Though it’s not yet full-on buy-your-presents-from-a-petrol-station-on-Christmas-Eve panic stations just yet, we are creeping towards the peak of the festive season.
The chances are you’re still looking for that killer present, the one that will make the biggest impression without completely wiping out your budget for New Year’s Eve.
The answer could lie in a wearable. Not only are they a huge trend, but there are several very good, useful examples that don’t cost the arm you would wear it on.
Wearables and contactless payment are becoming common companions to Apple Pay and the Apple Watch, but Barclaycard has a solution for those of us who don’t have an iPhone or indeed a contactless card. Their bPay accessories – most notably a wristband but also a keyfob and a sticker – contain contactless payment chips that can be linked to any bank account. Funds on the chip can be managed via the bPay app and you can set it to auto top-up, meaning never having to queue to top up an Oyster card ever again.
And if the current line-up isn’t fashionable enough for you, there’s also a range in TopShop of brighter, trendier wearables and accessories that can house the bPay chip.
Microsoft Band 2
This is almost a pretty much full-blown smartwatch, but the Band has a subtle rectangular screen that means you can wear it with less fanfare compared with some others out there. The Band is also a very good fitness tracker, and it’s compatible across Windows Mobile, Android and iOS.
Misfit Shine 2
In terms of style this is arguably the best movement and fitness tracker out there. The Shine has incredibly accurate step detection, as well as automatic sleep monitoring and a simple set of LEDs that on this latest version also prompt you about notifications in addition to showing the progress towards your step goal.
The Shine’s companion app is also very easy to use, and offers great control and depth into your movement and exercise each day. The tracking pendant can also be placed into a necklace as well as the traditional wristband.
Withings Activite Steel
And now we reach a hybrid of smartwatch and fitness tracker, but with a twist. The watchface on the Withings is actually analogue, though it is still paired with your phone. The smaller face shows the progress you’ve made towards your step goal, again using a companion app on your phone. The Steel also comes with a smart leather band and so serves as the perfect gift for the style-conscious tech-lover.
Slightly cheeky as Cardboards can be built for free if you download the instructions from Google and can get your hands on some cardboard.
The end product is a viewer for virtual reality apps. These can be downloaded and played on your smartphone, which is then placed inside the eyepiece. A year ago, VR was a novelty that you could lose interest in quickly. Not any more, for example there’s even a New York Times news app now that places you at the scene of key stories.
Now get out there, and good luck.