By Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat
Johannesburg - Socks, ties or books just won’t cut it for your man this festive season. Those are okay for other family members or friends, but your partner will probably expect something more.
“Does anyone buy those as Christmas presents any more?” asks Toby Shapshak, editor of Stuff magazine. “I think everyone wants an iPad or smartphone or new camera. You can never go wrong with something small and shiny – but with a purpose.”
Arthur Goldstuck, author and founder of World Wide Worx, an independent technology market research organisation, agrees.
“Men tend to have a great affinity with gadgets because their peer groups tend to create a buzz around new gadgets, and the buzz encourages an adult version of show-and-tell.”
The more showy the gadget, the more they like to tell each other about it, he adds. “Wardrobe accessories tend to have limited appeal for this version of show-and-tell.”
So what are the must-have gadgets to give this Christmas?
“I’m a big fan of the Kindle and the new Paperwhite is my best gadget of the year,” Shapshak says. “I think the iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 are good, new, smaller tablets.”
Also popular will be the iPad, a Canon S110 camera, a Parrot AR. Drone and the new iPhone.
Goldstuck, however, says you have to bear in mind that the must-have gadgets are not necessarily the most wanted. For him, the number one gadget on his list is a “portable charger that holds its own charge, like the Powertraveller that can store enough charge for three full charges of a smartphone”.
Where budget is not an issue for consumers, he believes the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 (not yet available in South Africa) will top the smartphone list.
“A new iPhone is always on the most-wanted list, but the Galaxy S3 has hit the market like an atom bomb with its high specifications, dazzling screen and sexy styling.
“The HTC One X matches it for looks and appeal, but HTC doesn’t have anywhere near the same marketing presence,” says Goldstuck.
“The HTC One X is the best of the rest, followed by the Nokia Lumia 920 – the best of the new Windows 8 phones – and the Sony Experia T, the phone James Bond uses in the new Bond movie Skyfall, and then the Huawei Ascend P1.”
The most popular in-between device for smartphones is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, according to Goldstuck. He says the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, iPad 4 and iPad Mini (neither of which is available in South African stores yet) will be the big names in tablets.
For consumers who want to buy a tablet without denting their wallets, Goldstuck recommends the iPad 2.
“Prices [have been] slashed due to it being two models ago now, but it offers great satisfaction to users who don’t insist on having only the latest big thing. Budget tablets like the Wise Touch and the Huawei Mediapad can also be considered.”
For the best under-R1 000 gadgets to get, he suggests the Powertraveller, the DStv Walka 7 mobile TV – which goes best with a DStv premium subscription – and a mobile wi-fi hot spot like the MiFi.
For under R500, he recommends a charge case for a smartphone, which acts as both a phone cover and a charger, holding enough for one charge.
Shapshak’s top 10 gadgets for men are: 1. Samsung Galaxy S3; 2. iPad Mini; 3. iPhone 5; 4. Canon S110; 5. Sony NEX6 (compact DLSR); 6. Any Samsung TV; 7. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0; 8. Microsoft Surface; 9. Kindle Paperwhite; 10. Any Windows 8 tablet.
10 GADGET GIFT IDEAS
1. Samsung Galaxy S3
The world’s best-selling smartphone – and the coolest one until the iPhone 5 gets here. It comes with a big 4.8 inch screen and an 8 megapixel camera. Its cool technology allows you to tap phones together to share photos, apps and contacts. And the voice control allows you to tell it what to do, such as reject a call, turn the music up and trigger the shutter by saying “Cheese”. Another nice feature is Pop Up Play, which allows you to watch video and simultaneously send an SMS or e-mail.
About R7 999 depending on store. Sold at Samsung Store in Clearwater Mall, Dion Wired, Incredible Connection, Hirsch, Edgars and cellphone stores. For more info, visit www.samsung.com or call 011 675 0010.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Slim and sleek, this 10.1 inch high-definition touch screen tablet comes equipped with a set of speakers, slots for a micro-SIM and micro-SD card, and a responsive S Pen stylus which works on Samsung’s S Note, S Planner, Polaris Office or Photoshop Touch applications. Reviewers have praised, among all its cool apps, the useful multitasking app that allows you to work on two screens simultaneously.
About R8 999 depending on the store. Sold at Samsung Store in Clearwater Mall, Dion Wired, Incredible Connection, Hirsch, and cellphone stores.
3. iPad 3 16GB Wi-Fi
As the iPad Mini and iPad with Retina Display (4th generation) is not yet available in South Africa, the 3rd generation iPad is the next best thing. It has key new features such as a better 5MP camera, a Retina display that has four times more pixels than the iPad 2 and a wide range of apps.
Reduced to R4 599 at all Apple premium resellers as well as Apple authorised retailers and Apple authorised resellers.
4. Amazon Kindle 3G 6’’ Touch E-Reader
Is your man a reader? Then a Kindle is a must. This version has a touchscreen, not a keyboard, and features stereo speakers for MP3 and audio books. It comes in two versions, 3G and wi-fi-only models (cheaper at R1 999.95). But if you don’t have access to wi-fi and are a frequent traveller, opt for a 3G version.
Retails at R2 699.95. Available at Incredible Connection. For more information, visit www.incredibleconnection.co.za
5. Powertraveller Powermonkey Explorer
A nifty portable solar charger that’s compatible with most mobile devices, smartphones, iPods, MP3/ MP4s, portable games consoles, and PDAs. It boasts a universal mains charger that will work in over 150 countries and comes equipped with interchangeable heads for Australia, US, Europe and the UK. And it can power most digital cameras.
Retails for R899. A wide range is available at Cape Union Mart and Due South. Visit www.wintecsolutions.co.za and www.mobilegadgets.co.za for more info.
6. DStv Walka 7
This 7 inch screen handheld portable TV makes a perfect gift for the man who doesn’t dare miss out on his favourite programmes. It has an enhanced visual and audio quality that’s delivered through its two 1.5 watt speakers. Features include access to DStv Mobile and mobile TV guide. It also has a six-hour rechargeable battery life. A TV licence is required. DStv premium subscribers can access DStv Mobile at no extra charge, but others must pay R49 a month.
R899. Available at MultiChoice centres and select retailers such as Makro, Game and Incredible Connection. For more information, visit www.dstvmobile.com
7. Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator headphones in brown/gold
Styled like fashionable aviator sunglasses, these headphones are also comfortable and offer high-quality sound with in-line music and mic control. It also comes with a single-sided nylon-braided cable that lengthens to 1.3m. The frame can fold up to be stowed away nicely into a plush travel bag.
R2 000 at select Musica stores. For more info, visit www.skullcandy.com
8. shoX Spin
New from Tevo is this portable wireless mini speaker with a built-in subwoofer. Its Bluetooth has a range of 15m. If you have gadgets or other audio devices that don’t have Bluetooth, it comes with a 3.5mm jack. Its rechargeable battery lasts five hours.
Sells for R599.95 at Makro, Game, Look & Listen, Musica, Incredible Connection or directly from Tevo at 0861 77 88 88 or www.tevo.co.za
Is he a DIY-er? This 15-piece multi-tool kit does the job of several conventional power tools. Its revolutionary variable speed and oscillating blade, the Renovator, can take on a range of tasks from big renovations or remodelling projects to smaller maintenance repairs around the home, according to Verimark. It comes with a one-year guarantee.
Retails at R999. This product will only be in stores from December 1 and it’s only available at Verimark outlets.Visit www.verimark.co.za for more information.
10. Joby Gorillatorch Flare
This funky, compact torch has flexible tripod legs that can rotate 360º, allowing it to wrap around anything. The ends of the legs have strong magnets, so you can attach it to any metal surface while you work in the dark. Features include four LED lights, which takes longer to drain the battery life, and six light settings. It is water-resistant and drop-resistant. It is also compact and lightweight enough to fit in a backpack and glove compartment. Retails at R295 at Look & Listen. - The Star