The holiday gift-giving season is upon us. Computers, tablets, cell phones and TV’s are staples of holiday sales. But what other great tech is out there? Here is my list of tech gifts this holiday season you simply cannot go wrong with.
10. Hue Lightbulbs by Philips.
Why in the world do you need lights on your WiFi? Well, besides the fact it is cool, there are many practical benefits. With the color changing bulbs, you can create mood and/or accent lighting. You can sync your lights to your phone so when you approach your home after work, they turn on.
Gone for vacation, you can have your lights turn on at random in your home to make your home look occupied. While you are asleep, dim a few down and use them as nightlights. The Philips Hue Start Up Kit runs around $70 and is available on Amazon and at Target.
Mom, can I use your phone? If you are a parent or grandparent , it can be annoying with how often children will ask to use your phone. They love the technology, but do you really want them on your phone. That is where Pipsqueak comes to the rescue.
Pipsqueak is a kid-friendly phone that they can make calls, play games, listen to music and watch youtube. The genius behind the Pipsqueak is that it uses your Bluetooth, SO NO ADDITIONAL MONTHLY CHARGES.
You control the content they can see and here. When they have an important call to make to grandma when she is staying on adult day care centers, they can go ahead and do that without disturbing you for your phone. The Pipsqueak is available at YipYap.com for just $99.99.
The Roku continues to stay on my list. I cannot tell you the last time I actually watched something on Network TV. This streaming TV and media player has thousands of channels available (many free). Combined with the ability to watch anything on demand, the Roku has become the go-to device for TV viewing.
As long as you have broadband internet, you can reap the benefits of the Roku. Installation is easy. You can even repurpose that old TV to the garage and make it work again! There are a few models so make sure you know what type of connections the TV has before going to purchase one (newer tv models use HDMI where if you are repurposing and old TV, you need a composite connection)
The Roku is available at most major superstores for between $50 and $100. Find out more at Roku.com
7. Ring Video Doorbell
Give the gift of security this holiday season. The Ring Video Doorbell provides that security at your front door.
Ring Video Doorbells lets you see and speak with visitors at your door, from anywhere. Each doorbell is equipped with an HD camera with night vision and smart motion detection.
Monitor package deliveries, when children come home from school and maybe thwart a potential burglar from entering your house.
Available at many superstores starting at $199.99. Find out more at Ring.com.
6. Nest Home Thermostat
Another great gift idea, Nest brings costs savings and comfort to the home that uses it.
Nest is intuitive. After a week, it will have a good idea of your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly. Nest will make choices to save you money when you are sleeping or not home. Nest will automatically readjust the house temperature as you are about to wake or come home from work.
Of course, Nest is connected to your smart device so you can monitor your house from across town or across the country.
If the temperature falls below a certain level during the winter, Nest can also inform you so you can make arrangements to have your furnace checked. No more having to worry about your plants freezing or your water pipes breaking while you are on vacation in the winter.
Nest starts at around $250 and is available at most home improvement stores. Find out more at Nest.com.
5. 4K TV
There will be many sales on many varieties of 4K TV’s over the holiday season. This is due to new standards and technology being introduced so manufacturers want to reduce older inventory.
With that said, a 4K TV is a step up from an HD TV and most people would be excited to get one for a holiday gift. 4K is not as noticeable on smaller screens so a larger screen (40 inch or larger) is best. Also, many 4K TVs on sale are 8-bit. So if you can snag a 10-bit or a 12-bit screen on sale, congratulations! Also, UHD10 is the new standard so look for that on the box as well.
4. Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker
The latest from Fitbit, now you can track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps. Plus, you can monitor how long and how well you’ve been sleeping (YES!) and can even receive texts and calls at a glance when you’re on the move.
Pricing is around $130 and available at most Tech Superstores or on Amazon. Go to Fitbit.com for more information.
3. Nest Cam Security Camera for 24/7 Home Monitoring
Become the “Big Brother” you’ve always wanted to be while you’re away from home with this 24/7 home monitoring system. Watch via your smartphone and get alerts sent directly to you if the motion or sound alarms go off, talk and listen to your favorite pets via the touch of your phone, and even see at night!
Available for around $190. Go to Nest.com for more information.
2. Robotic Vacuum
Last year we received one as a gift, and I am sure I looked not very enthusiastic about the gift. Since then, I would not be without it. We actually have purchased 3 more (the Neato brand) for each level in our house. We really enjoy that our floors are vacuumed every day when we are gone. Our house looks great with very little effort on out part.
Currently, there are three popular brands … the iRobot Roomba, Neato and the Dyson Cinetic Animal. Prices range from $300 to $900. If you give one as a gift, I can guarantee the recipients will be grateful forever!
My Number 1 pick for 2016 is … The Amazon Echo!
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.
Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).
If you have children or grandchildren, they will love the Echo. They can simply tell it what to do (Alexa, play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Alexa, read me a bed-time story).
Amazon Echo is available for around $180. You can also get the Amazon Dot with the same services for around $50 (just doesn’t have the amazing speaker system on it). Available at Amazon.com.