2014 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 the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Apple iPhone 6

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Just when everyone was starting to question Apple, the company comes out with the bigger iPhone 6 and massive iPhone 6 Plus. Sales have exploded and competitors that relied on having bigger screens to differentiate their phones suddenly saw their sales decline. The new iPhones are a huge hit, and an Apple box is becoming almost as desirable as the iconic blue box from Tiffany. The bottom line is that you can never go wrong with an Apple gift. We prefer the iPhone 6 and only recommend the 6 Plus for someone who has made it clear they want a huge phone. We were happy with the size of the older iPhones, but that changed quickly after using the new 6 for a couple of days. It’s thinner, so it seems like the perfect size now after you add a case. We also found it to be much faster and the charge lasts long as well. The phones are expensive, so in order to get a deal, you’ll need to have information about the applicable carrier and phone plan, but the work will be worth it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

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If there’s one tablet that has what it takes to compete with the Apple iPad mini, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, although your decision will ultimately depend on which operating system (iOS or Android) you prefer. Those that fall into the latter camp will absolutely love what Samsung’s newest tablet has to offer, including a Super AMOLED display (available in either an 8.4-inch or 10.5-inch screen), a 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor, a built-in 8-megapixel rear camera and 2.1-megapixel front camera for photos and video chat, 16 GB of onboard memory, and a microSD card slot that allows for an additional 128 GB of memory… all packaged in a super sleek design that measures just over a 1/4-inch thin and weighs less than a pound. This thing is about as mobile as they come, and it boasts some great features as well, like the ability to use two apps side-by-side (for instance, you can watch a YouTube video while typing an email), a Kids Mode to limit what child users can access, and a fingerprint scanner that captures and stores multiple fingerprints for added security. Though we’ve had some bad experiences with Android tablets in the past, there’s a good reason why Samsung has become the go-to device for Android users, and the Galaxy Tab S is their best one yet.

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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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The Best of the 2013 Max Borges Holiday Tech Showing from NYC

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Recently, the Max Borges Agency threw a tech showcase party in Manhattan to display some of the best upcoming products their clients have to offer for the upcoming year. Fortunately, thanks to a very generous invitation by the hosts, I was lucky enough to attend.

While the view of scenic lower Manhattan would usually be the star of the space, instead all eyes were on a variety of gadgets, gizmos and gear that ran anywhere from under $50 to over a $1000, and included everything from unicorn slippers and tactical BBQ vests, to the newest models of headphones and speakers, all the way up too… well, things that can’t be discussed quite yet.

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Fortunately, there was plenty on display that can be talked about, some of which stood out even amongst the gadget smorgasbord available. So while it would be mind boggling to try to give a rundown of every item, here are five of the best gadgets I saw at the show.

USB Touch Lamp

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Most people look at an empty liquor bottle and see a series of bad decisions. However, the people at Satechi looked at that bottle and saw this devic,e which allows you to turn any bottle, vase or physically compatible glass item into a lamp. Setup is easy, as you simply affix the lamp shade to any compatible bottle and plug in the USB cable to activate the touch-controlled light.

While ideal as a desk lamp, with the right setup, this is a perfect item for college students looking for a cool dorm room decoration, bars making use of those pesky empties, or even for a man cave that could use some creative lighting. Recyclable, affordable and pretty damn cool, this is a great gift for anyone.

Price: $29.99

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