2014 Back to School Gift Guide

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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

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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

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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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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

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.

Dyson AM05 Hot + Cool Fan

When it comes to vacuums, you can’t do much better than Dyson, and apparently, the same is true with their bladeless fans as well. The new Dyson AM05 Hot + Cool Fan will keep you toasty during the winter months and cool in the summer. We won’t bore you with the specifics of its Air Multiplier technology, other than to say that it works as advertised. All you need to do is select your target temperature – from 33˚F to 99˚F – and the machine’s intelligent thermostat keeps it there. Unlike other space heaters, however, the AM05 doesn’t waste energy by constantly turning on and off, efficiently heating the room quickly and evenly so you can sleep in peace. And if the machine happens to tip over, the power cuts out automatically, making it much safer than other models. Additionally, oscillation, airflow and temperature can be controlled using a remote control (magnetized for easy storage on top of the fan), and the machine can be tilted upwards and downwards by 10 degrees to help direct the airflow. Like most Dyson products, it’s a little pricey, but you pay more for that kind of quality.

Edge of Belgravia Ceramic Knives

We’re always on the lookout for cool, unique additions to the kitchen, and these stylish knives from Edge of Belgravia certainly fit the bill. Part of an exclusive limited edition of 1400, they’re just as much cutting edge chef knives as they are pieces of art. The ceramic blades are made of zirconium oxide, forged under 300 tons of pressure and 1400˚C, rendering them almost as hard as diamond. As a result, the blades remain sharp for years without the need for sharpening. They’re also incredibly lightweight and won’t rust or discolor over time. Edge of Belgravia’s ceramic range is offered individually or in a five-piece set that includes a slicer, chef’s knife, santoku, utility knife and paring knife. The matte rubberized handles are extremely comfortable, while the blades themselves are superb in action. However, because of the brittle nature of the ceramic blades, they need to be treated with care. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a Top Chef, but you should at least have a respect for the art of cooking in order to get the most out of these awesome knives.

Keurig Vue V700 Brewing System

When it comes to single serve brewing machines, Keurig is king, which is why it was a little surprising that the company decided to introduce a whole new line of brewers last year; one that utilizes a different delivery method (called Vue packs) in place of the popular K-Cups. But after testing out the new Keurig Vue V700, we can understand why they made the change, because it’s a vast improvement on the last generation of brewers. Featuring new Custom Brew Technology that adjusts water pressure, timing and airflow, as well as the ability to select brew strength and temperature on the V700’s fully programmable color touchscreen, your drink of choice is brewed to perfection. And in addition to the previous brewing options (hot/iced coffee, hot/iced tea and hot chocolate), you can also now make frothy café beverages like lattes. It only takes about a minute to brew and accommodates eight different sizes, ranging from a 4 oz. coffee cup to an 18 oz. travel mug. Though there aren’t as many varieties of Vue packs compared to the massive K-Cup line, we fully expect the selection to continue to grow over the next year or so.

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