With the holiday shopping season in full swing, we asked our team of tech experts what the hot items are on their shopping (or wish) lists this year. Here’s the cool stuff that made our holiday tech gift guide 2017.
True Wireless Headphones
Headphones are always popular, but the true wireless variety – those designed without any wires at all, not even one connecting the in-ear headphones to one another - are sitting atop the list of “must-have” gifts this year. They’re great for freedom of movement while working out, commuting and more.
Depending on your budget and your need, the good news is that there are a variety of styles and price points available. A few we like include the Jaybird RUN True Wireless Headphones, BOSE SoundSport Truly Wireless Sport Headphones, the Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Waterproof Fitness & Running Earbuds or the Sony WF 1000X True Wireless In-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones. If you’re more interested in noise-canceling technology than freedom to move around, you can’t go wrong with the Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones.
If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, there are also plenty of great wireless options, like the Jaybird X3 Sport Headset for iPhone and Android. They’ll still keep you tangle-free and because they are sweat-proof, they’re built to last.
Picture Keeper Portable Drives
A great gift this holiday season is peace of mind, in the way of any of the Picture Keeper drives. These portable storage devices range from small and inexpensive 4G stocking stuffer versions to the PRO version offering 500 GB of space. The beauty of this backup and storage device is that once the app is installed, all you have to do is click “Start Backup” and it does its thing automatically, finding and saving photos, videos, music and documents – no dragging and dropping required. This includes photos from Facebook and saved in your emails!
It can be used to back up more than one device, and they are organized separately making it easy to transfer or restore. Best of all, it saves you from a data loss disaster in the event of a computer virus or failure.
Created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – a UK-based charity working to put the power of digital making into the hands of people around the world – it’s a low-cost, high-performance computer that people can use to learn, solve problems and have fun. It’s a great gift for anyone interested in computer programming. Check out the options on Amazon.com, including the Starter Kit, the 32GB Complete Starter Kit, or the 16GB Desktop Starter Kit.
To learn more, check out their About page and watch their introductory video.
It’s a whole cinema right in your home, or your backyard!
The Mini Pocket Projector is a complete home entertainment system that connects to all your devices...yet it’s small enough to fit in your bag.
It’s great for watching your favorite films at home, as well as office presentations, gaming or even a slideshow of old, embarrassing photos.
At just $50 it’s a great value in a compact, stylish package.
Pair it with a Portable Indoor/Outdoor Project Screen and you may never have to go to theater again!
HUDWAY Glass Heads-Up Navigation Display
Billed by Forbes as “a safer (and really cool) GPS”, this Heads-Up Display (HUD) lets you view directions and the road at the same time, for a safer driving experience. Because of the glass transparency, drivers can keep the GPS display AND the road view in their line of sight at the same time.
This device produces a display that is 20% larger than what you see on your phone. It’s universally compatible, so it can be used with any smartphone and and HUD app.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
A few that we like include the JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (it comes in 6 different colors, so you can personalize it even more to the recipient’s tastes), the compact and simple Vava Voom 20 Bluetooth Speaker, or if you’re able to invest a little more, the big sound of the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker or the Bose SoundLink Micro Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker, offering 6 hours of play time.
So what is 4K? It’s Ultra HD, which means it’s a resolution greater than HD. Officially, it has 4 times the total number of pixels as what are found on a Full HD 1080p screen.
4K TV’s were around this time last year (and made our 2016 gift list), but the good news for you is that prices have started to drop as this technology is more readily available and no longer restricted to only the high-end models. And just as important is that there is more 4K content that maximizes those extra pixels.
If you do decide that this is the year to go 4K, you’ll probably also need to grab an HDMI 2.0a cable in order to get the most out of it. Best bet is to also do a little research into it or ask at the store about compatibility between your current set-up and a new TV.
We still like the Samsung 55” 4K Ultra HD Smart TV as a great option and the 2017 model is less than what it cost a year ago.
Amazon Echo w/Dot or Show
You still can’t go wrong with an Amazon Echo!
Now into the 2nd generation, this handy little home device is always getting smarter and adding new features and skills. Echo can connect with Alexa to play music, make calls, set alarms, answer questions, make shopping lists and connect with and control other smart home devices like the thermostat.
New to the Echo family of products is Echo Show, which has everything you love about Alexa plus she can show you things. With this screen you can watch video, see weather forecasts and your shopping list and even connect to a security camera or a baby monitor.
Echo Dot lets you add Alexa to any room in the house with this small hands-free, voice-controlled device. (Echo is not required to use an Echo Dot.)
For the forgetful (or harried) amongst us, Tile: Sport is a handy little “find anything fast” gadget.
Just attach the small tracker to any item that you’re known to misplace or just something that you need to be able to locate immediately when you’re on your way out the door (keys, purse, briefcase, even a child’s jacket!). Then use the smartphone app to track it.
Tile Sport has double the range of Tile (200 ft), and is louder than ever. You can buy these from Amazon as a single item or in packs of 2 or 4.
If you're looking for one easy place to shop for any (or all) of the gift ideas listed, you can visit our Amazon Recommendations page. There you can get more information about these items, plus more of our favorites for your everyday business technology needs.
Need a Couple of Stocking Stuffers?
If you're looking for a couple of smaller items to fill a stocking or just something fun but affordable, you can never go wrong with a good battery pack or a charging cord. It's the gift of stress relief, helping your friends or loved ones avoid the panic of a low battery at the worst possible time. Belkin makes this cool Metallic Colormatch Charge Kit that comes in 5 colors and includes a battery pack, home charger, car charger and lightning cable.
Another option is Anker's PowerCore mini, which can give you just enough of a power boost to get through the end of the day.
Shop Safely this Holiday Season
While you're working hard to make the holidays happy, cybercriminals are work just as hard on new and ever more sophisticated phishing scams and other malicious websites designed to trick you into giving away access to your information. The best defense against these cyber-risks is education and awareness. Check out this short video that reviews 6 things you can do to stay safe while you shop online this holiday season.
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