See far-away family this Christmas with the right tech

Whether your friends and family are in Newport or New York, here’s a look at the tech that will help you stay in touch with them this festive season…

24 Nov 2017


see far-away family this chridtmas


If you’re not already aware of WhatsApp, then this app could answer all your messaging prayers.whatsappHow’s it different to sending a text? Well, the joy of WhatsApp is its Group Chat function. You can add up to 100 people in each chat and see everyone’s responses in real time. You can even go back through the entire conversation to check you’ve not missed the best bits.

It’s particularly handy over Christmas. Use it to…

  • Remove the tedium of arranging Mum’s Christmas present – set up a group chat on WhatsApp and keep everyone in the picture
  • Organise a night out – use it to find out who’s in and who’s out with a group chat entitled ‘Christmas shenanigans’
  • Share pictures and videos – it’s not just for words – take a Christmas jumper selfie or a video of little Tommy opening his presents on Christmas day and send it to those you can’t be with

And it’s absolutely free to download and use – as long as you’re hooked up to your WiFi. 

WhatsApp is compatible with most smartphones and tablets.



Whether you’re calling Grannie in Somerset or your nephew in Sydney, you can make video and audio calls for free over the internet with Skype. You just need to make sure Grannie is a Skype user

Skype has moved on in recent years and is no longer just for face-to-face chat. You can also use it to send photos and files while you’re on the call – perfect for when you want to make those at home jealous of your Christmas vacation. Or share pictures from the night before.

Why not get everyone in on the action by Skyping from a laptop set up on the dining room table? Or use a tablet and pass it around the room?

Try the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – with all the benefits of both a laptop and a tablet you can…

  • Chat for hours thanks to 5 hours of battery life
  • Enjoy better than full HD images – see friends and family as though they were in the room
  • Use it like a tablet, thanks to its streamlined design and touchscreen

Check out the Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Want to chat on a slightly bigger screen? Then you can add Skype to your PC and use the monitor’s inbuilt camera for video messaging.


If you don’t have a PC already, then take a look at the Lenovo IdeaCentre 510 All-in-One PC

  • See everything in detail through its 5” Full HD screen
  • Simple to set up and use – just plug in one power cable
  • Save all your favourite video clips and images thanks to 1 TB of storage – and share them over Skype

Check out the Lenovo IdeaCentre 510 All-in-One



If you’re an Apple devotee then you’re probably aware of Facetime. But if you’ve not used it yet, then now is the time.facetime

All iPhones, iPads, iPad minis, iPod touches and Mac computers have a built-in FaceTime camera. At a push of a button you can video or audio call friends and family – as long as they have an Apple device too.

While chatting, you can rotate your iPhone or iPad to portrait or landscape to get a better view. Or flip the camera so whoever you’re talking to can take in the scenery too – even if it is just to laugh at Dad snoring in the armchair.

Like Skype there’s no call limit as long as you have sufficient WiFi or 3G/4G connection.

It’s fun to FaceTime gathered round a larger Mac screen – and it’s just as good on the go. Take your iPhone or HD iPad mini with you this Christmas to stay connected.

Check out the iPad mini 4 Cellular

Or buy the Apple MacBook Air 13.3”


Keep in touch with family and friends this Christmas, wherever they may be. Discover the tech that can bring you together.