Five great gadget gifts to keep you in the good books
Does the mum in your life really want a ladyshave for Mother's Day? Regardless of what department stores have been telling us these last two weeks, will she actually warm to a nostril hair trimmer or a set of hair straighteners to mark the day?
It's doubtful. Trendier options, such as get-fit wristbands seem a little risky too. So when it comes to electrical devices designed to address hygiene or fitness deficiency, it may be wiser to think again. In this context, here are five safe Mother's Day gadgets worth considering.
Deluxe Polaroid ticks all the boxes in an instant
Even in this digital age, there's something exciting about getting an instant print from your camera at a party or a day out. A budget option is Fuji's Instax 210 (€80 with 10 shots) with prints just under 5x3 in size. But if you want a deluxe version, try Polaroid's Z340. It uses a 14-megapixel digital lens and has a screen on top to allow you to preview and edit photos. Once you're happy, you print them (3x4 photos) right out of the camera. The refills aren't as expensive as some rival instant cameras, either, at €17 for 30 shots. This is great fun.
Paperwhite destined to be a bestseller
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
You can't really go wrong with a Kindle. While the e-reader doesn't come with the all-singing, all-dancing app experience of, say, an iPad mini, it costs a fraction of the price and serves its purpose extraordinarily well. The difference between a Kindle Paperwhite and the basic Kindle lies mainly in the screen. It's brighter, sharper and has a built-in light, which means you can read in dark conditions. Buying ebooks from Amazon is an elementary task now, too, with virtually every major release now available. All in all, the Kindle is one of the very best gadget gifts for technophobes.
Canon Powershot SX700
Buying a camera for someone can be a very tricky business. Basic compact cameras may not be used if the giftee has a decent smartphone. But more advanced interchangeable-lens models may be left gathering dust if they're deemed to be too challenging.
A decent middle-ground option is Canon's new Powershot SX700. The 16-megapixel camera has enough of a zoom (30x) to far outclass any cameraphone. It is also slim enough to fit inside most small bags or cases without its own separate gear. And it has a few nice additional features, such as the ability to share photos immediately with your iPhone or Android phone, so you can post them online or text (or email) them right away. Its video-capture is also very impressive for a relatively compact camera.
Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote
Laptop bags usually range from dull to dorky. They also signal to would-be muggers that you're carrying kit around (even if the thugs now hope there's a tablet inside, as laptops are almost worthless on the black market). A somewhat trendier alternative to the briefcase or roller-bag is Michael Kors' fashion leather bag, which comes in a range of colours. This one has a special inner pouch sized to house an 11-inch MacBook Air or similarly dimensioned laptop or tablet. There's also enough room left to pack in a few accessories, purses, wallets or other stuff.
Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones
Not all over-ear headphones have to be raptastic Beats By Dr Dre. There are many subtle, elegant brands out there that give excellent audio and don't make you look like a Tinchy Stryder groupie. Sennheiser's Momentum On-Ear cans are slightly smaller than full-size noise-cancelling headphones, but come with some premium features that make them a pretty nice gift. For example, the velvet-suede speaker covers are easy on the ear. The cushioned steel band also makes the headphones light and comfortable. Finally, there's a small control panel on the cable for iPhones and iPods. This is a very nice option for travellers with a music device.