Some people are easier to buy gifts for than others, but you no doubt know a few people in your life who already own got just about every tech gadget out there – which means getting them a new gizmo for their birthday or another occasion can be a tricky task.
With that in mind we’ve scoured all of our favourite tech shops to bring you the most unusual and uncommon gadgets we could find, the exact opposite of run-of-the-mill. No matter what your tastes or budget you should be able to pick out something here.
1. Bluesmart suitcase
Travelling is often stressful and inconvenient at the best of times but you can at least make sure your luggage isn’t one of your worries with the Bluesmart suitcase, which packs in a host of handy tech features – like the option to lock and unlock your bag with your phone.
The case can weigh itself via the handle and carries a portable battery inside it for charging up your phones and tablets on the go. Meanwhile integrated GPS tracking means you can always keep track of where your luggage has got to while you’re away from home.
£349.99/$449 | Buy Bluesmart suitcase
2. Star Wars drones
These authentic-looking Star Wars-themed drones are perfect for the hard-to-buy-for tech lover who’s also keen on Star Wars – plus they’re much more interesting than the standard, run-of-the-mill drones that most interested punters have already bought for themselves.
There are three models to pick from – speeder bike, X-Wing and TIE Fighter – and each one is capable of reaching speeds of 35mph. Get together with a few like-minded friends with these drones, and you can engage in infrared laser battles, complete with sound effects.
£199.99/$199.99 | Buy Star Wars drones
3. 3Doodler Create
So far 3D printing hasn’t taken off in the way a lot of tech industry observers thought it might, but you can still have a lot of fun with it, as the 3Doodler Create shows – it’s like your very own 3D-printing factory packed into a pen, and makes a unique gadget gift.
The pen pumps out heated plastic strings that then cool as they’re shaped, so you can make pretty much anything you can imagine. There are five colours of this model to pick from, as well as cheaper and more expensive versions of the pen available as alternatives.
£99.99/$99 | Buy 3Doodler Create
4. Robomow RS635 Pro SX
You’d have to really, really love someone to spend this much on him or her, but nevertheless a robot lawnmower is just about as unusual a gadget as you can get, and will keep its owner’s lawn looking sharp and well-tended with very little manual input.
There are plenty of models on the market but we’ve picked the Robomow RS635 Pro SX because of the way it handles big gardens and tough-to-mow grass, and it’s also capable of dealing with slopes up to 20 degrees and can last for 100 minutes between charges.
£2,999 (about $3,720) | Buy Robomow RS635 Pro SX
5. Smartphone Magnifier
Everyone’s got a smartphone, just about, so if you’re struggling to come up with an interesting and unusual tech-related gift then this Smartphone Magnifier is worth a spot on your list – it blows up whatever’s on your phone screen to around 8 inches in size.
Okay it’s not made from the most high-quality of materials but it has a nice old school TV, retro look to it, and the box works with just about any phone from any manufacturer up to around 16cm by 8cm in size. Evenings in front of Netflix will never be the same again.
£19.99/$30 | Buy Smartphone Magnifier
6. Sony Xperia Ear
Hats off to Sony for at least trying something different in a tech world filled with minor variations on the same themes. The Xperia Ear takes the idea of the digital assistant (like Siri or Cortana) and puts it right in your ear, with no screen or interface required.
Another way to think of it is like a tiny Amazon Echo, reading out news and information to you with a few simple voice commands. It might look a little daft but we think the Xperia Ear has got potential – and it means you don’t have to stay glued to your phone all day.
£179/$188.75 | Buy Sony Xperia Ear
7. Hexbug Battlebots Arena
The lucky recipient of this gift can enjoy an endless amount of robot-bashing fun – for your money you get both the miniature arena itself, plus two remote-controlled robots called Witch Doctor and Tombstone, so it contains everything that’s required to get started.
The aim is to knock various bits of plastic off your opponent’s robot before your own is beaten up, and there are push hammers in the corner of the arena that need to be avoided too. When you’re done, just replace the bits of plastic, and you’re ready for another bout.
£79.99/$79.99 | Buy Hexbug Battlebots Arena
8. LED umbrella
Umbrellas do a fine job of keeping people try, but why settle for something that only does one job at once? This battery-powered LED umbrella not only keeps the rain at bay but also banishes the darkness with its glowing pole, made from crystal clear acrylic.
The torch part of the brolly cycles through seven colours – red, green, blue, orange, sky blue, deep purple and pink – and if you don’t like the black model then alternatives with blue and red canopies are available. You might even want to pick one up for yourself.
£11.99/$18.99 | Buy LED umbrella
Smartphones killed off the idea of the photo album such a long time ago that we’re probably due a revival of the physical picture print-out again, and Prynt is happy to oblige. Slot your iPhone inside it and you can print out your snaps from pretty much anywhere.
Even better, when you view those printed images with the Prynt app from any phone, they come to life as short video clips. You get 10 sheets of photo paper to get you started, and the device’s maker promises long-lasting, smudge-free pictures from this little gadget.
£139.99/$149.99 | Buy Prynt
10. iRoller touchscreen cleaner
Your friend or family member may have a house full of gadgets, but does he or she have the means you clean all this hardware as well? The iRoller is a cheap but very effective way of wiping away fingerprints and other smears from the front of phones and tablets.
The device is compact and reusable, and won’t harm the gadgets it’s being used on. With smartphones in particular showing a trend towards more polished and glossier finishes, something like the iRoller can be an invaluable help in keeping them looking top-notch.
£16/$20 | Buy iRoller touchscreen cleaner