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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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

fitbit

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

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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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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

apple

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

samsung

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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2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, and you can always start these days with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t even bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then of course 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.

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Antenna

flatwave_amped

With cord-cutting at an all-time high, products like the Winegard FlatWave Amped are going to change the way that people consume television. This indoor HDTV antenna can pick up HD-quality channels up to 50 miles away, features dual-band reception so you won’t miss out on channels that other UHF-only antennas do, and prevents pixelation and dropouts using an ultra-low noise (1dB) amplifier. It’s lightweight and razor-thin (about the width of a plastic placemat) and can lay flat on a surface or hang on the wall or window for the best reception. Better yet, since the antenna is powered through the USB port on your TV, it only consumes power when the television is turned on. It sounds too good to be true, but within minutes of connecting the FlatWave Amped, we had 25 channels to choose from, including all of the major networks. This thing really works, and at a fraction of the cost of your annual cable bill.

Phosphor Touch Time Watch

Smartwatches are all the rage these days, but don’t let the Phosphor Touch Time digital watch fool you, because its lack of interconnectivity prevents it from competing with the more advanced models. Nevertheless, the Touch Time is still a major step up from your typical wristwatch thanks to some cool features, including a touch interface that’s incredibly easy to use, five different time displays, and custom language settings for English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish and German. Some of the included apps feel a bit useless on such a small screen – particularly the calendar mode – but the time zone display is incredibly useful, astronomy geeks will love the lunar moon function, and the old-school calculator is a nice touch. One of the best things about the Touch Time is that you never have to sync or charge it because it’s powered by a replaceable battery (with up to a one-year life span), while the ability to upgrade from a silicone band to a stainless steel bracelet means that you can wear the same watch to work and the gym without anyone being the wiser.

phosphor

Cobra AirWave 360

cobra_airwave

There are a lot of portable speakers to choose from these days, but many of them are impossible to use in the car due to their shape or size. The Cobra AirWave 360, on the other hand, is practically built for that purpose – a portable, 8-inch speaker that’s been smartly designed to look like a coffee tumbler and will fit into just about any vehicle or bicycle cup holder. You could even argue that it deters potential thieves, since no one is going to steal your mug, unless they’re really big jerks. For as functional as its design may be, however, the AirWave 360 also delivers 360-degree surround sound and features an integrated, noise-cancelling microphone that works with Siri and S Voice. There’s even a cool Gesture Control feature that enables you to pause music and answer incoming calls by simply waving your hand over the top of the speaker, and although that may not technically be considered hands-free, it’s a lot safer than the alternative.

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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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