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2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Gadgets

Adults like toys too, so if you’re on the lookout for a memorable gift for your spouse, or just treating yourself to an early Christmas present, a cool gadget is always a great option. Of course, prices run the gamut in this arena, so you’ll need to be careful, but whether you’re shopping for the latest smartphones or something to please the audiophile in your life, you can find something that fits almost any budget.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

HTC One A9

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding HTC’s newest addition to their award-winning One family that it looks suspiciously like the iPhone 6, and although the similarities are undeniable, if you’re a diehard Android fan that’s always been jealous of Apple’s sleek design, the HTC One A9 is the perfect compromise. It’s also a pretty solid mid-range smartphone, sporting a five-inch, 1080 x 1920 full HD display, 2TB of expandable microSD card memory, BoomSound with Dolby Audio and a 13-megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization. The camera includes some really cool features that photography nerds will love, like the ability to make moving time-lapse videos (called HyperLapse) and capture photos in RAW format for greater editing control; the added fingerprint sensor/home button is one of the best on the market; and the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS delivers improved performance across the board. The HTC One A9 doesn’t quite have what it takes to compete with the big boys, and because of that, it’s $499 price tag may seem a bit high, but for those who want an iPhone lookalike that runs Android, this is about as close as you’re going to get.

Polaroid Z2300 Instant Digital Camera & ZIP Instant Photo Printer

For as much as digital cameras have changed our lives, there’s just something about the instant gratification of a Polaroid picture that’s difficult to replace. The company aims to recapture that feeling by blending the old with the new in their latest line of products, like the Polaroid Z2300, a 10-megapixel camera that contains all the usual features – 6x digital zoom, 32MB of built-in memory, an SD card slot for extra memory and the ability to capture 720p HD video – but with the addition of a built-in printer that prints 2×3” photos. Though the Z2300 is too bulky and heavy to carry around like a normal digital camera, it’s great for birthdays, weddings and other gatherings to be used by guests who want to snap their own photos to take home as a keepsake. Of course, if you’d rather use the camera on your mobile device, or already have a collection of digital photos that you want to print out in the same wallet-sized format, the ZIP Instant Photo Printer delivers a more mobile and personalized Polaroid experience. Using the free iOS and Android app, you can add filters, text, emojis and borders, or even create a collage, for a truly one-of-a-kind photo. Both products make fun gifts, but if you’re buying for someone under the age of 35, we’d recommend the ZIP printer solely due to its smaller footprint.

Optoma NuForce BE6 Wireless Earphones

Optoma NuForce prides itself on providing quality products for audiophiles who care about exceptional sound, and it certainly shows in the new BE6 wireless earphones. Smaller than most comparable models at only 16 grams, the BE6 is made of ultra-lightweight solid metal casing that is surprisingly durable. The earphones are available in the same gold and spacy gray color schemes as Apple’s range of mobile devices, and can be paired with your choice of silicon ear stabilizers or sweat- and moisture-resistant Comply memory foam tips. There are also magnetic clips on the back of the earbuds to keep them around your neck when not in use, which is more convenient than you might think. Of course, audio quality is what matters most, and these wireless earphones doesn’t disappoint in the slightest thanks to a newly developed 10mm driver that delivers great sound with AAC and aptX support for Apple, Android and Windows devices. The BE6 can also be connected to two devices simultaneously and boasts six hours of continuous battery life, making these a must-have for the music lover in your household.

Phiaton BT 330 NC Headphones

While they may not have the name recognition of bigger brands like Beats by Dre or Bose, these wireless, noise-cancelling headphones from Phiaton are a solid alternative for about half the price. The company’s newly developed 40mm drivers feature an optimized vibration system that adds extra emphasis on high frequency clarity and improved sound stage, while the addition of oversized Neodymium magnets results in a richer, more commanding bass. The BT 3330 NC also utilizes Bluetooth 4.0, which delivers improved sound quality, greater range and extended battery life, and includes Active Noise Cancelling functionality that blocks out 95% of ambient noise at 1kHZ and below. But the feature that really makes the BT 330 NC stand out is the Creative ShareMe connectivity, which exploits the headphones’ ability to connect to two Bluetooth devices at the same time by allowing you to share your entertainment with another BT 330 NC user, eliminating the need for those pesky headphone splitters. They also happen to be pretty comfortable, which is sometimes even more important than all the bells and whistles.

Jamstik+ Portable Smart Guitar

Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for new ways to create music, the Jamstik+ is a really cool device – the world’s first digital smart guitar that features real strings and frets and connects wirelessly to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Unlike other digital guitars, it can sense the placement of your fingers and display them in real-time, which makes learning the basics much easier than a traditional lesson. But while the Jamstik+ is a good learning tool, it won’t replace the real thing for more advanced guitar players. The device’s real power lies in its ability to double as a MIDI controller for mixing a variety of sounds (from synths, to drums, to horns) in music apps like GarageBand and Logic Pro, because the possibilities are endless. The guitar is itself is also really well made; it’s not too small for adults or too big for kids, and it fits perfectly in a backpack or briefcase so you can take it on the go. The Jamstik+ is a little pricey if you’re buying it solely as an alternative to a human instructor, but hardcore musicians will utilize it to its fullest extent.

Lexus RC F Remote Control Car

Created exclusively for sale at Barneys, this limited edition, remote control sports car is a 1/10th scale version of the high-performance Lexus RC F that’s build on an all-wheel drive Apex chassis and driven by the powerful Reedy 3300k V 540 brushless motor. High-grip racing tires wrapped around 20-spoke rims put that power to ground, and detailed brake components complete the aggressive look. The Barneys-only edition of this sport coupe replica features fully operational LED headlights and taillights in a silver chrome finish – colors that aren’t available anywhere else – and is approximately 16 inches in length. This isn’t your typical remote control car that you’d find at Toys ‘R Us, but rather a genuine big-boy toy that will set you back a few hundred bucks. Of course, if you can’t give your husband the real thing, this makes for a pretty fun alternative.