What Stuff wants for Christmas

Just what does a tech writer's letter to Santa look like?

What Stuff wants for Christmas

What do you buy the person who has everything?

Ok, so clearly we're very much not the people who have everything, but us tech writers do get to play with loads of cool gadgets over the course of a year, and those of us who live our jobs (all of us) end up buying loads of stuff, too, justifying it to ourselves as being vital to our work. Yeah, we lie to ourselves all the time.

Having been surrounded by gadgets all year round is there one that stands out as being a must-have Christmas present? Or perhaps the last thing my colleagues want for Christmas is a gadget. I decided to do some asking around to find out. Who knows? Perhaps Santa Claus will read this...

Fraser MacDonald - Consulting Editor


Addictaball, £13

With the minimum of research I bought this brightly-coloured maze thing last year for a friend's child. Long after the child had gone to bed, us adults were still passing this analogue thing about and trying to get the ball further into its flummoxing innards.

Christmas dinner was eaten in bursts, in between goes. The Muppet Christmas Carol was on the TV, but largely ignored. Eventually, I had to leave having only got round a third of the maze. And now I want my own.

Buy the Addictaball on Firebox

Mark Wilson - Features Editor

Waterfi iPod Shuffle

Waterfi iPod Shuffle, £120

What I'd really like for Christmas is a time machine back to 2005. But that's not the only reason an iPod Shuffle's at the top of my list. This one's a special waterproof version with matching, short-corded headphones.

It's not that I'm really pessimistic about next year's weather, more that I'm in serious need of a boost to my plateauing swimming motivation. My hope is that masking the sound of my increasingly desperate gasping with 2GB of music and podcasts will see me breeze through the lengths in a serene, trance-like state.

There are alternative, headphone-free players that work via bone conduction, but they all look like Rio's MP3 players from the 90s, and I like plugging my ears when swimming anyway. Let's just hope my extra post-Christmas 'ballast' doesn't sink me before it works its magic.

Buy the Waterfi iPod Shuffle on Amazon

Esat Dedezade - Deputy Features Editor

A cat

A cat, £various

This Christmas, I would like Santa to bring me a cat. The colour and breed are both irrelevant really - as a long as there’s a playful fluffy kitten waiting for me on the 25th, ready and willing to cause chaos and chase a red laser dot, I’ll be more than happy.

...or a Braun 9095cc, £198

The chances of me getting my own little death machine are slim though, so I suppose I’ll have to settle for something a little more conservative, like an electric shaver. I’ve been using a Philips one for years, but I’ve recently been tempted by Braun’s latest series 9 flagship. It promises to cut more hair, more comfortably, than any other shaver, and if it delivers, I might spend 2016 looking just that little bit smarter.

And if all else fails, a KFC loyalty card and a box of Lucky Charms cereal will do me just fine. I’m really not that fussy.

Buy the Braun 9095cc on Amazon

Marc McLaren - Editor

Sky-Watcher Skyhawk-1145P Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope

​Sky-Watcher Skyhawk-1145P Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope, £120

​Having spent much of my spare time over the past four years taking pictures of really small things due to a fledgling fascination with macro photography (and my young daughters), I've decided to give the other end of the scale a go next year.

So this Christmas, what I really want Santa to bring me* is a telescope. I then want to hook it up to my camera and take photos of the stars.

The only problem is that I have no idea yet how to do this. It turns out star-gazing is an incredibly complicated hobby, with three main classes of telescopes and a massive difference in price range. And that's before I even get on to the complicated business of how I connect my camera.

Anyway, I've been reading up on it a bit and have established that a) most telescopes are a little out of my price range (ie about £2000 out of my price range) and b) I have a lot to learn about the whole business.

For that reason, I've decided to take the easy option and buy a beginner's 'scope: namely the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk-1145P. It's available for not much more than £100, is aimed squarely at those starting out in astronomy and won a Sky At Night group test. That's good enough for me.

* OK, yeah. I'll be buying it for myself really.

Buy the ​Sky-Watcher Skyhawk-1145P Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope from Wex Photographic

Me - Deputy Editor

Wahoo Kickr Snap

Wahoo Kickr Snap, £500

I'm really hoping Santa's got deep pockets this year, because my triathlon training needs a serious kick up the saddle.

I've been dabbling in three-discipline racing for three years now, but 2015 was a big step backwards. I could say I've been busy, that I've travelled a lot for work, that the stars weren't aligned, but the long and short of it is that I've not trained enough this year and my race time was embarrassing. The Kickr Snap is the solution.

I've tried one of these at home this year and it's brilliant. This is an indoor turbo trainer that you click your existing bike into, but unlike many (cheaper) alternatives, it's connected to the mains so that resistance can be altered as you ride. Combine it with Zwift, which is basically a multiplayer cycling simulator, and you can race around exotic locations all over the world against people from all over the world, with every hill being recreated with physical resistance. Most crucially, there's nothing that motivates you to push harder than a good old fashioned race against a real person.

Of course, it could end up in a cupboard by 5th January, but I'm prepared to take that risk with Santa's cash.

Buy the Wahoo Kickr Snap from Wiggle

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