2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Gadgets

Adults like toys too, so if you’re on the lookout for a memorable gift, or you just want to treat 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 fitness tracker 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.

TomTom Spark 3 GPS Watch

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There’s a variety of fitness trackers to choose from these days, but very few have been designed with athletes and outdoor enthusiasts specifically in mind, which is what makes the TomTom Spark 3 GPS Watch such an ideal product for runners, hikers, cyclists and even swimmers. In addition to tracking information like distance, speed, pace, time, heart rate and calories burned, the Spark 3 provides live feedback with built-in GPS and a feature called Route Exploration that shows where the path has taken you in order to find your way back to your starting point. It also includes 3GB of storage (roughly the equivalent of 500 songs), so you can listen to music without bringing along your phone, and comes packaged with a very comfortable pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones that are sweatproof and waterproof. The Spark 3 is a little on the bulkier side compared to some of its competitors, but between the additional features and impressive battery life (up to three weeks in non-GPS mode), that’s one tradeoff that any runner would gladly accept.

Jaybird Freedom In-Ear Wireless Headphones

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We weren’t very familiar with Jaybird prior to testing out their latest in-ear wireless headphones, but it’s easy to see why the company has become one of the more trusted premium headphone brands on the market. The Jaybird Freedoms passed the test in all three major areas: style, sound and comfort, especially the latter. There are a variety of mix-and-match fit options inside the box, including standard silicone ear tips, Comply memory foam ear tips for maximum noise isolation and a snugger fit, and silicone ear fins that hug the different sections of your ear to ensure the headphones remain in place. Battery power is also respectable, with up to eight hours of playtime when using the included (albeit bulky) charging clip, while the Share Me feature allows you to share the music you’re listening to with another pair of Freedom earbuds. Though serious audiophiles may not be completely blown away, the ability to customize your EQ settings and save the presets to your headphones using the Jaybird MySound app makes for a truly unique listening experience that will undoubtedly win them over.

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DJI Mavic Pro: Great drone for travelers and hobbyists

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Drones are one of the hottest gadget gifts this holiday season, and new models are also driving sales for consumers and hobbyists who love exploring all the fun and interesting uses for these devices. New features, particularly built-in camera technology, make these gadgets interesting for so many more potential consumers, particularly adventure travelers, hikers, etc. who want to capture video of their adventures. It’s safe to assume drones will be one of the most popular self-gifting options this holiday season.

The DJI Mavic Pro is one of the best drones on the market and is available at many retailers, including online at Amazon.com. This drone is packed with an amazing bundle of features that make it easy to take amazing video; it’s also portable, so you can easily take it with you on your travels.

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Replicator+ 3D Printer

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The 3D printing revolution may have slowed down a bit, but the interest in these machines continues to grow. The gadget gurus at TechCrunch are pointing out that the Replicator+ 3D printer from MakerBot is one of the best choices on the market due to its ease of use.

The MakerBot Replicator+ retails for $1,999, which makes it much less expensive than professional 3D printers, though that’s still a significant investment for hobbyists. Still, prices have come down dramatically in recent years, making this technology much more accessible.

If this intrigues you, check out Thingverse as well to see the countless designs available that have been uploaded by their community, all of which are available for use. According to the site, MakerBot’s Thingiverse is a “thriving design community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things” and is “the world’s largest 3D printing community.” The site enables users to to create and remix 3D things regardless of technical expertise or previous experience, and all designs are encouraged to be licensed under a Creative Commons license, meaning that anyone can use or alter any design.

If you’ve been interested in 3D printing, this might be a great time to get started. You can check out the MakerBot site for more information, and the Replicator+ can be purchased at Amazon.com.

  

2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our everyday lives, so a good starting point for your gift shopping is with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest model, don’t bother, but if it’s been a while since he upgraded, he’ll probably appreciate a new iPhone or Android device.

If you’re looking for something a little different, however, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Fibit Charge HR

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A Fitbit can be a great gift whether dad is already into fitness or needs a nudge to take better care of himself. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, and it’s a great gadget to track daily progress for all types of health and fitness measurements. It’s a particularly good tool for someone who needs to be reminded to be more active. Does that sound like someone you know? The Fitbit Charge HR is the brand’s most popular model and can track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps taken. It can also sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and smartphones, as well as monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm.

Fluance Turntables

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Vinyl has made a huge comeback, and dear old dad may love a new turntable if he held on to his old record collection. Sure, we all loved the convenience of compact discs, iTunes and then streaming, but the rich sound of a vinyl record on a great turntable and stereo system is hard to replicate. Fluance has just introduced its new RT80 and RT81 turntables that leverage the company’s extensive experience in audio engineering, signature sound and impeccable design. These belt-driven turntables utilize styluses that provide freedom from noise and distortion, clarity on musical peaks and channel balance. Pick up some new vinyl records for his favorite bands as well and enjoy some great music on Father’s Day.

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New Urbanite Select smartphone cases from Ballistic

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Ballistic has introduced slimmest series yet of smartphone cases, offering an elegant, pocketable design and lightweight, premium materials. The new cases are crafted with real wood and leather, as you can see in the photos above. We tried the black leather case for our iPhone 6 and liked the look and feel of the case. The cases are equipped with Ballistic corners, raised lips and a six-foot drop protection.

The cases are available in Dark Ash Wood, White Ash Wood or Buffalo Leather for iPhone 6/6S, iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus, Samsung Galaxy S 7 and Samsung Galaxy S 7 Edge. You can find them at the Ballistic store.

  

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