Partner Burton Sweet
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2010 Christmas Gadgets - the winner!

22nd Dec 2010
Partner Burton Sweet
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There's no question about it, Apple's iPad was the Gadget of 2010. Since the device was launched in January, more than 4m have reportedly been sold. Executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris has sung its praises in his Mac diary and nearly half the voters in our Gadget Countdown poll backed his number one selection (see right). Read on to enjoy the rest of this year's pick of essential gadgets for the finance professional.

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1. This year I suppose the number one gadget was always going to be ... the iPad! Less than a year after its launch, there seems to be a critical mass among serious iPad users who have discovered that it might just be the future of portable computing. It looks great, it's easy to use, and for portability it beats a laptop hands down. On the consumer front, Stuff magazine readers also named it their Gadget of the Year, so we're not alone. For those still hesitating, iPad 2 is expected some time next spring and is rumoured to have cameras and a mini USB port. For existing iPad owners, the IOS 4.3 upgrade is due any minute and is promised to include magazine subscriptions delivered automatically to your iPad every month.

Digita founder Jerry Rihll added his vote to our countdown poll. Here's what he said about the iPad:

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2. It was a tough decision, but I'm awarding 3D television the runner up spot for 2010. I reckon 2011 could be the year 3D TV really makes it, so any self-respecting gadget fashionista needs to get ahead of the game now. The awesome top of the range, brushed titanium Samsung C9000 is just about the ultimate 3D TV at the moment, although I suspect it wil be overtaken by the next best thing very soon (even then, it will still look great!).

If you want to make 3D films yourself, it won't cost the earth with gadgets like the £200 Aiptek 3D HD pocket camcorder. It features two lenses and two sensors for recording (and snapping) in proper 3D, plus it'll also capture in 720p HD - you can even switch back to 2D with the flick of a switch should you so wish.
Once you've captured your 3D masterpiece, you can watch it back, glasses-free, on the 2.4-inch display, or even on a 3D TV.

And gamers can look forward to the Nintendo 3DS, due out early next year.

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3.  I know our readers are divided on this one - in fact I think the majority are currently pretty anti, but I think it's time to slot ebook readers towards the top of this year's countdown. Now that the Amazon Kindle is available in the UK I think we might start to see a big move towards electronic books. I don't think they will replace books for most people, but they will change the way many people buy and use them, which in the long run will be good for writers and publishers. I know books feel and look lovely, etc. - just like LP record sleeves did, and look what happened to them when iTunes took over the CD market! The battle on the e-book front is between the Kindle, which is a lightweight dedicated reader, and general handheld computing devices like the iPad (which has an excellent Kindle app as well as Apple's own e-book app). If Amazon can get the hardware cost down and improve the spec it may well win in the long run – after all it will make its money many times over on the book sales.

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4. I still reckon the time for portable video projectors is coming, and there are some real crackers out there – in particular MicroVision's SHOWWX+ pico projector. It has been designed specifically for iOS devices, plugs into iPad and projects their videos at 100 glorious inches. The SHOWWX+ laser projector is 50% brighter than its predecessor, throwing video at 15 lumens with a 5,000:1 contrast ratio for 2 hours with a built-in battery. Being designed specifically for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches it has a dock connector and can project all your Netflix goodies without any DRM hang-ups. What I particularly like is because it's a laser projector, the SHOWWX+ has "infinite focus," as MicroVision calls it, allowing the image to be projected crisply on curved surfaces, or when the device isn't perfectly perpendicular to the surface it's projecting on. Its native resolution is only 848 x 480, not quite HD, but it will be perfectly adequate for ad hoc presentations and training situations. It includes composite cables in the box for non iOS devices though, so pair it with some classy speakers and you have an impressive piece of kit that will work OK as a home entertainment projector too. This baby is available now for $450, bargain.

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5. OK, it is Christmas and we don't want to give the impression that accountants only like the serious stuff. This year the must-have electronic toy for all the family must be then XBox 360 Kinect . Stuff magazine says "Microsoft's entirely controller-less motion-sensitive gaming system will offer a level of immersion and hilarity thus far never experienced, we say. And our readers agree." We thought the Wii was innovative, then the Wii Fit balance board took the gaming platform into new areas. The Kinect has the potential to take it to even more unusual places - although there's a lot more potential than actual delivery at the moment, but get one now and have some fun. By next Christmas there will be some mind blowing games that take full advantage of this new technology.

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Olive 4HD6. iPods are great, no question. But there’s one thing about them that highlights the weakness of digital audio – a tendency to thin and tinny sound reproduction. Vinyl may be the preferred solution for audiophiles, but this Olive 4HD networked music server looks like the dream machine for those who have gone digital. Equipped with a 2 terabyte hard drive, this awesome sonic data centre can connect to your normal stereo amplifying and play back more than 350,000 MP3 music files. It can also play internet radio stations for you, stream music from other computers or network storage drives and burn CDs for playing elsewhere. There's also a coaxial digital socket, so you can plug in TVs and other devices to take advantage of 4HD’s high quality audio reproduction. You can manage the device via your TV remote control, or download an app to turn your iPod into a remote. A snip at £2,200.

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iPod nano7. Apple is a hard company to ignore this Christmas. Aside from its seemingly ubiquitous tablet thingy, Apple also has the knack of breathing new life into older products - as we saw with the summer launch of a range of new iPod products. There's something for everyone this year, from the entry-level Shuffle from around £39 to the Nano that looks similar -see right - but with a 1.5 inch multi-touch on the front (but sadly no video camera like its predecessor). At £189-£329 the fourth generation iPod Touch is not cheap, but is probably the best portable Wi-Fi Web browsing device of its type - if you're still in the market for one.

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Visconti netbook/iPad bag8. Bags for accountants - There comes a time when you need to consider the means for carrying around all the gadgets you use! As well as the usual files and paperwork, you need space for a phone, iPod, iPad/laptop, various chargers and perhaps your sandwiches. I got some great advice from members when I posted on this subject last month. Ever since I got my iPad, though, the need to carry bulky/heavy paperwork has diminished as I am able to show many of the documents to people on my tablet. It's worth heeding naomi2000's advice not to parade around with a bag that has "Laptop" (or a computer brand name) written all over it, so I'm veering towards shoulder bags like the Visconti netbook bag pictured here, starting from £69 on Amazon.

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Oxford Papershow9. I love this gadget. It's just a simple, easy to use device that makes presentations and all sorts of teaching scenarios much easier. The Oxford Papershow package comprises a plug-and-play USB key that holds the Papershow software, a Bluetooth pen and a pad of special paper on which you can write and control your presentations. Link your PC to a projector and this simple setup gives you a virtual whiteboard that you use simply by writing on the special pad, from which you can change ink colour and format the output. If you copy a PowerPoint presentation onto the USB key you can also annotate your presentation with the pen. And however you use it, your notes can then be printed out to give to delegates/students at the end of the presentation. A starter kit with everything you need costs only £99.99 from Amazon. Make sure you check out the brilliant video demonstrations by Phill Jupitus on Amazon and YouTube

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Dyson fan10. A gadget countdown for office-based workers has to include the latest office toys, so here's my favourite at the moment - the impressive Dyson fan. The best thing about it is that it doesn't look like a fan at all, more like a space-age racquet without any strings. But Dyson's technology apparently delivers a smooth, buffet-free air current so with any luck it won't blow all your papers around. It certainly looks impressive even if they do cost upwards of £160.

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Nintendo DS11. A couple of years ago I included the Sony PSP in the countdown. It didn't exactly take the gaming world by storm, but undeterred - and perhaps a little late - I'm including the Nintendo DS this year. It has become the handheld gaming device of choice for gamers of all ages, and looks like it will remain a favourite this year if the trendy TV adverts are anything to go on. Personally, I'm just getting into Professor Layton's third outing on the DS and loving every minute of it. My wife's into brain training while the kids prefer Super Mario, which underlines the versatility of the DS.

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Swiss Army Giant knife12. I thought we should include a proper old-fashioned gadget in this year's list, so what better than the classic Swiss Army knife? Here's one with a twist, the Giant model, which boasts 87 tools, it's 9 inches thick and weighs nearly a kilo. It's a cool pocket sized toolkit for $1400. 

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Which one of these objects gets your vote for the most desirable gadget of 2010? And which items would you put forward for consideration in the Countdown?


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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
15th Dec 2010 09:42

Time to put it to the public vote

So far there's a glaring omission from Nigel's list - but he does like to build up the suspense as he gets closer to the number one spot...

Thanks for all the other nominations, some of which have made it into the final selection round in our Countdown - vote now in our online poll!

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By rajrajput
15th Dec 2010 14:52

Try These!!! The 7 gadgets you must get this Christmas

Did you buy your gadget-mad hubby a Walkman just as the shops were flooded with MP3 players? We feel your pain. Tech-freaks are the hardest people to buy gifts for; unless you know what the latest, coolest piece of kit on the market is, chances are you’ll be facing a fake smile on Christmas morning.

With that in mind, we asked the guys in the know – top gadget retailers Firebox and John Lewis, plus gadget magazine T3 – for their expert advice on the must-have gifts for gadget-lovers, no matter what your budget.
 1)  Bigtrak jnr - Price: £30-40Where? Firebox
Why it’s cool? A thick, chunky slice of 80s nostalgia right in your hands.
What does it do? Based on the classic MB original (they even used the same moulds), this is the moon-rover thingy that captivated kids back in the early 80s. Not only does it look amazing, but it’s also fully programmable (kind-of) thanks to an integrated 23-button keypad that lets you punch in basic movement commands like: “go-forward three lengths... stop... turn... stop… annoy dog”.
Who might want it? Man-child fans of 'The A-Team' and 'Buck Rogers', or any boy under the age of 12.
Will they still be using it in a month? Of course. Provided those treads don’t wear out, or you can keep it away from Fido.
What the experts say: “Retro toys are in once again - a mixture of big-kids and new online audiences enjoying things the second time around, mean that products such as Bigtrak is back in a big way this year. Our customers are really excited about this toy” -
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? If this plan doesn’t come together, there’s always the Remote Control A Team Van.2) Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ Telescope - Price £120Where? John Lewis
Why it’s cool? What could be more relaxing than stargazing? Or spying on the neighbours?
What does it do? Point, squint and enjoy bright, clear images of celestial bodies. The AstroMaster (great name by the way) can be set up easily without any fiddling with tools and, best of all, comes with a mounted StarPointer – which we assume points at stars.
Who might want it? Contemplative souls, dads with a study, or really nosy tower-bound wizards.
Will they still be using it in a month? There’s plenty to enjoy in the night sky.
What the experts say: “Sales of telescopes up 75% week on week and a huge 148% year on year. This is the surprise gift for Christmas.” – John Lewis
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? Celestron also do a budget ‘scope – the FirstScope C210243) Polaroid 300 Instant Analogue Camera - £60-80Where? Firebox
Why it’s cool? Because your friends can’t untag a real photograph.
What does it do? An updated version of the original, it produces credit-card-sized-snaps in seconds. Just click the shutter and bang; instant photos with that classic Polaroid white border. No messing with computers or USB sticks.
Who might want it? Ideal for party animals who can’t wait to show that embarrassing photo of you attempting ‘the worm’ to fellow guests.
Will they still be using it in a month? As long as the recipient keeps going to debauched parties, it’ll come in handy.
What the experts say: “We expect the iconic brands to be a popular part of Christmas wish-lists, so products such as Polaroid cameras will sell well” -
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? A slightly more long-winded way of printing your snaps is Polaroid’s Instant Photo Printer, which plugs into your mobile.4) The Slanket - £20-30Where? Firebox
Why it’s cool? Don’t you mean ‘why is it warm?’
What does it do? OK, so technically it's not a gadget, but it's still a good idea: a blanket, but with arms. Lounge on the sofa, keep your whole body covered, but still have your hands free to change the channel when the Queen’s speech comes on.
Who might want it? Anyone who wants to save money on heating bills, or dress up as a lilac Obi Wan Kenobi.
Will they still be using it in a month? Provided global warming hasn’t kicked in by then – yes.
What the experts say: “As people are still looking to spend wisely this year, a number of customers will be buying practical items. Examples include useful products that still make great gifts such as the Slanket.” -
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? An ordinary blanket. Probably not as much fun.5) Panasonic HM-TA1 HD Pocket Camcorder - around £100.00Where? John Lewis
Why it’s cool? It’s never too late to get a video on 'You’ve Been Framed'.
What does it do? Shoots video obviously, but the selling point is the size. Smaller than many phones, the recording quality is ace. Plus, it comes with all the features you’d expect from a bigger model – such as iFrame and image stabilisers - and it’s Skype-enabled.
Who might want it? Anyone who loves to shoot on the go - or short film makers with tiny hands.
Will they still be using it in a month? Depends if that video of Nan falling over nabs you £250.
What the experts say: “Pocket multi-media camcorders are the fastest growing category here, with sales up 50% week-on-week. This model offers full-HD video and high-quality photos, ensuring that you don’t any fun.” – John Lewis
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? The Flip Video Ultra HD is a slightly more expensive alternative, but it makes up for it with ease of use.6) Amazon Kindle – around £100-150Where? Amazon
Why it’s cool? Ever tried reading 'The Complete Works of Shakespeare' on the Northern Line during rush hour?
What does it do? Switch on, choose from half a million books and never turn a page again. This is the big daddy of the ebook world, with the more expensive model now boasting free 3G and Wi-Fi, plus a better high-contrast screen. Amazon also reckon the batteries last a month.
Who might want it? Commuters; anyone who hates bookshelves.
Will they still be using it in a month? Yes, unless people stop writing books...
What the experts say: “I'm backing the Amazon Kindle to do well. At just over £100 it's a great Christmas gift” – Kieran Alger, Editor T3
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? Ebook specialists Endless Ideas have two rival products – the cheaper BeBook Club and the more expensive BeBook Neo.7) Samsung Galaxy Tab - £400-£500Where? Amazon
Why it’s cool? Like an iPad, but more practical.
What does it do? Samsung’s touch screen beauty may not have the cool factor of Apple’s tab, but it’s probably more useful thanks to Wi-Fi, Flash support and in-built cameras.  With a 7-inch touch screen, it’s also a portable little fella.
Who might want it? Anyone not fussed about being the coolest kid in the playground.
Will they still be using it in a month? It’ll get plenty of use long after the New Year's hangovers have passed.
What the experts say: “There are more and more tablets out there, and one of the most noteworthy is the Galaxy Tab. It's a lot smaller than the iPad, and doesn't have the superb design quality, but the extra connectivity, built in camera and portability make it a viable alternative” - Kieran Alger, Editor T3
It’s sold out! Is there an alternative? Umm, an iPad, obviously.


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By carnmores
16th Dec 2010 10:42

posted elsewher

the galaxy tablet and the new dell duo

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By MaxHeadroom
16th Dec 2010 11:25

Amazon Kindle

It is excellent. Great to make notes and highlight. I can have so  many books on one devise. So easy to carry around.  Ipad yes does a lot more but way too expensive.


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By Gina Dyer
17th Dec 2010 10:14

Wish list

I want a slanket! It looks so cool! On a more serious note, I have just purchased an HTC Desire and I absolutely love it. Much cheaper than the iPhone as well...

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By Gail Purvis
17th Dec 2010 15:46

I'm late shopping as usual


But I'd add the Victorinox Biometric swiss army knife with a memory stick, fingerprint reader, bluetooth control for presentations and laser pointer, the Kensington international all in one travel plug adaptor, and the Lenmar 6-port Hub/ac adapter -- Gail Purvis

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By David Richards
21st Dec 2010 11:20

Nokia N8

Not on the list, but has to be the Nokia N8.

It doesn't have all the iPhone media hype, but it blows the iPhone out of the water.

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By Cantankerous
21st Dec 2010 16:59

iPhone 4

Its all that the iPad is but in a size that fits in your pocket and has a camera and a phone. 

I tend to use mine as an email client, ebook reader (Amazon kindle software), toDo list (OmniFocus), satnav (NavFree), train time table (national rail - next train home button is great), media player (radio 4 podcasts and the odd film) and video conferencing my baby daughter at home. Oh yes, the BBC news app, the odd game and facebook / twitter. 

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By carnmores
22nd Dec 2010 11:03

a massive strap line for just 37 votes

`wow! very scientific sampling

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By Jyoti Banerjee
22nd Dec 2010 11:22

3D? Oh pleee-eease...

3D TV as top tech in 2010? No question about the iPad being at the top, but 3D TV is a solution looking for a problem. Why would anybody want to wear goggles to watch TV at home? Beats me.

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By chatman
23rd Dec 2010 14:20


Marketing beats technology again. 

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
28th Dec 2010 11:00

Ipods are not tinning its your earphones or external sound syste


I love my music on my Iphone which is the same as the ipod .  It is not the ipod that is tinning ,it is the cheap earphones that come with it.  We brought a nice pair of earphones for my Dad in law to help him .  As it turns out he did not really use them so he gave them back to us.  I could not believe the difference in sound from the two sets of earphones.  When I was in London one of my friends who works on sound for some bands , adviced me that I had a really good set of earphones .  You learn something new everyday 

-- Kind Regards [email protected] Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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By spongebob143
30th Jan 2015 13:41

Such an amazing articles, those gadgets were made so awesome. Thanks for sharing this.

Check this out!   purchase twitter followers

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