Monday, 15 November 2010

Christmas Gifts for Gadget Loving Dads

It can be hard to find the right gift for Dads, so here at the Family Panel we have been reviewing some great Tech gifts which might just fit the bill. So put down the socks and slippers, and why not consider these gems? 

First up we have two new discs from Nero for any Dads who love to edit their own home movies and pictures. 
The Nero Multimedia Suite 10 Premium HD and the Nero Video Premium HD are both available for under £100 (at

These are both simple to use, and allow even someone like 20somethingmum with her limited experience to create impressive slideshows of images straight from your hardrive.

Both the editions use Blu-Ray enhancements, allowing you to achieve HD quality movies with a few clicks of the mouse. You can use the Video Premium to edit your own footage and add music and text to the films, as well as other effects, which is great if you like to send your video to family members, or if you are a fan of uploading to Youtube. You can also use them to back up your image and video files which is great if you have a habit of opening the odd virus and don't want to lose all your family photo and video! 

The discs are both very easy and fast to install to your PC, and have an impressive and comprehensive amount of modules available. Its all set out in a way that makes it ridiculously simple to find what you are looking for, without too many fussy menus which the beginner could easily get lost with!

The only slight snag we experienced was when we tried to write footage to disc- it took a few attempts, as Nero didn't seem to like our standard (and not very old) re-writer. We tried a few different discs, and the best result was with a good quality, not so cheap disc, otherwise we found with cheaper discs the footage wasn't as sharp on the disc as on the PC, but this could also be due to them HD quality needing a compatible disc. 

We think this would be a great gift for Dads as they can take pictures and film and then create masterpieces, whether you save them on your Hard drive or write to disc (just make sure its a decent disc!).

Next up is the Nikon Coolpix S1100PJ camera with Projector.

Nikon have been releasing ever improving Coolpix or a number of years, and always use the latest tech available to make them not just easy to use but long lasting too. 

The latest Coolpix is stylish, sleek and very light weight, but it s got a whole lot going on in a very small camera!

The camera has a large screen on the reverse to make capturing pictures of moving images easy, and is touch screen too, which you can use to write or draw onto the image. Rather than having lots of fiddly buttons to press, the Nikon has a mere 4. The camera is able to self retouch and has an impressive 5 x optical zoom lens.

It has auto stabilisers, again making it a case of point and click without the photos being blurry if taking action shots, and the camera itself is very clear, with 14.1 megapixels making all the little detail show through.

Its not just a camera for still photography either. As is now becoming common place for top of the range cameras it also has the ability to film, with the Nikon you can film in HD in very clear footage which can then be uploaded to the PC.

If you like to set up images yourself and b in them it comes with a remote control to make that simple, and has full auto mode too.

The most impressive feature though of the Coolpix is the Projector, which enhances brightness. It works in a variety of locations, and projects much further than standard projector equipment. It also has 4x anti blur and impressive portrait mode.

We loved this camera for indoor and outdoor use, and found it was especially good in the park when we wanted to take steady stills of the Tot Testers on the swings. 

Its available for £93.00 from

Lastly for Dads who like to relax with a bit of TV, we tried the TVonics Recordable Freeview+HD box.

The TVonics Freeview HD recorder is very well designed, and quite space age looking too, rather than being the identikit square metal box we've all become accustomed to seeing in the living room, it dips at the front and looks great with todays modern TVs.

Its HD compatible to 1080p, so the picture is superb. You can also pause, rewind and record live TV, so there is no excuse for Dad to take his turn at childcare! 

It comes with all the freeview channels already built in as well as their HD versions (where available), and has the ability to record a whole series without having to chose the programmes individually. 

The available memory built in to save programmes is massive- 500 GB so you'll be hard pressed to fill it up and run out of space! It also makes it easy to plan what you want to record as it has an 8 day TV guide for all channels.

Its both simple to use and set up, and can be connected to your Dolby surround sound system via a cable.

Its clever too- it remembers what programmes you have already scheduled and will make suggestions of similar programmes you may enjoy too. And it has parental control built in and hidden to make sure the kids watch what you think is suitable!

You can also connect via Ethernet cable to allow you to vote via the Red button service, and has a HDMI switch to connect to other HDMI equipment,

Priced at £249.99 (TVonics Store), its a one of payment compared to buying Sky with a recordable box or Virgin in the same way via subscription. 

A very simple to use product which makes it easy to record programmes for a later date.

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