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.

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Product Review: Bud Light’s Bud-E Fridge


The most difficult part of ushering the new Bud-E Fridge into my life was fitting it into my car. Once that was sorted, the smoothness took hold. The Bud-E Fridge will gently force your life to conform around your love of Bud Light.

This month, Bud Light launched the ultimate in smart technology innovation: the Bud-E Fridge. It’s a first-of-its-kind home smart refrigerator that enables you to view real-time information from your fridge via your phone, no matter where you are.

Developed from the ground up by Bud Light, the Bud-E Fridge provides you with real time updates – including the number of Bud Lights in your fridge, temperature and even when your favorite sports teams’ games are approaching – to make sure you never run out of Bud Light.

The interesting thing about the Bud-E fridge is the way people reacted to it. Without alerting house guests of its presence, I ushered them into my living room quietly to gauge their natural, organic reactions, and every single person smiled and laughed immediately when they saw it. Half of them asked for a Bud Light, which I happily served.


The coolest physical feature of the fridge is the LED readout on the outside front of the door, which displays the exact number of Bud Lights you have in your fridge (seven at time of publication) at that exact moment in time. Go ahead, help yourself to a BL, and let the door close. Notice anything? The Bud-E fridge LED readout subtracts from your overall total and makes a sad sort of “wah-wah” sound as the number decreases.

The coolest non-physical feature is the Bud-E app. From your smartphone, numerous features are available. You can see exactly how many Bud Lights are in your fridge to plan a potentially necessary trip to the store, and the Bud-E Alarm sends a push notification that lets you know when someone is getting into your fridge and reducing your precious stock of ice cold beer.

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Superheroes: A Comic Caper Production

The birth of Superheroes goes back to the 1940’s, and they have come a long way in becoming legends of our times. The history states, that when Superman was in the theater, they were movie goers who cared less about a man jumping from one apartment to another, or flying from space you can’t even think of jumping. That’s what superheroes were meant to be, and Christopher Reeves was an actor, who was an insignificant person then, however, is a prodigy for future superheroes now. Marvel Comics was the creator of the first celebrated superhero, which went on to make much more such as Captain Marvel, Captain America, The Phantom, Blade, X-Men, and the most recent Spiderman.

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2015 Back to School Gift Guide


The new school year will be starting soon (and it likely already has for some people), which means that it’s time to get those students in your life the tools they’ll need in order to survive the next nine months. No, we’re not talking about boring stuff like pencils and notebooks, but rather the cool gadgets and gear that help make campus life a little more enjoyable. Here are some great gift ideas that just about any student can use.

SOL REPUBLIC Shadow Wireless Headphones


One of the hottest trends on the headphones market these days is those futuristic looking Bluetooth headsets that people wear around their necks. But while they definitely take a little getting used to compared to more traditional headphones, it’s easy to see what makes them so appealing to some consumers. SOL REPUBLIC recently released its own version of a wireless, around-the-neck headset with the Shadow, and not only is it incredibly lightweight and flexible, but it rests so comfortably on your neck that you sometimes forget it’s even there. In addition to boasting CD-quality audio that’s good enough for the average user, the Shadow features a built-in microphone and three-button remote, as well as a fairly decent battery with up to 8 hours of playback and a week of standby time. It can also control two devices (like your phone and laptop) at the same time, and is both water and sweat resistant, so you can wear it just about everywhere you go without worrying about damage. Although it would have been nice if the headset included retractable earbuds like some of its competitors, it’s not a deal breaker, especially when there’s so much other stuff to love about the Shadow.

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2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, so you can start your shopping with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

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.

Fitbit Charge HR


There’s an ungodly number of fitness trackers these days, but after testing out some of the other major players in the game, the Fitbit Charge HR (available at Walmart) is hands-down the best of the bunch. The “HR” refers to the included heart rate monitor located on the underside of the band, which provides additional data like your daily resting heart rate the time spent in different heart rate zones (peak, cardio and fat burn) during exercise. The tracker is housed in a rubber watch band that’s a lot more comfortable than the bangle-styled Jawbone and Nike Fuelband, and it contains a small display screen that lets you cycle through the following data: clock, steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned and floors climbed. When used in conjunction with the mobile app or online dashboard, you can track specific workout sessions and monitor your sleeping habits (including time spent awake or in a restless state), and when paired with your phone via Bluetooth, the display shows Caller ID notifications. The Fitbit Charge HR also has pretty great battery life, so you can spend more time using it instead of waiting for it to charge, which is the whole point of the product in the first place.

SOUL Run Free Pro Headphones


We’ve reviewed some of SOUL’s on-ear headphones in the past, and while they proved to be a solid alternative to the more popular brands on the market, they never really wowed us in any way. However, that’s not the case with their latest in-ear model, the Run Free Pro, which improves upon other likeminded wireless headphones by getting rid of that cumbersome earhook and utilizing an interchangeable ear lock system that provides a custom fit guaranteed to stay put no matter how active your lifestyle. The Run Free Pro is comfortable enough to be worn for long periods, and features wind noise reduction technology that allows runners to listen to music outdoors without interference. They’re also waterproof and sweat-resistant, while the sporty design smartly hides the mini USB charging port inside the buds. The integrated remote control can be a little difficult to operate blindly, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise great pair of in-ear headphones perfect for the dad who frequents the gym or marathon circuit.

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