December 2, 2015
My friends, it’s that time of year again: our Tech.Co Holiday Gift Guide is officially ready for all of you! I’ll keep this short and sweet because we’ve got some amazing offerings this year that you need to read about ASAP. In fact, I think any sentiment I could type can just as easily be described in GIF form. Happy holidays! We hope you get some awesome stuff – let us know if it came from our holiday gift guide.
Toys and Hardware
These two-wheeled, self-balancing transportation gadgets are going to be at the top of everyone’s wish list this year. Although there are several brands, we’re partial to SoarBoard as it travels up to 9.2 mph and runs for around 10 miles. Not to mention the company throws in a two-year manufacturer warranty. Skip the expensive ones, though, as they are essentially the same thing with a better sticker. Most can be found on Amazon or directly through brand websites. You can also read one of our reviews here.
Cost: $290 – $1,500
Sphero Star Wars BB-8
We’re only days away from the newest installment of Star Wars, and Disney has been in full force marketing mode. One of the newest stars in the series is a small, spherical droid called the BB-8. Sphero decided to turn turned BB-8 into an app controlled toy with some R2-D2 like features like augmented reality with holographic messages. Using an inductive charging base, it has a one-hour battery limit, 30 meter range, and is connected by Bluetooth. The BB-8 works with both iOS and Android.
Quadcopters are incredibly fun toys. They’re similar to drones, but have a lower cost and lack the automation of drones. Quadcopters can range in size from micro to large, and after a certain point fall under the drone category where people are even racing and building them. The entry-level ones typically have less battery power and are only for flying, and as the cost goes up so do their size, functionality, and even quality of their video camera. For advanced drones, check out DJI, and for entry-level, Amazon or your local hobby store.
Cost: $15 – $5,000
MHD Sport 2.0 Wi-Fi Action Camera
Monoprice built the MHD Sport Camera for adrenaline junkies and video buffs, but they went one step further to include a live view RF wrist remote. The Wi-Fi action cam gives the gift of capturing moments in any setting, and the camera comes with a suite of accessories like a waterproof case, several different mounts, and chargers for both the wrist remote and camera. Not only can you record with the camera via the wrist remote, but you can also use your smartphone to view and record. Oh, and there’s a great warranty should the camera get lost at sea – you’re going to have a blast with this one.
Apple Watch or Pebble Round
Smartwatches have been around long enough, at this point, to have worked out a lot of the initial bugs and kinks that held them back. If you’ve ever considered getting one, now is absolutely the time to pull the trigger on one of the top two brands dominating the market. If you’re more of an Android junkie, definitely go with the Pebble. If your house is built entirely of Apple products, well you know which way to go on this one.
Cost: $250 Pebble, $250 Apple Watch
Livescribe 3 Smartpen Moleskine Edition
The Livescribe 3 smartpen merges the best of pen and paper with a digital record that’s automatically synced to a smart device – iPhone, iPad, or Android device. It converts handwriting to digital text in real time, makes entire physical notebooks searchable, and even syncs recorded audio to notes. The design is even on point, sporting the look and feel of a high quality fountain pen. It’s great for travelers who handwrite their notes, but maybe don’t want to bring all their notebooks on a trip with them. Luckily, with Livescribe, they don’t have to since their notes will be held on their smart device. This specific bundle includes a Moleskine-branded Livescribe 3 smartpen, a Livescribe Notebook by Moleskine, a Moleskine tool belt, a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium, and free companion app downloads of Livescribe+, which is available for iOS and Android.
Sentri is a powerful and simple to use home monitoring solution. The product stems from Kickstarter roots, wherein the team raised nearly $400,000 with partners including Microsoft Ventures and Orange Fab. The always improving Sentri, which will receive frequent and consistent updates to continually make it smarter, launched only a few days ago with a 10-inch HD touchscreen display that allows users to interact directly with the device. It contains a 120-degree, wide-angle camera with night vision and a motion sensor able to monitor temperature, humidity and air quality — the results of which are displayed against images that you’d be proud to display on your wall or tabletop. Finally, because of this design, Sentri can operate as a standalone monitoring center that is compatible with Nest Thermostat, WeMo devices, and Philips Hue, with an ever-expanding roster of supported devices that it plans to incorporate post-launch. It also can seamlessly match your home decor thanks to its interchangeable design.
The Bluetooth QWERKYWRITER wireless keyboard looks and sounds just like a real typewriter – legitimately. Every key is vintage inspired, it features an integrated tablet stand, and the body is made of aluminum metal. And every button has a function, even the ‘return’ bar works as a macro key. It’s a great gift for people who want to spice up their work space and want to focus on the fun element over functionality. Not to say the QWERKYWRITER isn’t functional – in fact, it’s got every feature a normal keyboard would and then some.
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera
Polaroid has come back in a big way recently, and the pinnacle of the technology to date is the Snap Instant Digital Camera. They’ve effectively recreated the magic of classic, instant photography with the Snap, and the camera blends the nostalgia of Polaroid with digital tech. That’s right, not only does it spit out hard copy prints, but it also features an LCD screen and digital storage so all of your pictures can be backed up on your computer. You know what the best part is? Nobody ever looks bad in a Polaroid print out.
At the beginning of the year, This is Ground started working on a bag called the Voyager and it was intended to be a duffel for your travel essentials. Now, nine months later, the team was proud to share that it’s become so much more. The Voyager was built to include an optional Wi-Fi connection. Yes, you heard right – this duffel bag actually emits a Wi-Fi signal with nationwide coverage and the ability to reach up to eight devices at once. In standard fashion, This is Ground also built the bag to encompass maximum functionality for today’s modern, digital population. It comes complete with pockets for your devices, clips for your cords, and there’s plenty of room for your clothing.
Much like the Voyager Bag, the Bluesmart Suitcase was built to help alleviate the headache that comes along with having no Wi-Fi signal when traveling. However, it goes a step further and lets users charge their smartphone – or any device for that matter – up to six times per day, offers precise location tracking, a digital locking mechanism that’s TSA approved, distance alerts, a built in scale, and easy access to any devices stored inside. Everything Bluesmart does is about helping people travel better and smarter – this suitcase is like a one stop shop for everything you might need to keep going on the road.
Video Games and Digital Entertainment
PS4 or Xbox One
The PS4 and Xbox One are the current generation gaming consoles. Having been out for a couple of years, prices are now starting to drop and a wider selection of games are arriving. This year the Xbox got a new Halo and Gears of Wars while the PS4 got Bloodborne and Rocket League. The other big joint releases that hit several platforms are Grand Theft Auto 5, Fallout 4, and Just Cause 3: of course, they both still play the classic favorites, like Madden and Fifa.
Cost: Bundles start as low as $300 but go all the way to $500
Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita
Although smartphone gaming is one of the largest platforms, standalone handhelds are not out of the race yet. Both the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita have exclusive games, unique features, and pair well with their counterpart consoles. For the 3DS, it stands apart by adding 3D to the latest games and you don’t need special glasses. The PS Vita allows you to remote play games from the PS4 onto the system. If you are seeking just the PS Remote Play feature, Sony just announced it will be coming to PC and Mac, and there is always the affordable PS TV.
Cost: $130 – $200
The Amazon Echo is a mix between a personal AI assistant and wireless speaker. With a simple voice prompt, the Echo will do pretty much everything, including turning on your lights, playing music, and compiling a to-do list. Using Amazon’s Alexa platform, one considerably more advance than Apple’s Siri, allows you to always stay connected and informed. You can purchase it directly from Amazon.
AppleTV and Amazon Fire TV
Who actually has cable anymore? I don’t know many people who do, and the people who have decided to cut the cord use streaming services like Apple TV and the new Amazon Fire TV. Each offering has a host of options to stream your favorite Netflix, Hulu, and HBO shows all in high definition. Each has it’s own affiliate perks, but regardless of which way you go the base functionality remains the same. Once again, if you’re an Apple household you’re probably better off with the Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV for Android.
Cost: $99 for Fire TV, $69 for Apple TV
Nomiku Sous Vide
Cooking doesn’t need to be low-tech, and with the an immersion sous vide anyone can become a chef. With the Nomiku you can evenly cook food using a sous vide approach that focuses on retaining flavor and creating consistent results. If you can use a slow cooker, you can use an immersion sous vide. Simply set the temperature, place food in a vacuum sealed bag, and set a timer. Having used it to cook chicken and brew beer (it even beat the Anova), the Nomiku makes it incredibly easy to produce restaurant quality results without the expensive equipment. They also recently announced a WIFI version that’s now up for preorder.
iRobot Roomba 980
Some might say the Roomba was made famous by Aziz Ansari in Parks & Recreation (DJ Roomba), but the truth is they’ve been a household name for a long time. The new iRobot Roomba 980 gives you cleaner floors throughout your entire home, all at the push of a button. Roomba 980 seamlessly navigates an entire level of your home, keeping track of its location and recharging as needed until the job is done. The AeroForce Cleaning System with Carpet Boost automatically increases power on carpets where it’s needed most. And with the iRobot HOME App, you can clean and schedule on the go. Plus it’s a lot of fun to watch if you have pets who are afraid of, or enjoy, vacuum cleaners.
Dyson AM10 Humidifier
Dyson’s first ever humidifier, the AM10 that uses Air Multiplier tech for even distribution of air flow. Not to mention there’s UV cleanse tech that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria in the water for the humidifier. For people who want it to be near-fully automatic, the AM10 features intelligent climate control to measure temperature and moisture to create a comfortable environment via the hygienic mist. There’s also a sleep timer and remote control. This is one of those items that’s incredibly helpful during the long, dry winter months to keep your house, your skin, and your throat feeling normal.
Dyson V6 Absolute
Cordless vacuums are all the rage right now: there are commercials back and forth about who has the best one every day. Let’s be real though, Dyson is the top name in this market hands down. The latest in Dyson’s pantheon of cordless vacuums, the V6 Absolute is designed and built to pick up everything from big debris to microscopic dust. For people with wooden floors, the attachments won’t scratch and you don’t lose any suction power along the way. In fact, it’s got three times the suction power of other cordless vacuums and sports a 20 minute run time between charges.
Caseta Wireless from Lutron
Caseta is known for their affordable, easy-to-install, connected home solutions that controls dimmers, motorized shades, and temperatures via a remote control and free iOS or Android app. Homeowners can create and recall dozens of different scenes that are personalized to fit different lifestyles while also scheduling their appliances to turn on and off at certain times of day. Caseta also recently announced their compatability with Apple’s HomeKit too, which lets users control the dimmers using Siri. Through the Lutron Smart Bridge, Caseta is compatible with Lutron’s easy-to-install motorized Serena Shades, other connected home hubs like Wink, Staples Connect and Comcast’s Xfinity Home, and third-party devices such as Nest Learning Thermostat, Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats, and Logitech Harmony Living remote controls. It’s a great way to bring your house into the age of the connected home.
Cost: $69 for single units, $229 for a starter kit
Aquagear is a company that got its start by offering top notch water filtration products for disaster stricken and developing world countries. Since their inception they’ve since moved to the retail and consumer side of things – while still helping abroad. Their water filtration methods have been adapted into a pitcher that’s going to destroy anything bad floating around in your water supply: chromium 6, industrial and agricultural waste, pharmaceuticals, lead and fluoride.
Coravin Model Two Wine System
The Coravin Model Two is Coravin’s most intuitive wine system that gives you the freedom to pour and enjoy a glass of wine from any bottle at any time. Bascially, the Model Two was built as a tool that protects your wine from oxidation. It’s pretty crazy, but using the technology you actually leave the cork in place while the wine flows. The mechanism clamps down on top of the bottle, a needle pierces a small hole in the cork, and the wine pours directly through the Coravin Model Two. Just make sure not to use it on sparkling items like champagne and you’ll have an awesome time.
1byone Multifunction Jump-Starter
The 1byone multifunction jump-starter is a great gift for anybody who enjoys getting under the hood of a car or simply likes to be prepared on road trips. Essentially, it’s a vehicle jump-starter that doubles as a device charger, and fits right in your glove compartment. These models are highly compact, have a high capacity, and include an emergency LED light. We’ve had the pleasure to do an in-depth review of the product.
FOBO Tire Plus
Not every has a smart or connected car just yet, but we’ve seen a lot of companies work to retrofit cars that could benefit form smart capability. In this case, FOBO has rolled out a kit that clips onto your tires to monitor real time tire pressure and temperature. Should anything be off, the hardware will alert you via Bluetooth on your smartphone directly. Not to mention, you can monitor up to 19 different cars all in the same app.
ilumi Smart Bulbs
From Shark Tank directly to your living room, iLumi bulbs can give you everything you dream of when it comes to smart, connected home lighting. Each bulb is fitted with Bluetooth sensors that connect to the partner smartphone app. From there, you can control the brightness, color, and behavior of the bulbs. That is, if you’re having a party maybe you want them to flash along to the music. If you like waking up with the sunshine you can have the bulbs imitate the rising sun each morning to gently bring you around. They offer indoor and outdoor flood lights to fit all consumer needs.
Cost: $59 – $99
Audio and Sound
Monoprice 5.1 Channel Home Theater
Those who appreciate current 5.1 surround sound systems will enjoy Monoprice’s upgraded Select 5.1 Channel Home Theater. The set has all new features and functionality with great sound quality. Replacing their original 10565, the system includes five three inch, two way satellite speakers and an eight inch, 200 watt subwoofer to deliver deep and rich high-fidelity music for extensive listening. High frequencies are crisp while midrange and vocals are pronounced and defined. After all, what better way is there to watch movies than to watch them with epic surround sound?
Polk BOOM Speakers
Taking music with you outdoors is fun, but phone speakers are pretty ratchet still. Polk Audio built a set of speakers, the BOOM speakers, specifically for people who want to jam out while hiking, biking, or traveling. Music is, more often than not, a necessity. To fit a rugged lifestyle, Polk built rugged speakers than can handle whatever adventure is in store. The speakers are Bluetooth connected to your phone, and you can hook two up at once, although the sound quality and volume on one more than gets the job done.
Hinge Wireless by Polk
Inspired by the interior of classic luxury cars, the Hinge Bluetooth headphones come wrapped in a two-toned black, camel, or navy protein leather color scheme—the perfect accent to the 70s flair seen in fall runway looks from Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Tracy Reese. Designed as a more fashion forward, lifestyle headphone, Hinge Wireless features intricate stitching on the headband, brushed metal hinges, and plush padding throughout the design for long-wear. Additionally, they have a foldable design so you can easily pack them away. When it comes to sound, the only thing that really matters on any headphone, they deliver: warm, balanced, and immersive.
Monster Back Float
Have you ever been chilling in the pool and wanted good tunes? Monster built the Back Float so you can keep your smartphone safely away from the water while the speaker itself floats in the water along with you. All you have to do is pair it via Bluetooth, set your favorite playlist, and relax. It also has a speakerphone integrated so you can stay connected while relaxing.
For the more adventurous soul or “midnight toker”, PAX Labs presents a followup to its PAX loose leaf vaporizer, the PAX 2. Known for its sleek, inconspicuous design, PAX 2 fits in the palm of the hand, uses lip and motion sensing technology, and has even made a debut at New York Men’s Fashion Week & NYFW. The stylish vaporizer comes in four different colors, Charcoal, Topaz, Platinum, and Flare, to fit any personality. If you’re feeling like a true boss, you can order the gold plated model too.
V2 Pro Series 7 Vaporizer
The V2 Pro Series 7 is essentially a three-in-one vaporizer that lets you vape e-liquid, loose leaf, and wax all from the same pen. It also has a built in smart sensor that automatically detects what substance is in the chamber and adjust the temperature accordingly. Their biggest selling point this holiday season is that it’s more affordable than other offerings – like the PAX 2 – but still fits the demand for the high end vape market when it comes to functionality.
Image Credit: torange
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