BRAVEN 625s portable speaker unit

We reviewed BRAVEN speakers earlier this year, and now we had the chance to check out the 625s. This version is encased in a rugged, shock-absorbing exterior with aluminum grills that let listeners take this tough speaker on the go. All of the BRAVEN speakers are portable but the 625s is ideal for outdoor settings and for travel. It comes with a waterproof bag, USB flashlight, and up to 16 hours of continuous play.

As we noted last time, these speakers produce excellent sound and you can also string them together to make the sound even more robust. They’re perfect for impromptu parties or even for casual listening regardless of where you find yourself. Now with the 625s you can feel even more comfortable taking it anywhere.

The Braven 625s (or frankly any other Braven models) offers a great stocking stuffer for plenty of people on your list. It’s obviously perfect for young people but it’s also great for those of us who grew up in the boom box days when people shared music experiences as opposed to wearing headphones and staying in their own little world.

  

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The Etón FRX3 Radio

With the recent news involving Hurricane Sandy, things like the Etón FRX3 Radio are more than just cool gadgets. They can make coping with the aftermath of a storm, like loss of power, a little easier to manage. This is so much more than just a portable radio that can be charged up by cranking it or by solar power, though that is extremely helpful when you don’t have power. The hand turbine in particular gives you a power source no matter what. It won’t power your heater, but you can use the radio (including NOAA weather alert) and also the LED flashlight that’s built in on the side. You can also use it to power your cell phone or other small gadgets, which can literally be a lifesaver in some situations.

It’s amazing how many features they have crammed into this gadget. You can also use battery power as well so you don’t have to start cranking right away. You can connect it to another power source as well through USB, and of course you can set it in the sunlight to charge up the unit. The top handle also has a glow in the dark locator wrapping around the solar strip.

It’s a great gadget and you’ll love having it the next time you lose power. It’s also great for camping trips and other outdoor activities, so keep it in mind as a stocking stuffer for the holidays.

  

Urbanears Zinken DJ Headphones

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We review a lot of headphones, but the latest model from Urbanears stands out as one of the coolest we’ve sampled in a while.

The Zinken was developed with the professional DJ in mind but with an affordable price. The most unique feature involves the double-duty TurnCable that has a 3.5mm stereo plug on one end and a 6.3mm plug on the other. Basically you can easily plug into your phone and other devices but then flip the cable around and plug it into an amp.

The ZoundPlug is another great feature as it allows you to share music with a friend using a headphone jack in the right ear cup. So if you buy a set for your girlfriend and one for yourself you can easily listen to music together!

Like other Urbanears headphones we tested, the Zinken model produces excellent sound with superior comfort. The headphones fit snugly around your ears with just the right amount of padding. The Zinken features swivel ear caps and an adjustable headband so you can adjust them for maximum comfort. The collapse design also makes them easy to pack and store.

The Zinken also comes in a wide variety of cool colors as you can see in the promotional video below. With the holiday season upon, the Zinken headphones make for an excellent gift and you can choose a color that fits the person you’re buying for.

  

Beautiful and delicious Macaroons

Are you coming down to the wire with your holiday shopping?

One thing to always keep in mind, particularly for last minute gifts or gifts you can bring when visiting someone or going to a party, is gifts of food. Thing of stuff that’s unique and interesting that people will love but won’t necessarily buy for themselves.

As pointed out in our “For Her” gift guide, Macaroons are hot this year:

Move over, Cupcake! Make room for Macaroons!

Trendy and delicious, fancy and French macaroons are one of those little luxuries which are so hot right now. They also look like little works of art. Making them can be fun but receiving a beautiful box from Paris – even better! Fauchon macaroons are just one special way to give this diabolical treat! Saveurdujour, Danny Macaroons and Macaroncafe are also great places from which to order.

It’s obviously too late to order online, so you’ll have to rely on Google and find some in your area. But as you can see from the beautiful photo above, Macaroons look great, and most women appreciate beauty. They taste great as well, so this gift can compliment the other stuff you have in mind.

  

Music gadgets for gift ideas

We’ve talked about gadget gifts and stocking stuffers, and here we have two items that are great for the tech-savvy people on your list who like to create music.

GuitarConnect Pro

This cool device from Griffin Technology (pictured above) is designed to work with any instrument that has a ¼ inch jack (including guitars, bass guitars, electric violins, keyboards, etc.), GuitarConnect Pro was created to turn iPad or iPhone into a compact performance or practice rig. A built-in gain control wheel allows the user to adjust the strength of the instrument’s input signal. Users gain a high-quality, all-digital connection from guitars and other instruments directly into GarageBand and other audio apps. It’s a simple yet very powerful device and music lovers will really appreciate it. And, it fits nicely into a holiday stocking!

Korg nanoKEY2

Here we switch to keyboards, which is a very popular way to create music. The nanoKEY2 is built with 25 keys and allows full control of pitch. It’s one of the devices in the NanoSERIES2 which are all compatible with GarageBand. Imagine how much fun music-lovers can have playing around with this device.

Even if someone hasn’t tried to create their own music in the past, devices like these two above offer an easy way to get started. They spur the creative process, and for that reason alone they make great gifts.

  

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