Christmas may be the season to be jolly but, for many of us, a technology splurge isn't an option right now. Fortunately, there's plenty of inexpensive but appealing gadgets and gizmos to be had.
Christmas 2009 buyers' guide: Gadgets and gizmos
More and more gadget sites have sprung up to cater for the seemingly insatiable British appetite for the quirky and the cool. In fact, we found hundreds of goodies that will appeal to retro gamers and budding gadgeteers. Here's our pick of them.
Christmas 2009 buyers' guide: Vouchers and subscriptions
This can pose a problem if, like us, you want to give an actual gift rather than money.
However, like many high-street retailers, Apple offers iTunes Gift Cards that range in price from £5 to £50. These vouchers allow the recipient to buy content from the iTunes store, which offers everything from individual tracks to albums, music videos, TV shows and even apps for the Apple iPhone or iPod touch, simply by entering the number on the card at the online checkout when purchasing content. The vouchers can be purchased online from the iTunes Store or from high-street retailers such as Argos and WH Smith.
See also: How to use Spotify
Alternatively, why not consider a subscription to Spotify? The Swedish music-streaming service lets you create and listen to playlists of songs over the web; there's a free, ad-supported version or a paid-for one. The service also lets you create 'collaborative' playlists, which are assigned their own web addresses and can then be added to by other Spotify listeners.
However, for a £9.99 monthly subscription, Spotify users not only get ad-free listening but also access to the recently released applications for Apple's iPhone and handsets running Google Android. You'll need the recipient's email address, and you'll give them the username and login details you set up.
If you're buying for a gaming enthusiast, consider an Xbox Live points card (available from Amazon or high-street games stores) or subscription. The subscription lets Xbox 360 users connect to the gaming console's online community and create their own digital identity. They can then play games online with other members of the community, as well as access and download additional content for games such as new levels, characters and weapons.
You can choose the length of subscription you want to purchase, from three months to a year. Prices range from £14 to £24 and the subscriptions are available from online retailers such as play.com, as well as some supermarkets and even service stations.
If you're buying for a digital photography enthusiast, you can probably bet that while they take hundreds and hundreds of snaps with their camera, the digital images languish on their hard drive and hardly ever see the light of day. If that's the case, why not surprise your loved one with a voucher for an online photo-printing service that will let them upload their digital snaps and print hard copies, delivered directly to their door?
Pixum offers vouchers ranging from €5 (£4.53) to €50 (£45) and can be used on everything from basic prints to photobooks and other mementos.
See also: Print your photos with PC Advisor
NEXT PAGE: photo gifts >>
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- Christmas 2009 buyers' guide: gadgets and gizmos