How does the song start out? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” For the gadgeteer, it continues; “When black Friday comes and then new tech arrives and we all get to see what is cool.” Well this year is no different in this column than the 5 years gone by.
So to be repetitive, here are the top 18 gifts sought after by kids, adults and geeks alike. There is nothing reviewed here for more than $500. The gadgets will span the genres of Laptops, Tablets, Phablets, Printers, Chargers, Camera’s and even down to the least expensive apps. So enjoy, an remember, everything you read here is available on Amazon.com, unless otherwise noted
In no particular order, they are;
- The Dell Venue Pro 8
The Dell Venue Pro 8 is, in essence, a portable office that cannot be beat. Not only can it have all Office products installed, but can walk, talk, print and work like your full sized desktop. Anything your full sized desktop or laptop can do, the Dell Venue Pro 8 can also handle.
- Ooma VoIP System
The VoIP System by Ooma will easily let you toss your current phone service to the curb. It is crystal clear VoIP, whether it is voice calls or fax transmissions (hey people still fax the old way). It can alert you to voice mails and is fully manageable online. There are nominal fees for extra features. However, once you pay for the Ooma Telo box, you have free unlimited calling in the US (simply pay taxes). There is no huge fee each month. You can even use your current phones and keep your current number.
- The Toshiba Satellite Radius 11
The Radius 11 is simple genius. It’s a laptop, no, it’s a tablet, no, it’s a free standing touch screen monitor, NO, its all three and then some. It starts out as a laptop that you can fold and stand on a table to watch a movie, a presentation, etc. Then it totally folds over turning it into an 11 inch tablet. It comes with all the bells and whistles of Windows 8.1. Starting at under $300 at Walmart, you can tell the recipient you got the three gifts in the same box.
- Anker 5 Port USB wall charger
With the Anker 5 port USB wall charge, ditch the multiple plugs for 1 with 5 ports. This can charge a tablet or iPad together with a phone, an iPod and even a USB rechargeable camera all at once. You can have up to 5 devices charging together. If it needs a USB charger, YOU need the Anker 5 port USB wall charger.
- Epson Expression Photo Xp-860
This is the newest Small-in-one out of Epson. The clarity and looks of the output has come tenfold even in the last year. Epson has long since been a leader of photo technology, and not just printing. The printer is under $200 and has great life of the ink cartridges.
- Libratone Zipp Wireless Speaker
This should really be called the BOSE Killer or the Beats Killer, or the ANY Speaker killer. Killer is the key word when describing its sound. It is only small in size. The sound is huge. Don’t forget, you can take it anywhere.
- ScotteVest Tech Enabled Clothing
With tech enabled clothing from ScotteVest, you just may need a “concealed tech permit”, due to everything that fits in these pants, vests or jacket. Some of the products even have RFID protection pockets to keep your data safe. The clothes are comfy, roomy and frankly oversized. So if you are an XL, no need to go up a size. Just order what you normally wear, and happy carrying.
- The Milwaukee Tools M12 heated Jacket
With this jacket, it has never been so cool to be this hot. With several heat points covering the chest and back as well as the pockets, you can be warm all over. It appears to be wind and water resistant as well. So let it snow, because you will be warm and dry. The heat levels are adjustable to go from warm to full on hot.
- Epson LW-600P Label Printer
This is the only cross-platform yet portable label printer you will ever need. This printer has advertised all the bells and whistles and here is the proof that they can walk the walk. There are so many different kinds of label material, from straight white stock, to fluorescent, pearlized reflective, and even glow in the dark, metallic and specific cable labeling material.
- The LG Google Chromebase
This is the all-in-one for the non conformists. It is an all in one that will do pretty much whatever you need. Can the LG Google Chromebase replace your current desktop? If you are brand loyal and a true conformist, then NO. If you are willing to learn something new and swear to non-conformity, then YES it can. It is capable of doing whatever you need it to do. Give it a try. I did and gave it 5 Stars
- The Samsung Google Chromebook II
Much like its big brother above, this is the laptop for you non conformists. If you love the underdog (ie open source) and want nothing to do with the giants of the technological industries, then this is for you. With Google chrome OS and its apps, you can do the same thing (with an ever so slight learning curve) as a windows laptop, but with out the crashes. The Chrome app store has tons of free apps that will simplify your life and organize it too.
- Gerber Gear (www.gerbergear.com)
If you are looking for the best in tools, knives and survival gear, look no further than Gerber Gear and its legendary products. Their tools are virtually indestructible as are their lights.
- Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless
The Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless is the only in-ear rechargeable headset that also (via app) takes your pulse while exercising. That same app will record your pulse rate through a varying amount of exercises. It even tracks your progress, whether it be on a treadmill, elliptical or bike. So after you get this, you and your giftee can make that common new years resolution (again).
- Pentax Cameras
Having been a long standing Pentax Junkie (still owning the original K1000). It is always good to see a camera manufacturer who can keep the price low while still offering quality that is better than most. This quality was easily proven during this columns review of the Pentax Q7, when testing it along side an almost $4000 Canon. They are not to be over looked. Don’t let a photographer tell you to get Canon or Nikon. Sure, if you have extra money to blow, go for it. They are good cameras. However if you want to get equal quality in half the price, the choice is clear. Remember, SD cards and memory sticks are universal. They work the same in a $700 camera as they do in a $3,000 camera.
- Zinio Reader app (iOS, Android and Windows stores)
- Red Laser app (iOS and Android stores)
- Sigalert and Waze apps (iOS and Android
- Macphun Software (Intensify Pro, Snapheal Pro)
The last 4 items you see here are must have apps. All of them are useful year round, but Red Laser will easily help you during your shopping fiasco’s as it reports both online and local prices for almost any scanned item.
Zinio reader, is much like the other reader apps. However, it offers steeper discounts on periodicals. Also, it has partnered with most local libraries to offer several magazines for free. If you go to your local library site, it should tell you if Zinio is available to you as a member.
Also, if you are going to be physically shopping, you definitely need SigAlert and Waze. They are up to the minute traffic apps that will help you plan the best route to the mall.
Phor Photoshop alternatives, look to MacPhun for some Phanstatic editing capabilities as well as being able to retouch any photo. You can see their examples on www.macphun.com as well as the full review on this column.
So now you have 18 items that will make any geek, geekette or wannabe, extremely happy during this holiday season. Now it’s about the deals. Be sure and check out the TGI Black Friday app for both iOS and Android