10 last minute tech gifts
If technology is on your family’s wish list but you are one of those people that like to leave holiday shopping to the last minute, then this year you might just be in luck. There is a huge selection of desirable and affordable tech gifts this holiday season, and a post-Thanksgiving lull in sales means that the stores are fully-stocked and great deals are everywhere.
Here are 10 suggestions to help you get started. But don’t leave it any longer. Wednesday is the last day for online retailers like Amazon to guarantee pre-Christmas Day delivery – and you do need to leave yourself a little time for wrapping!
Yes, we know it’s one of the most popular gift items of the season, but there’s a very good reason for that! The Kindle Fire is a great tablet at just a fraction of the cost of an iPad 2. It only connects through Wi-Fi, so no carrier and no contract required.
You can read books, send and receive e-mail, surf the web, play games, and do all the thing you wold expect on a much higher-priced tablet.
And the really good news? Order online by 11pm ET and Amazon will ship free to anywhere in the U.S. with guaranteed delivery before Christmas Day. How can you beat that?
Where to buy: Amazon.com
Roku 2 XS
No self-respecting family can make do with just network TV and cable for their holiday entertainment. Today, it’s all about the web – and with the Roku 2 XS it’s all there at the touch of a button. Instantly stream your entertainment choices from tens of thousands of movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and more. Listen to music on Pandora, or listen to your own iTunes playlists. Watch major sports, news, or original Internet programming. It’s all available whenever you want it.
The Roku 2 XS works with any TV and no PC is required. Its built-in Wi-Fi works with any high-speed Internet connection, and it comes with additional Ethernet and USB ports and a free edition of Angry Birds! (Netflix, Hulu Plus and other content subscriptions are not included.)
Price: $79.99 (sale price)
Where to buy: Best Buy, Amazon.com
Jawbone JAMBOX Speaker
Jawbone’s JAMBOX Bluetooth speaker has been described as the boombox reinvented, and with its portability and up to 85 decibel output, it’s easy to see why. Although its primary function is as a top quality speaker for all kinds of music players, the JAMBOX switches seamlessly to become a hands-free speakerphone.
Although you may not be impressed with the blunt design of the JAMBOX, you will be quickly won over by the amazing sound. And at just 12 ounces, it’s light enough to take anywhere.
Where to buy: Jawbone, Amazon.com, Staples, Walmart
Kodak PLAYFULL Video Camera
The Flip may be dead but there are plenty of worthy successors in the mini-camcorder class and the Kodak PLAYFULL is one of the best. Just 3.9 inches tall by 1.6 inches wide, the PLAYFULL can capture full 1080p HD video or widescreen HD 5.3 megapixel stills.
The PLAYFULL features full on-camera editing capability, so you can fine-tune your footage, cut out what you don’t want, or extract still images from video. The pop-out USB arm allows easy upload to a PC and instant sharing with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and KODAK Gallery.
Price: $79.95 (sale price)
Where to buy: Kodak, Amazon.com
If you don’t want to shell out for a tablet, why not try Amazon’s all new Kindle e-reader. Now just $79, the Kindle is small enough and light enough to fit in a pocket. The built-in Wi-Fi can download books in less than a minute and the expanded memory means you can store up to 1,400 titles. You can also read for up to one month on a single battery charge.
Amazon’s support services include free cloud backup for your Kindle e-book collection and the ability to lend and borrow e-books, including access to thousands of public libraries. Kindle e-reader buyers can enjoy the same free shipping and guaranteed delivery terms as those for the Kindle Fire. (See above.)
Where to buy: Amazon.com
Jawbone ERA Bluetooth Headset
Another winner from Jawbone is their ERA Bluetooth headset. Fitting easily in the ear, the ERA is equipped with Jawbone’s NoiseAssassin noise- and wind-cancelling technology. It auto-adjusts inbound call volume to your background environment. You can also use the ERA to enjoy all your mobile media, which means no more music headphones to carry or tangled cords to deal with.
Just shake the ERA to pair it with your phone (ERA works with iPhone, Android or BlackBerry), and tap to connect with calls. A battery life indicator on your phone will always let you know how much talk or music time you have left.
Where to buy: Jawbone, Amazon.com, Staples
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Smartphone
Someone needs a new smartphone? Get them the state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Verizon. The 4G Nexus runs Android 4.0, Google’s latest operating system, and is optimized for sharing with family and friends both on and off line. The 4.65-inch screen displays photos and movies in super-sharp HD colors and Verizon’s 4G network means everything happens at blazingly fast speeds. There is a 5-megapixel camera for shooting HD video, and a front-facing camera to allow video chat with up to 9 other people.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus requires activation and a two-year contract from Verizon.
Where to buy: Any Verizon store
Still the undisputed king of Apple’s iPod range, the iPod Touch remains one of the best deals on the market. At just $199, the Touch has all the features of an iPhone without the calls and the two-year contract. In fact, with the Facetime app, you can even get the calls!
The Touch comes with an HD video camera and the ability to wirelessly stream your videos direct to an HDTV. There are hundreds of thousands of games and apps to choose from and everything can be backed up and synced using Apple’s iCloud service. Oh, and did we mention that it can play music?
Price: Starting at $199
Where to buy: Any Apple store or online at Apple, Amazon.com, Walmart
Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad
If your loved one already has an iPad, then the lightweight Logitech Tablet Keyboard is a great add-on. Specifically designed to pair with Apple’s iPad tablet and turn it into a more productive, easy-to-use device, the Logitech Tablet Keyboard connects easily using Bluetooth wireless.
The separate carrying case not only protects the Tablet Keyboard but also converts to a sturdy iPad stand that can be adjusted to any angle. The Tablet Keyboard is designed for travel and easily slips into a backpack or suitcase.
Where to buy: Best Buy, Staples, Amazon.com
Bose AE2 Headphones
Bose AE2 audio headphones combine the noise-cancelling performance of the company’s celebrated QuietComfort series with a price tag that won’t break the bank. The smooth round-the-ear fit is ideal for those times when you have to block everything out and study, or for those moments when you just want to kick back and enjoy some music.
There are two options: the standard AE2 audio headphones or the AE2i version, which is specifically designed to work with the iPhone. The AE2 ear cups twist and fold flat for easy travel in their own custom carrying bag.
Price: From $134.95
Where to buy: Any Bose store or online at Bose.com