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My Top 5 Tech toys for Christmas

It's that time of year again. A time to give and receive the latest Tech toys! So what's hot this Christmas? Here are my top 5 Tech toys for the season:

Sony Ericsson K850i

Now I know a lot of people will be hoping to get an iPhone for Christmas, but personally the Sony Ericsson K850i is what's doing it for me at the moment. This may be the first truly usable mobile phone / camera combo; the K850i is the latest Sony Ericsson phone to incorporate a Sony Cyber-shot digital camera. Packaged in the popular candy-bar format, the K850i has an impressive list of features including:

  • Scratch-proof display
  • 5-megapixel sensor
  • Auto focus
  • Xenon flash
  • Red-eye reduction & image stabiliser
  • 3G video calling
  • FM radio & multimedia playback
  • Bluetooth & HSDPA

It's certainly not the 'coolest' or smallest mobile phone on the market, but, considering that it acts as a fully functional digital compact camera, mobile phone, and HSDPA modem all in one device, I think it's a great choice for both its functionality and usability.

Price: £325 ($649 US) offline, £160 on upgrade, free with a new contract.

USB Paper Shredder

USB gadgets are everywhere and can make great stocking-fillers. I've seen all sorts of USB powered gadgets from reading lamps and alarm clocks to cup warmers and missile launchers; the list is endless. One particular USB gadget that has caught my eye this year is the USB paper shredder.

In this day and age, identity theft is big business and shredding is something everyone should do. I shred anything that may have personal information on it (even just my name) before putting it out for recycling. This handy little USB paper shredder is perfect for anyone who doesn't have room for a full size shredder in their home office but still wants peace of mind. At only 16x12x14cm it will neatly fit on to a shelf and shreds anything up to A6 size paper (A4 folded in half). The shredder also has a handy letter opener on its side and can be powered by 4 AA batteries if connecting a USB cable isn't convenient.

Price: £16 ($32 US)

Electric Skateboard

Not for the faint-hearted. Available in various specifications, the mid-range model will do 0-20MPH in just four seconds and has a range of up to 11 miles on one charge. A wireless trigger-control gives fully proportional speed control and regenerative braking helps you ease in to a stop.

A kid's version is available with a top speed of 8MPH and a range of 5 miles.  At the top of the range is the 800W Off-Roader!

Price: £149.99 - £399.99 ($302 - $807)

Xbox 360 Elite Now I know gaming is a sensitive Topic. Everybody has their favourite platform, whether it‘s PC, Xbox, Nintendo or Sony. I know a lot of people will disagree but in my opinion the Xbox 360 is the best gaming platform out there. I actually bought one of these a few months ago. I initially set out to buy the PS3; I was tempted by its Blu-ray player (damn that media brainwashing), but after a bit of soul searching I decided that I didn't really want Blu-ray anyway. My movie collection currently lives on DVD and that is good enough quality for me. Comparing the Xbox 360 and PS3 side by side, I preferred the look and feel of the Xbox experience.

The Xbox 360 Elite comes in a sleek black case which is much more discreet than the standard off-white. The HDMI output makes hooking up to any HDTV a breeze and all of the cables are included for SD/HD component and optical audio output.

  • Massive range of games to suit everybody
  • Up to 1080p HD video output
  • 120GB HDD
  • Wireless controller and headset included

Now, what I really like about the Xbox 360 is the media connector. If you have a PC with Windows XP Media Edition or Windows Vista you can use the media connector to stream your media over the local network and watch it on your TV. This is a great feature, and I probably use it more often than I'll play a game. Although the media connector tries to lock down the types of files that can be streamed to the Xbox, a handy little utility called Transcode 360 sorts all of that out, and you'll be watching those HD quality MPEG4 videos in no time.

Price: £299.99 ($605 US)

Tom Tom ONE XL

I bought one of the original TomTom portable satellite navigation systems three years ago, and it's still going strong. Never worry about losing your way, no more messing around with maps or directions. Points of interest mean you'll always know where the next gas station is. Missed that last turn; not to worry, TomTom will reroute for you. Even if you don't make long journeys, the optional safety camera alerts and traffic updates will keep you ahead of the rest.

The TomTom ONE XL has a 4.3" wide touch-sensitive screen and is about one-third the depth of my old TomTom Go 300. Standard features include 512MB of internal memory, an SD slot, Bluetooth 2.0 for connecting with your mobile phone and the new TomTom MapShare technology. Renting a car when you travel abroad? Download new maps to an SD card and take TomTom with you.

Never get lost again! A great gift for anyone who drives.

Price: £169.99 ($270 US)

What's on your wish-list this year? Leave a comment and let us know what gadgets and gizmos you'll be giving to friends and family.

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