With the holiday season in full swing, you might be wondering what you should get for the “techie” in your life. We surveyed our associates to see what gadgets and gifts they recommended; here’s what they suggested:
Apple TV & iPhone 5
The Apple TV received several votes because of its ability to integrate all Apple devices with your home entertainment system. You can also wireless stream your Mac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad to the Apple TV, opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to media.
“There is so much more content on the Internet than on TV, but accessing that content on an iPhone or laptop is lacking,” says Eric Hannabury, a senior associate in GraVoc’s information technology practice. “With Apple TV, anything I do on my iPhone can be easily transmitted to my TV.”
Apple TV also has built-in apps for Netflix, Hulu, MLB TV, and other similar services. Boasting a relatively low price tag ($99) and easy set-up, the Apple TV has the potential to be a hit with just about anyone on your gift list, particularly given the pervasiveness of Apple devices in most households. And it has the potential to make using those devices a more communal experience.
“If you have an iCloud account, you can sync things like your iTunes library and photo stream to your home entertainment system, allowing friends and family to share memories together,” says Brian Gravel, GraVoc’s director of media & web.
Mike Kannan, an associate in GraVoc’s information security practice, calls the iPhone 5 “the latest and greatest from Apple” and says it “helps me perform work on the road more efficiently.” The iPhone 5 is likely on the top of many people’s lists this year.
Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet’s powerful performance and multiscreen capabilities led Matt Wilkins, an associate in GraVoc’s IT practice, to recommend it as a top gift this season. The tablet comes with the “S Pen,” a stylus that allows you to create handwritten notes, edit photos, and mark up e-textbooks. The screen is pressure sensitive, and Samsung’s website boasts that you’ll be able to “highlight, draw fine details, thick bold lines or free-flowing strokes with remarkable accuracy.”
The tablet comes preloaded with Adobe Photoshop Touch for photo editing and a Nook widget for reading books and magazines. Measuring 7.1” x 10.3” x .35” and weighing 1.31 lbs., it’s approximately the same size as an Apple iPad, but is slightly lighter and thinner.
Regarding the Galaxy Note’s performance and storage, the Samsung site notes that the tablet features “a quad core processor, Android ™ 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and microSD™ card slot for expanded storage.”
hue by Philips
Philips hue, available exclusively from Apple, is a wireless lighting solution that goes above and well beyond the average light bulb. Hue allows users to control the light in their homes in through a free mobile app. Hue can be set on a timer to turn lights on and off automatically, and can also be programed to gradually brighten or dim to simulate natural light. The bulb’s LED technology allows it to display any color in the spectrum, including a range of white light tones. The bulbs can also be programmed to match the palette of any picture on your cell phone.
“I like the idea of taking something that is in every home, the average light bulb, and updating it for the modern world,” says Matt Molk, an associate in GraVoc’s media web practice. “Not only do I like the idea of being able to get creative with lighting but it allows for home automation that until lately has been out of reach for the average consumer.”
The hue is controlled through a “bridge” that can control up to 50 bulbs at a time. The bridge connects to your wireless router and communicates between the bulbs and the smart phone app. Although the starter set seems like a pricey investment for lighting (just under $200 for the bridge and three hue bulbs), the long-term effects and efficiency ultimately make the costs worthwhile.
“Each bulb last for 15 years and uses one-fifth of the energy the bulbs in my house currently use so they are great for the wallet and environment,” says Molk.
For the environmentally-conscious techie in your life, consider the BioLite CampStove. The stove, fueled by natural renewable resources such as twigs and pinecones, can be used like any camping stove for cooking and boiling water. But the BioLite also converts the heat generated while cooking into electricity to charge electronics such as phones and lights. According to Nathaniel Gravel, GraVoc’s director of information security, the stove made GQ’s list of top gadgets for 2012.
The stove measures 8.25” high and 5” wide, and weighs 33 ounces. It is able to put out 2W-4W of USB power; 20 minutes of charging will provide approximately 60 mintures of talk time on an iPhone, according to the company’s website.
Priced at $129, the BioLite CampStove seems like a reasonable and useful gift for camping enthusiasts, or for anyone who wants a reliable backup plan in the event of a power outage.
Beats by Dre
High-quality sound, powerful noise cancellation, an impressive design, and a myriad of other features make Beats by Dre headphones the ultimate gift for any music lover. The company offers six distinct models of headphones – studio, executive, pro, mixr, solo, and wireless – as well as several different ear bud styles and products such as speakers, promising that “you can experience your favorite music in ways you haven’t before, and connect to the artist in a way you’ve never imagined.”
Most of the models come in silver, black, and/or red, though the studio and solo styles are also offered in colors like blue, green, orange, and purple. The pricing for the headphones ranges from $200 – $400.
Several other gifts received shout outs from our team:
Mike Kannan noted that, although not a gadget per say, he wouldn’t mind a few new IT Security books: “I enjoy reading what smarter people have to say and continue to have a thirst for knowledge,” says Kannan.
Dan Vassallo, an associate for the information security practice, recommended dual monitors, which have been shown to increase productivity. “Ever since I started using dual monitors, I have been able to work more efficiently – if I need to reference one document for the sake of another document, I can do so without scrolling up, down, left, right, or zooming out to 70% to put the two documents side by side,” says Vassallo.
We hope this helps you with any last minute shopping in the days ahead. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!