2013 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 and greatest tablet or something to please that audiophile in your life, you can find something that fits almost any budget.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Seiki 4K TV

4K TV is very real. By that, I don’t mean that it simply exists, but rather that it is the heir apparent to HDTV as the next format of television which will become standard. However, you should be cautious. 4K is an improvement over HDTV like Blu-ray is an improvement over DVD. That is to say that it’s noticeably better looking, but not necessarily mind blowing. Not to mention, the technology is still in its infancy. That being said, if you want to get in on 4K now and don’t want to pay a price too ridiculous to do so, the absolute best way to go is Seiki’s 4K model, which routinely goes for around $1,000 for its 50-inch model and, for a limited time, around $500 for the 39-inch model on Amazon. It’s the cheapest 4K on the market to be sure, but having sampled it earlier this year at CES, I can say with some confidence that it is far from a bargain model in quality. Sooner or later, keeping up with the Jonses will mean buying a 4K TV. If you need that to be sooner, the Seiki is the way to go.

Sceptre LED HDTV

By now, most people have some sort of HDTV in their home, but if you still haven’t gotten around to upgrading and don’t have the money to splurge on a higher-end brand, Sceptre makes some pretty nice budget-friendly LED and LCD HDTVs that are worth checking out. The company’s newest 40-inch model features a FullHD crystal clear viewable area, 1920×1080 panel resolution and 3 HDMI ports for as cheap as $250 depending on where you look. And if you don’t need all the fancy add-ons (like Wi-Fi, entertainment apps and 3D capabilities) that some of the more expensive brands feature these days, that’s a really good deal for a TV that isn’t too far off in terms of quality. It also boasts a lightweight and slim design, which makes it perfect for mounting on a wall, and is Energy V6.0 compliant, with an estimated yearly energy cost of about $13. You really can’t ask for more from an HDTV that costs less than most tablets.

Apple iPad Air

Ah, the iPad. Since the very first iPad model was released, gift guides have featured one iPad model or another, and for very good reason. However, the iPad market has grown more crowded than it once was with many consumers wondering just what model is right for them amongst a sea of options. While it’s difficult to account for personal needs, if you’re looking for the best iPad period it’s hard to argue against the iPad Air. Its $499 price tag may be daunting, but for it you get a model that is in a league of its own among full-sized tablets. No other product in the field can possibly compare to the iPad Air’s enticing paper-thin design, crystal clear display or flex-worthy processing muscle. The debate on the best overall tablet period is not an easy one, but if price is not an issue, then it’s a conversation that begins and ends with the iPad Air.

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Cobra 28-Mile Range Walkie Talkie

Cobra CXT 545 Walkie-Talkie

We checked out the Cobra CXT 545 28-Mile Range Walkie Talkie and had plenty of fun trying it out. It’s the ultimate gift for kids of all ages and anyone who loves the outdoors and activities like camping, hiking, the beach, road trips etc. Walkie Talkies are also great for safety purposes as well in a wide variety of situations.

The Cobra units performed very well and are loaded with features:

- Rubberized grips and belt clip,
- Micro-USB charging,
- Digital Display,
- 22 Channels combined with 121 privacy codes,
- Water Resistant,
- Built-in LED Flashlight,
- dedicated weather button
- VibrAlert® to notify users of a call in noisy or all-quiet environments,
- Voice-activated transmission frees hands for other tasks, and
- rechargeable NiMH batteries and a two-port charging dock.

It’s amazing how advanced these units are compared to what we had years ago. You can’t help but have fun with walkie talkies, but they also have tons of practical uses as well. With the holidays around the corner this Cobra Walkie Talkie makes for an excellent gift or stocking stuffer!

  

Product Review: HeadBlade All-Terrain Razor and Shave Cream

atx

I am not a smart man, Jenn-ay, but I know what love is.

I am not a bald man, but I know an effective head-shaving razor when I see one.

The All-Terrain Razor from HeadBlade is truly awesome, and not because it looks like a miniature ATV, complete with HeadBlade logo hood ornament.

It looks gimmicky at first, but the minute you insert your fingers and take it for a ride, you notice it was built for maximum efficiency and ease of use. Once you use it, you wonder why no one had ever thought of this before.

With your fingers in place, you gently pull the All-Terrain Razor (ATX) over the area you want to shave, leading with the wheels with the blade pulling behind. The ATX has a suspension system that adjusts to the pressure you apply and to the curvature of the area you’re shaving.

It may seem strange to be a 30-plus-year-old man shaving with a toy car, but you get over that feeling pretty quickly thanks to the effectiveness.

Even though the ATX is something you can use for hair on any part of your body, I felt that its true purpose was to shave the head of a man who maintains the “cue ball” look. So I enlisted the help of my neighbor Brian, a former marine who keeps his head smooth at all times.

When I handed him the ATX, he looked at me curiously. He flipped it around in his hand and said, “What am I supposed to do with this?” I explained the concept and showed him this video:

Two days later, Brian said it was the easiest head shave of his life. He only had to go over areas one time and he didn’t have to go slow to avoid cutting himself.

The wheels on the front of the ATX really take all the work out of it for you in terms of lining up the next area you want to shave, and makes it easier to avoid missing patches of hair. They also guide the blade over uneven areas, where a normal straight razor could potentially knick or scratch the area.

HeadSlick shave cream was the perfect complement to the ATX. For a shave cream with water as the most prominent ingredient, it exceeded my expectations for not only a smooth shave, but for how well it moisturized my skin. It had the consistency of a pre- or post-shave balm and functioned like a cooling strip on a razor.

The HeadBlade ATX is as effective as it is innovative. There is truly no other product like it on the market.

Check out HeadBlade at www.headblade.com

  

App of the Week: Infinity Blade 3

Developer: Chair Entertainment Group

Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch,

Requires: iOS 7.0

Price: $6.99

Available: here

You really can’t understate the influence the “Infinity Blade” series has had on mobile gaming. While the drop dead, drop jaw, just plain unbelievable graphics have long been the most obvious selling point, they only represent one of many things that “Infinity Blade” showed could be done on a mobile device that simply wasn’t believed possible before. That includes a style of touch screen play that managed to adapt itself to the simpler control scheme of mobile devices but didn’t sacrifice any fun or functionality in the process.

Essentially, then, “Infinity Blade” showed that modern gaming as we know it was not only feasible on a mobile device, but could lead to an experience every bit as enjoyable and rewarding as larger console and PC releases. It was an exhibition of excellence that was carried on by the superior sequel “Infinity Blade 2,” and continues to thrive with the (allegedly) last, and most recent, installment in the premier mobile franchise, “Infinity Blade 3.”

This is usually the part where I may explain a bit about the story of “Infinity Blade 3” as an intro, but continuing its trend of defying convention, that’s not really possible here. The “Infinity Blade” series has managed to build a quite deep mythology that this game looks to wrap up in a satisfying manner. Unlike say “Mass Effect 3’s” attempt at this same feat, “IB3” actually does manage to tell a story that not only feels like a worthy conclusion to the tale so far, but is an incredibly entertaining tale to play through as well. That means that while fans of the series will gain the most from knowing the full ins and outs of this world and its characters, even those just jumping in will have no trouble enjoying the ride. That also means that going into details regarding the plot will be ruining a tremendous amount of fun to be had for everyone involved.

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Yet even if the story were either a complete bomb, or simply non-existent, the gameplay on its own would be well worth the higher than usual admission price. For the most part, it doesn’t stray far from the previous games, as you engage in a series of trying battles using a clever dodge and combo fighting system that never wears out its welcome, which is fortunate as you’ll once again find yourself starting over again and again thanks to a death system that borrows from rouge games, and sees you trying again and again to make it just a bit further.

There are some new additions however, including an enhanced skill system that is well implemented and adds another level of addiction to the already unforgettable proceedings, and a blacksmith for leveling up and improving your weapons. Two of the bigger new features (potion brewing and gem crafting) are a bit more superfluous, and occasionally cumbersome, but do reward those that invest the time in them, and do nothing to tarnish the overall pristine experience.

“IB3” doesn’t do quite as much to reinvent and improve the series as “IB2”, but it’s no matter considering how well the original system functioned in the first place. It’s more of a follow up than true sequel then, but in that role it allows the series to hit its stride and become something that doesn’t overstretch the boundaries and limits of mobile gaming, and doesn’t water down and shrink a console game, but rather provides a harmonious balance of the best of both worlds.

There are plenty of mobile games that prove that simplistic experiences not reliant on big graphic and bigger budgets can end up being as much fun as any other game out there, but every now and then, you want something that feels like you’re taking your favorite PS3 or Xbox 360 game with you without sacrificing a single aspect, and for those times there is absolutely nothing that can provide the experience like “Infinity Blade 3,” my app of the week.

  

Phiaton’s new over-ear headphones

Phiaton Bridge Headphones_GLAM

Phiaton sent us a new set of over-ear Bridge headphones and right away we were very impressed with the design. Check out the photo above and you’ll notice the machined aluminum design with the soft black perforated leather and the red accents. With headphones these days everything starts with the design as we all want to look good while enjoying our music in public. These new headphones are also very comfortable as well.

The sound quality was also excellent with a deep bass response as the new Phiaton headphones feature the following specs:

- A dual -chamber structure providing richer detail and clearer, more powerful bass
- Frequency range: 15 Hz ~ 22 kHz
- Impedance: 16 Ohm
- THD: Less than 1% at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 99 dB at 1 kHz
- Maximum input power: 1,000 mW
- Weight: 250 g (without cord) / 0.55 lb (without cord)
- Cord Length: 3.6 ft / 1.2 m

Check them out here! The holidays will be here before you know it so these can be a great gift option for the fashion-conscious music lover.

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