It's Christmas again, and the recent big freeze here in the UK has given us plenty of time to consider which of our neighbours' tech we covet . The team here at TrustedReviews have made a list, checked it twice, and are happy to share it with you ahead of Santa's arrival.
Are you expecting anything nice this year? Be sure to let us know what's top of your Christmas list - money no object - in the comments!
The most desirable technology sits in that sweet spot between the categories of â€œluxuryâ€ and â€œmust-haveâ€. When a product ticks both those boxes and matches your lifestyle, the temptation is almost unbearable. And currently my lifestyle involves running.
Naturally I want to track how my progress is going so want to take advantage of those rather clever hunks of metal speeding round the globe. Now, with the proliferation of mobile apps, I could just plonk a Sat-Nav app on my smartphone and be done with it. However, Sat-Nav apps, even ones aimed at athletes, either do too much or not enough.
Nike Plus doesnâ€™t have any training plans but does have Twitter, Adidas miCoach has an integral web interface, which somewhat bizarrely, doesnâ€™t display on an iPhone because it uses flash. What's more, either smartphone apps bombard you with data and social networking option reminders, coaching tips and upgrade announcements, or they lack the functionality that some of the competitors have, leaving you scurrying around in the quest for the perfect app.
To borrow a phrase, the Garmin 410 just does it. No playlists, no coaching, no tweeting your mates every 500 yards â€“ itâ€™s just you and the satellites.
The watch itself is beautifully designed, so much so that itâ€™s better than a standard watch for working out, whether you're actually moving or just staring at Sky Sports in a gym. You can forget you're wearing it and just get on with your training, and you canâ€™t say that about a smartphone strapped to your arm or bouncing around in your pocket.
This is the GPS for people who just want to get out there and run. If you want to listen to music, run with your nano. If you want to make phone calls, stay at home. However, if you simply want to map your speed, pace and distance covered, youâ€™ll want one of these.
When these came into the office I had to pry these off several heads before I put them on, saying: â€œWho would pay two hundred and fifty pounds for a pair of headphones?â€
I got about halfway through the sentence before going: â€œ-Oh.â€
I then plugged them into my iPhone to play an MP3 encoded at 128kbps. I know this is like drinking Blue Nun out of Waterford crystal but I wanted to test it on bog-standard quality equipment.
The results were still impressive so I just had to check my bank balance to see if some sort of financial miracle had occurred. Sadly it wasn't to be so I rammed in my own earbuds to block out the sound of my sorry, muffled life and soldiered on.
I have been spoiled by the P5â€™s. They were like a party in my ears and not only was I the only one invited, I was on the guest list in my own private VIP area with one eye on the mirror as I watched myself gavotte. And every song was about me.
Yamaha Silent Guitar SLG100N
If I were to describe myself as a guitarist, I would say â€œenthusiasticâ€. But what I lack in talent would be wiped out by a better guitar, because as all amateur axemen know, your best guitar is your next one. Aside from blaming my poor skills on my current guitar (a Sigma DM-1) some of the blame lies at the feet of my family, without whom I would not only have the blues, but the hollow heart to really play them.
Rather than subject my loved ones to the noise of me maiming the same riffs over and over in the hope of getting one right like a surfer trying to ride the perfect wave, I tend to not play at all and noodle about on computers instead.
Enter the Silent Guitar, inaudible to the outside world, but plug headphones into the jack and the nylon strings come to life to produce a warm, rich classical sound worthy of a lineage which starts with Segovia and stretches through to Nick Drake via John Williams, Willy Nelson, Chet Atkins, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson and, yes, me.