/ 13 December 2022

The M&G’s guide to the best techie Christmas gifts

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The Apple Macbook Air M2 is top of the M&G's Christmas tech gifts guide. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Mail & Guardian has drawn up a list of premium tech toys worthy of your holiday wish list. In no order, they are:

Apple Macbook Air M2

There is a reason the new Macbook Air M2 received glowing global reviews. Having used one for close to five months now, I can attest to that. The 2022 Air has been redesigned to look like a Pro, yet it is thinner and lighter. 

It features Apple’s new M2 chip, which is a significant improvement over previous Intel-based Macbooks. It remains silent despite its fan-less design for hours on end, most notably when using resource-intensive apps like Photoshop. It has a crisp bright display, a much-needed 1080p HD webcam upgrade, and touch ID. The M2 Air has a ridiculously good battery life and you can now charge it using a MagSafe cable, which frees up both USB-C ports for accessories. 

Price: R25 999.

Samsung Neo QLED 8K

Samsung’s new Neo QLED TV now comes in 8K resolution. It is powered by a neural quantum AI processor with better contrast and crisp quality, with various technologies including backlit dimming. 

Apart from its latest TV technologies, as an ecosystem, it has a Smart Hub and apps for an improved user experience, which includes cloud gaming, on-screen multitasking, NFT management and video calls on Google Duo if you connect a smartphone. It also supports a vertical interface for YouTube or TikTok; and Multi View to watch content from other sources with picture-in-picture (PIP) mode. 

It is suitable for gaming and supports 4K 120Hz and low latency HDR gaming, paired with built-in Dolby Atmos for 3D sound. With access to Samsung Smart Things, you can control all supported smart devices from one place. 

Price: R62 999.

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset offers a standalone VR experience without a gaming console or PC. It is owned by Meta and referred to as the Meta Quest 2, thus a Facebook account is required. 

The Quest 2 is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 platform, 256GBGB of storage, a high resolution of 1832×1920 per eye and 90Hz refresh rate. The headset is wireless and comes with two touch controllers, a charging cable, AA batteries, power adaptor and a silicone cover. It offers a cinematic 3D positional audio, a spacer for those who wear glasses for comfort. 

Beat Saber is included as a free game download in 2022, but there are more than 350 VR other titles you can buy in various categories. If you purchase a separate cable, it can be used for PC games from Steam. 

Price: R14 995.

DJI Avata

Every year, DJI releases a clutch of drones, but 2022 brought out the unique Avata that offers a new paradigm in the form of “first person view” (FPV) drone flights. Instead of flying a standalone drone, you wear the DJI Goggles 2 headset and get straight into the pilot’s seat. It is paired with a motion controller to offer a unique flying experience. 

Use the triggers to bolt forward or brake and swivel your wrist to turn. You can hover, accelerate, zoom, stop in a fraction of a second, and it features “turtle mode”, which flips back up to take off when it lands upside down. It records in 4K at 60fps from its 48MP sensor, offers a 155-degree wide view, 20GB of storage, and has built-in modes to record stable footage. A single charge yields 18 minutes of flight time, and it has a 10km transmission distance. 

Price: R29 999.

Sony WH-1000XM5

A follow up to Sony’s most popular WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones are the WH-1000XM5s. No points for the naming convention. These over-ear headphones have an updated design with a single hinge, weigh 250g, but come with a larger carry case because it no longer folds up. It offers exceptional sound quality, pairs to two devices, and has the all-important active noise cancellation (ANC) feature. The earcups feature touch controls to play, pause, skip, adjust volume or toggle ANC. 

Battery life from a single charge promises up to 30 hours, suitable for long haul flights, but a quick three-minute charge yields three hours of playback. Included with the headphones are the carry case, 1.2m headphone cable and a USB charging cable. 

Price: R9 499.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The most premium folding device you can get your hands on today is Samsung’s exceptionally well-built Galaxy Z Fold 4. The large 7.6-inch folding tablet is a multi-tasking beast that lets you work simultaneously from three apps and access another floating one. 

It also features the best hardware you can get from Samsung; a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, 12GB of RAM, storage going all the way up to 1TB and a 4400mAh battery. It has three cameras, more than you will ever need; including a 50MP triple rear, a 10MP selfie-cam, and 4MP under-display one. With seamless Google and Microsoft integration, the Z Fold 4 lets you work from anywhere. 

Price: R36 999.

Hobot Legee D7

One of the best things about a smart home is automating chores, and there is no better way to do it than with the Hobot Legee D7 robovac. This nifty D shaped cleaner is designed to go into corners and has a trick up its sleeve; it cleans both floors and carpets. 

It has an extremely powerful 2700Pa tangle-less suction, can climb 20mm over obstacles and a 6mm smart lifting mop when it’s on carpets. It stores 5 maps in its memory, lets you create virtual barriers and room dividers and can operate with voice commands (Google, Siri) or its app. 

There are eight cleaning modes including a custom one, and you can schedule your clean ups, like outside of load shedding slots, before you wake up, or if you’re on holiday and want to return to a dust-free home. Best suited if you have pets, allergies, or kids. 

Price: R8 999.

Logitech G502 X Plus

If you need a gaming mouse, look no further than Logitech’s top of the line G502 X Plus, its next-generation mouse from its best-selling line-up. It features Logitech’s Lightforce hybrid optical mechanical switches that promises everything important in the gaming world – speed, reliability, precision, and crisp response. 

It is wireless, has customisable RGB lighting, and an ergonomic design, as you’d expect from Logitech. It also has a reversible and removable DPI-shift button, lets you reprogram buttons, adjust sensors, or create different profiles. The mouse itself has a storage compartment for the USB receiver so you don’t lose it, for wireless connectivity as it lacks Bluetooth. 

Price: R2 999.