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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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Television

Television fans must love the holidays, because it’s the one time of year when studios unleash a host of massive box sets collecting their favorite dramas and comedies. This year is no different, with several critically acclaimed shows getting the complete series treatment. But while we like to devour an entire TV show just as quickly as the next person, sometimes a little self-discipline is required, which is why we’ve also included some less time-consuming (and more affordable) suggestions as well.

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.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

Is there anything more to be said about the late, great “Breaking Bad” at this point, other than the fact that it was one of the greatest TV series of all time and that, although it went out in a blaze of glory, it’s left a vacuum that’ll be damned hard to fill? Nah, that about sums it up. But if you’re a fan and you’re continuing to mourn, then Sony has put together a set that’s so awesome that it’s almost too much to handle… but not quite. The 16-disc set includes all 62 episodes and more than 55 hours of special features, including an all-new documentary which chronicles the making of the final season, and, of course, all of the bonus material from the previous season sets remains intact too. The whole thing comes packaged in a barrel, as well a series about a meth manufacturer should, along with a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, a collectible booklet featuring a letter from Vince Gilligan and a commemorative Breaking Bad challenge coin. We don’t actually know what a challenge coin is, but we do know that it was designed and created by Gilligan himself, and dammit, that’s good enough for us.

Dexter: The Complete Series

Loosely based on Jeff Linsday’s popular series of crime novels, “Dexter” is probably the biggest hit in Showtime’s history, which only makes its steady decline over the years that much more maddening. Though the last four seasons were incredibly uneven compared to the show’s first four years, “Dexter” continued to be appointment television every week thanks to Michael C. Hall’s brilliant, Golden Globe-winning performance as the titular antihero. It also featured an excellent rotating cast of guest stars that included John Lithgow, Keith Carradine, Jimmy Smits, Julia Stiles and Jonny Lee Miller, and at times, some of the best writing on TV. It’s actually quite amazing that a show with a serial killer as its protagonist was able to last as long as it did, and though it faltered a bit in the end, there are plenty of diehard “Dexter” fans that would kill to own this complete series set. Designed to look like the character’s iconic blood slide box (with every Blu-ray case featuring a blood drop on the bottom), the 25-disc set – which features all eight seasons and a bonus disc filled with over five hours of never-before-seen extras – is definitely one of the cooler collector’s items on the market.

Weeds: The Complete Collection

HBO has long been considered the undisputed leader of premium cable, but without shows like “Weeds” and “Dexter,” Showtime never would have become the worthy competitor that it is today. Though Jenji Kohan’s dark comedy series suffered a drop in quality during its later seasons, it delivered more than its share of subversively funny moments (as well as those of the WTF variety) over the course of its eight-year run. Constantly reinventing itself after Season Three’s game-changing finale, “Weeds” may not have always succeeded in the risks that it took with the storytelling, but it’s one of the few shows with the kind of punk-rock attitude to even consider taking such risks. And throughout its numerous highs and lows, the core cast never faltered, especially star Mary-Louise Parker, who made “Weeds” must-see TV for her crazy/sexy performance alone. For those that haven’t yet seen the series, or just never got around to picking up each season individually, now is the perfect time with this complete series set, which comes packaged in a nifty, translucent green box and features new bonus material like a cast roundtable, interviews with fan-favorite recurring characters and more.

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Adidas unveils “BIG Logo” uniforms

If you’re looking for cool NBA-themed gifts for the holidays or some new gear for yourself, check out these new “BIG Logo” uniforms unveiled by adidas and the NBA that will be worn by all 10 teams playing on the Christmas Day games. The “BIG Logo” Holiday Collection incorporates short-sleeve jerseys featuring oversized team logos in a reflective chrome color scheme on the chest as well as holiday-inspired warm-up jackets and shooting shirts and are available for purchase NBAStore.com. I suspect plenty of NBA fans would love to get this as a gift and then see players wearing them on Christmas day so this looks like a great promotional idea.

Check out the slideshow above as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes and Iman Shumpert show off the new jerseys. Also, keep an eye out for the new TV spot below showcasing the new uniforms.

Here’s the NBA game schedule on ESPN and ABC channels:

12 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
2:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. – Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
8 p.m. – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. – L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors

  

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.

MS500_007

  

Holiday drinks with Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka

HOT CARAMEL BUTTERED RUMSo it’s the last weekend before Christmas, so it’s time to get serious about getting gifts.

We’re always fans about giving booze gifts, and if you’re buying for women in particular, you can’t go wrong with flavored vodka. Van Gogh has tons of great flavors, and we recently tried their delicious Dutch Caramel Vodka. Trust us – this stuff will bring a smile to her face. Even better, take some to the next holiday party you go to and you’re guaranteed to be a big hit.

While you’re at it, learn to make the cocktail picture above.

HOT CARAMEL BUTTERED RUM

Ingredients:
3 oz Ron Abuelo Añejo rum

1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka

1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, softened

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Cinnamon Stick

Directions:

Combine all ingredients (excluding rum and vodka) into a hot drinking cup or mug. Mix together with a spoon then add Ron Abuelo Añejo and Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka. Pour in hot water (1 cup or more to personal taste) and stir vigorously until the mixture has dissolved. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

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