Naughty or nice, they want electronics for Christmas. At the top of the list are…
Apple’s 4G iPhone 5, that’s larger, thinner, faster and with more battery life, is the envy of every iPhone made available prior to now.
“There just isn’t much I need to do that I can’t do on my iPhone: Make calls, answer emails, review documents, electronically sign contracts, and on and on, all of which takes a toll on the phone’s battery life,” explains Wade Eyerly, who along with brother David, founded Surf Air—a private air service for business and personal travelers.
Eyerly’s usage requires about three battery charges a day. In support thereof, he relies on the thin-cased, $79.95 Mophie Juice Pack Air made specifically to house the iPhone 4 and now 5. The Powerbag is another option for stress-free charging on the go. Available in briefcase, messenger bag, or backpack styles with the ability to charge up to four devices at a time, Powerbag’s charging system includes battery, Apple connector, Micro- and Mini-USB connectors, and an on-board USB port.
Challenging the i5 and in many cases leading the way is Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Debuting prior to i5, it has a larger screen at 4.8 diagonal inches versus i5’s 4 inches. In fact, Samsung’s newest arrival Galaxy Note II tops that with a gigantic 5.5 inches in cases where size matters. But be prepared to whip out Note II’s accompanying stylus.
With Samsung and Apple reigning as top dogs over the $219.1 billion smartphone market, it’s back to business at Blackberry after a recent go at trying to be all things to all people. Its new Bold 9900 ($549 or less with carrier contract) is the thinnest Blackberry I’ve ever seen. It has a touch screen, and despite having 3G (versus 4G) service, the browser moves a lot faster than every Blackberry I’ve used in the past. Even the keys are far more comfortable and easy to maneuver for someone with larger fingers. “Can I tap that?” is both a clean and befitting line to share amongst Blackberry users choosing to share information, pictures, and contacts via a tap on Black. Something else I like is that unlike iPhones, which require a specific power adapter for purchase, Bold uses a standard micro-USB cable for charging. That coupled with the ease of such features as Pandora and the ability to load music from iTunes that I can play via Bluetooth from the car or listen to via headset or from the speakerphone caused the Bold to score big with me. Finally, BlackBerry offers a complimentary travel app to organize travel details through an automatic trip scanning feature that searches emails to retrieve flight, hotel, and rental car information into the app for centralized viewing.
The South Florida based cellular candy store, Telemico, which fixes cracked and shattered iPhone and iPod screens, offers an exceptional satellite phone by Iridium that provides rugged, reliable mobile communications all around the globe via air, land, and at sea. With it, there’s no such thing as roaming and/or out of service.
One other helpful phone tie-in tool for world travelers like me is Dean Foster’s Culture Guide app for iPhones and androids. This welcomed accoutrement is available on iTunes for $9.99 and provides basic greetings, socially acceptable behavior in public and private, and more for countries all around the globe so that you won’t have to be concerned with embarrassing yourself with the ignorance of not knowing you’ve offended someone.
Do you recall maybe five to ten years back when there was often talk on the underground of the threat of brain cancer from holding a phone to your head? Or was that just in California? Although Bluetooth features are a common feature on nearly every new car, Bluetooth headsets remain a popular choice for hands-free communication in the office, while home, or out and about. Still, in my opinion, the ambient noise issue remains a challenge. Nevertheless, having recently tested the $129 Aliph Jawbone Era, I can say that help has arrived!
Headphones and Portable Speakers
In or over the ear, Beats by Dr Dre, is perhaps THE most popular brand of headsets on the market. But if you check out the $300 Monster Turbine Pro in ear speakers, there’ll be no need to go any further. The former (until recently) manufacturer of the Beats brand has created a line of sets that produce a fine quality of invigoratingly deep lows and crystal clear highs. In particular the Turbine Pro set includes a microphone and controls (answering, volume, etc.) for talking on the phone at a level of quality that listeners find far clearer than when speaking directly from a phone. Best of all, the attractive gold and black set comes with an assortment of ear pieces to ensure that your unique ears are custom fed the sublime sounds emanating from the Turbine Pro set.
Whether you’re a world traveler or an around the way guy/girl, Monster’s Clarity HD Micro is the cutest, most powerful little speaker I’ve seen! Measuring seven inches in length (yes, big things do come in small packages), the voice recognition Monster Micro connects via Bluetooth to your phone, your iPod, or computer to play music or take calls like a speakerphone. At $229 with its own carrying case, it’s off the chain!
Like asking for a Kleenex rather than a tissue, such is the case when it comes to MP3 players to which most refer to as an iPod. The new iPod Touch features a stark, clear Retina display on a 4-inch screen at $299 (32GB) and $399 (64GB). But don’t sleep on Samsung’s Galaxy 5 Player. With a 5-inch screen and 8GB of storage at an MSRP of $269, it’s a tailored and tapered down version of its smartphone.
Taking it down a few notches, ScanDisk’s $49 Sansa Clip Zip is fairly compatible to the basic features of the models mentioned above. It also takes voice notes and has a built-in FM radio tuner.
If you purchased a new whip over the past few years, chances are, it has navigation. If not, it’s Garmin all the way, baby! Their ultra thin Nuvi 3590LMT includes voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth capability, digital traffic viewing, and lifetime map updates at just $349.
Although the Nuvi 3590 is portable, Garmin’s $399 Fenix GPS watch is far more savvy to posses when not in the car. As with any watch, strap it to your wrist when on hikes, cycling, or running so to monitor distance, elevation, direction, temperature, and more. The GPS feature means no more getting lost—as I once did while hiking a state park with my know-it-all friend Victor who wouldn’t listen to the forest ranger, claiming he understood what was being said. You simply scroll through the options to establish your waypoint or starting point, then activate the GPS when you’ve had enough hiking and are ready to return. Garmin’s heart rate monitor pairs up with the Fenix GPS watch to help monitor fitness efforts.
With a faster processor in Wi-Fi and other modes and that ever so sharp Retina display, the 10-inch Apple iPad is top dog in tablets. In the second quarter of this year, the $499 to $699 price must have accounted for 70% of all tablet sales.To keep up with all other manufacturers biting for a share of the tablet market, Apple recently introduced the 7.9-inch iPad Mini at $329. In comparison to the $159 Kindle Fire and Google’s $199 Nexus 7 , iPad still comes at a premium in exchange for the ability to access cellular networks at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, starting at $459 for the mini and $629 for the full sized option. So if you’re looking to remain cutting edge with fewer gadgets in tow, there’s your solution.
Windows 8 for computers and tablets introduces us to Surface—Microsoft’s $499 10.6-inch tablet.
And let’s not forget Barnes and Noble’s 7-inch ($199) and 9-inch ($269) Nook HD tablets that are now lighter and include video purchase and rental service. Even Toys R Us is in the game with a $150, 7-inch Taebo tablet for children.
In 13 and 15-inch screens, Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina are the first and second highest resolution screens ever produced in a notebook. With over 4-million pixels on the 13-inch screen (starting at $1,699) and over 5-million on the 15-inch model (starting at $2,199), Retina screens have set an entirely new precedence in clarity, texture, and sharpness.
Slim, sleek, and chic is HP’s Envy 14 Spectre. Attempting to dance with Apple through the introduction of the first glass lid, the $1,400, 14-inch Spectre’s glass display and glass palm rest ultrabook touts the ability to transfer website links from a nearby phone to the browser on the laptop via “near field communication.” Thanks to this technology, communication from device to device is ever increasing in simplicity.
If less is more, consider Apples MacBook Air. Starting at $999 for the 11.6 LED backlit glossy display, it weighs just 2.38 pounds
A friend en route to South Africa was on mission to upgrade his smartphone so he could more easily share pictures. At the time, I had no idea that Nikon’s $349 COOLPIX S800c existed. Superior optics, telephoto zooming, a high-resolution image sensor, and more, Android OS and Wi-Fi connectivity makes it possible to find a hot-spot and begin sending 16 megapixel pictures and HD video straight from the camera. That’s hot!
If an SLR is more your style, the Olympus Pen Lite / E-PL3 is definitely off the chain! The “Pen” series is a throwback to the concept of being as light as a pen and able to be placed in your pocket, which without a more powerful lens, you could. It’s fast focusing whether shooting one ups or continuously, has a monitor screen that tilts, and shoots HD movies in 1080i60 all for $599. For both professional and leisure purposes, the E-PL3 is my personal choice for covering all the bases.
Video Game Consoles
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had a blast with my little brother and his girlfriend playing Ninja Fruit and Dance Central 3 on their Xbox 360 4G Console with Kinect ($300). With Ninja Fruit, you actually stand in front of the television while physically striking at the fruit appearing on screen. With Dance Central 3, you follow the moves of the chosen male or female images dancing on the TV screen to the song of your choice. With a 42-inch or greater screen, the images practically appear life sized, making for pure, good, clean fun for hours!
When it comes to luggage, less is often much more. Case in point, unlike the attention one draws when carrying luggage stamped “LV” all over, legendary brands like Swiss Army’s Victorinox line is high on the DL, low on attention. It’s like wearing a designer label without the label—only those who are in the know will actually know.
Swiss Army’s Victorinox (not to be confused with the more common Swiss Army brand of luggage you see at discount and other low end stores) recently rolled out the Tourist Collection. Available in 20-inch carry-on size, a 22-inch (both at $279), and a 25-inch at $309, it’s a backpack style design, in the option of black or a grape-like purple. Each has various compartments to make storing items, from large to delicate, securely. Best of all, it rolls on wheels or straps to your back for rugged to refined and includes the Victorinox warranty, which covers much of the bag for much of its life.
But above and beyond the gift giving, remember to spread love, which is the reason for the season!
- Connected gifts for everyone on your list (bestbuymobile.com)
- Start Christmas Swapping Now With New iPhone App (prweb.com)