It’s that time of year again, the holiday shopping season. Each year the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday still represent some of the biggest shopping days. And to help you this holiday season, I’m back with Boston Financial’s annual gadget guide. So whether you’ve already begun your shopping or plan to very soon, our annual gadget guide can help you find something for everyone on your list.
Ring Doorbell & Stick Up Camera (www.ring.com) $199
Replace that plain doorbell button with the Ring and you will not only be able to see video of what happens at your front door, but also speak to visitors and receive alerts when motion is detected — even when the doorbell has not been pressed. Footage and alerts come to you on your smartphone or tablet, and can be stored in the cloud for future viewing.
This gadget is useful to see delivered packages, who is at the door, and to have some fun with solicitors (and pets). And, the two wire hook-up makes it easy to replace your existing doorbell.
The Ring Stick Up Camera has the camera and motion sensing without the doorbell, allowing you to view and monitor other places inside or outside of your home.
Bonus feature: It’s the only gadget on the guide that received my wife Paula’s seal of approval versus her usual refrain of “Oh no, what’s this thing?” whenever a new gadget arrives at the house.
Yeti Colster (www.yeti.com) $30
Who loves warm beer? That’s right, no one! Yeti has taken their cooler expertise and brings it to your can or longneck with the Colster. Keep your drink cold until the last sip. Shun those with the flimsy, non-insulating cozies, drinking their lukewarm beverages with a frown on their face.
And you thought we only loved electronic gadgets. Whether we are plugged in or unplugged, we have our Yeti close by.
Amazon Echo (www.amazon.com) $179
A popular item from a prior list has taken the world by storm and many (including Google and Apple) are playing catch up. With the Echo, not only can you easily access news, weather, and other information using simple voice commands, but also control household items like lighting, alarm systems, music, and much, much more.
For example, “Alexa, open Domino’s” will get you to your pizza profile and allow you to order up your favorite pie without lifting a finger. With third parties rushing to integrate with this household helper, it’s the current market leader. Just remember, Alexa (the name of your Echo helper) is almost always listening.
Opal Nugget Ice Machine (www.nuggetice.com) $449
For those who love, crave, or otherwise worship the small nugget ice chips you get from Sonic or the hospital with their cold, chewy goodness, you can now have that same experience at home with the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. Self-contained and no plumbing needed, it can produce up to one pound of pure cold delight per hour.
Google Daydream (vr.google.com) $79
Visit the Louvre, tour Venice, and walk the streets of Boston without leaving the comfort of your home with Google’s entry into the virtual reality space. Made of soft fabric in a variety of colors, simply slide in your Google Pixel phone (more phones to be supported soon) and be transported to foreign, alien, or other lands in an instant. The cheapest travel experience with no packing involved!
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Watch (www.samsung.com) $349
Dick Tracy has arrived with the latest (and IMO, the best) smart watch out there. No need to tether this watch to your phone, as it can make and receive calls on its own, “Give me a call on my watch.” It can also alert you with texts, news, weather, sports, and has a ton of specialty apps as well. Don’t like the look of the face today? Download a new one and change it based upon your mood, clothing, or event.
It’s a fitness tracker, smartphone, watch, and so much more, and it comes in a tidy and elegant package that can go for a couple of days without the need to recharge.
Nintendo NES (www.nintendo.com) $60
It’s back in its original form! Forget those newfangled systems that have controllers with 20 buttons and two joysticks. Go old school with the original Nintendo NES system, which has been reintroduced just in time for the holidays.
A full remake of the 1985 original Nintendo, the Nintendo NES sports an HDMI output and also connects to power via a micro USB port. So conceivably, you could use a USB battery pack to power in when you’re on the go. Play Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Zelda, Punch Out, and all of the classics! Pair it up with an old tube TV and you’ve gone full retro!
Good luck finding one for list price, as they have already become the hot “must have” item.
Philips Hue (www.meethue.com) Prices Vary
Add LED bulbs and light strips to your home in a different way. With Hue, not only can you control the lighting throughout your house, but depending on the bulbs you install, you can also change the color of the lighting, wake up to gradual lighting, sync lights with movies and music, and more.
Hue can also be integrated with many popular home automation systems such as, Apple HomeKit and SmartThings.
Flir One (www.flir.com) $249
Turn your smartphone or tablet into a true thermal camera similar to those used by first responders. Use it around the house to check for air leaks, hunting, boating, and other recreation. Give it to your kids and hide and seek will not be as much fun anymore. Attach the Flir One to the charging port of your smartphone or tablet, and you’ll be able to see through the darkness.