The busiest shopping month of the year is upon us. This week, people will be lining up outside the mall at 5:00am and marking their calendars for the best online sales. Just in time for the big rush, I have once again rounded up this year’s hottest gadgets. From the coffee lover to the traveler to the workout fanatic, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list.
AeroPress- $26- www.aerobie.com
My wife can attest that having gone through French presses, Keurigs, and everything in between, that this makes the best coffee, is inexpensive, and easy to use. Cheap, easy, and good coffee. Use your own coffee without the waste of pods. What more could you want?
Microsoft Surface Pro 3- starts at $799- www.microsoft.com
Microsoft is right…This is the first tablet that can replace your laptop. I have been using mine for many months now and it’s replaced my iPad (yes, I had one…once) and my laptop. It runs a full version of Windows 8.1, so all your normal programs will work. Light, great detachable backlit keyboard and mouse, stylus, cameras, quick processors, and solid state drives make this a winner.
Amazon Prime- $99- www.amazon.com
Not a gadget but a service that has steadily grown well beyond its beginnings as simply a flat annual fee for “quick shipping for free.” Amazon has been quietly sneaking in new services to make the $99 spend worth it. Now, members not only get two day shipping for free on all Amazon Prime orders, but also get unlimited backup space for photos from phones and PCs (just added this month), Amazon Instant Video for free movies and TV shows (ala Netflix), and Amazon Prime Music for free music (ala Pandora One and Spotify), plus many other benefits.
Nod- $150- www.hellonod.com
At this point you’re used to gesture control on your devices — your smartphone, your tablet, the trackpad on your laptop — but true gesture-based communication with a device shouldn’t rely on placing your hands on a surface. With Nod, gestures are freed from the confines of touch, letting you control just about any connected device by simply moving your hands in the air. By placing the ring on your finger, you can type without ever touching a keyboard, turn down the thermostat using your nest, and play a song on your phone without any physical contact. Made from jewelry-grade stainless steel, and available in a range of sizes to fit your finger, it uses Bluetooth connectivity to interact with a growing range of devices and technologies. You may never touch another device again.
Centr Panoramic Camera- $300- www.centrcam.com
Don’t let its small, unorthodox shape fool you — the Centr Panoramic Camera is serious tech. Already in use by the likes of Red Bull, National Geographic, and the Army, this camera will soon be available to consumers. The device uses 4 HD cameras to stitch together 360º 4K resolution footage in real time. Features include a splash-proof body, a quick-release battery, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, 8GB of internal storage with MicroSD expansion, three microphones, and the ability to shoot 20MP stills.
iGrill Mini- $40- http://store.idevicesinc.com/igrill-mini/
Keep careful track of whatever you’re grilling, even when you’re in another part of your house, with the iGrill Mini. This connected meat thermometer communicates over Bluetooth with an app on your phone, alerting you when your meat reaches your desired level of done-ness. With pre-installed settings for a range of different meats— you’ll know instantly when your food is ready to eat.
Grillbot- $129- www.grillbots.com
Roomba meets your outdoor grill. This automatic grill cleaning robot features three wire brushes attached to three strong electric motors that work together to clean away burnt-on crud, an alarm and timer to let you know when it’s finished, a smart CPU that controls the movement, speed, and direction of the brushes, a rechargeable battery, and simple push-button operation.
Pocketfinder Luggage Tracker- $120- www.pocketfinder.com
You know it’s a bad sign when the airline can’t even tell you where your luggage is. With pocketfinder, simply tuck the GPS-enabled device into your luggage and you can track where it goes, where it’s been, how fast it got there, and alert you if things aren’t going as planned. Beats wandering over to the luggage counter at the airport and telling them that your black bag is lost.
Tile – $25- www.thetileapp.com
Attach a tile to anything you don’t want to lose (purse, wallet, etc.) and using your phone, you can then locate it (as long as it’s within 100 feet) and save yourself the hassle and frustration of running around on a wild goose chase trying to find your wallet, remote, or keys.
Amazon Echo- $99-$199- www.amazon.com
Think of the soon to be released Echo as your home personal assistant. Rather than finding your phone or tablet to see what the weather forecast is, simply speak, “What is today’s weather forecast” and Echo, with its four microphones and wi-fi connection will speak back the answer to you. Hopefully more useful than Siri, we’ll see if it helps or really just listens to everything you do and creeps you out.
Limefuel Portable Battery Pack- $29-99- www.limefuel.com
Sick of your tablet, phone, or other device dying while traveling or in a meeting? Limefuel has one of the largest battery packs available and can charge your phone and tablet at the same and multiple times. Perfect for the road warrior and inexpensive too.
Microsoft Band – $199- www.microsoft.com
In limited supply, this may be one of the hardest gadgets to get for the holidays. The Band combines the best of FitBit and other fitness bands with the smartwatch likes of the Pebble and Moto 360. Track everything you need to know about your health, see text messages, calls, and emails, and everything in between. The best part is that it works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. An interesting hybrid in what soon will be a crowded wearable market.
Which of these gadgets is on your holiday shopping list? Are there any gadgets that I missed? We want to hear from you. Leave your feedback in the comments. Happy holiday shopping!