Christmas isn't just about family arguments, bad Cliff Richard records and improbable plot twists on EastEnders, it's also about last-minute panic buying. We can't do much about the first three, but we can help you out on the last one by providing you with some great gift ideas. So here, without further ado, is our festive run-down of the top 20 tech-friendly gifts for under £100.
1. Ray Gun Channel Changer,
£10 from Firebox
The Ray Gun channel changer puts the zap back into zapper. Styled like a 60s sci-fi B-movie prop it can be programmed to change channels on pretty much any kind of telly. There's even an accompanying zapping noise.
£15 from Firebox
This is the perfect pressie for that friend who's always on MSN. It's a USB gadget shaped like the Messenger icon and it changes colour, twists and flaps its wings to alert the user to incoming messages or friends logging on.
3. MSI Digivox Mini II V3,
£18 from CBC Computers
The Digivox is a tiny Freeview receiver that plugs into a spare USB port on your laptop or PC so you can watch telly on your 'puter. It even comes with PVR software that lets you record shows to disk.
4. Thrustmaster Glow Saber Duo Pack,
£18 from Amazon
Grown men never tire of wielding a light sabre. These attachments for the Nintendo Wii come in blue and red, glow bright enough to be seen in daylight and work a treat with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. What more could you want?
1. Philips Power2Charge,
£20 from Amazon
Sufferers of gadgetitis tend to develop a worrying secondary condition where they end up hoarding power supplies. The Power2Charge is the cure. It's a universal USB charger that can be used to power up MP3 players, smartphones, portable games consoles and a whole host of other devices.
2. Bow Wow Dog Speakers,
£23 from Paramountzone
These doggie-shaped speakers put the woof into subwoofer. They might be small, but they bark out 6W of sound -- enough to keep the neighbours awake at night. Handily they're powered via a computer's USB port and you can get them in either white or black.
3. Utag Digital Dog Tag,
£25 from Purityequip
These digital dog tags plug straight into a USB port and can be used to store vital information such as your emergency contact details electronically. They come encased in a weatherproof holder and can be worn either as dog tags or used as a key ring.
4. Lili Webcam,
£30 from John Lewis
Who said webcams had to look boring? This cute jellyfish-shaped model is available in red, green or blue and has a 1.3-megapixel resolution. It connects to your PC via USB and shoots smooth video at up to 30 frames per second.
1. Robot Arm,
Have you got a loved one who dreams of being able to recreate that Renault Picasso advert in their front room? No, us neither, but if we did we'd buy them this funky five-motor bot, which is operated via a wired controller.
2. Sega Mega Drive Handheld System,
£30 from Xploder
Honey, we've shrunk the Mega Drive! This handheld recreation of Sega's blockbuster 16-bit console comes preloaded with 20 classic games, including Sonic and Knuckles, Shinobi III, Altered Beast and Golden Axe. You can even connect it to a telly for big-screen gaming.
3. Griffin iTrip AutoPilot,
£35 from Amazon
There are loads of on the market, but this one is particularly good because of its auto-scan feature. Basically it scans the FM radio spectrum to find the three best frequencies to use and then saves them automatically to three programmable preset buttons for recall later.
4. Brick USB, £25 to £35 from Firebox
The Brick is basically just a USB key, but it's the funky Lego-style design that makes it so desirable. You pull the brick apart to reveal the USB plug and can choose from three different colours and two capacities -- 2GB and 4GB.
1. GuitarHero III Wireless Les Paul,
£45 from Play.com
All the coolest guitarists, such as Jimmy Page and Slash, use Les Paul guitars. Now you can too and best of all you don't even need to spend ages in your bedroom learning scales or any of that nonsense. Just strap it on, load up Guitar Hero III and prepare to rock!
2. Efergy Smart Meter,
£45 from Greenshop
The Efergy is the ideal gift for eco warriors. It's a wireless smart electricity meter that tells you every 6 seconds how much power you're consuming, how much money this is costing you and what your personal contribution to climate change is.
3. Microsoft Bluetrack Explorer Mouse,
£45 from Dabs
Not all mice are created equal. Microsoft's Explorer Mouse is a prime example. Thanks to a special blue laser it can be used on more surfaces than ever before, including granite worktops, carpet or even a rough park bench. Ideal if that's where you wake up after the Christmas party.
4. PURE Digital PureHighway,
£70 from Pure
The PureHighway is a handy dual-function gadget for the car. It receives DAB digital stations and transmits them to your car radio on a free FM frequency, but also doubles up as an FM transmitter for your iPod. What's more, you can even use it with headphones as a portable DAB radio when you're away from your motor.
1. Tokyo Flash watch,
£75 from iwantoneofthose.com
Tokyo Flash watches are the ultimate in geek chic. This one is a prime example thanks to its wacky three-face design. The round face tells you the hour while the two short bars display the minutes. Yes, we find it confusing too, but that's the point.
2. WowWee Tribot,
£80 from character-online.com
The Tribot comes to you courtesy of the same twisted minds that brought you the burping and farting Robosapien bot. This time around you get a three-wheeler robot with a pop-top head that's smart enough to play games such as Pattern, Maze and Minefield!
3. Pinnacle Video Transfer,
£90 from Pixmania
Want to get video on to your iPod or PSP? The Pinnacle Video Transfer is what you need. It's a natty little device that lets you record video from any AV source straight to your portable player without the need for a PC in between.
4. ATC-3000 Action Camera,
£100 from Firebox
Ideal for adrenaline junkies, this action camera is tougher than Mike Tyson on steroids. It comes with a mounting kit so you can attached it to handle bars, a helmet or pretty much anything you like and it's even waterproof to a depth of 3m.