The best gifts for £250 and under for Christmas 2017

It's time to up your present-buying game with a slew of tech pressies to suit one and all

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So, you’ve got a £250 budget to spend on your nearest and dearest? Now we’re talking! That sort of cash will push you into the realms of premium tech, but you don’t want to blow it all on a dud gift that will be gathering dust by January. 

Before you fill your basket with big ticket items, it’s worth conducting some thorough research to find out exactly the sort of gadget fan you’re buying for, to make sure you ace the gift buying this year. 

We have loads of great ideas for every type of gadget lover. Fom a fuss-free coffee machine and Alexa-powered speaker to a beginner-friendly drone and connected security camera, T3 has you covered this Christmas.

Amazon Echo Show

It’s Alexa Jim, but not as we know it

Reasons to buy
+Echo with added screen!+Hands-free smart assistant+Eight internal microphones+Rich Dolby sound

Amazon recently dropped a Santa's sack full of new gadgets, among which was the Echo Show, a smart home device with all the voice-controlled smarts of the original Amazon Echo, but with the addition of a 7-inch touchscreen.

So this time when you ask Alexa to look something up, the Bluetooth Echo Show will help you hear and see the results. The screen can even be configured to display a live video-feed from compatible third-party security cameras you may have installed in your home.

There are eight microphones (and improved Far-Field Voice Recognition) hanging on your every word, and Dolby-chipped speakers blast out room-filling sound. So whether you want to hear the local weather forecast or watch the video to Last Christmas by Wham, the Echo Show will hook you up.

Parrot Mambo FPV

Earn your pilot wings with this beginner-friendly drone

Reasons to buy
+10 minutes airtime per charge+Immersive FPV flight+Three flight modes+Shoot HD video

You never forget your first time flying a drone, particularly if it’s a beginner-friendly Mambo from Parrot, complete with immersive FPV goggles. 

Kickstart your pilot training in Easy mode and the tiny Mambo will stay in the air, even if you let go of the controls – ideal for noobs. Once you’ve mastered the Parrot Flypad controller, progress to Racing mode and indulge in some serious aerial action, taking the drone to the far reaches of its 100-metre range.  

For a more high-octane flying experience, strap on the FPV Cockpit glasses to view exactly what the Mambo’s camera sees – right in front of your eyes. Hit record and the Mambo will capture every second of your flight in 720p HD.

Sonos One

Take complete control of your music

Reasons to buy
+Built-in Alexa+One-touch controls+Six internal microphones+Seamless Sonos integration

Skip a track on your Christmas Day playlist by telling the voice-activated Sonos One to jog it on... In-between bites of turkey, that is. Sonos' new app-controlled, multi-room ready speaker features Amazon Alexa built-in and uses six internal microphones to listen to what you're saying.

Two Class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers are tuned to deliver premium audio to any room, whether you’re head bangin’ to some hard rock or kicking back with Mozart while carving up some Christmas pud.

If you already have Sonos speakers around the house, the Sonos One will connect to them wirelessly, integrating seamlessly into your existing system. And for any film buffs among you, pick up a pair of Sonos Ones and you can enjoy instant stereo sound. Yes, because that will make the Emmerdale Christmas special more appealing...

Nespresso Vertuo

Enjoy great tasting, faff-free coffee at home

Reasons to buy
+One-touch brewing+Fast heating system+No programming required+Perfect coffee every time

If you’re a coffee connoisseur but can no longer stomach the prices at your favourite java spot, the Nespresso Vertuo offers barista quality coffee at a fraction of the cost.

The Vertuo’s rapid heating system ensures you’ll never be waiting long for your next cup, with clever centrifusion tech spinning each coffee pod 7,000 times per minute during the brewing process to ensure a rich flavour.

If you’re slow to get going without your first brew of the day, you’ll be grateful for the Vertuo’s automatic blend recognition function. It knows which coffee pod you’ve inserted and will brew it to perfection without the need for programming. So all you need to worry about is selecting which of Nespresso’s 20 delicious Vertuo flavours you fancy drinking. What a life!

Samsung Gear Fit2

Run, cycle and row your way to a healthy 2018

Reasons to buy
+Built-in GPS+Auto activity tracking+Monitor your heart rate+Super AMOLED display

If you’ve earmarked 2018 as the year to exercise yourself to rude health, you’ll be looking for a capable fitness wearable to keep you on the right track. In that case, Samsung’s Gear Fit2 should be at the top of your Christmas list.

Whether you start running, rowing or cycling, this savvy fitness band knows which activity you’re performing and automatically starts tracking, displaying the most important stats from your workout on its 1.5-inch Super AMOLED display. 

The jewel in the Gear Fit2’s crown is built-in GPS, enabling you to leave your phone at home and still track route, distance and speed in real-time when you’re pounding the pavement. But that’s not the only tech crammed into this lightweight band. Wrist-based heart rate monitoring also keeps you in the loop on heart activity, enabling you to maximise each workout.

Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

The Force is strong with this augmented reality gift

Reasons to buy
+Star Wars AR gaming+Throw down against Kylo Ren!+Realistic lightsaber controller+iOS/Android compatible

While it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to pilot a Podracer or get hammered with Han and Chewie in the Mos Eisley Cantina, we reckon Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges could, for now, be the closest thing to existing within the Star Wars universe (because yes, we'll be visiting Star Wars Land when it finally opens).

Download the Jedi Challenges app for your iOS or Android device, pop it into the Lenovo Mirage augmented reality headset and prepare to be transported to an entirely different galaxy. Once there, you can engage in battles with Kylo Ren and Darth Vader using the lightsaber feedback controller, board the Millennium Falcon for a game of Holochess, or command an army against the Empire.

A supplied tracking beacon monitors your movements to immerse you deep within the Star Wars world and get your Jedi training off to a flying start.

Roberts RT100 Turntable

Enjoy your vinyl at home or on the go

Reasons to buy
+Digitise your vinyl+Built-in pre-amp+Replaceable cartridge+Stylish wood veneer

This year we’ve seen the vinyl revival hit full stride, with fans of the old school medium having their pick of fantastic audio equipment upon which to play their treasured wax. The Roberts RT100 Turntable is a gorgeous case in point.

This semi-automatic, belt driven turntable combines style with function, not to mention sporting some ace tech under the hood. A built-in pre-amp means the RT100 is compatible with any system with an auxiliary input - think radios, multi-room speakers, sound bars and the like - so there’s no need to load up on loads of expensive audio gear. 

‘Turntable’ and ‘portable’ are two words that don’t go together, but the RT100 has a trick up its sleeve to make this concept a reality. Connect it to your PC via USB and you can make digital recordings of your favourite albums. Load the files onto your favourite device and enjoy that vintage warmth and crackle on the go.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition

Challenge your buds to an app-controlled car race

Reasons to buy
+Race high-tech supercars+Drive Dom's Ice Charger!+Eight nifty track designs+Rechargeable vehicles

If you loved the original Anki Overdrive app-controlled racing game, you'll go nuts for this slick Fast & Furious Edition. It features the most iconic cars from the movies, putting you behind the wheel of Dom’s legendary Ice Charger and Hobbs’ International MXT. 

During the game you'll be competing against characters from the Fast & Furious franchise, with a brutal armoury of weapons at your disposal, including a grappling hook and a lethal rocket launcher. Dang!

Upping the rad-factor even further is a new Power Zone track piece, which enables you to hack other player’s cars and steal victory from their clutches. See you at the starting line...

Ring Spotlight Camera

Protect your tech with round-the-clock HD security

Reasons to buy
+1080p HD video+24/7 surveillance+Instant motion notifications+Built-in 110dB alarm

If your home is chock-full of killer (and pricey) gadgets, you’ll want to take extra precautions to ensure no-one has easy access to your stash of tech. The answer? Another gadget, of course! Specifically, the Ring Spotlight Camera.

Mount Ring's motion-activated, wide angle camera to an outside wall and rest easy knowing your home is under 24/7 surveillance, with 1080p HD video beamed straight to your smartphone, tablet or PC. 

You'll receive instant alerts when suspicious movement is detected, with any bad guys getting an earful of the built-in 110dB alarm. The Spotlight Camera plugs into the mains, too, so there's no chance of a flat battery.

Salomon Driver Helmet

Keep your head when you conquer the mountains

Reasons to buy
+Performance snowsports helmet+EPS 4D head protection+Built-in visor system+Merino wool lining

The snow sports season is well underway, and if you plan on spending the winter sliding down icy mountains with a plank strapped to your feet you’ll want some A1-protection up top. Step forward the Salomon Driver.

This performance helmet has a built-in visor to shield your eyes from the sun and snow spray. Lenses are easily changed to suit the conditions, leaving you free to focus on getting radical on the slopes. A merino wool lining enhances your comfort, and a Thermo Control System ensures you’re never too hot or cold.

In terms of protection, the Driver features EPS 4D tech designed to better absorb shocks and glancing blows, plus a Custom Dial Fit System that keeps the helmet firmly attached to your head.

Want more? Here’s some other great gift ideas for £250 and under: