Belfast Telegraph

Because you're worth it - the hi-tech must-haves for execs this Christmas

Thinking of rewarding yourself after a hard year's work? Technology editor Adrian Weckler has picked out his top recommendations for executives from the many phones, laptops, tablets and smartwatches which we have tested over the last 12 months

Smartwatches: 1. Apple Watch Series 2, Price: £375. Reason: This is still my favourite smartwatch because of its comfort and range of straps. Apple's new upgraded model is doubling down on fitness with GPS and waterproof casing. The screen on the new watch, which still comes in 38mm or 42mm models, is also brighter than the old model while battery life is improved. If you aren't bothered by GPS or waterproof features, the original Watch has been beefed up and is €100 cheaper than Series 2.

2. Tag Heuer Connected

Price: £1,175

Reason: Unlike some of the plasticky, gadgety looking Android Wear smartwatches out there (I am looking at you, Huawei), Tag Heuer's offering is put together in a way that makes you feel you've got a bit of luxury. The 46mm screen has a titanium bezel and lugs keeping it together, allowing you to receive and send messages, check social media, get directions and keep all your health tracking activity up to date in a bit of style. The device is also splashproof and fairly robust.

Recommended phones

1. iPhone 7 Plus

Price: from £735

Reason: It's all about the camera. This is the best phone on the market because it has two cameras, giving it an effective zoom function. That means you'll get pictures with it you simply can't with other handsets. It's also an excellent 5.5-inch smartphone in its own right, being waterproof and ultra powerful.

2. OnePlus 3T

Price: £370

Reason: This is the best phone you can get for under €500. In truth, it compares well even to the superphones at the €700-plus tier (Samsung S7, iPhone 7 and the rest). The 5.5-inch phone has magnificent (3,400mAh) battery life.The slim styling is superb and it comes with 64GB or 128GB of storage. It also has a a pair of good 16-megapixel cameras (front and back).

3. Huawei P9

Price: £420

Reason: If you want some great camera action at a mid-tier handset price, this is the phone to get. The 5.2-inch model has twin 12-megapixel Leica lenses that let you create superb portrait shots. It's also no slouch as a phone, with a lot of power, and 32GB of storage along with a good 3,000mAh battery.

Laptops/Tablets

1. iPad Pro

Price: from £485

Reason: The iPad Pro is simply the best portable machine you can buy. It's the one I now turn to by default for all work and leisure activity. The reasons include its portability, add-on keyboard, new split screen multitasking for work, extra power and superb battery life (including the ability to recharge it with a normal phone charger). It's also fantastic in an age of Netflix, Spotify and Facebook. Both the 10-inch and 13-inch models are brilliant but the larger one has the edge.

2. Lenovo Yoga 900S

Price: £1,130

Reason: This is the slimmest 'convertible' touchscreen laptop on the market, making it very easy to pick up and plop into a bag or a case. Its gold or dark metallic grey case adds to some beautiful styling, taking it beyond what most laptops offer aesthetically. The touchscreen flips right around to back on to the keyboard, turning it into a large tablet. The only compromise is the modest Intel chip. Otherwise, this is fantastic.

3. MacBook Pro 13

Price: £1,470

Reason: Although hard to say whether anyone really needs a 'touchbar', the new MacBook Pro has one other big advantage: it's much more compact than it used to be. In fact, it's smaller and slimmer than the 13-inch MacBook Air (and about the same weight). It's also packed with power and has a superb screen. Its main drawback is price, but that rarely holds Apple users back.

Headphones

1. Sony MDR-1000x

Price: £375

Reason: If your main necessity in headphones is good audio, comfort and the ability to block out external sounds, these are the ones to get. With the active noise-cancelling on, they're incredibly quiet: say goodbye to colleagues nattering, traffic noise and other annoyances. Other features include touch- sensitive controls, high-res audio compatibility and a microphone for hands-free calls.

2. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

Price: £335

Reason: These headphones' physical styling is the best on the market with just the right amount of understated fashion mixed with excellent performance. They're pretty comfortable and the audio quality is excellent. They also have active noise cancelling tech built in, meaning a break from external distractions. There are track controls as well as a microphone. And they fold up for convenient transport.

3. Apple Airpods

Price: £150

Reason: They offer just about the best, most practical in-ear headphone experience for the wireless era. They're dead easy to set up (with any phone or Bluetooth device) and have a microphone built in for hands-free calls. They come with their own small carry case which recharges them any time they're placed in it: the box itself needs to be recharged once a week or so.

The best, hassle-free camera

1. Leica Q

Price: £3,500

Reason: Released this year, Leica's Q is arguably the best digital camera ever made. The 24-megapixel snapper's results are stunning: I fell in love with the quality of its shots instantly. Leica's incredible (fixed) 28mm lens, together with a full frame sensor that maximises light quality, is a killer combination that virtually nothing else can match. It's just about small enough to throw into (large) pockets, too.

2. Sony RX1r2

Price: £2,700

Reason: This is special because of its 35mm full frame sensor, which is matched only by Leica's Q for quality. But this is smaller (and almost €1,000 cheaper) than the Leica camera, making it easier to drop into pockets and more affordable. It also has a higher resolution count, with 42 megapixels: this means you can crop the fixed lens 35mm shots (as an artificial 'zoom') and still have amazing quality photos.

3. Fujifilm X100T

Price: £1,000

Reason: I bought one of these for its fantastic portability and relatively excellent photo quality. The bonus is that it's great fun to use. It has a fixed 35mm (equivalent) and an APS-C sensor (the best you can get short of the full frame variants in much pricier cameras) that produce superb shots. It has a fantastic viewfinder and is completely silent, meaning it's incredibly discreet to use.

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