Choosing Christmas presents isn’t always easy, but the latest technology can brighten up anyone's day. Here’s our pick of some audio-related tech gifts that could find their way under your tree this year.
Sennheiser CX 7.00BT In-Ear Wireless
Hooking around your neck, these high-end bluetooth headphones from audio-maestro Sennheiser are well worth a look if you prefer the cable-free convenience of wireless headphones. They sound fantastic, with apt-X technology that ensures your music doesn’t lose quality when it’s streamed. The integrated microphone lets you take calls on-the-go using the in-line controller and you can pair with two devices simultaneously. Four earbuds are supplied to suit all ear shapes and you get 10 hours listening per charge.
Q Acoustics M2
When buying a TV, many people spend a lot of time researching picture quality but a lot less time thinking about the quality of the audio. Sound can have a huge impact on the way you feel when you watch TV - be it a football match, a movie or a stunning documentary like Blue Planet, better sound can transform the viewing experience. One of the cheapest ways to improve your sound is with a soundbase like the Q Acoustics M2. Fitting neatly under your TV, the slim design is perfect if you are short of space. It performs very well - boosting even the weakest television with a room-filling sound. The M2 doubles as a smartphone speaker too - you simply pair it with your phone using Bluetooth.
£299, BT Shop
Pure Evoke H3
Pure’s digital radios have become something of a design classic, and this model is no exception. Available in either oak or walnut, the H3 is the perfect size for the kitchen or bedroom. Listen to your favourite radio stations by selecting from 40 presets using the dial and colour-screen, which can also show radio station artwork. Built-in Bluetooth lets you stream audio from your smartphone, while other features include an alarm and a kitchen timer.
Sitting at the top of Sony’s range, these wireless headphones aren’t cheap, but they are some of the best you can buy, winning 5-star praise from many critics. Connecting to your smartphone using aptX HD Bluetooth - which helps retain high-quality sound - you can listen cable free for up to 30 hours per charge. Noise-cancelling technology blocks out background noise, which is a useful feature for a flight. Sony’s clever Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control feature detects what you are doing – be it walking or flying – and adjusts the ambient sound - you can even tweak sound settings using the accompanying app to suit your preference.
£330, Currys PC World
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
A shade over 10cm high, the Wonderboom is a Bluetooth speaker portable enough to take on holiday or use on the go. The rechargeable battery lasts 10 hours and can stream from two devices at once. If you do take it outside, don’t worry about wear and tear – it has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means it can be immersed in 1m of water for 30 minutes. Ultimate Ears says it’s been drop-tested from five feet. The circular shape gives 360-degree sound, which is surprisingly powerful for such a compact speaker. Finally, it comes in six eye-catching colours.
Snugs bespoke earphones
West Country-based Snugs has created these personalised silicon headphones to make sure your listening isn’t disturbed by your headphones falling out! While they are more pricey than the usual headphones, the wireless or wired cans are moulded to your ears as they are created through a 3D scan of your ear; this exact fit means that outside noise is cut off. To get your ears scanned you do have to go into London’s Selfridges department store or get in touch with the company directly. The company also keeps an impression of your headphones so you can order a replacement if you lose them.