Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: The DJI Phantom 2 is the Tech Toy of the Year

This super-stable drone will turn you into a virtuoso aerial photographer – and you don't even need a pilot's license to take the stick
Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: The DJI Phantom 2 is our tech toy of the year

Technology doesn't have to be serious.

Yes, your new smartphone might be more powerful than last year's model, but what that really means is it gets you to the fun stuff faster. Which gives you more free time to play with, instead of optimising your spreadsheets and actioning those blue-sky initiatives.

And play is the objective word here; these pieces of kit are wholly frivolous, and all the better for it. After all, there's no point being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes. However one bit of kit stood out above the others for its ability to be both lots of fun and very, very useful...

READ MORE: All of the Stuff Gadget Awards 2014 winners

Winner: DJI Phantom 2

DJI Phantom 2

You used to need your own helicopter or a long ladder to have a go at aerial photography– but that was before quadcopters like the Phantom came along. Available in drone-only, Vision or Vision+ flavours, what sets the Phantom apart is how simple it is to fly.

It stabilises itself, hovers in place if you take your hands off the controls and can find its way back to where it took off using GPS. The standard drone can mount an action cam, while the Vision lets you use a phone to stream a drone's-eye view from the 14MP camera (and the Vision+ adds a stabilising gimbal). Whichever model you opt for, for an introduction to the joys of 300-feet-high photography (and something that turns more heads in the park than a kickabout with Messi), it can't be beaten.

READ MORE: DJI Phantom 2 Vision review

Runner-up: Sphero Ollie

Sphero Ollie

"But it isn't a sphere," you say. Indeed not, but while its name may no longer be strictly accurate, the second-generation version of this app-controlled robot can now rocket along at 14mph, bounding and bouncing over rough terrain on its grippy little wheels. Fire up your phone and take it for a spin – you won't regret it.

READ MORE: Sphero launches off-road Ollie robot

Runner-up: Parrot Jumping Sumo

Parrot Jumping Sumo

Having conquered the skies with its quadcopters, Parrot has turned its eyes groundwards, creating this app-controlled wheeled robot that laughs in the face of obstacles. Capable of manic spins and 80cm leaps – it always lands right-way up – the Jumping Sumo is pure, unadulterated, cat-bothering fun.

READ MORE: Hands-on video review: Parrot Jumping Sumo

Runner-up: Anki Drive

Anki Drive

At first glance, Anki Drive looks like an updated version of Scalextric – little cars whizzing about on a race track play mat. Then you realise that they're not on rails; they're driving themselves. Then you realise that you can take control of them using your iOS device and blast your rivals off the track, and it becomes clear exactly what Anki Drive is: a video game that's crossed over into the real world, letting you battle it out with human and AI adversaries in a modern-day version of Roadblasters. Top gear.

READ MORE: Anki Drive revealed at Apple WWDC

Runner-up: BMW C Evolution

BMW C Evolution

Yes, we know: a £13,000 (RM69,610) scooter can only be considered a toy by the sort of decadent oligarch who owns half the oil fields in Kazakhstan. They'd better make the most of it, though, as this battery-powered bike is gunning for their petro dollars. Its 48hp motor delivers instant torque, letting you leave crude petrol-driven vehicles standing at the lights – and you get to save the planet while you're about it. What's not to like? Apart from the price tag, that is.

READ MORE: BMW C Evolution review

Runner-up: Korg Cliphit

Korg Cliphit

Air drummers rejoice; this gadget will turn your uncoordinated desk-bashing into a sticks symphony worthy of John Bonham. Just clip its sensors to assorted objects, and when you smack them, it'll emit an appropriate drum sound (unless you use the novelty "dog" setting for a barking mad solo). You can even plug in a music player using an aux-in socket and jam along, if you're feeling Dazed and Confused.

READ MORE: Korg's clip-on kit turns normal stuff into drums

READ MORE: All of the Stuff Gadget Awards 2014 winners