Your mate’s just moved into a new gaff and you don’t want to rock up empty-handed, but bringing a bottle seems boring. Splash out on one of these cool gadgety gifts instead – if you can bear to part with it.
Wireless speakers have really upped their game in recent times, with most newer models designed for multi-room use and connection over WiFi, rather than obliterating batteries with Bluetooth. This nifty speaker from Phillips allows anyone with a Spotify Premium account to browse, explore and play music from any room in the house using their smart device as a remote, and thanks to a direct Spotify connection, music can be played straight from the cloud, so smart devices can be used for calls or videos, or even go out of range, without interrupting the music. Perfect for parties.
£34.95 at Rakuten
Lighting plays a massive role in setting the tone and atmosphere of a room, so give your mate the gift of ambience with this seven colour touch-activated lamp. From peaceful purples to boudoir-style reds, this lamp makes for a fun and versatile alternative to plain ceiling light fittings and boggo beige corner lamps.
It’s also a lot cheaper than a Philips Hue…
£9.95 at Red5
Give your friend’s Instagram feed the publicity it deserves with the Instacube – a living canvas for Facebook and Instagram photos and videos. This wireless touchscreen frame displays pictures in real time at 3x the size of the average smartphone, and boasts 4GB of memory and a rechargeable battery. Altogether more futuristic photo frame fare.
£149.99 at Firebox
If your friend’s culinary skills leave a little to be desired then you could probably both benefit from this smart kitchen scale. It connects directly to an iPad and guides you seamlessly through every step of the cooking process using both existing recipes and hundreds of its own. It’ll automatically rescale recipe sizes to suit portion numbers and what’s left in the cupboard, and even boasts an auto-progress function that means tech needn’t come into contact with grubby mitts.
£79.99 at Firebox
If, on the other hand, your mate has the culinary expertise of a Michelin starred chef, it’s likely they already have the kitchen utensil basics down – but we’ll be darned if they have one of these ingenious little gizmos. Low-tech and high-efficiency, the herb stripper makes it easy to strip herbs from their stalks and measure exact quantities super quick, so there’s no excuse for relying on a handful of the arbitrary ‘Italian seasoning’ that everyone has lurking in the back of the cupboard.
£7.99 at Amazon UK.
Billed as a ‘game changer’ for wine aficionados, Coravin has been more than a decade in the making. This ‘wine access system’ (yes, really) lets winos pour a glass without popping the cork, after which the wine will continue to evolve at a natural pace meaning a single bottle can be tasted on multiple occasions for years without the threat of oxidation. That’s assuming you can make a bottle of wine last that long, of course.
£269, at Coravin
It’d be weird turning up with a Glade plug-in or a can of air-freshener, and scented candles are old news, so give your friend’s house the gift of fresh fragrance with this sexy-looking aroma diffuser. It uses ultrasonic technology to dispense soothing, purifying mists into the atmosphere – complete with hydrating and moisturising properties! We’d like to see a bowl of potpourri do that.
£38.95 at gizoo
How many times have you been to a friend’s house only for your phone to run out of juice and then endured the scramble for a charger only to find it’s got the wrong connector? Such faff. But wireless charging has completely changed the game, making the business of powering up as simple as plonking your phone on a table. Get this wireless charging pad for your mate and everyone benefits – assuming they’ve got a wireless charging handset, of course.
£30 at Ikea
This party wingman bills itself as “a great way to enjoy a drink without the excess sugars, artificial juices and mixers that lead to hangovers”, which is all well and good but let’s be honest, you’ll want one of these because it provides the perfect excuse for some hardcore cocktail chemistry. Simply fill it with vodka (or any spirit, in fact) and instantly infuse it with citrus fruits, cucumber, strawberry or whatever you fancy – no more steeping booze in Skittles for weeks on end.
£18.99 at Zavvi
Doing things manually is for schmucks – we live in the future now! That’s why your mate will appreciate this trés useful electric knife sharpener. It’ll revive all kinds of blades and materials using a two-step system that grinds, hones and sharpens in seconds, and comes with all kinds of safety features that mean having decent chef-worthy knives is a doddle.
£10.99 at Domu.
Main Image © iStock/Julia_Sudnitskaya