Procrastinators, unite! Here are a few last-minute gift ideas for the tech lover on your list
The holidays have crept up on us. Again. The next few days are pretty much the last hope of getting something shipped in time for your holiday gift-giving. We know that some of us still have gifts to buy, and that some of them will be for the tech enthusiast in your life.
We can't help you find a place to park at the mall, or keep you company while you're in that long line at the checkout, but we can give you a few quick ideas to make things just a little easier. Jump past the break and see what last-minute gifts we're filling our carts — both online and off — with.
Jerry Hildenbrand — The Chromecast
The Chromecast — these little gizmos rock. Yes, I know you can get more functionality from a Roku or an Apple TV, or even from the now-defunct Google TV, but these are $30 at Amazon, and they say they can get you one by December 17. You simply won't find as much bang for your buck any where else.
There's no installation, you just plug it into an empty HDMI port on your TV or A/V receiver, plug in the microUSB power, and go. Set-up is easy from any Android or iOS device, or you can just use the web. The Chromecast connects right to your existing Wifi network, and streams media right from the Internet. You control what you're seeing or listening to via your Android, iPhone or Chrome on your computer, and content streams directly to the Chromecast itself.
The apps you can use with the Chromecast don't make a very long list, but more are coming every day and Google is finally preparing to release a proper SDK so developers can build more. It's worth the $30 right now, and should only get better.
Alex Dobie — Pebble smartwatch
The smartwatch market is still in its infancy in late 2013, but right now the Pebble is the best example of a great, simple, multi-platform wearable. That makes it an excellent gift idea for any tech-savvy smartphone owner in your life, whether they’re on Android or iOS. The Pebble’s basic function is putting notifications — be they emails, calls, texts, appointments or IMs — on your wrist, but there’s a bunch of other stuff it can do too. You can customize the watch face with a wealth of different designs to suit your tastes, including some more advanced offerings that show the weather and other relevant info as standard. And the built-in music controls are a great way to pause and change tracks without reaching into your pocket and unlocking your phone.
Ultimately, the Pebble an ideal way to get your feet wet in the world of wearable computing without spending a ton of cash or being overwhelmed by whizbang features you’ll never use. Priced at over $100, it’s not exactly cheap, but for those who need to be constantly connected in their professional or personal lives, the Pebble delivers quite the bang for your buck.
Andrew Martonik — Nexus 7 (2013)
It may seem like a bit of a cop-out to pick such an extremely popular product, but it really is hard to go wrong with a Nexus 7 for any friend, family member or significant other this holiday season. Even though the price has been bumped up by $30 this year, you’re still getting an amazing value that’s certainly still within that range of a generous gift to someone that wants a little more technology in their life.
Whether they have an Android phone or not, the Nexus 7 is still very capable, accessible and easy to figure out even for the first-time tablet user out there. And best of all as a last-minute gift, you should have no problem tracking one down in time — Google Play has them ready to ship out, and even has some discounts if you decide to pick up a Chromecast on Jerry’s recommendation at the same time.
And if you just can’t make up your mind on a tablet, maybe you can just pick up a bottle of Maker’s Mark on the way to the holiday party — that usually goes over well regardless.
Phil Nickinson — lots of little things
My desk is a mess. Full of things I use on a daily basis. Or things I think I'll use on a daily basis. Just in case. I'm going to cheat a little and offer up a list of things I'd love to see in my stocking if they weren't already taking up space on my desk. Here goes:
- Bose MIE2i headphones: I've been using these for what seems like forever. They sound great, don't break the bank at around $100, and are pretty comfortable.
- Moto G: Because you'll not find a better off-contract smartphone for $200.
- Google Play Gift Cards: Use 'em to buy apps, music, movies and more. You can buy them at a handful of retailers, or online.
- Anker 15,000 mAh external battery: Wanna be the cool kid this Christmas? Have some spare juice ready to go. And the built-in LED flashlight is cool, too. I love these things, and $50 is a good price.
- SIM card adapters: Several options here, but they're a must for anyone with multiple phones these days.
- Anything from the semi-secret Android Central Cafe Press store: This is kinda old-school, and we never really publicized it. This is just for fun — we're not making any money off it. But who doesn't need a Lloyd thong, right?
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