Disclaimer: This piece is purely my opinion. Thanks for reading!
I was at the Verizon store recently, upgrading my ancient Android powered Galaxy Note 2 to the Galaxy Note 4, and I noticed that only one of the five store employees was rocking an iPhone. Naturally, I asked him what it was about the iPhone that attracted his attention.
He told me that when it was time to decide, a year or so earlier, the Android options weren’t impressive enough. However, shortly after he pulled the trigger on the iPhone, Android stepped up their game and dropped the new hotness in 2014. The young man admitted that he acted too hastily and couldn't wait to switch back and grab some of the new hotness.
In fact, every team member there agreed that these recent Samsung, HTC, and LG products – the Galaxy S5/Note 4, HTC One, and LG G3 – were some of the most impressive pieces of phone hardware they had ever encountered. There’s a reason that Android has been dominant in controlling the majority share of the smartphone market.
This holiday season I'm going to help you avoid the pitfalls of bad gift ideas by introducing you to some of the coolest Android devices and accessories. Give your family and friends the best gift of all this holiday season: an Android gift. It’s never been a better time to chuck that Apple dinosaur!
Here are my top Android devices and accessories to ensure your holiday is Android-tastic:
- Galaxy Note Edge: If I had to sum this device up in one word it would be: unprecedented. The Note Edge has a never before seen type of screen that actually wraps around the corner of the device to extend use-cases and accessibility to notifications. Plus it has all the features of the regular Note 4, sporting that sexy Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440) screen. FYI, that's better than 1080p and will blow you away. It was just released on December 12.
- Galaxy Note 4: A nice alternative to the Note Edge if you're like me and prefer to let technology run the gamut of reviews and user tests before you buy. It's the same phone as the edge in terms of specs except that it has a slightly faster processor and bigger dimensions.
- HTC One: Hands down the best phone HTC has made to date, the full metal casing outlines a 1080 x 1920 screen. This phone's biggest and baddest feature is the front-facing speakers to provide your video viewing or music listening unparalleled sound.
- LG G3: Fueled by the 2.5 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad Core Processor, this thing is f-a-s-t. Plus it's sporting the AMOLED 2560 x 1440 HD screen like the Note Edge and Note 4. My favorite part about this phone is the camera: it has a laser auto focus and was built on a platform of simplicity. All you have to do is tap the screen to shoot, and you can even capture selfie pics with hand gestures.
- Google Nexus 6: Hot. Hot. Hot. This phone has a full 6 inch screen, incredibly fast 2.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, and an Adreno 420 GPU. You can only get the Nexus if you're a T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint user, but that's a good thing because you'll always have the most up to date versions of the Android OS: they're currently on Lollipop.
- Moto 360: I've been waiting so long for a smart watch that actually looks like a real watch, and the Moto 360 is clean. The battery lasts all day, it's totally water resistant, it has a built in pedometer, and it'll sync with any Android phone running v 4.3 or higher.
- Chromecast: I just bought a Chromecast on Cyber Monday, and I'm glad I did. Beaming YouTube, specific apps, your phone screen, or even downloaded MP4 movies from your laptop to an HD screen is too cool. Plus it's only $35.
- Asus Nexus Player: This is a nice alternative to the Chromecast or Roku player. I've long been a huge fan of Asus hardware, and the Nexus player sports some of their best to date. For $99 you get access to streaming options plus a full Android gaming console and it promises to play nicely with your suite of Android devices.
- Bamboo Solo Stylus: Everybody should have a stylus for their tablet or smartphone; it's a game changing accessory. There are plenty to choose from, but to my mind Bamboo does it best.
- Charge Card Nomad Key: The entire suite of Nomad products features a USB to Android charger and transfer cable built into functional devices. That is, you can get the wallet sized credit card option, key ring option, or the carabiner option. They also offer wall chargers.
- SlingShot Smartphone Stabilizer: For the photo buff! We have amazing cameras on our smartphones, so why not make better use of them? This is a handheld cradle that will fit any smartphone regardless of size or case. It frees up one of your hands to fully control the camera functions, and it even screws into a tripod for full smartphone camera stabilization.
- Life-Phorm: Named for its likeness to an alien creature, the Life Phorm is an all-in-one mounting system for tablets, computers, cameras ,or smartphones. You can adjust the legs into nearly any position and allow you to be nearly hands free while using your devices.
- NFC Ring: This water resistant ring was recently funded in full on Kickstarter. You can unlock your smartphone with it, share and transfer your information in the blink of an eye, and it even lets you unlock your house door if you're on a smart home platform.
- Nvidia Shield Tablet: This is the ultimate holiday gift for your gamer, short of buying them a PS4. It's an upgraded model of the original Nvidia Shield unit, which was an all in one controller and screen option. The tablet model is fully powered by Android and features a wireless gaming controller for maximum control with your games. It can also mirror your Nvidia powered PC's games, which is unbelievably cool.
- Android tree ornaments: Can you think of a better way to spread Android holiday cheer than by decking out your home with these little ornaments? I can't. Plus it makes for fun conversation when your relatives start talking about how great their iOS products are. There are plenty of shops out there that have a great selection of other Android ornaments too, like Zazzle.
The icing on the cake for Android users this holiday season is that Hulu will be offering all of us exclusive free premium streaming services this holiday season – iOS users are being left behind on this one. Enjoy using your new devices, accessories, or streaming options to get the most out of it! And happy Android holidays, my friends.