10 Good Tech and Gadget Gifts for Christmas 2014
The end of the year is coming and you're not sure what the man in your life wants. Let me help you. He wants something electronic or techie that he doesn't already have.
If you're not a techie, then panic might have just set in. Rather than panic, let me take you through a few good end-of-the-year tech gifts that he'll love. Why trust me? My wife and kids tell me that I'm a certified nerd so it must be true. What more could you want?
Cool Teenage and College Student Tech Gifts
The way we watch TV is changing quickly.
Whether they have a TV in the bedroom or a dorm room, students usually lack good options for watching TV. Rather than watching Dumb and Dumber for the fiftieth time consider giving them a Roku 3500R or, if you're budget is a bit higher, Amazon Fire TV.
Roku 3500R Streaming Stick Vs. Amazon Fire TV Vs. Roku 3 Vs. Chromecast
While all of these options offer 1080p HDMI there's a lot of differences that you should know about before purchasing one or the other. The compactness and price of the Streaming stick clearly set it apart from the rest; however, the Amazon Fire and Roku 3 offer the most in terms of processing power, memory, and games.
Roku Streaming Stick Vs. the Chromecast
Compared to the bigger box players the gives you the same 1000+ entertainment channels as the Roku 3 while eliminating all of the gaming features, ethernet, usb, and MicroSD slots for about half the price. To be fair, browsing with the Streaming Stick is a bit slower as well and more like the Roku 2 than the 3. Roku Streaming Stick
Compared to the Chromecast the Stick offers a remote control and channels similar to the Roku 3 while the Chromecast lacks some of the channels and applications that Roku has finely tuned over the years. That being said the Chromecast allows you to cast your Windows laptop screen and control everything, including your web browser, your phone's screen, and plex from there at a price of $35 Vs. the $50 of the Streaming Stick.
Overall I prefer the newer Roku Streaming stick which has more channels, features, and a remote at just $15 more. It's just simpler to have a self-sufficient device that doesn't require a laptop or tablet to function properly. If you already have a Chromecast and are satisfied, then it's probably not worth upgrading. That being said if I were to buy one of these two today, it would be the Roku streaming stick.
Amazon Fire TV Vs. Roku 3
When it comes to gaming Amazon offers a $40 remote control that really takes the experience to the next level. With over 300+ Games vs. the Roku 3's around 100 it clearly wins in terms of this category.
While the Amazon Fire TV has some cool features like voice recognition the Roku 3 is clearly not a first generation product and shows in its interface, customization, and design. It also offers around 1,000 Channels vs. the Amazon Fire TV's 165. This includes the Roku's HBO GO compatibility which the Fire TV lacks at this time. Like for gaming the Fire TV does seem more snappy; however, if its ease-of-use, customization, and total channels that matter to you, then the Roku 3 should be your choice.
Overall these devices are both good and may appeal to different crowds. For me personally, I'll stick with the interface with the most channels and better interface - the Roku 3.
Which do you prefer?
Tech Gifts for Men / Dad
The way of the watch hasn't quite gone it's course yet, it just needed to be repurposed. Now that Pebble has made its Smart Watch, a watch, at least in my opinion, is more of a necessity than ever.
Whether you're sitting down at the table for dinner or at a business meeting, it can be somewhat impolite to constantly pull out your phone to check your e-mails, the time, or the weather. This watch solves that problem and still manages to bring additional functionality through caller ID, and Aps like iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora.
Honey if you're listening, then get this one for me.
PowerAll Ross Portable Power Bank
Have you ever been on a road trip where you didn't have the right cord to charge the right device when you wanted to? I certainly have and the PowerAll Power Bank not only serves that purposes it will also jump start your car.
It's truly a traveler's best friend.
Under $100 Tech Gifts
There are fitness bands everywhere right now. Some good and some bad. My favorite right now is the Garmin Vivofit Fitness band which came out in March of this year. I prefer it over other popular choices like the Fitbit One and Flex and the Polar Loop.
As far as the battery is concerned having a device with two small watch batteries that last a year rather than having to recharge regularly is a plus. In addition, I like the design and layout of the display better and the band seems to strap on better than other options out there.
Overall, it's what I'd recommend if you're in the market. Other models are just as accurate and have as good as software, but the Vivofit has some small features that really make a big difference.
Under $50 Tech Gift
Logitech Washable Keyboard
I work at my desk all day long so food, drinks, and dirt get into my keyboard. I used to use compressed air but it got to be too much of a hassle. Recently, I purchased Logitech's washable keyboard.
Washable keyboards certainly aren't something new, but one with this design is. Other's I've used simply were too mushy and hard to use to be worth it. This one, I highly recommend.
If you're tech-inclined loved one is on the internet as much as I am, then they're bound to have a lot of different passwords. Rather than entering one of ten passwords every time you go to an old account, why not get a password safe?
Simply enter in your main password safe password and then you have access to all of your different passwords.
The password safe not only helps you to remember all your passwords, it also makes having different passwords easy. Those without a device like this will be tempted to enter in the same password for all of their accounts. As someone who has had their information stolen before, I highly recommend against this.
Home automation is a tech-junkie's dream. With today's technology it's even relatively easy to set up. One that I find especially useful is Belkin's WeMo light switch which allows you to control the lights in your house from anywhere with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Tech and Gamer Gift Ideas 2014
PlayStation 4 Destiny Bundle
PlayStation was the clear winner in 2013 in terms of popularity and price. If you didn't jump on the bandwagon then, now is a good time. A ton of new games came out in 2014. To save a little bit of money and get the newer white console, go with the Destiny bundle.
Hot New Tech Gifts in Audio and Video
A Windows 8.1 Chromebook Alternative
While the Chromebook has been a popular option the last couple of years I highly recommend you check out Asus' new $250 laptop that includes Windows 8.1.
This allows you to use all your Google Docs while still being able to have reliable Office products like Microsoft Excel and Word.
It's not a flashy laptop and it won't play too many games, but it's perfect for watching movies and browsing the internet.
A Budget 39" TV for Under $350
Vizio's new E390i-B1E gives you a whole lot of bang for your $350 buck. This nearly 40-inch TV is a Smart LED TV with Vizio internet apps that include Pandora, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Netflix and more.
Best Projector for the Money Under $1,000 to $500
Projector technology has come a long way in the past couple of years. While getting a 1080p projector with enough brightness and clarity was impossible without a high budget, now you can get one for right around $500.
For the end of 2014 I recommend the Optoma HD141X.
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