2014 Back to School Gift Guide


The new school year will be starting soon (and it likely already has for some people), which means that it’s time to get those students in your life the tools they’ll need in order to survive the next nine months. No, we’re not talking about boring stuff like pencils and notebooks, but rather the cool gadgets and gear that will make dorm life a little more enjoyable. Here are some great gift ideas that no student should be without.

For Your Room:

Grace Digital Primo Wi-Fi Internet Radio Streamer


Internet radio has become all the rage these days, and although you can listen to a lot of stuff on your computer or smartphone, we really dig this wireless music receiver from Grace Digital, which delivers access to over 50,000 stations, podcasts and on-demand content from all over the world with a user-friendly interface. Whether you’re listening to local stations, shows from other countries or cultivated playlists on Pandora, the Primo has everything you could possibly want… except for an integrated speaker, which is a little weird considering that one was included on previous models. With that said, it does make the device more compact, and there’s an AC power jack for headphones and an RCA line out to connect to your personal sound system. The unit itself is also smartly designed, with a 3.5-inch color LCD screen that makes finding what you want a breeze – from dedicated icons for Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM, to the ability to search for stations by categories like location and genre – as well as eight one-button presets (with the option to store 100 additional stations) and thumbs up/down and skip functionality for Pandora users. Heck, you can even view the weather or use it as an alarm clock, making the Grace Digital Primo the perfect addition to any work desk.

Roku 3


If you’ve never heard of Roku, chances are that you’re living under a rock, because much like how TiVo spearheaded the DVR explosion, Roku has been at the forefront of the streaming media movement since its little black box debuted in 2008. In those six years, Roku has quickly become one of the best and most popular devices on the market, with the Roku 3 serving as the premium model in the company’s line of set-top boxes. One of the biggest reasons why the brand has continued to prosper is just how easy their products are to use, and the Roku 3 improves that experience with a processor that’s five times faster and an extended wireless range to ensure you have the best possible connection when accessing the 1,000-plus entertainment channels like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and Pandora. And if you already own a Roku, now’s the time to upgrade, because the Roku 3 comes fully loaded with 1080p video, dual-band wireless, an Ethernet port and a USB port to stream your music, movies and photos. The included remote also comes equipped with a headphone jack and headphones for private listening, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your roommate’s studying with episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”

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10 Must-Have Gadgets for the Summer


Ah, summer. There’s just something about the summer.

It’s the time when possibilities seem endless and memories of summers past drive us to destinations as far as another part of the world, or as close as our backyard to try and create new ones. Summer, in a word, means adventure.

Like any adventure, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools to not only get the most out of it, but in some cases, survive it. So while items like a cooler and a good e-book might be known necessities, here are some gadgets you might not think of that can help make this summer adventure an instant classic memory.

Turtle Shell Speaker


One of the most exciting gadgets of the summer, the Turtle Shell from Outdoor Tech might just be the most versatile and complete outdoor speaker available.

Sure, it’s wireless with perfect sound quality, exceptional range (30 feet), battery life (9 hours) and speakerphone capability, but you’ve probably come to expect that in portable speakers. The Turtle Shell is unique, though, in just how good it sounds, and how durable it is, as it can’t be stopped by dirt, rain or shock damage. When you factor in such features as the ability to attach it to a bike, and some undeniably good looks, this is the only outdoor speaker you need.

Price: $129.95

BioLite CampStove


There’s a variety of gadgets built for camping that are, in one way another, designed to bring you the comforts of home wherever you go. That’s great, of course, but in some way you still want to be able to enjoy the outdoors without feeling like you’ve brought the entire modern world with you.

The BioLite provides a compromise in that department, as it’s an electric campfire that runs off twigs like a usual campfire, but provides a more powerful and sustained flame than you can get out of the old fashioned method. Even better, it takes the energy from that same flame and can convert it to an electrical output through its available USB port should you need it.

Of course, if a better campfire isn’t appealing enough, you can always add the available grill top add-on for a complete outdoor cooking tool.

Price: $129.95

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


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.


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


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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The Top 13 Gadgets of 2013

You know what one of the greatest disadvantages to being an adult is? Not being able to be a kid in a toy store anymore.

I’m sure you know the feeling. Trying to comprehend everything available, pure bliss flowing through you as your eyes take in every sight, all the while your childish wonderment starts creating scenarios in which you’re playing with everything you see. It’s an irreplaceable feeling that’s easy to get nostalgic about.

While that feeling may be irreplaceable, I’ve got to say that looking at the upcoming gadgets of 2013 produces something that’s pretty damn close. There’s a little bit of need, a little bit of want, and, due in large part to some generously sized price tags, a whole lot of wishful dreaming.

So from long awaited big named game changers, to sci-fi inspired awe inducing wonders, to the just plain fun, here are the 13 best gadgets coming your way in 2013.

Google Project Glass

The biggest gadget of the year? Quite possibly. It’s certainly the most bizarre looking.

If you haven’t been following, Project Glass is the Google backed, augmented reality device that allows for everything from weather updates, to messaging, to maps, to Google searches themselves to be available right in front of you at all times through a hands free interactive pair of glasses. It’s an idea straight out of science fiction that is nearing us ever closer, as the estimated release date for Project Glass is currently 2013, and developers are receiving theirs currently.

Ultimately it will either be Google’s “Virtual Boy”, or the biggest thing since the smartphone.

Galaxy S4

If the Mars Curiosity rover had discovered intelligent life, they would probably know about as much concrete data on Samsung’s next model of the Galaxy line as we do.

What is rumored though is quite exciting. Along with a bigger screen and slimmer design, every piece of technology from projected electronic keyboards, to bendable screens (which may become a big trend in the new year), to unbreakable displays has been rumored for the S4.

Whatever may actually come of the S4, it will likely be the biggest smartphone release of the year. Also with Samsung smelling Apple blood in the water lately, it could turn some serious market tides.


More than just one TV, the buzzword for all TVs this year is 4K

4K is the next step in resolution quality, and while it isn’t earth shattering, it is clearly the sharpest, most dynamic TV resolution available, and just about every major TV manufacturer has a supporting model on the horizon. Some of which are quite absurd in size, clarity, and certainly cost.

Soon keeping up with the Joneses will mean owing a 4K TV, so if you’re an early adopter, start shopping around now.


If Project Glass isn’t the biggest project of the year, then it just might be iTV. That is if it actually releases this year…and if anyone had an idea exactly what the hell it is.

What is known about iTV is that it will be Apple’s full fledged entry into the TV market (not just a media box) and will most likely aim to refocus the TV as the unquestioned centerpiece of your home. Most likely this will be done with a greater emphasis on features, apps, and device compatibility, as well as a Kinect like control system.

Truthfully it’s all speculation at the moment. However, given Apple’s track record, don’t be surprised if the iTV is a beautiful, top of the line, highly versatile, expensive, must have, unbelievably cool gadget.

Oculus Rift

Ugh, another virtual or augmented reality gaming accessory?

Well yes actually, but don’t hold that against the Oculus Rift. Another Kickstarter success, the Rift allows for an immersive gaming experience where a combination of technologies built into the goggles produces an effect of “being there” that few other devices have neared. Combined with hands free control options, the goal of the Rift is to allow gamers to step into and become a part of their favorite games like never before.

Thanks to the backing of gaming legend John Carmack, and some favorable, if confounded, first impressions from just about everyone who’s experienced it, the Rift could be a real breakthrough in the field.

Basis Band

Ok, technically this was released in 2012. However, 2013 will be its breakout year.

The Basis Band is a tattler of sorts for your health. It keeps track of everything from your active workout progress to your sleeping patterns, and helps you to construct a better lifestyle based around your real habits. There’s been similar devices and applications for years, but none of them provide the ease of use, fluid design, and incredible amount of features that the Basis does.

It’s as simple as this. If you are serious about monitoring and improving your health, shy of regular visits to a good doctor, or a full time nutritionist and trainer, you will find no greater companion than the Basis.

Fujitsu Lifebook 2013

Fujitsu has quietly been making some of the most solid and consistent computers in the moderate price range with their Lifebook series for quite some time now.

The Lifebook 2013 is not quiet and humble though. It is a Frankenstein creation of pure awesomeness (someone just make that a word already) that is not just a high quality laptop, but a laptop that includes a built in detachable digital camera, a phone that is available via insert, and a keyboard area (are you ready for this?) that is also a detachable tablet that can even share data with the laptop, and take some of the burden from the computer to improve performance while in use as a touchscreen keyboard.

It’s hard to say, without trying it personally, if the Lifebook 2013 is more insane or brilliant. Either way? Damn, I really want one.


Not technically a gadget, and possibly not set for any kind of release in 2013, this is the odd duck of this list.

It’s also the most important. At a base level it’s a circuit component that would allow for better server speeds, and the usual niceties. However, the potential uses of the device have people in the industry fantasizing about everything from it being used to eliminate computer boot up time, and even allow for the development of a true learning computer.

At a consumer level the memresistor wouldn’t be available until 2014 until the earliest, but it’s developmental progress in 2013 will be the story to watch as it will most likely impact the functions and abilities of gadgets for years to come.

Canopy Sensus Case

Image ALT text goes here.Originally phone cases were designed for protection, and then eventually style. Recently their evolutionary pattern has seen them enhance the functionality of the phone itself via features like extending battery life.

The Canopy Sensus is definitely the next step in that line. Its interactive back panel allows for 10 points of input and means that the user can keep their mitts off the screen and still use their touchscreen phones. It’s particularly useful for playing games and not obscuring screen space, or after plowing through a bucket of greasy chicken and not wanting to smudge your phone.

The Sensus will retail from $59 to $99 when it goes on sale this summer (with models for the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 available), and apps that specifically support it will be rolling out around that time. Should it get the proper support, it will be a welcome change to the same old, same old school of case design.

Gaming Systems (all of them)

A quick question. Would anyone not supposedly making a game console please stand up?

No one huh? That’s what I thought. We already knew to expect news on the next gen Xbox and Playsation, but 2013 will also give us the Ouya, Nvidia’s recently announced surprise of a  handheld system called Project Shield, possibly Valve’s “Steam Box”, and more. It will not be an easy year to be a gamer on a budget, but a brawl with this many contenders is bound to make for an entertaining melee for even just spectators.

Kingston 1 TB flash drive

Much like jewelry, there is a fine line between eye-catching and gaudy in the world of gadgets.

Kingston’s new flash drive is teetering that line, and leaning a bit more toward gaudy at the moment. Besides being frighteningly fast, it will also hold 1 Terabyte of information, making it the largest flash drive ever constructed.

Who’s it aimed at? Professionals or data hoarders, possibly, but certainly not cash strapped consumers, as a similar 512 GB model retails for $1,700 meaning a 1 TB version will probably go for…a hell of a lot. Still though, 1 TB? Pretty impressive.

Lego Mindstorm Ev3

Image ALT text goes here.Growing up, I could never decide between the ninja and pirate lines of Lego toys. Even today, it’s a toss up.

However, if the Mindstorm Ev3 was available when I was a lad, there would have been no question as to my Lego preference. The Ev3 is a 594 piece kit that comes in several models, supports iOS and Android remote control abilities, includes sensors that allow for smooth unimpeded movements, and even comes equipped with infared eyes that can recognize and react to obstacles.

Basically then it’s a Lego Terminator, and yeah, I kind of want one.

Lenovo Erazer X700 Gaming PC

Image ALT text goes here.The era of desktop computers, and desktop computer gaming, is slowly dying. It’s around the time of dying though that you usually see the best a field of technology can offer, as the combination of years of wisdom, and freedom from the burden of expectations often leads to inspired design.

The Lenovo Erazer is a killer example of that. Aimed to go head to head with Alienware and the other gaming computer giants, you can get the new Lenovo with a top of the line i7 processor, choice of best available GeFore or AMD graphic cards, and up to 16 GB DDR3 RAM, but the selling point is actually the big red button. With just one push of the red button on the front of the tower you can immediately overclock the Erazer and get the most out of an already beastly machine.

When it’s released in June starting at $1,499, the Lenovo is both a tough sale in the modern computing world, but that should take nothing away from the incredible design.


Our holiday gift guide is live

holiday gift guide

Get ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season with our annual holiday gift guide. You’ll find sections for Gadgets, Games, Guy Stuff, things for her, Movies, TV, Stocking Stuffers and things for the home.