manner round their laptop computer and so they like tinkering with tech, however inside cause. They’re the form of one that writes letters utilizing their laptop computer and prints out spare crossword sheets on their printer, however wouldn’t really feel comfy opening up a pc to put in further Ram.
A middle-of-the-range smartphone may swimsuit them properly and assist them to broaden their tech horizons. You wouldn’t need to fork out hundreds for the newest high-end iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, however a Samsung or Motorola cellphone within the £100–£225 vary, or a OnePlus or Google Pixel within the £350 worth bracket is more likely to be ample for his or her wants, whereas nonetheless being updated and highly effective sufficient to run the newest apps. It’s doubtless they’ll desire a utilitarian app reminiscent of Skype to remain in contact, however also can digitise their hobbies in addition to begin doing necessary duties reminiscent of paying payments and checking financial institution statements.
Nevertheless, it’s all the time value guaranteeing anybody beginning to have interaction with expertise on this manner understands the potential dangers and pitfalls concerned in migrating banking and payments on-line. You’ll need to be certain that they’re conscious of the danger of phishing scams, and know to not obtain apps from anyplace apart from official app shops – both the Apple App Retailer for iPhones or iPad, or the Google Play Retailer if the system makes use of Android.
Watch out for those who’re fascinated about shopping for an older smartphone or a second-hand mannequin, as there’s an opportunity the system gained’t be protected in opposition to data-grabbing malware resulting from a scarcity of safety updates.
One space you may need to put money into is an Apple Watch (from £269). The brand new SE mannequin is a cut-price, barely lower-spec model of the glitzy smartwatch, however nonetheless has lots of the principal options you’d need from one thing in your wrist. It’s the sort of present that’s each helpful and fascinating to make use of: maybe they want to have the ability to pull up the household’s shared calendar on their watch when somebody asks what they’re planning subsequent week, for example.
It can be a helpful manner to assist somebody older maintain observe of their motion and basic well being utilizing the built-in apps that monitor steps and burnt energy – however bear in mind that the blood oxygen sensor within the newest Apple Watches are for the dearer fashions of the product, not the SE one. You’ll want an Apple iPhone to pair the smartwatch with, too.
The must-have teenager
Everyone knows the sort. They’re the in-house tech troubleshooter, on the lookout for the newest gizmos. Christmas may be difficult: you need to be sure to’re choosing the right factor from the countless selections with out spending ridiculous quantities of cash (simpler mentioned than achieved).
In case your teen is into gaming, the very first thing they’re more likely to have on the high of their Christmas present is a next-generation console. Each Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Collection X and Collection S are being launched simply earlier than Christmas.
First issues first: it’s value doublechecking which one your teen needs. Players are tribal. Get a Microsoft console for a Sony fan and relatively than gratitude you’ll doubtless be met with a festive mope, regardless of the outlay.
Should you stump up for an Xbox, be sure to get the appropriate one. The Collection X is a higher-powered, bigger machine, however not essentially value the additional cash for informal avid gamers. Relying on the period of time and degree of gaming the recipient is more likely to do, the cheaper, smaller Collection S could possibly be a great choice.
In the event that they’re not into consoles it’s attainable they like PC gaming. Shopping for a gaming PC for another person is a minefield, so we’d counsel some peripherals as a substitute, reminiscent of a gamepad – a controller just like these bought with consoles which have directional buttons and keypad – that plugs into their PC’s USB port.
You could possibly additionally take into account getting them a gaming keyboard and mouse. These look just like a normal keyboard however are made with higher-quality parts, that means they’ve sooner response instances, and are optimised for video games.
Mechanical keyboards, which have precise switches underneath the keys relatively than an digital sensor, are thought of higher for gaming. The Razer Huntsman Elite (£165, razer.com) is way from the most cost effective choice however has a number of the quickest reactions.
A less expensive various at lower than half the worth is the SteelSeries Apex 3 (£60, steelseries.com). It doesn’t permit keys to be reprogrammed, which some avid gamers need, but it surely’s greater than appropriate for dedicated amateurs.
With it, you’ll desire a light-weight, rapid-response mouse: the Logitech G502 Hero (£80, logitechg.com) presents 11 buttons – sufficient to streamline most video games for a devoted participant.
The busy mum or dad
Between the workplace coming dwelling and the on-again, off-again problem of education through the coronavirus restrictions, it looks like there are by no means sufficient hours within the day. There weren’t even earlier than the pandemic struck, however now greater than ever mother and father are juggling household and work life – and with the addition of all of the stresses and strains that 2020 has introduced.
There are a clutch of apps, devices and providers that may attempt to claw again some me-time, and so they can assist you handle your life a bit higher
Take into account the reMarkable pill (from £299), an e-ink digital pill on to which you’ll jot down notes that may be transformed into textual content and shared by way of its companion app. It’s a good way to seize ideas and notes on a tool that isn’t too laborious on the eyes you could later export and share with relations – an enormous enchancment on scrawled notes caught on the fridge door.
A busy mum or dad may need to observe their treasured sleep, and there are a variety of devices to try this, starting from the acquainted Fitbits (from £70) to the marginally extra esoteric Oura ring (from £299). Because the title suggests, it’s a hoop, that means it’s much less cumbersome to put on than a smartwatch or a Fitbit, and it displays your coronary heart price and the way a lot you progress through the evening. The information it collects is displayed by way of its smartphone app, supplying you with insights about the best way to enhance your slumbering hours.
Should you’re feeling beneficiant, a busy mum or dad will admire utilizing their sleep app on a top-of-the-range smartphone: present fashions on the premium finish of the spectrum embrace the Apple iPhone 11 Pro (from £1,049), the Samsung S20 and Note 20 ranges (from £899) and the Google Pixel 5 (£599).
New mother and father
If the busy mum or dad is about to get busier with a brand new child, there’s loads of tech-enabled assist for them to remain sane in a toddler’s early months, too.
The Tommee Tippee Nearer to Nature digital video and motion child monitor is one choice (£55). It’s a reduce above the usual child monitor set: it features a sensor pad positioned within the cot that displays the newborn’s motion, and an infrared evening imaginative and prescient digicam so you may regulate how they’re sleeping.
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