The holidays are coming and if you’re like me, then the thing you look forward to most at the end of the year is the tech and electronics upgrade you get in the form of Christmas gifts. 2015 has been an especially good year in terms of what I’d call fun or useful gadgets. To summarize, here are some of the best gift ideas I’ve come up with along with my fellow YouTubers and friends.
10 Must-Have Electronic, Tech, and Gadget Gift Ideas for the End of 2015
Contents at a Glance
- 1 10 Must-Have Electronic, Tech, and Gadget Gift Ideas for the End of 2015
- 1.1 For the Forgetful in All of us
- 1.2 The New Segway?
- 1.3 Drone Quadcopters for Newcomers and Pros
- 1.4 4 Good Smartwatches to Consider:
- 1.5 2 Good Laptops / Tablets for the Money
- 1.6 Zip Mobile Polaroid Printer
- 1.7 Best Smart TV for the Money?
- 1.8 A Good Router For the Modern Home
- 1.9 New GoPro Hero+ LCD
- 1.10 The Amazon Echo Phenomena
- 1.11 Related Posts:
- 1.12 Related
For the Forgetful in All of us
A few years ago I was talking to my wife and mentioned how great it would be to have something on my keys and cell phone that would allow me to find them instantly when they got lost – which is a lot. My idea didn’t involve an app and a Bluetooth tracker, but it did involve a beeping sound and alarm.
Fast forward to today and Tile has perfected something similar in a more elegant way. Tile’s Gen 2 Item finder incorporates tags or “tiles” that you place on any of your most important possessions and uses an app on your phone to help you track it down. The other way around works as well. Click your tile twice and it’ll call your phone. One of these will set you back around $25 but purchasing them in bulk gets you them for as low as $15 a piece. If you lose your phone in the lounge chair like I do, it’ll be worth its weight in gold.
The New Segway?
These new two-wheel electric scooters are lighter, less expensive, and more portable than segways and have hit the market by storm. It takes about five minutes to get used to the balance of the scooter but overall is easy to use and fun. You can perform a wide variety of tricks or simply travel short distances of up to 10 miles at a speed of 7.5 to 10mph or a quick-paced jog.
Which Self Balancing Electric Scoot Model Should You Buy?
The main question I’ve had from readers is which type of two-wheel scooter they should buy. What you may not know is that most of these models are simply rebranded Chinese versions with various logos, batteries, Bluetooth speakers or whatever they can use to differentiate themselves.
Unfortunately, that differentiation typically means a high mark-up. And while there are more expensive models that may be slightly better, the basic premise of these devices is much the same. In fact, many people are are buying these through the Alibaba website to save money and get them for around $200 a piece with shipping costs of around $100. That being said, if you can order it and return it through Amazon for $300 to $350 it may be well worth the US price.
|Tile Item FInder||Fiturbo F1 Balancing Scooter||Swagway X1 Smart Board||Smart Gear X1|
Drone Quadcopters for Newcomers and Pros
A Good Entry-Level Drone / Quadcopter
They fly above our sports games, weddings, and may even be involved in Amazon’s futuristic delivery plans. Drones have certainly surged in popularity. Whether you’re a photographer trying to get the perfect picture or a newcomer there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Fortunately, it’s cheaper than ever to get in on the action.
For those new to the hobby, I’d recommend the UDI U8181A-1 Discovery. It’s a 6 axis Gyro 4-propeller drone with posture control and a high capacity battery that lasts around 7-9 minutes in the air at a time. The Discovery allows you to do tricks like 3D flips and rolls by button and has gyro stability for keeping the drone level. Best of all, it handles crashes very well.
Overall, it’s not the type of drone that’s going to allow you to adjust the camera as you’re moving. It’s fixed at 30-45 degrees; however, it’s perfect for honing your skills and gives you a solid picture as well.
Expert-Level Drone / Quadcopter
For the more serious hobbyist, I’d recommend the 3DRobotics Gimbal Solo Smart Drone. One thing I really like about it is that it can be used with a GoPro Hero 3+ or Hero 4 so you can have an action cam on the ground, water, and in the air.
One thing to keep in mind about it is that it’s a rather new machine and a first generation one as well. What’s more is that getting technical assistance might be somewhat difficult.
That being said, if you’re willing to learn the ropes, there’s a lot to like about it. It has a controller that has an onboard computer that acts as a communications hub. Your phone is used and is attached to the wi-fi that is emitted by the Gimbal.
The controller itself gives you access to various flight modes, a return home button that brings it right back home, and your basic controller switch. The app works well too. For more specific information, I also recommend Linus Tech Tips’ video on the 3DR.
The 3DR Solo Drone uses 4 propellers and comes with two extras in case of a crash. It also has a 5200 milliamp battery that keeps it in flight around 20 minutes. I also like the propeller coordinated LEDs which not only looks great, but adds a lot of function as well.
Overall, it’s pricey and won’t work perfectly but is the best in its category right now and makes a perfect gift for the photographer or RC enthusiast in your life.
4 Good Smartwatches to Consider:
Several good smartwatches were released in late 2014 and 2015. If you haven’t integrated one of them into your daily routine, it might be time to take the plunge. Not only do they look good on your arm, they also feed very specific information to you while you’re on the move.
This not only includes texts, but also a number of apps that can make life a bit easier for heavy phone users. My personal favorite is the way various fitness apps tell you your distance, speed, elevation and even heart rate.
Among smartwatches, you should be looking at one of four. The Samsung Gear Smartwatch, Pebble Time Steel, Sony Mobile Smartwatch 3, and the Apple Watch. If you ask me which one I like the most, it’s probably the Pebble Time Steel for its focus on what’s necessary and low price for what you get.
|UDI U8181A-1 Discovery||3DRobotics Gimbal Solo||Samsung Gear Smartwatch||Pebble Time Steel|
2 Good Laptops / Tablets for the Money
While there are a plethora of new laptops and tablets out there, I thought I’d focus on 3 that break away from the norm in this space.
Asus Chromebook Flip: Yes, we’ve had Chromebooks for several years now, but the Chromebook Flip feels like it has a bit more to offer. The Flip comes with a 10.1-inch convertible touchscreen.
Set it up with the keyboard facing backward as a stand and you have a tablet-like touchscreen device. Flip it back around and you can more easily browse the web than you would be able to on your phone.
Overall it’s a good deal. For the bad, the screen isn’t quite as sharp as something like an iPad and Chrome OS is still not as flexible as Windows. For the good it’s inexpensive and gives you a laptop and tablet experience all for around $279.
Microsoft Surface 3 Tablet with Windows 10
If you’re looking for the ultimate student device, then this might just be it. While it’s lightweight and has a long battery life of around 10 hours, it’s not for these reasons that I like the Surface 3.
It’s more for the devices utility rather than anything else. Taking notes is perhaps the biggest example of this.
You can write, record, and draw during your lecture and then search by words in the speaking lecture in order to find what you need to hear.
This is a big step up from what I had in college and makes listening to your professors’ most important points easier than ever before. Other cool tricks like a surface TI-89, easy scan document options, and more allow it to be much more flexible than my iPad.
Overall, the Surface 3 tablet is what I’d call the perfect gift for just about any college student. It has the flexibility they need to do just about anything and is affordable at under $500 for the 64GB version.
Zip Mobile Polaroid Printer
When I was thinking of all the great tech we’ve had in 2015 I couldn’t help but mention the Zip Mobile Printer from Polaroid, that’s right Polaroid. The printer uses Zink Zero paper which doesn’t need ink and at just 6.6 ounces and 2.9 x 4.7 x .9 inches its lightweight and small enough to take with you wherever you go.
An hour and a half charge gives you printing for 25 sheets whenever you want them. The device hooks up through a standard micro-USB and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. How do the 2 x 3-inch photos look? They’re clear, smudge-proof, and even have a sticky peel back so you can easily place them wherever you want.
It’s fun to share your Zip Mobile pics, so if you do buy the Zip Mobile, be sure to get extra Zink Zero paper as the original 10 sheets don’t last long. Overall, the Zip Mobile hits a lot of genres and interests and should be one of the more popular tech gifts to give this Christmas 2015 season.
Best Smart TV for the Money?
Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just need to make a good product cheaper and better. Samsung has done that with their UN40J5200 42″ Smart LED TV. For under $400 you get smart functionality, built-in Wi-Fi, and a sharp picture. It’s available in sizes from 32 to 50 inches and cost between $288 and $650depending on size.
|Asus Chromebook Flip||Microsoft Surface 3 Tablet||Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer||Samsung UNJ5200 Series|
A Good Router For the Modern Home
If you asked me how many Wi-Fi devices we had in our home just five years ago, the answer would probably be 3-4. Today, the answer in our home might be shocking to you, 15. With 7 people living in our home, the Wi-Fi is often times stretched.
Enter Netgear’s AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router built for homes with more than 12 wi-fi devices. It features AC1750 Wi-Fi with 450+1300Mbps speeds. Whether you have a large home or simply one with interference from many levels, this might just be the answer you’re looking for.
Another plus is the Wireless AC connection which gives you speeds just as fast as a wired connection when you’re within a 20-foot radius of the router.
On the downside, it’s rather pricey at around $150 to start and it’s larger than most routers you come across. Still, for those looking for the ideal connection, it may well be worth the price.
New GoPro Hero+ LCD
While there are new higher-end options in its lineup, GoPro recently unveiled its new GoPro+ Hero camera that includes a built-in touchscreen LCD. Previously you would have had to purchase a Hero 4 Silver in order to get that option.
That along with some new advanced tools for ambitious content creators should make the Hero+ LCD a hit. Still, with the Silver available for just $70 more and the Drift Ghost S available at a similar price, you’ll have to decide what features matter the most.
Alternatively, some bargain shoppers may still prefer the original.
With no LCD screen, 5MP pictures vs 8, and no Wi-Fi it won’t perform as well as the Hero+ or Silver; however, it still does a good job on the go.
If you decide to buy this on Amazon, be sure to go with the started bundle which includes a Head Strap and MicroSDHC Flash Memory card for the same price as the camera only package.
The Amazon Echo Phenomena
The way we retrieve information, play music, or even turn on a lamp has changed and will continue to change dramatically over the next few years. Devices like the Amazon Echo make it easier than ever.
At it’s heart it’s a device that aims to answer any questions and improve your at-home experience.
What it actually achieves is still rather substantial. You can ask it a question and get information, have it read an audiobook, give you the weather, or even play music for you. Because it has Far-Field voice recognition it can hear you from across the room even while you’re listening to music and with adaptive technology that learns your speech patterns it gets more efficient as you use it.
Home automation users will love that it can turn on and control your automation-based gear like lamps, space heaters, or lights from Belkin WeMo, Phillips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.
Overall, you don’t have to be a home automation junkie to enjoy Amazon Echo. Just using it as a device to give you access to Pandora, Amazon Music, and information makes it more than worth it. Still, those who get the most out of it will be those willing to use it as a hands-free automation device in addition to all of that.
|Netgear AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router||GoPro Hero+ LCD||Amazon Echo|