Gadgets for Christmas

2013-12-23 10:00

iPad Air

From R6?500 | apple.com/za

The iPad has become the ultimate Christmas gift for the modern age. It is loved by all age groups, from game-playing kids to crossword-completing pensioners.

It’s the best portable device for reading the web, playing games, making music, seeing the stars in the night sky or reading PDFs sent from work. The newly renamed Air is lighter (469g) than the regular-sized original iPad (601g), but has the same 24.6cm touch screen we’ve all grown to love.

The new iPad Mini with retina display (from R5?000 for

the 16GB, Wi-Fi model) is arguably the better of the two sizes, being lighter (331g) and having only a marginally smaller screen (20cm). Either model is the best present to give or receive this Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

From R2?200 | amazon.com

We recommended it last year and probably will every year from now on. The Paperwhite is the best Kindle ever, and with this year’s upgrades, which make it 25% faster, it’s worth buying even if you already have one.

The sixth generation of the ultimate digital reading device has a higher contrast than the previous Paperwhite (fifth generation, which emerged this time last year), better page-flipping and a more responsive touch screen – all while weighing just 206g.

The Fire HD 8.9 (from R4?000) is a colour Kindle that runs Android, but is more like a regular tablet.

If reading is your thing, then the Paperwhite is the ultimate gadget for you.

PlayStation?4

R6?300 | za.playstation.com

Sony’s newest piece of gaming hardware is a beast of a console, as evidenced by the fact that it sold out in South Africa soon after its launch.

There’s a good reason for that, and a lack of variety in the launch games doesn’t disguise the fact that Sony’s PS4 is going to blow your mind with its visuals and features. Installing games are mandatory but silent, installing as you play without interrupting the experience.

Online updates are handled in the same way. The PlayStation?4 drops most of the media player functions that you may be familiar with, like the ability to stream from a home network.

But the trade-off is a machine that is solely built for high-end gaming.

Samsung F9000

UHD TV

From R60?000?| samsung.co.za

The Samsung F9000 series TV set is just what everyone has been waiting for?–?but not everyone will be able to afford it. The reason you’re paying more than R60?000 for a TV is because of that crystal-clear 4K panel that looks less like a display and more like a window into a world with better resolution than the one we inhabit.

The 140cm version of the F9000 is a truly smart TV, offering network and internet access to homes that have their wireless access sorted out. The embedded camera and voice sensor give users gesture and vocal control over their viewing.

And, of course, it has some of the best 3D playback you’ll ever see. It’s just a pity that 4K video content is as scarce as it is, but hey, Samsung’s best panel is future-proof.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition

From R6?500 | gopro.com

There are action cams and then there’s the GoPro, the go-to camera for all your extreme needs. The revamped Hero3+ Black Edition offers substantial upgrades over the standard Hero3, including 4K video recording, while improving on the Hero3’s battery life.

The changes are more incremental than most hardware updates, meaning that it’s not a compelling buy if you already have the Hero3.

But if you’re looking to upgrade to something smaller, lighter, faster and smarter from the Hero or Hero2 action camera, the compact Hero3+ Black Edition is the camera to have as you ramp your bike off a vertical ramp or dodge sharks while surfing at the Wild Coast this festive season?–?if only for insurance purposes.

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