Not sure what to get for the designer in your life? We’ve picked a selection of gifts to suit most budgets. Today: fab gear
It’s that time of year again, when you really don’t know what to buy people for Christmas. And so to save you lots of frantic trudging around the shops we’ve done a bit of thinking and asked some friends and come up with a selection of brilliant gift ideas. Today it’s all about the gear – from hot hardware to cool stuff to have around. Coming next: a round-up of top designer toys.
Alba Media Edition
As recommended by Montreal-based artist and designer Julien Vallée, this is the ultimate modern retro alarm clock, featuring a LED display paired with a handmade walnut case. "It comes in with a nice iPhone USB hub," says Julien, "and an application that enables you to wake up with songs from your library."
Soft-touch silicone rubber that sets permanently doesn’t sound very interesting, but it’s actually extremely cool.. Sugru enables you to customise, protect and modify your gadgets, and it's just the thing for fixing any new toys that might get broken on an over-excited Christmas morning.
Appearing from out of nowhere a couple of months ago, the Inkling’s such a brilliant idea that we’re amazed it took so long to be invented. You clip a special receiver to a piece of paper, draw away with the special pen, and your sketch is recorded as a layered vector image. The pen’s great, brilliantly responsive with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and you can sketch away all day without any danger of filling the receiver’s internal memory. Our main gripe is that the accompanying software’s not so nice to use; but then, that’s what Illustrator’s for, right?
A Guide to Pairing Wine with Food tea towels
Become the sommelier of your own kitchen with these infographic tea towels designed by Stuart Gardiner. Whether you’re looking for a light white to go with the starters or something more robust to accompany the turkey, you’ll know exactly which tipple to throw down your neck come Christmas dinner. Also, use as a bandana.
£9.95 each or £18 for the pair
MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer Kit
3D printing’s still in its infancy but it’s an idea whose time is fast coming. We’re not yet at the point where you can pop down to the shops and just buy one – it’s still a matter of building your own, so it’s not for the faint-hearted or butter-fingered – and the consumables don’t come cheap, but if you’re into making things and want to be way ahead of the curve, this is what you want. Jessica Walsh says, "A 3D printer would be a dream! I could make props for photo shoots, or make my dog a shoe to chew on."
‘Do Sin’ soap bar
Determined to work your way through as many of the seven deadlies as possible over the festive season? Scrub the shame away with these soaps.
2011 has been the year in which everyone else has had a go at trying to beat the iPad in the tablet stakes, with failure all round. There have been some brave attempts, most recently Amazon’s Kindle Fire, but nothing’s been able to match the iPad’s winning combination of looks and performance. Not to mention an ever-growing library of apps, plus the new Newsstand app which enables you to subscribe to Computer Arts and read it on your iPad without having to muck about with any of that old-fashioned paper stuff.
Don’t take our word for it though; Jeffrey Bowman says he’d love to get an iPad for Christmas, "Because it would be a chance to see what all the fuss is about, like one of them Christmas gifts you get, use for about a week and then cast to one side." We reckon he’d change his tune after a week.
Tapegear laptop case
Look after your lovely new Christmas laptop and protect the planet at the same time, with this snug-fitting skin made out of sustainable cork from FSC-approved oak woodlands. The Ryan Frank-designed skins are available in 13 or 15-inch versions and include a nifty material lining to reduce scratches.
Like it or not, if you’re a designer then you have to have a Mac, and we’re utter suckers for the latest addition to the MacBook range, mostly because we love the idea of a laptop that’s ditched the hard disk in favour of a pricier but much faster SSD, which has the added advantage of no moving parts.
Our own Rob Carney couldn’t wait until Christmas; he’s just bought one and seems quite pleased with it. He says, "It's about balancing power with portability. There's nothing my 11.6-inch MacBook Air can't really do that my 21-inch iMac can. Coupled with a 27-inch Thunderbolt display at home – which I have yet to buy – it's a perfect setup. Just make sure you go for the 4GB/128SSD (or larger capacity) option if you can afford it."
Woofer Speaker System
And to finish off, how about a lovely set of speakers for listening to all those classic Christmas songs? Jessica Walsh pointed these out, telling us, “These speakers would be amazing in my studio.” So we took a look. They’d have to sound amazing at that price, but we can’t deny their striking decapitated canine looks. Just look at them!