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Christmas Gadget Countdown: The trainers’ choice


The countdown of trainers' favourite tech toys has begun. Let us know what you think the best gadgets of 2009.

When it comes to technology, trainers are a pretty sophisticated lot. But for the next couple of weeks on, we’re asking you to set aside your laptops, projectors and PowerPoint presentations to consider the most pressing technical issue at this time of year - which gizmo is going to win the Gadget of the Year prize?

As in previous years, our sister-site's executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris is publishing a series of themed guides to the potential contenders on the Gadget Zone blog.
Harris is an accountant and is entitled to his views, but what really interests us is what gadgets and executive toys appeal most to trainers. We’re asking you to put forward your own candidates for the accolade. Since it’s Christmas time, our definition for the term 'gadget' is pretty wide. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a work-related tool and can be hardware, software or a consumer electronics device. Basically, what is the thing you would most like to find under your tree on Christmas morning?'s Gadget of the Year will be awarded on the basis of popular acclaim via comments posted below. As with previous years, similar polls will be running on other Sift Media communities including Finance Week,, UK Business Forums and In addition to each community nomination, we will pool all the feedback to select a Sift Media Gadget of the Year.
The Christmas Gadget Countdown is a bit of seasonal fun designed to keep members in touch with the trendier end of the IT and electronics scene. To avoid ballot stuffing and other abuses, please make your comments non-anonymous (multiple posts are allowed if you can’t make up your mind and want to nominate more than one contender).

Here is a shortlist of the tech rated (and slated) so far...

Mobile phone apps

It's been hard to ignore the impact of Apple's iPhone over the past few years, but the platform is no longer the star - it's what you can do with it. Apple's iTunes store has led the way through the ease with with you can download news feeds, Facebook tools, games and navigation aids to your iPhone. Now that Microsoft, Google's Android and Nokkia's Symbian are joining the race, the age of mobile computing has truly arrived.
Mobile gadgetry

M for mobile is the new E… For Nigel Harris, the next item on his wishlist is a DAB car radio such as the Pure Highway. Until he can groove on down the road to Planet Rock, he’s staying in touch via his Parrot Bluetooth hands free phone system and tracking his position with a Tom Tom sat-nav. What’s your mobile favourite?
Home entertainment

Whether its a classy hi-fi you're after (Marantz M-CR502 for just £400), a B&W Zeppelin iPod dock ("worth every penny of the £400 price tag") or a widescreen LCD TV ( Philips 42PES001 available for £1800), the consumer electronics industry is ready to cater for your every whim

Video games

In the absence of any new consoles this year, it all boils down to the software. The Beatles Rock Band is bound to be this year's blockbuster, combining top music with great graphics. And it's available for Wii, X-Box 360 and PS3. Super Mario Brothers is looking like this Christmas's big hit for more traditional gamers, while Avatar: The Game wll appeal to DS users for whom Dr Watchamacallit's Brain Training isn't exciting enough. Or buy yourself Wii Fit Plus and promise that you'll play it every day in 2010 as your New Year's resolution.

Anything USB

Sadly, the USB mince pie turned out to be a hoax, but the tacky USB christmas tree didn't! You can get almost anything you can imagine with a USB connector attached, but the good old USB cup warmer still takes some beating.

Mini digital video cameras

If you look around, more and more individuals and professional organisations are experimenting with YouTube videos. The Flip Mino HD Chrome gives you up to minutes of HD video on a mobile phone-size camera. Apple's new iPod Nano is even smaller and can play music and FM radio too. But the Kodak Zi8 is more versatile than either, doubling as a competent 5 MP still camera too. It just doesn’t look as cool.

Digital cameras

Are you still in the fixed-lens point and shoot camp, or itching to trade up to a digital SLR like the pros use? In the junior division the Canon PowerShot G10, Pentax X70 and Nikon Coolpix P90 all impress but are out punched by Fujifilm's 12-megapixel monster, the Finepix F200EXR. For SLR's Stuff managzine reckons the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is the best 'bridge' camera, and Samsung's MX series points towards growing overlaps with its smartphone range.

Folding bicicyles

For the eco-conscious commuter, a folding bike is the ultimate in practical, feel-good gadgetry. Brompton's £630 S-type models are the most popular, but our executive peripherals editor has his eye on Montague's Swissbike a 24-gear mountain bike substitute that folds in half.

E-book readers

Amazon's £177 Kindle and Sony's Pocket and Touch Editions are the main contenders, but keep an eye out for up and coming rivals such as the Cool-er E-book Reader and iRex Iliad. 

Laptops and mini-notebooks

Dell's new thinline "Z" models have impressed, but netbook pioneer Asus is still making headway as it expands its range with more capable laptops such as the Seashell 1005HA. Or maybe it's worth holding out for just one more year to see if the ultimate smartphone-media player-computer hybrid shows up.


Hardly the most glamourous of Christmas present options, but people get very attached to their printers. Canon's Pixma MX850 multifunction inkjet was themost popular model (in terms of numbers) in our Printer Buyer's Guide survey, while OKI's 5650 and 9450CDN won plaudits from users (see Matthew's comment below). There are a lot of options to choose from!

Mobile phones

Almost too many options to make a straight decision here, based around different mobile operating systems: Android (HTC Hero), Apple (iPhone 3GS), BlackBerry (Storm), Symbian (Nokia E55, E71, Samsung i8510 etc) and that plucky also-ran, Windows (HTC HD2)

Merry Christmas from the Sift Media tech team!


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