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Holiday Gift Guide — Technology Edition
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins this evening at sundown and meaning last minute gift givers will still be looking for the most effective Hanukkah presents for relatives and friends. The good news is that Hanukkah lasts for eight nights and that is enough time to order absolutely anything online and have it gift wrapped and shipped before the holiday ends. For those buying gifts for Christmas, there’s still more than a week of shopping to go.
The most popular gifts during holiday time within the 21st century have been technology related. From HD flat-screen TVs and smartphones to gaming systems and e-readers, we’re all purchasing for the most recent, greatest tech gadgets annually. With tech wearables and drones soon delivering our Amazon.com orders, we seem to be getting closer to living like the Jetsons. As a techie with an addiction to the latest, greatest tech gadgets, I have put together a brief list of the most effective tech gifts for holiday shoppers this season. These gifts range in price so there’s something for everybody. Happy Holidays!
Just about everyone in your holiday gift list has a phone and they need a durable, yet fashionable protective case. I checked out dozens of options (there intermediate switch 4 way are millions of phone cases in the marketplace because they are cheap to provide) and narrowed it down to a couple which might be probably the most protective and useful. Some cases are ultra-sturdy, but feel bulky and heavy. Most of the businesses that make strong cellphone cases also offer a line of protective wear for tablets too.
Otterbox (various prices) is the hands-down winner in relation to durability and protection. Otterbox feels just like the toughest case and it’s made of upper quality materials than most other phone cases available on the market. It is available in a wide range of color combinations and is obtainable for both iPhone and Android models. Otterbox’s Symmetry Series is a slim, one-piece protective case. There can also be a Defender Series for more rugged protection and Commuter Series for on-the-go protection. To protect the screen, Otterbox makes Alpha Glass, a fortified glass screen protector. www.otterbox.com
iLuv’s Selfy (retail: $40) is a durable case with a built-in wireless camera shutter. The shutter makes it easier to take great photos and videos without straining your arms or worrying a couple of shaky camera. It’s also much easier for group shots that don’t leave anyone out. The shutter is integrated into the case itself, sliding out when it is time to take a quick selfie, then fitting securely back into the case after the photos have been taken. The selfy case uses a dual-layer, shock-absorbent design that protects the device from everyday drops and bumps, making it perfect for the on-the-go use. When the selfy shutter is out of the case, certainly one of six accessories easily slides in to take its place including a mini tripod, car mount, navigation and hands-free calling, as well as various mounts for action movies. www.iluv.com
Amzer Crusta (retail: $35) – the world’s first tempered glass embedded case. Its 4 layer construction provides a rugged casing to combat any drops or spills and resists dust and dirt to preserve the smartphone. It uses a Kristal Edge2Edge Tempered Glass Screen Protector for prime definition clarity and maximum touch sensitivity. www.amzer.com/crusta
iLuv’s FitActive Run (retail: $27.99) These earphones feature an ergonomic design with an in-ear brace so that they not only feel comfortable, but additionally stay within the user’s ears it doesn’t matter what the activity. These earphones were creatively designed to suit the needs of active people who enjoy being outdoors. These also have a convenient built-in microphone and remote to make it easy to answer calls and control music while on the move. www.iluv.com
AfterShokz Sportz 2 Headphones (retail: $46.67) – I love these impressive headphones because they are not ear-buds so there is no problem with them ever falling out because they do not go inside your ear. This makes them safer too. They feature military special ops bone conduction technology, meaning they sit comfortably in front of the ear, keeping your ears open, while delivering stereophonic sound through the listener’s cheekbones to the inner ear, permitting users to listen to ambient noises equivalent to oncoming traffic, car horns, ambulances or other warning noises. These come with a microphone that really works well and so they recharge through USB. www.aftershokz.com
When people hear the term “wearable tech,” they often consider Google Glass, Bluetooth earbuds or GoPro cameras worn by mountain bikers. However, a few of the coolest wearables are those that have not been released yet. Here are a couple of which are available on the market now and can make great gifts in your techie friends this holiday season:
Fitbit Charge (retail: $129.95) – Fitbit unveiled three new high-performance wristbands this past October, but only the Fitbit Charge is currently available on the market. The Charge HR and the Surge might be available firstly of 2015. The Charge, a reinvented Fitbit Force, gives you all-day activity tracking, real-time fitness stats and Caller ID right on the wrist. It’s ideal for those on your holiday list who need to step up their everyday activities to improve their overall health and fitness tracking. Like many other wearable fitness trackers on the market, Charge provides accurate tracking of steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and floors climbed. It is waterproof, boasts up to 7 days of battery life and in addition has automatic sleep detection to observe sleep quality using motion analysis to grasp sleep and wake times.
Pebble Steel SmartWatch (retail: $199) – This is likely one of the sleekest designs for a smartwatch because it looks like a standard watch. It’s compatible with both iPhones and Android smartphones. It’s water resistant for swimming and showering and has a built-in pedometer for persistent fitness tracking. www.getpebble.com
Pivotal Tracker 1 (app is $12/year) – Released just in time for the vacations, this activity tracker can be free with a $12 yearly subscription for access to the company’s mobile app, which might be available free of charge on Android and iOS. This wearable is stylish and impressive. With the assistance of a 3-axis accelerometer it is going to track your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, active minutes and sleep. You possibly can show the time and scroll through all your data on the device’s OLED screen by pressing a small button on the highest of the tracker. Its battery life is pretty strong at 5 to 7 days and a full charge takes only 60 minutes to complete. www.pivotalliving.com
Brookstone’s LED Projector (retail: $449.99) This ultra-light weight projector is powerful enough to indicate movies outdoors or give a powerful business presentation to hundreds of individuals. It’s ideal for watching sporting events in the basement with large groups also because the 200 lumens light produces an important quality picture that only expensive LCD or plasma televisions can replicate. The ED lamp project can project images as much as 100 feet diagonal and lasts as much as 20,000 hours. The device is so small that it is very easy to just throw in a briefcase or suitcase. (A less powerful 100 lumens version is offered for $299.99.) www.brookstone.com/projectors
Mio Lifesaver II (retail: $49.95) There are so many mobile phone chargers on the marketplace for that emergency if you can’t plug in and have to charge your phone or tablet. Most of these are very similar, however, I’ve found this one to be the most effective because it is sleek (weighs less than any phone), has a pleasant ergonomic design and charges quicker than other brands. I just lent mine to my father-in-law for a protracted flight to Australia. The Lifesaver II fully charges an iPhone in about 90 minutes and can charge most tablets to about 50% when left idle while charging. Any emergency charging unit makes a fantastic gift because you may be thanked time and again each time they save someone who has a dying phone. www.buylifesaver2.com
iLuv’s Rollick (retail: $49.99) This portable Bluetooth stereo speaker with a rounded design makes it easy to pick up and carry for on-the-go use. Its powerful dual speakers produce rich, high fidelity stereo sound that remains clear even at higher volumes. Rollick also comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery in order that music fans can enjoy intermediate switch 4 way their music for hours irrespective of where they are. www.iluv.com
Logitech’s Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard k480 (retail: $49.99) This portable keyboard connects to 3 devices directly letting you switch between different Bluetooth connected devices. That means you should use this same keyboard for a computer, phone and tablet, but also have it connected automatically to another person’s phone or tablet (ideal for when one among the children is doing homework on an iPad and needs to type). This is certainly a practical gift that can make someone extremely grateful. www.logitech.com/k480
Sphero’s OLLIE (retail: $100) Ollie is a cell phone controlled robot toy. Shaped like a small cylinder, Ollie is controlled by either an iPhone or Android device to race, spin and tumble. Ollie has interchangeable tires and hubcaps for different terrain. The body features LED lights with millions of colors, a 30 meter Bluetooth range and the ability to achieve speeds of over 14 miles/hour. It is recommended for 8 and over and has Connected Play capability. Users can race their Ollie against other devices and get points for more intricate maneuvers and tricks. The battery life runs for about an hour. www.gosphero.com/ollie
PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane (retail: $49.99) Most kids (and plenty of adults) love folding paper airplanes and trying to get them to fly. That is the paper airplane for the Digital Age. Shai Goitein created an Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit that enables you to transform your homemade paper planes into electric aircrafts capable of twisting and turning through open skies for 30 seconds or more. www.poweruptoys.com
Jason Miller is an entrepreneur, rabbi and blogger. He is president of Access Computer Technology in Detroit.
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