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!

  

Go Go Gadget Safety: Seven Nifty Gizmos for a More Secure Home

You probably don’t usually mention home security and cool gadgets in the same breath. Home security seems more necessary than exciting, and items like deadbolts and window locks are a bit of a snooze for most gadget-heads. Right?

Think again! Today’s technologies have combined with traditional safety concerns to create a new generation of home-security devices that put the “fun” in “functional— McGruff meets James Bond, if you will. Here’s a look at seven must-have gadgets—none of them expensive or complicated to install—that are fun to show your friends and will help protect your home.

• In the “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” category is FakeTV, a small electronic device that produces exactly the same sort of flickering light a television does. The result is that your house looks occupied. And guess what? Burglars pass over occupied houses. FakeTV is much more convincing, and hence more effective, than the old light-on-a-timer trick.

• Door locks may seem kind of ho-hum. But today’s smart locks, controlled by a smartphone and/or web app, are high-tech, efficient, and even elegant. There are several companies jumping into the smart-lock field. Some products replace an existing lock system, while others can be installed over the deadbolt you already have. While each smart lock has different features, all allow you to control who has access to your home with a tap of your phone.

• Not exactly a gadget, but a whole family of them, SimpliSafe is a next-generation home security system that’s wireless, affordable, and easy to install; the New York Times has said that SimpliSafe “offers all the bells and whistles for a lot less money.” Among its features are text alerts, free apps for smartphones that give users complete remote control, and a wide variety of sensors including motion, smoke detector, keypad, panic button, and more. It can be installed in minutes, requiring no special expertise or tools. Way better than letting some stranger put wires in your walls.

• The Dropcam is a nifty high-definition Wi-Fi video camera with remote viewing and two-way sound, so you can keep an eye on things at home when you’re at work or on the go. It can be installed and set up in minutes, and the video can be watched remotely from an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. And you can also add a recording option that stores up to 720 hours of video.

Doorbot: Even the name sounds cool! Doorbot is a Wi-Fi enabled video doorbell that allows you to see and talk to visitors through your smartphone from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re on the other side of the house or the other side of the country, you can see who’s ringing your doorbell and answer the door (or not, as you choose).

• Have you ever driven away from your house and realized you left the garage open —or obsessed later over whether you had? The Garage Butler is an automatic garage door closer designed to address that situation. It works with your existing garage-door mechanism and can be programmed to close the door after a certain number of minutes. Plus, a light sensor signals it to close the garage door after dark. Hey, this thing could be more useful than an actual butler.

• So simple, but so effective, is the doorstop wedge alarm. Tuck it under your door at night, and if anyone tries to enter, the device emits a 125-decibel alarm, waking you up and scaring off a would-be intruder. It’s great for at-home use, but because it’s small and lightweight, it can also be easily taken on the road and used in hotel rooms.

These gadgets can all make your home safer and more comfortable. And the fact that they’ll feed your inner gadget geek is just one more part of their appeal.

This post was written by Kevin Raposo, a blogger for SimpliSafe Home Security Systems. Kevin covers topic related to tech, security, and crime. When he’s blogging, he’s typically taking things apart, and assembling them back to together…or at least trying to. SimpliSafe is a growing leader in the home security industry.

  

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.

MS500_007

  

Bullz-Eye’s Back to School Gift Guide: 2013 Edition

back_to_school

School will be starting again soon, which can only mean that it’s time to give the affected love ones in your life the tools they’ll need to survive another year in the jungle of academia, which we usually call back to school gifts. Of those students, perhaps none are facing a less enviable position than those entering their first year of college. Though those four (or five, or six) years will inevitably be some of the best of their lives, they are entering a whole new world that will initially scare and bewilder them.

Here are some gadgets and gear that no student should be without this school year.

Google Chromecast

google

Fresh from our friends at Google comes what is destined to be one of the best gadgets of the year: the Chromecast. If you missed my write-up on it over at Gadget Teaser, the Chromecast allows you to stream certain popular programs from your PC and mobile devices (including Youtube and Netflix) to your TV wirelessly, with just the press of a button. Essentially, this turns your current TV into a smart TV with almost no set-up, and at a fraction of the cost. Simply put, everyone is going to want this, as evidenced by the significant waiting time it can take to get one.

Satechi 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub

hub

With gadgets now such a big part of our daily lives, most people don’t have enough vacant outlets in their home to plug them all into, which is where the Satechi 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub really comes in handy. As its name suggests, the hub features nine SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports and a 2.1A charging port on the side that’s strong enough to charge an iPad or comparable tablet. It’s compatible with a wide range of devices – including digital cameras, printers, external hard drives, keyboards, flash drives and smartphones – and can either be plugged into your PC or Mac, or directly into a wall outlet with the included power adapter. The USB ports are divided into sets of three, with separate on/off switches and blue indicator lights to let you know which ones are in use, and the hub itself doesn’t take up too much room on your desk (which is especially important for college students living in a dorm environment), providing a versatile and clutter-free solution to charging.

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp

lamp

This is by far one of the sleekiest, coolest desk lamps we’ve ever tested, and it also happens to be incredibly eco-friendly and energy efficient, boasting a lifespan of over 40,000 hours and consuming only 1/8 the power of an incandescent light and 1/2 the power of a fluorescent light. The lamp is operated completely by touch control, with four different brightness modes – Reading, Study, Relaxation and Bedtime – each with varying ranges of color temperature, and a timer function that automatically turns off the lamp after one hour to help conserve energy. Additionally, you can further fine-tune each mode using the brightness up/down controls, and even charge a USB device simultaneously using the port in the back. Satechi’s Smart LED Desk Lamp also boasts a flexible, multi-pivot positioning system that allows you to adjust the height, angle and direction of the lamp to your specific needs. It’s a little costly at $100, but at that price, you won’t find many other desk lamps that reproduce natural light quite like this.

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