From tots to teens to adults, everyone seems to love tech gadgets, especially during the holiday season. This is when many next-generation gaming consoles, cameras, smart phones, video games, computers and other gadgets are available in shiny new colors and models — not to mention high prices.
But as a savvy shopper, you can make sensible, informed choices on up-to-date tech-related gifts for the loved ones in your life.
Hot Must-Have Gifts
With the 2013 holiday season already upon us, there are tons of deals out there on tech-related gifts. If you habitually lose your car keys, purses, wallets, and more, you’ll love “Tiles.” Simply purchase any Tile at thetileapp.com for under $20, then download and install the Tile app for free. Attach the Tile to any object you frequently lose, like your pocketbook. Great for the busy mom in your life, the app allows the recipient to track the lost item via Bluetooth Low Energy Technology.
For the on-the-go business man or woman in your life, give the gift of sleek and portable HDMI Pocket Projectors from Brookstone, which you can connect to smart phones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, gaming consoles and digital cameras to bring any digital media to life on the big screen just by pressing a button. Fitness enthusiasts will love FitBit Force, a bracelet that keeps track of every step you take, along with the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve walked or ran. It even tracks how long you sleep and counts the stairs you climb. Kids will appreciate ThinkGeek’s open-air headphones that are nearly invisible when in, or the extremely handy and portable Bonzart Lit Digital Camera that only costs about $40 and comes in a rainbow of colors.
What to Avoid
If you’re looking to get your laptop-loving family member a portable computer this holiday season but don’t have a lot of cash, you may want to consider a tablet instead. USA Today says that for less money than a laptop, you can get an ultraportable tablet that allows the recipient to do everything they would on a laptop, including watch movies, read books, surf the Internet, and check out the latest music. The Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch, and the iPad Mini all pack a punch when it comes to usability and they all cost significantly less than a laptop.
You’ve all seen the commercials touting the latest smart watches, specifically the Samsung Galaxy Gear SmartWatch. Hey, it looks cool when you first check it out: you can take photos and record video, plus check your email, surf the web, and make a call. The thing is, your smart phone can already do all of that. You may want to delay this purchase for now, as your smart phone can do all that those watches can do, just more quickly and efficiently. Also, you only get access to approximately 70 apps.
Another thing to avoid: the latest generation gaming consoles. Buying the next big thing right when it comes out may be a waste of money and time. It’s better to wait a few months or even a year to buy the Xbox One or Playstation 4, when more games are available and the cost has dropped a bit. Remember though, giving an IOU for tech gadgets to a friend or family member just so you can save money when the price comes down is considered bad form!
In terms of cameras, ditch the idea of a cheap point-and-shoot model and use your smartphone to capture images, then use editing tools and photo sharing apps to spruce them up. Also avoid the new Ultra HD TVs, which claim to have four times as many screen pixels as standard HDTVs. You may get a sharper image, but the cost will be astronomically higher. You won’t find enough of an assortment of compatible movies to justify your purchase and the difference in resolution is negligible to the untrained eye.
Happy tech shopping this holiday season!