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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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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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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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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