Do you stress over choosing which gifts to get for the gadget geeks in your life?
Never fear, as there are many options out there for you to consider. Here’s a brief overview of some of the gadgets getting lots of buzz this holiday season:
Headphones- There’s quite a variety of wireless and wired headsets for serious music-lovers. Two popular products are Apple’s new earphones called EarPods ($30) and the Beats by the Dr. Dre line of high-end earphones (~$175 - $300). The Parrot Zik touch-activated Bluetooth wireless headphones (~$400) are considered top-of-the-line by some because of its sound quality and built-in touch-sensitive controls.
Wireless Bluetooth Speakers- Remember those huge boom boxes from the 1970s and 1980s? Things have gotten a lot smaller and sleeker since then. Many mobile devices that can play music also have Bluetooth wireless technology, and now there are a variety of wireless speakers that can be used with a mobile device to easily share music with others. Soundfreaq (~$120-$170), Jambox (~$130 - $300), the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill (~$200), and the Bose SoundLink (~$250 - $300) are all good examples that deliver good sound quality on-the-go.
Tablets are really hot this season and include the Kindle Fire HD, Nook Tablet, Apple iPad, Google’s Nexus 7, Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Tablets come in a variety of sizes and with a variety of features. Prices range from around $200 - $800 depending on the size of the device, how much memory it has (16GB-32GB), and whether you sign up for a monthly data plan or stick with wi-fi only. Most have forward and rear-facing cameras, video/music/ebook apps, email/calendar apps, and a web browser. The ability to download apps from the respective company’s app store makes tablets highly customizable. There are tons of apps for playing games, tracking health and wellness goals, staying productive, learning new things, and much more.
Accessories are perfect for small gifts. Stylus pens are great for typing on the touchscreen keyboards. There’s also a huge selection of covers available to keep mobile devices clean and protected from even the roughest of kids, such as the line of covers from Gum Drop. And for those active people in your life, consider a waterproof case such as those from DryCASE. Other accessory ideas include wireless charging stations and external battery chargers. Lastly, external storage devices such as the Centon DataStick Sport 128GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive can help accident-prone techies keep their electronic files safe wherever they are.
E-readers are devices dedicated to reading e-books. Most have multi-touch screens, e-ink technology (no glare!), and support wireless downloads of e-books from their respective company’s e-books store and your local library (Kindle only). Battery life is generally good with e-readers and can extend up to a month or more depending on usage. Hot e-readers this year include the Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (~$69), the Kindle Paperwhite (~ $119 - $179), and the Nook Simple Touch (~ $99 - $139).
Devices that connect TVs to online streaming services (or have built-in Internet access) are gaining in popularity as more consumers move to services such as NetFlix and Hulu+. Products such as the Apple TV, Roku LT, internet-ready TVs from Samsung and Sony, and the 3M Streaming Projector Powered by Roku are great options for taking your entertainment junkies and their TVs into the 21st century. For the bleeding-edge early tech adopters there are several Smart TVs with prices ranging between $1,000 - $10,000. These TVs offer gesture controls, facial recognition, HD display quality and/or 3D, and much more.
Just for Kicks
Remote-controlled toys have always been popular, but now there’s a new breed that can be controlled using apps installed on primarily Apple devices. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 helicopter has received the most buzz, however there are also other iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad controlled helicopters and the Silverlit Ferrari Enzo to choose from.