Richard's favorite tech: 2013 holiday gift guide

Every December the iMore and Mobile Nations teams come together and talk about what they've been using the most in the last 12 months. This year we're going beyond just the iOS hardware, not only to reflect our extended coverage of all things Apple, but also to capture the tech from all sources that gives us pleasure in our daily lives. After all, we're more than a brand, we're more than a category. We're just tech geeks at heart! So, here's what I've enjoyed using the most this year!

Computer hardware

13 inch Retina MacBook Pro

Previous years have seen me team a Mac Mini with a 2010 MacBook Air for my work, but 2013 saw an upgrade to the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. This thing is now all the computer I need. It's slim and light enough to travel with while still packing enough grunt to do everything I need from it and more besides.

Computer Accessories

Apple Magic Mouse

Without question the best mouse I've ever used. I'm still firmly a mouse user over a trackpad, but with the Multitouch on the Magic Mouse you do get a happy middle ground. I'm surprised at how nice it feels to use given the shape, and wouldn't be without one now.

Apple Wireless Keyboard

A left over from my Mac Mini, but still in use now that has since departed. I use my MacBook Pro with an external monitor, and the setup I have is more comfortable to use with an external keyboard. Apple's Wireless Keyboard is small, comfortable to type on for long periods of time, and as an added bonus can also connect to my iPad when I need it to.

AOC I2353FH 23 inch Widescreen LCD Monitor

No Apple Thunderbolt Display for me, they're far too expensive. Instead I picked this one from AOC which here in the UK cost me £150 when I picked it up. It's large enough to act as a good external display for my MacBook, it looks great, and is gloriously slim. Mine is a slightly older model, but a similar, newer model can be had for similar money.

Griffin Elevator Stand

On my desk, I raise my MacBook Pro up when I'm using it with a monitor, and I do that with the Griffin Elevator Stand. With the same brushed aluminum finish as the MacBook Pro, it blends in fantastically and gives me the extra room I need to be comfortable at my desk.

Computer software

Pixelmator

Something I use daily for my work at Mobile Nations, for the price Pixelmator is an astonishingly good photo editor. Photography scares me, but Pixelmator is reassuringly simple to pick up and start using.

mSecure

I'm not one of the 1Password crowd, but that doesn't mean I don't use a password manager. The bonus to mSecure for me has always been better cross platform, mobile support. And now it houses all my passwords, it's impossible to live without.

Instashare

Another app I use on a daily basis, Instashare steps in where AirDrop doesn't allow you to just drag and drop files between your Mac and iOS device. It works flawlessly, and I've lost count of the amount of photos I've transferred using this.

Mobile devices

iPhone 5s

Apple's latest and greatest is arguably the best all round smartphone I've used this year on any platform. As a complete package of hardware, software and camera I don't think anything else this year has impressed as much as the iPhone 5s. If only I'd been able to get it in gold...

iPad mini with Retina Display

The tablet I always wanted. I dodged the original iPad mini because of the lacklustre hardware, but this time around it's impossible to ignore. It can go everywhere with you, and it does go everywhere with me. Power, portability and a gorgeous display. The Retina iPad mini is the best small tablet that there has ever been in my opinion (and I've used a lot!)

Nokia Lumia 1020

The iPhone 5s has a great camera, the Nokia Lumia 1020 has an unbelievable camera. With that 41MP Pureview unit hanging off the back, the Lumia 1020 offers a standard of mobile photography not seen anywhere else. If the camera is the single most important thing on your phone, you can't ignore it. You just can't.

Motorola Moto G

Motorola this year destroyed the budget smartphone competition with the Moto G. A 720p display, quad-core processor and Android 4.3 – soon to get Android 4.4 KitKat – the Moto G hands down offers the most compelling Android experience in that category. And it's probably the best truly cheap phone you can buy. Anywhere.

Apple TV

Even though here in the UK we're not as blessed with available content, the Apple TV has been used pretty much every day. Mainly for Netflix and MLB.tv and music from online streaming services sent to it with AirPlay. But for the price, I still think the package it offers is still extremely good value for money.

Mobile software

TripIt

I've dabbled with TripIt in previous years, but since 90% of my travel is now done without a car, it's suddenly become so much more useful this past year. I love the auto-import feature, letting TripIt see my reservation details in my email and it doing all the work is a lazy travellers dream. Planes, trains, hotels, car rentals, TripIt does it all. If you like it, definitely get the ad-free version.

Deezer

After years of subscribing to Spotify, this year I upped and moved to Deezer. The main thing was price; at the time I moved it cost just £4.99 a month in the UK. The iPad app could do with a facelift, but it has a great catalog of music behind it, which is more important to me. It isn't available yet in the U.S. though.

Netflix

In the UK Netflix has become the best way to get digital video content, on demand, on everything. And that's why I use it. I get it on my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, PlayStation, TiVo box, Android and Windows Phone devices.

Mobile accessories

Pebble

I love my Pebble. I jumped on board only recently with the iOS 7 supported update, but I sure haven't looked back. Having the convenience of notifications, music controls and more on my wrist has taken me by surprise. On a recent trip I travelled without it for 2 days, and kept looking at my regular watch wishing it would change the track playing on my iPhone. But it wouldn't. It's become an essential device for me.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10

Announced at IFA in September, this little hockey puck shaped device is a full on point and shoot camera that clips to the back of your iPhone or Android smartphone. You use the phone as a viewfinder, you can get all the photos transferred directly to your phone, and it has a stonking great optical zoom on it. Definitely a version 1.0 product, but one of the devices I've enjoyed using the most this year.

Motorola Buds

I've never really been one for Bluetooth headphones, but these from Motorola changed all that. They're so ridiculously comfortable to wear, I often forget that I've got them hanging round my neck. I wear them round the house even, since the range is so good my iPhone can stay upstairs and I can move about freely and still get my tunes. With the Pebble on my wrist I can even skip the tracks. Totally mobile!

Gaming

PlayStation Vita

I acquired a PS Vita this year, and I love it. I much prefer gaming on the go in this way than on a smartphone or tablet, and the integration into the PlayStation Network and the remote play promise for the PS4 makes it a fantastic handheld gaming machine. With PSP and PS One games available to download for it as well, there's a huge selection of quality gaming at your fingertips.

Grand Theft Auto V

Easily one of the finest games I've ever played. Hyped to the hilt, delayed, but when it came boy did it deliver. With an online game to play alongside the main storyline, GTA V has longevity to go with the largest open world we've seen to date in console gaming. Violent, yes, offensive, yes, but a modern classic for sure.

Miscellaneous

Lego DeLorean

I am a huge Back to the Future nerd, as I'm sure many other folks out there are. So imagine my cries of delight when I first laid eyes on the Lego DeLorean, which took all of 4 seconds to decide to buy. It sits pride of place in my home office, and remains one of the best nerdy treats I bought this year.

Bosch TAS2002GB Tassimo T20 Hot Beverage Machine

I love coffee – though opinions may differ between Rene and myself what constitutes coffee! – but I'm too lazy to want to get all fancy with making it. I picked this machine up earlier this year, and thanks to a tie-up between Tassimo and Costa Coffee you get some great tasting coffee, with minimal effort. UK only, but I'm so happy I pulled the trigger on this. Helps me get through most working days!

Your favorites

That's some of my favorite techy type stuff from 2013, but I'd love to hear what gadgetry you've been using, so drop a line in the comments and share with us all!

More great gift guides!

Looking for more great gift ideas for the geeks - and non-geeks - in your life? Check out the rest of our 2013 holiday guides!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Richard's favorite tech: 2013 holiday gift guide

15 Comments

Great read, Richard.
With regards to completeness concerning your Apple computing picks, I think it'd be interesting to know what configuration(s) you have with your beloved Apple products. I don't think Rene or Georgia mentioned it either... I should go check, just to be sure.
By the way, that doesn't look like any Apple Wireless Keyboard I'm familiar with... Do I need to check my eyes or get out more?
The LEGO set is awesome! Fun pick.
Thanks for sharing your "favorite techy type stuff from 2013".

(Which "spirit of iMore Christmas" should we expect to see next?) xD

But in all fairness he did list a DeLorean! ... LEGO, but still a DeLorean (which I saw one drive past me 2 days ago!)

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Nice list Richard! I agree with you on the iPad Mini with Retina Display, iPhone 5s, and Pixelmator. Thanks for the suggestion on Instashare.

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Richard, the Nokia 1020, all it's cracked up to be ? What disadvantages if any, specifically relating to the camera not the os!

Richard on a non-apple note i would love to get a ps vita but all the peripherals are really expensive and it seems that there are about 5 proper games for it have you encountered these problems or have you found this?

There's a good selection of 'proper' games though it depends what you like. I'm not really into peripherals though, a case is plenty enough for me. Though if you're talking about the memory cards...then yeah, not much we can do with that :/

Apple, Android, Windows Phone, PSP Vita, Lego and of course GTA V. I'd say you're living the geek dream. How awesome.