Modern Gifts For Tech Geeks

Here's a list of 4 Modern Gifts for Tech Geeks. 

Steam Controller

The basic design of a gamepad with two thumbsticks, two triggers and six buttons hasn’t changed for 17 years. In the techosphere, 17 years is a lifetime. That’s why, just as the traditional console-makers are filling the Christmas shelves with new machines, Valve has proclaimed the traditional controller dead, and the console with it. The future, says Valve, is in a gamepad that mixes the speed and accuracy of a mouse and keyboard with the pick-up-and-play simplicity of a regular controller. In place of thumbsticks you get two capacitive trackpads, which you use in much the same way but with, claim its creators, a greater degree of precision. And while it looks fairly simple, it actually has 16 buttons, giving you the complex controls of a keyboard if you want them. It’s not so far removed from current designs that you’ll scream at it like a frightened ape, but it’s advanced enough to persuade us that this could be the future of gaming.

Sonos Play:1 

We want music everywhere these days. That’s why headphones are so darn popular. But you can’t wear cans in the bathroom – that’s just weird. The Play:1 is Sonos’ first humidity-proof wireless speaker: now you can extend your multiroom system comfortably in the knowledge that Stevie Wonder can accompany your morning ablutions. At least you can if you’ve thrown caution to the wind and installed a mains socket in your bathroom, for this is not the battery-powered portable we were rather hoping it would be. It needs plugging in. And yet music doesn’t, if you’re the one holding the guitar. Or violin, or triangle, or whatever. £170 /

Sony Alpha 7 and 7R 

Professional and enthusiast photographers have spent half a decade staring at compact system cameras through the window of their local camera shop, admiring their small, light forms. Then they’ve shouldered their bags full of massive DSLRs and trudged away to dream of a full-frame mirrorless camera. And now, thanks to Sony, that camera is no longer the fever-dream of a bow-backed snapper.

The Alpha 7 and 7R are the smallest, lightest full-frame bodies ever made, but the sensors they contain – 24.3MP and 36.4MP – are of the big, light-drinking kind professionals insist upon. Although with a large selection of Sony glass – five new full-frame-optimised Carl Zeiss lenses making 54 in all, if you count the A-mount lenses you can use with an adapter – you can still fill a bag if you like. £1300, £1700 (body only) /

Steam Machine and SteamOS

When Google went into the phone game, it kept things open. It took a version of Linux, specialised it so developers could create apps for it, then went out of its way to get everyone to make Android phones. Which they did, in vast numbers – 80% of all smartphones, market data fans. Valve is doing the same thing: it’s taken a version of Linux, specialised it so games can be built for it, and signed up a long (but as-yetundisclosed) list of partners to build its Steam Machines based on a set of recommended hardware specs. Can it replicate the Big G’s success? Well, it’s already one of the most popular ways to buy games, one of the most popular ways to sell games (especially indie games, via Steam Greenlight) and, with 54 million active users, one of the most popular ways to play them. So, yes. Yes, it can.


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