Tech Gift Guide

The Usual Suspects:

Of course, there are always the usual suspects for gifts.

  • Bluetooth speakers
  • High-End Headphones
  • 4K Televisions
  • Digital Cameras
  • Portable photo printers
  • Tablet computers (such as Apple iPad Pros and Apple Pencil)
  • New Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • Microsoft Surface Book
  • Drones of all sorts
  • 3D Printers
  • Media devices, like the Apple TV, Roku and Fire Stick
  • We have Smart Clothes
  • DNA home testing systems

I even like the new trend of Guitars that have frets that light up to show you where to finger the chords and lead.

For the General Population

Roli Blocks

Roli blocks are a new kind of synthesizer and beat machine, with versatility of modularity and software combined. It allows you to have your own music studio, with which you can build and manipulate music in many exciting ways. You can even download the software and try it first, before buying the blocks and start plugging them in together.  The Roli Blocks Light pad can be purchased for $179, and other modules can also be obtained.  You can actually grab one from the Apple store, or order online.

Artificial Intelligence

Echo Dot – by Amazon.  It’s a Virtual Assistant that can also control most smart home devices.  It doesn’t have a speaker, like the original, but you can connect it to a separate speaker directly.  With Amazon you can pay for amazon music to stream directly designed and priced for the echo only, and it’s about $3.99 / mo, thus you have a full streaming music system.  It’s a $50 for a home automation device, which is impressive.  Turn off your lights, set alarms, find out where things are, etc.

The alternate product to the echo is the Google home, which is also a great gift, and comes in around $129.  The Google A.I. is very intelligent and can handle follow up questions, which is ground breaking, thus you can have a type of conversation with the device. With the connection to the Google neural network, it can be pretty advanced.

Ring Video Doorbell.

It can be powered off the doorbell wiring or a battery, with 6 to 12 months of battery life and has noise cancelation.  You can see and speak to people in realtime, and it also has night vision. When the bell is pressed you get a call to your phone, but it also has motion detection, incase the person doesn’t ring the bell, and you can set the sensitivity of the detection. There is also a subscription service, for seeing the historical footage and notification data. You can pay $3 / mo or $30/yr.   Priced around $179. You can just pick one up at your local home depot when you’re ready.

Smart fitness watches: Fitbit, Apple Watch version 2.

The Apple Watch version 2 is a bit faster that the previous model and is now water proof, to a certain depth. These fitness products allow you to track your daily activities and you don’t need to be a fitness expert to use them.  They keep historical data,  you can set goals and they can give you pulse readings and other health benefits.  It’s just a good idea to keep track of your health daily.  They’ll track your steps taken daily, calories burned, etc.  Fitness bands and watches aren’t new, so they can be a welcomed gift.  Pricing range from $40 for certain models and goes up from there. You can pick up a Fitbit charge 2 from Wal-Mart for $139.  The Apple Watches start at $269 and go up to $1299, but the higher prices do not increase the functionality only the style.  The Apple Watch is of course linked to your iPhone, and you can run many apps directly connected to your phone, so the abilities of the apple watch go far beyond fitness.  You can order fitbit models from Amazon and all Apple products are available via the Apple Stores, online or physical apple Stores.

Drone for the kids and you

The Kids, the FPV Hubsan X4 is simple, not too expensive and easy to fly. Lots of spare parts, charges quickly and has first person view cameras. You can get this little one for less than $100 at Walmart and online at Amazon.com.

Parrot Mambo

This little drone is fun for kids and has two accessories that can be switched out.  Either a cannon that shoots little pellets, or a grabber that can be used to pick up small items. It’s a ton of fun, and can be purchased for $99.  You can get about 8 min of flight with the accessories attached. Charge time, 30 minutes.

For the TECH Geeks

Nintendo Classic Edition

Nintendo is one of the most popular gaming companies around and for some of us, it’s a big part of our childhood. Nintendo has brought back the classic Nintendo system, with the Nintendo controller and all.  You can get the system for about $60 from Walmart, Amazon or many retailers online.  The system comes with, 30 games and can play the classic cartridges. The included controller is not wireless though.  You can order others online. Don’t be surprised if finding one now, you’ll pay quite capitalistic premium! I’ve seen over $250 for this one.

Sega Genesis Classic Edition

The Classic Sega Genesis System, is also an awesome throw back to the past.  This system comes with 80 games and two wireless controllers. The system also takes the classic original cartridges, just in case you find some in your garage.  The MSRP on this is just $45, but you will probably find it right now for about $90, due to high demand and low availability.

Virtual Reality Systems

Virtual reality is really not like the 3D video push that started a few years ago. Which came and pretty much fizzled.  3D movies had been around in some form for decades. Virtual Reality is an entirely different animal indeed.  There are several types of VR out there now, from VR for your smart phone, to full VR systems that work with your computer or gaming system.  So what do I suggest? I suggest you get involved, actually.  Virtual Reality won’t just be used for gaming and entertainment. It’ll be used for marketing, and sales, and business, travel, you name it.  From a gaming perspective, since I’ve used it, it’s really not what you might think. It’s not a hokey 360 degree camera view. It’s full immersion into a virtual world. So much so, that it will fool your brain, in a short period of time, to believing that you are really in another place. You can look under, inside, behind things open doors, build things, turn around, drive, fly, crawl, walk run, shoot, and just about anything else. It’s very impressive.  

The systems can be expensive though. The system for the Xbox isn’t out yet, but it is set to be released in 2017. The Sony System is available, if you can get it and find all the pieces and without a bundle  the VR system is only $399 if you already have a PlayStation or if you don’t you can come in below $1k for a bundle.  

The Oculus Rift, which is the most popular VR for computer systems, which comes in about $850, but you’ll also need a nice beefy computer system and graphics card to make that work.  You may also have to dance with software issues on the computer, but the pay off is phenomenal. The graphics resolution, comfortable feel and feedback and easy use of the controller is unmatched by any other system. The setup is small, and can work in a fairly small space.  

 

Then the HTC Vive is priced at $799. However, If you want to just jump in and start gaming, and already have a PS4, then the Sony VR is your best option. It doesn’t have the highest resolution, but there are already a lot of games and they are truly immersive.   You can obtain the Sony system from the Sony store, Best Buy, your local Gamestop or other retailers.   You can obtain an HTC vive online, and the Oculus Rift can also be ordered online or purchased from Best Buy and other retailers.

Drone for you, but maybe not the kids:

The DJI Mavic Pro:  

Flight time on this one is about 25 minutes, which is pretty standard these days, however it is foldable and portable, and comes with a ton of new sensors.  It can avoid obstacles and fly over 40MPH.  It’s the newer one from DJI and it’s really considered one of the best it has produced.  You can pick one up from Walmart, Fry’s Electronics, other retailers or online, starting around $1K.

Fixed wing flying:

The parrot Disco is a fixed wing (regular airplane type) drone, and has a FPV camera option and for some is a new type of flying, since everyone is used to multi-rotors these days, forgetting that fixed wings came first.  This one is expensive though, but might be worth it for some, and it flies at speed over 50mph.  Regular price is $1299, but you can get a nice deal these days.  Providing over $300 in savings.

3D Printing to the next level;

The Formlabs Form 2

If you have a geek family member or friend, chances are they already have some form of 3D printing, and if not, they should maybe return their geek card.  In either case though, this Formlabs Form 2 printer is one of the best things going for high resolution 3D printing right now, made easily available to the public.

With a price range between $3499 and $6898, it is quite the investment.  Keep in mind though, that it’s print or build area is fairly small. This printer is great for small highly detailed runs. The printer is an SLA printer, which you can think of like science fiction. The printers works by heating up a resin to give the print amazing detail and structure, but not necessarily strength. These units can be ordered online from Formlabs or from Amazon.

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