Top tech gifts as chosen by students this Christmas

If tech gifts are on your Christmas list this year, or you’re buying for someone else, but you don’t know your RAM from your megapixels, these students (ranging from 14 to 18yrs) from Salisbury’s University Technical College (UTC) in Wiltshire are on hand with their top present picks.

The UTC specialises in STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and maths, so these students definitely know their techie stuff.

Here’s their top tech present guide for 2018

Max Humpreys, Eleanor-Josephine Adamson and Nathan Baker, three Salisbury UTC students giving their top tech gift advice this Christmas.

Max Humpreys, Eleanor-Josephine Adamson and Nathan Baker, three Salisbury UTC students giving their top tech gift advice this Christmas.


1) Smart home speakers

If you want multi room audio with top quality sound then you may want to invest in some smart home speakers. Depending on your budget you could spend from £50 up to more than £300.

Nathan Baker, 15, studying Maths, Science, Electronics and Engineering said:
“I think it’s important to shop around. He told us: “There are some cheaper ones available that will have the same functions as the more expensive ones and could be just as good. Also I think it’s important to look in detail about how the speakers will fit into your life.”

2) Voice assistants – Home Hub / Alexa etc…

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Home voice assistant

These clever little devices are here to stay and gaining in popularity with all members of the family. Not only can you listen to music or the news, but you can ask it questions, and even use it to set your heating. They cost from £90 upwards.

Eleanor-Josephine Adamson, (16) studying Science, Maths, Electronics and Engineering said:
“I prefer the Google one but there isn’t much difference in them really. It just depends what you want it to do. My dad uses it to call me down to dinner or you could use it for recipes or to order shopping; it’s not just for listening to music.

“My advice is to look at reviews and try to make sure they are independent and not sponsored. Also ask your friends for their recommendations.”

3) Coding Kits

Coding has become the latest buzzword in education and there’s a variety of kits and games out there for all ages. They range in price from £20 up to £150.

Isaac, (17), studying Computer Science, Engineering and Electronics said:“Most jobs use some form of technology and having an understanding of what that does and how it functions are good skills to have. There are also more tech roles and having coding skills is now a necessity and will offer a wider range of jobs.

“I think these coding kits are really good for children aged 9-10 and above. I’d also recommend buying something you can code as well as something you can build; a Raspberry Pi is a good place to start.”

4) Luxury camera

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Luxury camera

Do you know someone who loves taking snaps on their mobile to upload to social media sites? Maybe they need something a bit more professional as they become more proficient? A luxury camera will start from about £200.


Emily Otter, (14), studying Science, Computer Science and Engineering said: “My advice would be to choose a reliable brand that you know about and you’ve heard good things about too. Also look at three or four cameras in a shop and ask for advice.

“Also, look at reviews and think about quality and the size of the camera as you will want to carry it around with you. A good quality camera is useful for taking great photos to post on social media and should also have a good range of accessories.”


5) Drone

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Drone

In just a few short years drones have transformed from a toy for geeks to a mainstream piece of kit. The market is saturated with them now and they’re available from under £30 upwards.


Will Kay (15), studying Computer Science, Electronics and Engineering said: “You can have great fun flying drones, if you’re a serious flyer and want a high –spec one such as the DGI Spark or, Mavic. You’ll need to get a licence, but, if you’re just starting out opt for a cheaper, light-weight (under 250g) one, you won’t need a licence and these are usually much cheaper, I’d consider the Syma.”


6) Fitness tracker

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Fitness tracker

If your New Year resolution is going to be getting fit then you may want to try one of the many fitness trackers and watches on the market. They range from ones that track your steps to all singing and dancing ones but it may just come down to how much you want to spend.

Max Humphreys (18) studying Engineering, he said: “A fitness tracker is a great gift – it’s good to keep fit and healthy.


“I want to join the Royal Marines so for me, if I had one I’d use it to hit set targets and track my progress. The standard of fitness required to join the Marines is high and I think a fitness tracker would be a useful tool to help ensure I reached the requirement.


“I think buyers need to be careful when choosing a tracker, check that it records data accurately and can be used to compare previous fitness levels – you need to be able to see improvement. Also that it’s compatible with apps that you might already be using on your smartphone, for me that would be the Apple iWatch or the Fitbit.”



7) Noise cancelling headphones

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Noise cancelling headphones

If you, or a music lover in your family, wants nothing to distract them from listening to their favourite tunes then some noise cancelling headphones could be a perfect Christmas gift. You can choose wireless, over the ear, or in the ear and prices range from under £100 up to £300+

Rory Blakey-Flavell (15), studying Computer Science, Electronics and Engineering said:“Noise cancelling headphones are really good for listening to music, you get a nicer audio experience, being completely undisturbed by external noise, you can block out the world around you.

“A good pair is also friendlier to those sharing your space; you spare them the secondary bass! I’d recommend the Bose QC35.”


8) Action camcorder – GoPro or similar

Small, lightweight, portable and sometimes waterproof, a camcorder could be an excellent present for someone in your family who loves action; whether on their skateboard, bike or surfboard. Ranging in price from £50 up to £300.

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Action Camcorder

Maddie Hodges (14) studying GCSEs as well as Product Design and Computer Science said: “A high quality camcorder is a must for any active family, really useful for those who enjoy trekking and hiking and water-based activities. But, video is more and more important, not only for social media and Google’s algorithms but also professionally, too. I want to be a Forensic Scientist and high-resolution video is becoming more important for searching and presenting evidence.”

Technology, 6th FormWeb editor