Top Electronic Gifts for 2016
Electronic Gifts: Give the Ultimate Toy, Give The Ultimate Tool
Electronics are great for gifts. They are fun but also allow you to do work. I've always been an electronic geek and looked forward to receiving them as gifts (even if I had to give them to myself). I hope this page gives you a few gift ideas. Trust me you will never go wrong with an electronic gift.
Give A Kindle - The Best E-Reader On The Market
I love the Kindle. A Kindle is a great gift if for someone who reads a lot (everyone should). It's thinner than a pencil and doesn't have the annoying screen glare that the iPad sufferers from, and it's battery lasts for days. The price of books for the Kindle is cheaper than a physical book, on average I save around $150 a year (I read a whole lot). Another great benefit for the avid reader is the ability to carry thousands of books in their pocket. I recommend if you plan on having more than just a few books you buy the one with a keyboard so you can search for books easier. I switched to the Kindle back in 2010 when I was diagnosed with severe allergies. I was able to get rid of all of my books (this was very painful). Not only did this get rid of a lot of dust it also opened up shelf space. If you read comic books or are torn between getting a Kindle an iPad get a Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire Hd is great, I prefer it to my iPad in most instances. The only issues I have with the Fire over the other Kindles is that I am constantly tempted to stop reading and browse the internet. The Kindle Fires battery also runs out faster than the other models, but it still lasts longer than the iPads battery.
For most people I recommend you buy the Kindle with advertising (special offers - some are actually good deals). It saves you some money and you don't lose anything (you get some ads which are sometimes useful instead of ugly book covers). If you're buying it for a child get the Fire HD.
Give A Computer
Give the World
A computer is a great gift to give since you're reading this I'll assume you know what they can do. However, it's getting harder these days to pick the computer you want. First you'll need to decide what platform you want to use. There are three primary platforms available these days and I will go into each below.
A Windows Based System
Windows based PCs have been the computer of the masses since the early 90's and they continue to be dominant. With the release of Windows 8 Microsoft has become creative, changing things in the OS that have been there since Windows 95. For some this will be a negative for others it will be a welcome change. Instead of seeing the desktop like we have since 95. I frankly hate the changes they would be good for tablets (which the OS is really designed for). Windows 8 does allow you to go back to the old look but it's slightly difficult. I really don't recommend getting a windows machine right now. If you want Windows 8 I think you should wait until they have worked out the bugs. If I sound like I'm down on Windows then you've got the message I had hoped for a lot early on that Windows 8 would be good but they failed.
Edit June 2013 - Microsoft has announced the release of Windows 8.1. It will include a start button (note that it's still not the start menu we all know and love). It will also allow opt-in and opt-out on automatic updates. All of this is basic functionality that was included in all the previous versions of windows. I still don't recommend this operating system. I have however learned that both HP and Dell allow you to order machines running Windows 7. If you want a Windows machine get one from one of those manufactures.
That said if you really want to deal with a Windows based machine I recommend these. You can always install Windows 7 (Which I love).
I always recommend getting a Sony if you plan on buying a laptop. When you have taken apart as many computers as I have you really begin to appreciate how they are built. The Sony laptops are always very clean and tidy inside and very stable. Only Macs are better as far as having a clean internal design. While you may not care about what the insides look like. Let me assure you this attention to detail will make your computer last longer than a sloppily built machine.
If you want a desk top I would recommend getting a Lenovo. While their build quality had slipped over the past few years, they have recently been working hard to improve it. I have installed over 10 of these in the last month and I really have been impressed. Again, I'm looking inside them at the way the hardware is put together. They are still not as cleanly built as I would like but they are the best you'll find on the market (I've been building my own for the last 5 or 6 years and have gotten particular).
Another good brand I recommend is HP if in doubt I go with them. They have gotten sloppy with the build quality from time to time over the last decade but as a rule they are very good.
Buying a desktop offers you some great advantages. For the price you really get quite a lot and if hardware fails it can easily be repaired. However, A laptop is more flexible depending on how the person you're giving the gift to is going to use it on may be better than the other. If in doubt go with a laptop.
In summary, if it wasn't for Windows 8 I would recommend a Windows PC for most people. Hopefully, we'll see changes in the updates to 8 and I'll be able to recommend it. Until then all I can say is be aware of what your getting. If your going to have to learn a new OS you might as well try either a Mac or the New Google Chromebook (Both are reviewed below).
Give a Mac
I love Mac computers. I have used them for recording bands, making videos, and editing photos. Now a Windows PC can do all of this but the Mac just makes it easier. For the more casual user Macs are great because they are less susceptible to viruses. The also have a simpler file system and hardware made specifically to work with the Mac OS. This all adds up to a more reliable system. Now many will disagree and say that Macs do have all the issues a Windows machine has and their right. But in my experience Macs have these issues less frequently.
For most people I recommend getting either a Mac mini or a Macbook (Air or Pro depending on your needs). The iMac is also a good option if you don't already have a monitor or just want to be able to pull the machine out of the box and start using it. The Mac Pro is more than the vast majority of people need so unless you are buying a machine for someone who is very serious about either video or audio editing I wouldn't even consider it.
May favorite product in the Mac lineup is without a doubt the Macbook Pro. I have produced albums on one as well as editing hundreds of hours of video. It is always rock solid and I've never had one let me down. The only problem I've had was the fan going out after two years of almost hourly use (I left it running around the clock). A great thing about Macs is that you can easily get them fixed, I took my Macbook to a local Apple Authorized Repair Center and had it back in a day, and the fans been going strong for two years.
If you are unsure about going Mac don't hesitate. Below are my recommendations.
This is my favorite machine on the list. I own 3 of these and have used them for everything - from recording albums, coding websites, editing video and photos, even playing the Sims 3.
I love Macbook Airs they are great for having the power of a laptop in a package as small as an iPad 3.
The Google Chromebook - The Most Secure and Resilient Platform
The Chromebook is a new sort of computer. It uses an OS (operating system) based on Google's Chrome Browser. The great thing about the Chromebook is it's security and low maintenance. If you're used to having your machine slow down over time you will be very pleased to learn that the Chromebook boots up and runs at the same speed it's entire life. Also, the Chromebook is not very susceptible to viruses. It receives almost daily updates from Google so that it is always up to date with the latest security system. Documents are automatically saved up to the cloud so if your Chromebook gets run over or falls and breaks you won't lose any of your files. The hardware is specifically made for the Chrome Os so it will run smoothly and there won't be any compatibility issues that some PCs have.
For people who mainly want to check e-mail and browse the internet the Chromebook is the best option on the market. There is almost no learning curve and the chance of messing up the machine is far less likely. I have quite a few clients who get viruses on their machines every coupe of weeks the next time they decide to upgrade I'm going to recommend a Chromebook .
Buy Them A Camera
Cameras are a great gift the past three years I've given at least one as a Christmas gift. My favorite cameras at the moment are the Panasonic Lumix series. These cameras are amazing, you can take great pictures in any light (even in the dark). Unlike a lot of cameras I've used the Lumix cameras won't blur (only maybe 5 of 100 shots and then its normally not too badly blurred). I can also recommend the Nikon line of cameras if you are buying a gift for a serious photographer. I have a friend who is pro photographer and he only uses Nikon cameras these days. His shots are beautiful and these cameras offer several choices not available on the Panasonics (mostly the ability to put a wide range of lenses).
For the vast majority of us a Lumix will be all we will ever want or need from a camera. The range allows you to pick what features you need. They range from cameras for amateurs to semi pros. I highly recommend them everyone I've given one to has loved and used it.
Give an iPad or Tablet
The iPad has been the best tablet on the market since it was released (with the exception maybe of the Kindle Fire HD). It has allowed people to carry a computer with them easier than a laptop. It's touch display has changed the way many of us interact with digital content. The ability to easily navigate and it's generally intuitive design make it an excellent way to introduce young children to computers. I use mine everyday for taking notes, managing my calendar and hundreds of other things.
I recommend the larger iPad for most people. If you don't have a personal reason for getting the mini stick with the standard size.
Give Them An iPod
When the iPod first came out I didn't see what the fuss was about, I had been carrying a portable CD player with me for years. But when my brother got an iPod it took me about 7 seconds playing with it to decide to get one. That was close to ten years ago. I've used every type of iPod, my personal favorite is the classic. My brother on the other hand has used a iPod touch ever since it came out and he loves it. 3 years ago I gave my Grandfather a Shuffle. He loved it so much he wore everywhere (in fact he died listening to it). I've given my Mother and cousins iPod Nanos and they love them. Ipods are available in a wide range of prices, and they are all a great deal.