High-Tech Holidays: 2014 Wish Lists

High-Tech Holidays: 2014 Wish Lists

Even if you’re not a self-professed gearhead or gadget enthusiast, it’s impossible to avoid technology’s growing influence: From smartphones to tablets, streaming media extenders to cutting-edge gaming systems, high-tech advancements are increasingly permeating all facets of everyday life. Happily, as a working parent, business owner, and longtime fan of consumer electronics, I’m pleased to say that it continues to open doors for today’s end-user – literally hundreds of options in every connected category now offer incredible (and incredibly accessible and affordable) ways to work, play and have more fun. Being a practical man though, I’m all about picking the mobile devices and gadgets that are laser-focused on everyday value. As you can see from some recent collections of awe-inspiring new gadgets and accessories we’ve assembled, the key to picking the right high-tech gear is choosing the gizmos, accessories and features that make life simpler and more enjoyable on a day-to-day basis.

With so many options to pick from in every area of consumer electronics from HDTVs to digital cameras, we already try to strike a balance in terms of performance and practicality when it comes to helping friends and family compile their wish lists for the 2014 holiday season. As you’ll quickly see from top reviewed picks such as the iPad Air, PlayStation 4 and Garmin nuvi 3597LMT HD, most of our selections offer a wide array of both entertaining and practical uses, and are continually being expanded via additional software downloads. (Many free of charge – score!) You, see when it comes to choosing the best technology gifts for the holidays, it’s important to focus on maximizing bang for the buck, and buying devices that not only serve a variety of exciting functions from social networking to beaming down streaming videos, but can also double in place of other gadgets. If you take a look at some of the recent suggestions we’ve compiled (you can see several collections at eBay, where we’ll be regularly updating readers with recommended picks) from the best travel gadgets to innovative new ways to work and play, you may notice a running theme. Specifically, that all include selections that don’t just meet a variety of needs and interests, and boast features you’re likely to use on a running basis, but also are easily expandable to become even more entertaining and useful over time.

If you’re buying on a budget, no need to fear either: Plenty of chic smartphones, eye-catching tablet PCs and accessories, and high-tech toys for kids of all ages can help get you connected. And if you look online, you’ll notice a promising trend: More and more great options are available to choose from with each passing day, and quickly falling in price. Whether it’s a Kindle Fire HDX tablet or Beats by Dre Studio set of headphones that’s caught your eye, a quick glance online reveals dozens of deals available in every category, so you can pick up some serious high-end hardware without breaking the bank. Better yet, it’s not just actual devices that are getting an upgrade either. As with downloadable apps, courtesy of growing online and Internet multiplayer capabilities, today’s best video games and family-friendly game choices for every system no longer end, but rather begin with what’s in the box instead. Across the board, these upgrades add up to devices, online services and apps that are more compelling, more varied, and more useful with each passing day.

Moreover, you don’t have to be a self-professed geek to get the most out of any of these choices either. Thanks to the growing popularity of touch-screens, hyper-intuitive applications and speedy setup procedures, users of every experience level will quickly find today’s top mobile devices and gadgets increasingly simple to enjoy. So if you haven’t put high-tech gear and accessories on your list of top picks for friends and family this year, I highly recommend doing so. You’d be amazed just how much of a hit technology can be with all interests and ages – and how much the entire gang will get out of the experience. As an added bonus, thanks to widespread Internet access, growing availability of streaming media and increasing social network and sharing capabilities, realize – most devices make for gifts that keep on giving.

We invite you to stay tuned throughout the holidays as we continue to bring you a growing selection of top choices to keep an eye on, and make the gift-giving process easier. To keep up with many of our favorites and share your own collections, be sure to stay tuned to our top picks, which we’ll continue to post at eBay, and check back regularly over here at TechSavvyMag.com as well. Stick around, and you may be surprised at just what kind of sparkle the season has to offer. We’re thrilled and delighted to help share these highlights with you and yours – especially with so many great gadgets now easily affordable and accessible to a skyrocketing number of enthusiasts.

eBay Collections are curated in collaboration with eBay.

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Great Gifts for Her: Fall and Holiday

25 September, 2013 Play No comments
Great Gifts for Her: Fall and Holiday

If it sometimes seems like finding the best fall or holiday gifts for women can be difficult, realize: Technology makes a great starting point, with loads of great gadgets, gear and accessories to pick from for every budget and interest. As technology improves, so too does value continue to compound as well – expect high-tech presents to be well-received, as they’re gifts that keep on giving. A few great examples of top picks you might begin with include:

Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum and AirFloss – Hearing someone with a camera shout “smile!” doesn’t need to be a cause for awkward hesitation – and certainly not when you’re taking extra-good care of those pearly whites. The Sonicare Flexcare Platinum is an electric toothbrush with extra-long bristles and pressure sensors that can help keep your teeth healthy and bright. The AirFloss takes care of eliminating plaque by getting into those harder-to-reach places by using microburst technology to distribute micro-droplets of air and water between your teeth. In short, you get a great looking smile and fresh breath – still more gifts that all can enjoy.

Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Headphones – Usable with everything from the iPhone and iPod to laptops, MP3 players, CDs, and even DVD players, these headphones offer greater freedom of movement through Bluetooth 3.0, and provide noise-canceling and “MaxBass” technology, meaning that songs don’t have to be affected by ambient sounds from without or the reverb that would normally be caused within. The added microphone adds further functionality, allowing these headphones to enable phone conversations as well.

Parrot Zik Headphones – These headphones offer a degree of control unlike any other. Using touch sensor technology, you can do everything from adjust the volume to switching tracks, as well as take, end, refuse, or even set up dual phone calls with just a swipe. They even know when to play, based on whether they’re being kept around one’s neck or raised to the listening position, and can be configured to generate a concert hall-like effect, making the music sound as though it’s coming from in front of you.

Hawking HWREN2 Wireless Extender – Losing your home wireless connection is always irritating, but with this wireless extender, you can rest easy. The HWREN2 boasts not only double the normal Wi-Fi network coverage, but also a performance level that’s three times stronger than any extender or repeater on the market. This can be especially handy if you’re living in an older building with denser walls not made to allow signals to pass through.

iPhone 5S – The latest release in Apple’s seemingly unstoppable iJuggernaut is this revision of the iPhone 5. Available in three colors (gold, silver, and space gray), this iteration features an improved camera and a new sapphire crystal Home button that adds greater security by reading your fingerprint before unlocking the device, negating the need for a four-digit password. Not only do you get a stylish and handy smartphone that’s great for a variety of day-to-day uses – you also get heightened power and performance.

Nexus 7 2013 – The newer, lighter Nexus 7 is an Android tablet which features a 7-inch screen and provides up to nine hours of high definition video playback or ten hours of web browsing and reading. Play games, read books, watch TV, or listen to music, all in one half-pound portable device. Recharging is a snap, too, as this gadget allows the task to be handled wirelessly, making it easier than ever to keep your device ready at a moment’s notice.

Pikmin 3 – Get back to nature in a whole new way with this casual strategy game. Taking control of three different microscopic spacemen (well, two men and one woman), your objective is to direct groups of the eponymous plant-people to conquer challenging puzzles and predators in the oversized wilderness while retrieving enough of the giant fruit scattered about to sustain your hungry home planet. You can also challenge a friend in the two-player Bingo Battle mode, wherein you’ll each try to obtain four of the fruits on your card first for victory!

Saints Row IV – Though video games can often be seen as a boys’ club, everyone enjoys a good story and a bit of mayhem, and Saints Row IV brings both in spades. Whereas the Grand Theft Auto series has all but completely left behind the zanier part of its roots, Saints Row has come to not only embrace that brand of over the top craziness, but expand upon it as well. Create the character you want– male or female– as you prepare to take on the role of the President of the United States and fend off an alien invasion.

Targus UltraLife Thin Canvas Case –  Sometimes, having your phone or tablet around just isn’t enough; you need to have your laptop on hand. That’s where this handy case comes in: A top-loading compartment for laptop computers with screens up to 14.1 inches in size, a slim design, magnetic clasps, and storage for numerous other items mean you can have it all at your fingertips when you’re on the go. Plus, it comes in three different colors (black, gray, or white) and even features a retractable handle for when the shoulder strap won’t do.

Philips SatinPerfect Epilator – When it comes to hair removal, the SatinPerfect Epilator has you covered with an extra-wide head and textured ceramic tweezers which boast more hair removed in a single stroke. Use the built-in opti-light to reveal the tinier and finer hairs which might otherwise escape notice, and the controls allow you to set the speed you’re most comfortable with. One charge lasts for 40 minutes of epilation, and it recharges again in just one hour.

Great Gifts for Him: Fall and Holiday

25 September, 2013 Life No comments
Great Gifts for Him: Fall and Holiday

Some find fall and holiday shopping for gifts for guys to be more than a little difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Provided the subject in question leans more towards technophile than rugged outdoorsman, there are a variety of staples you can come back to time and again to provide everlasting enjoyment. Following are several of the best gifts and gadgets for guys available now, all of which can help put a smile on that special someone’s face.

Beats by Dre Beats Studio – Dr. Dre is a legend in the music industry, acting as both a rapper and a producer. As a result, you can bet that he has a good idea of how music should sound when delivered to your ears. That inspired this line of headphones which allows fans of music to “feel the emotion and hear the music the way artists intended it to sound from the studio.” Read: Really loud, really crisp, and really likely to make neighbors jealous.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12 –The future is now. While Tony “Iron Man” Stark has J.A.R.V.I.S. and Master Chief has Cortana, those of us looking for high-quality speech-to-text translations have Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12 for PC and Mac. Designed for easy dictation and note-taking, you’re no longer limited to typing as this software allows you to dictate your needs directly so that you can modify documents and spreadsheets, send e-mail, search the web, and more. You can even relay on-the-go recordings back to it to be transcribed back on your PC. The free companion iPhone app works nicely for jotting down memos as well.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G  and Kindle Fire HDX – Reading books is fun, but reality tends to get in the way, particularly if you’re on the go a lot. The weight and space taken up by carrying numerous books is negated with this eye-catching tablet from Amazon, which works in a variety of lighting conditions. Just load it up with titles and take it wherever you go, whether it’s a hotel on a business trip, or you’re just waiting for Zs to kick in at night. The battery lasts for up to eight weeks per charge, and it even features free 3G wireless access for when you need to grab the latest hit novel while away from home. Great for both New York Times bestsellers and self-published books, also be sure to see the Kindle Fire HDX – a super-charged, color version of the device sporting a gorgeous 8.9-inch display, beefy 2.2GHz processor, and 11 hours of battery life – plus a Mayday button for free, 24/7/365 tech support between playing games, watching movies and web surfing.

Sony MDR-10RNC headphones – If dealing with ambient noise is a problem for you while listening to music, then Sony has the answer. The MDR-10RNC headphones are compatible with Android and Apple devices, and can analyze the environment around you to properly reduce up to 99 percent of ambient sound at the push of a button. With a swivel design, they travel well too, making them an especial boon to frequent commuters.

Targus 17 inch Deluxe Leather Laptop Case – One’s laptop can be a very valuable piece of equipment, and taking good care of it is always a priority. This particular case is designed to carry and protect such pieces of equipment bearing screens of up to 17 inches, and is designed for easy top-loading access. Other features include a workstation for carrying on-the-go business essentials, a removable pouch, phone section, file holder, and even a strap for attaching it to a larger rolling travel case.

Samsonite Columbian Leather Flapover Case – Made from full-grain brown or black leather, this luxury choice for transporting your laptop measurse in at 15.6 inches and features a main compartment with padded storage, a removable and adjustable padded shoulder strap, and a SmartStrap to slide over the handles of upright luggage, allowing for greater ease of mobility. Among the most stylish cases we’ve ever seen, it’s perfect for bringing along on business trips, and turning both clients’ and colleagues’ heads.

Amped Wireless REA20 802.11ac Range Extender and Router: Dealing with weak or dropped wireless Internet signals is always a pain, but Amped Wireless has the cure for what ails your WiFi network with its newest flagship product. Staking its claim as the first router model in the industry to utilize the 802.11ac standard, this device can repeat, amplify, and rebroadcast signals from any wireless router up to 10,000 square feet, and is reinforced by a variety of different security features. Trust us: When you’re trying to download games from Steam or stream videos from Netflix throughout the house, it can be a godsend.

Madden NFL 25 Are you ready for some football? EA Sports celebrates its quarter-centennial of Super Bowl winning victoies with legendary National Football League player, coach, and commentator John Madden like never before in this year’s release. Numerous new features have been added, from improved graphics and physics to new running controls and an environment which reacts to how you play within it. Designed with the next-generation PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in mind, this title is also available now on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with some retailers allowing customers to trade up to the newer version when the new consoles hit in November.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist – Available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC, the latest installment of Ubisoft’s hit stealth action series brings secret agent Sam Fisher back into the heat of the action with single and multiplayer modes, as well as a new “Killing in Motion” ability that allows Fisher to take care of multiple opponents in rapid succession without missing a beat. The Wii U and Xbox 360 versions feature unique elements, such as controlling Sam’s arm-mounted computer directly on the Wii U GamePad or saying things to distract enemies through the Xbox 360’s Kinect sensor before attacking.

Beats by Dre Pill Headphones are good when you’re keeping your music to yourself, but there are other times when you want to share the love with everyone around. For these party-time instances, the Pill portable speaker helps really bring the noise. Lightweight, wireless, and Bluetooth-enabled, it’s especially easy to swallow with a wide variety of different colors and styles to choose from.

Norelco SensoTouch 3D – One, two, three times the shaving power is what you get with this product line from Norelco. Touted as the company’s most advanced electric shaver, the three-way flexible heads boast a comfortable shaving experience, whether you prefer to go in dry or lather it up with some foam for a more refreshing wet shave.