December is finally upon us, the Thanksgiving turkey is all gone and the festive shopping season is in full swing. This Christmas, you probably have quite a few gadgets on your wish list, and your family, friends and kids will have lots of ideas about what they’d like to find under the tree.
Looking for a few different options to fill their stockings? Here are a few less common choices to mention to Santa before the big day rolls around.
Hanss Acoustics T-30 Turntable
Digital downloads undoubtedly rule the roost, but there are still plenty of audiophiles who buy vinyl, and many of them wouldn’t dream of listening to music on anything but. Unlike the VCR, the humble record player hasn’t yet been left in the dark ages. The Hanss T-30 features a 10kg (yes, 10 kilogram) magnetic platter which floats above the base for friction-free, smooth playback, and the six silicone belts sit on opposite sides and wrap around the platter for stability.
The T-30 also has fittings for two tone arms of your choice, and the feet are magnetically cushioned to prevent vibration. This modern take on the humble Dansette will set you back a cool $4,600: that’s enough to buy a pro stereo set up. If you’re serious about sound, you may well think it’s worth the money.
Lomography Lomokino Movie Camera
Camcorder manufacturers may be eager to push us into the realms of 3D and HD this Christmas, but Lomography see the market from a different angle. Their new Lomokino movie camera is as revolutionary as it is retro. The camera uses a full roll of 35mm film to record silent movies that hark back to the golden age of 8mm home video. Processing your film isn’t exactly cheap, but as hobbyist movie-making goes, this is one camera that doesn’t require several thousand dollars to get started. The camera itself will only set you back $79, and the optional Kinoscope viewer clocks in at an additional $99.
UP Plus 3D Printer
No time to shop at Christmas? Soon you may not have to. 3D printing technology is slowly becoming more affordable – although realistically we’re still a few years away from 3D printing in the home. An entry-level 3D printer like the UP Plus will set you back around $2,500 and will print monotone ABS plastic only. For a new way to cook Christmas dinner, consider an Essential Dynamics 3D food printer, complete with multi-coloured, multi-flavoured gel ink – it’s a snip at just $1,000. Printers that create working circuit boards are already gaining pace, so it may not be too long before we’re printing upgrades for our smartphones.
Raspberry Pi ComputerNo Christmas run-down would be complete without something for the kids. Believe it or not, this rather unimpressive-looking device made by a small British charity is set to be the next big thing in education.
The Raspberry PI is a $25 computer designed to hook kids into programming – a skill which many no longer have any reason to learn. The idea is to fill a skills gap, get kids into computer science and prepare them for programming jobs in later life. The computer features a 700MHz processor, 128MB of RAM and runs Linux from an SD card. Of course, your rugrats may prefer to play with the box.
Asus Transformer Prime Tablet
Wait – what? Where’s the iPad 2? There’s no denying that Apple’s premium gadget still holds the top spot in many Christmas wish lists, but the lack of a physical keyboard is always going to be a problem for anything more than media consumption. And once you’ve tried to move the cursor in a document by clumsily jabbing the screen with your fingers, you’ll have two reasons not to take it into the office. Alternatives include the EEE Pad Slider, which has a slinky keyboard tucked away in the base, or the ASUS Transformer Prime.
The specs are impressive: the Transformer Prime packs a quad-core processor, Android 4.0, an 8 megapixel camera and 12 hours of battery life, all wrapped up in a slinky case topped off with Gorilla Glass – plus that all-important physical keyboard. If you’re already set on owning an iOS device, or you don’t have any desire to use Android, it’s likely a keyboard and trackpad won’t be enough to sway you because the Asus Transformer Prime certainly isn’t cheap. But if you’re looking for something versatile to replace your laptop, this could well be the tablet for you.