Wallpaper* gift guide: shopping with technology editor Jonathan Bell

The best tech gifts, from gaming on the go to a Japanese record player, and the odd creative curveball

Analogue Pocket Classic, among out pick of tech gifts feature in Wallpaper* gift guide
(Image credit: Teenage Engineering)

Technological gift giving can be a minefield; not everyone appreciates receiving electronics as a seasonal surprise and tech is either too personal or too prosaic to leave down to the gifting whims of another, however well intentioned. 

Master & Dynamic MW75 headphones

Master & Dynamic MW75 headphones

(Image credit: Master & Dynamic)

Throw in the curse of the gimmicky gadget – condemned to live out its life never leaving its box – and you have a true Christmas conundrum. This year, our guide to tech gifts offers up a selection of curveballs, from high to low culture, crunchy synths, hi-fidelity audio and unusual suggestions for food, drink and wellness.

Wallpaper* gift guide by technology editor Jonathan Bell

Nikon Z f Camera

Nikon Z f digital camera

Old school looks, new tech inside: Nikon Z f Camera

(Image credit: Nikon)

We kick off with the current hotness in full-frame mirrorless cameras. Nikon’s Z f was one of the launches of the year, a retro-styled camera that’s available in a wide range of colours and offers access to a huge swathe of Nikon Z compatible lenses – nearly 50 at the count. The body was inspired by the legendary FM2 from 1981, with leather-effect grip and rotary controls on top, while the tilt and fold rear screen and digital viewfinder hint at the limitless capabilities at your fingertips. 

Nikon Z f camera, body only £2,299, Nikon.co.uk

A Pocket Classic 

Analogue Pocket Classic

Collect the set: one of eight colour waves for the Analogue Pocket Classic

(Image credit: Analogue)

A cult classic that might already be sold out, gamers would do well to hunt around for these Classic editions of the Analogue Pocket handheld console. This skilful evocation of old-school gaming is now available in eight Nintendo-bright colours. 

Analogue Pocket Classic, $249, Analogue.co

A cricket farm

Crikorama by Kyran Knauf

Stay chirpy: Crikorama home cricket farm by Kyran Knauf

(Image credit: Kyran Knauf)

This might not be the seasonal snack maker of your dreams, but the Crikorama could be the gift that keeps on giving. Designer Kyran Knauf is on a mission to find alternative sources of protein. He developed the Crikorama as a means of safely and easily farming crickets at home, reasoning that the protein-rich beasties will make an excellent and sustainable source of food. Currently in prototype form, the device is sized for a kitchen counter and Knauf hopes it’ll be the future of grow your own.  In the meantime, a host of insect-derived snack suppliers are springing up to cater to fans of creative crunching. 

Crikoramaa by Kyran Knauf, more details at @Crikorama. Alternatively, cricket-based snacks are available from EatSmallGiants.com

A sigh of relief


Unruffle your feathers with Moonbird's breathing trainer

(Image credit: Moonbird)

An ‘invisible’ tech solution to a universal problem, the Moonbird is a portable wellness machine that teaches users to breathe slowly and more purposefully. Unsurprisingly accompanied by an app, the Moonbird is a handheld device that trains you to breathe through its gentle expanding and contracting action. 

Moonbird, £159, Moonbird.life

A mini sound machine

Behringer Pro vs Mini synthesizer

Sound quality: Behringer Pro-VS Mini Synthesizer

(Image credit: Behringer)

Another instant cult object, the Pro vs Mini is an ultra-compact reinterpretation of the classic Prophet VS synthesizer, launched by US company Sequential back in 1986. This large, expensive and immensely complicated machine was a major advance in sound creation – second-hand examples sell for around £5,000 – and was used by Brian Eno, Prince, Kraftwerk and many others. Behringer, a German company with a knack for recreating, reviving and just plain cloning classic gear, has created this tiny device as a homage to the hefty original. 

Behringer Pro vs Mini, £89, Behringer.com, available from Andertons

A classic headset

Master & Dynamic MW75

Sonic excellent: Master & Dynamic MW75 Headphones

(Image credit: Master & Dynamic)

The American headphone manufacturer keeps the hits coming, thanks largely to its commitment to enduring simplicity of design, high quality materials and excellent sound quality. Yes, you can get the MW75s with Bugatti or Lamborghini branding, but we say keep it classic and go for the tan leather and silver metal combo. These headphones should last and last. 

Master & Dynamic MW75 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones, £539, MasterDynamic.com

An on-the-go espresso maker

Nano Portable Espresso Machine by OutIn

Caffeine injection: Nano Portable Espresso Machine by OutIn

(Image credit: OutIn)

Think of this little device as a portable caffeine infuser, something you can sling in a backpack or glovebox for ready access to espressos when you're out and about. OutIn’s Nano takes regular coffee grounds as well as the Nespresso-compatible pods, and a full charge is good for five cups of coffee if you’re using cold water or 200 cups if you’re using boiling water. 

OutIn Nano Portable Espresso Machine, $139.99, OutIn.com and Amazon

A quirky pocket studio 

Teenage Engineering

Teenage Engineering's OP-1 field, TX-6 mixer, TP-7 recorder and CM-15 microphone

(Image credit: Teenage Engineering)

For design obsessive audiophiles, few devices hit the mark quite like those by Teenage Engineering. The much-anticipated CM-15 microphone is now available to add to the ultimate portable studio along with the TX-6 mixer and the OP-1 Field. Next up is the TP-7 recorder. You can’t help but admire the meticulous detailing, miniscule components and quirky but effective ergonomics. 

Teenage Engineering TP-7 recorder, £1,299; CM-15 microphone, £1,049, OP-1 field, £1,799; TX-6, £1,049, Teenage.Engineering

A handsome player

Luxman PD-191A turntable

Superior spinner: Luxman PD-191A turntable

(Image credit: Luxman)

Japanese high-end audio specialist Luxman is nudging its first century. The company’s newest flagship product is the PD-191A turntable, a handsome player that demonstrates the correlation between cost and quality. 2023 has been rich with vinyl-spinning options, from this mid-priced selection of record players, new turntables from Transparent and Pro-Ject, through to the high-end offerings of Linn, this time working in collaboration with Jony Ive. Luxman sits slightly below Linn’s legendary Linn Sondek LP12-50 in price, but offers a similarly analogue experience, with a reflected LED stroboscope, support for 78rpm records and a polished rosewood fascia. 

Luxman PD-191A turntable, £11,000 (including tonearm and dust cover), Luxman.com

A minimalist earful

Nothing Ear (2) earbuds

(Image credit: Nothing)

Nothing (sorry) grabbed our aural attention this year like Nothing’s Ear (2), the second set of in-ear headphones released by purveyor of minimalist tech, Nothing. Available in either black or white, with a matching charge case, the Ear (2) offers great sound for the price as well as the company’s distinctive transparent aesthetic, setting it apart from the many, many challengers. With a full case, there’s up to 36 hours of listening time, as well as three levels of active noise cancelling. 

Nothing Ear (2), £129, Nothing.Tech

A gift of sound and vision

Canon ML-A lamp and speaker

Glow up: Canon ML-A lamp and speaker

(Image credit: Canon)

An unusual product path for Canon, the new ML-A is combination Bluetooth speaker and light. Perhaps taking a cue from the likes of Transparent’s Light speaker, the ML-A amps up the practicality with an adjustable LED lamp atop a gleaming aluminium cylinder. With three levels of brightness, including high illumination for close-up work, the ML-A also contains a 10W Bluetooth speaker. Run both features at the same time, and you’ll get three hours of light and music. 

Canon Light & Speaker ML-A, £269, Store.Canon.co.uk

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.