Christmas 2014: This year's must-have gadgets

Published by Rob Goodman on 20 November 2014.
Last updated on 21 November 2014

From tablets to iPhones and robot vacuum cleaners to book readers, here is Moneywise's must-have buys for your family's tech addicts.

Moto 360 (£199)

If you find one of these under your tree, you can consider yourself very lucky. While the new Apple Watch won't be available until spring 2015, Motorola has already launched the Moto 360 smart watch - a round screen with a metal case on a leather strap (metal bracelets will be introduced to the range next year).

As well as displaying a range of different watch faces, the Moto 360 can also display texts, notifications and emails sent to it from your Android mobile phone. The watch also has a built-in pedometer and heart-rate monitor to help you track your fitness levels.

Battery life is a problem with the Moto 360, as you will need to re-charge it in its wireless cradle at the end of every day.

The Moto 360 will set present buyers back around £199, more than your average Swatch but around the same price as most designer brands.

Aeropress coffee maker (£26.99)

If you're hunting for a Christmas present for a busy coffee connoisseur, then the AeroPress coffee maker could be the answer. With this simple device, it takes just one minute to brew a double espresso, American coffee or latte.

Just put a tiny filter (provided) into the cap and screw it on to the plastic chamber, which you place on top of a mug. Once you've put in the ground coffee and added hot water, you just stir it for 10 seconds and then gently press down the plunger for 20 to 30 seconds. Drink it as it is for espresso, add hot water for American coffee or hot milk for a latte.

To clean up, just empty the filter and used coffee into a bin and rinse with warm water.

It made a reasonable cup of coffee – but no better than a cheaper mini-cafetière might do – but it comes with a handy tote bag that makes it one to consider for those who like homemade fresh coffee on the go.

Amazon Kindle (£59)

The e-reader that launched a thousand imitators, the Kindle remains the top present for bookworms who want to try their hand at something more 21st century.

Simply log in or sign up to an Amazon account and you're good to go. The Kindle bookstore comes with countless titles – from the free-to-read classics to modern releases – to download at a press of a button.

Incredibly easy to use, the version we tested was the All-new Kindle that has been upgraded this year to include an intuitive touch screen, available at a bargain price of just £59, while the more luxurious Kindle Voyage costs £169 for the wi-fi only (no 3G) model.

Google Chromecast (£30)

Another bargain buy, this nifty little dongle plugs into the back of your television and lets you stream your favourite shows from a selection of popular entertainment apps, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

If you've bought a new, high-end television in recent months, then it is likely your TV will have streaming options included but for those who haven't, the Chromecast is a great way to get the internet shows you subscribe to on the big screen.

Irobot Roomba 880 (£599.99)

The excitement of trialling the Roomba vacuum was tinged with trepidation as we had heard a story about a robot vacuum cleaner unexpectedly encountering a pile of dog mess on the floor and – unable to distinguish it from household dust – proceeded to blindly smear it all over the house.

Thankfully, there are no pets at Moneywise HQ.

It was quickly unpacked and charged; the instructions very clear and easy to follow. We found that the Roomba cleaned carpets and hard floors well – and did so quietly. However, it can't clean skirting boards, stairs or fluffy rugs. Nor does it clean edges well, so most households would probably need a conventional vacuum cleaner, too.

Overall, while the upfront cost is extremely high, the Roomba would save time and keep a household with a pet clean. It also takes up very little space in the broom cupboard.

Sonos Play 1 (£169.99)

Sonos is a speaker that allows you to wirelessly stream music, either from your own iTunes library or via a separate digital music service such as Napster or Spotify. It also plays internet radio stations and free music streaming services such as SoundCloud.

It's very easy to set up: simply plug it in, wait for a flashing white light to turn green, then sync it to your router using the free app controller, available on iPhone, iPad or Android.

The sound from a Play 1 is more than big enough to fill a small- to medium-sized room, though purists may wish to consider a larger Play to fill a big space. All in all, it may be pricey at £169.99 but a Sonos offers a simple way to access and play hundreds of thousands of tracks at the push of a button - you may as well start dismantling those CD racks now.

Tesco Hudl2 (£129)

You might not have guessed that Tesco's own tablet would have caused much of a stir in the tech world but for mums and dads with young children, this budget device could be the answer.

An awful lot cheaper than you will pay for any version of the iPad, the latest Hudl builds on the success of the first model, coming with a larger 8.3 inch HD screen, an improved camera, as well as 16GB storage.

While it may take you some time to get used to it if you are used to the excellence of the Apple touchscreen, the Hudl is ideal for parents who don't want to break the bank on a top-end tablet for their children to use, with the bright and big screen - and not forgetting the price tag – a real attraction.

Stocking filler for under £20...

My Scratch Map, (£11.99) This funky wall map of the world offers a clever way of recording where you've been on your travels. Think of it as an advent calendar for all year round. Scratch off the countries you have been to. Maps of the UK and US are also available.

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