17 Terrific Tech Gifts
With Black Friday coming up very soon, the rush begins to get our loved ones the perfect Xmas or Holiday gift. At The iMums we love seeing all the great new technology that is being created, and seeing how the connected home is evolving year upon year. We have been busy creating all our Holiday Gift Guides to showcase some of our favorite products and help you choose the perfect gift for your loved ones. Here are 17 of our favorite Tech products for the adults on your gift list, be sure to also check out our kids gift guide, our gifts for health and wellness, our gifts for parents and our gifts under $30.
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!
Orbi- Whole House Wi-Fi
The single most important thing to keep all our connected home, computing and entertainment technology working well is a strong internet signal. With all the connected devices a typical household has competing for bandwidth, it is important to have a great router to optimize your Wi-Fi signal. The Orbi Home Wi-Fi system is designed to meet high demands for Wi-Fi connectivity, and comes with a base unit and a satellite. It is a mesh Wi-Fi system with a difference- the world’s first Tri-Band Wi-Fi system that has one channel dedicated entirely to connecting the router base unit and the satellite. What this means in practical terms it is delivers fast internet speeds without dead spots over a 4,000 square foot area. It is also incredibly easy to set up. As you move around your home your devices automatically switch to whichever unit is giving you the best signal, and the dedicated channel makes sure the Wi-Fi from the satellite is as strong as from the router. The Orbi router and satellite create a single high speed network where your devices can move between bands and to different parts of the home without ever having to reconnect. I love how the Orbi has eliminated Wi-Fi dead spots from my home, even in hard to reach areas where the signal has to go through interior and exterior walls. Available from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers RRP US$399
SingleCue Gen 2
Until recently the idea you could control your home entertainment with the hand movement was the stuff of science fiction but with SingleCue it is a reality. The newly released 2nd generation Singlecue allows you to control your TV and a whole host of other devices including Media Streamers such as AppleTV, Roku and Hulu; Cable TV boxes, audio systems; soundbars, and even your Nest Thermostat or Phillips Hue lightbulbs. A full list of compatible devices can be found here, it doesn’t yet work with game consoles or DVD players but the manufacturer is working on adding new devices (Nest was only added this month.) You can set up shortcuts for your favorite combinations such as turning on your TV & Apple TV together and automatically switching the TV to the right output for the AppleTV. You can also mute your TV instantly with a simple ssh gesture. You don’t need to wear any special ring or have anything in your hand, it is all controlled via simple finger movements picked up from the SingleCue box. SingleCue is a really cool device for your living room and saves hours of hunting under the sofa cushions for lost remotes! Available from Amazon for US$149
Sengled Pulse Link
With TV screens getting bigger and bigger we often find ourselves sitting further from the screen for an optimal viewing experience but that can lead to a less than optimal audio experience. The Sengled Pulse link is a simple solution providing surround sound without the need to wire in new speakers. The Sengled Pulse link starter set combines 2 products- a pair of Sengled Pulse Bulbs and a Pulse Link. The Pulse is an innovative smart bulb which combines a dimmable LED light and a JBL Bluetooth Speaker. The Link is a box that connects to your TV, via included 3.5mm or RCA cables. and allows it to remotely connect with the Pulse bulbs. They work with the Pulse app allowing you to control your lights from the app, listen to your TV through the Pulse JBL speakers and play music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet. A really simple, flexible way to bring surround sound to your living room and play audio from your TV or audio device to JBL speakers . Available from Amazon for US$179.99
The newly released Petcube Play might just be the ideal gift for the pet lover on your list. This new version of the Petcube is more compact and has an upgraded 1080 HD camera with night vision, 2 way audio and 3x digital zoom. It also features a built-in laser pointer controlled via the Petcube app so you can play with your pets when you are away from home, keeping them active and entertained. Even when your schedule is busy you can still get them playing by using the autoplay mode. The camera can recotrd 24/7 and for an extra fee you can subscribe to Petcube care for 10 or 30 day storage of recording history. Available from Petcube.com , Amazon , Best Buy and major retailers RRP US$199 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $50 OFF! $149
Drop Connected Scale
The Drop Connected Scale is the perfect gift for the home baker or chef. The smart scale connects to the Drop Recipes app on your iPad or iPhone. Drop Recipes is an interactive cookbook with hundreds of tested recipes for Cooking, Baking and Cocktails. The Drop Scale weighs your ingredients accurately and can scale a recipe based on how much of an ingredient you have on hand. If you are out of an ingredient I will suggest substitutions, and there is even a community section in the app where users can upload and share their own recipes. Available from Amazon, Target and other retailers from RRP $99.99 Currently US$78.99 at Amazon
Arlo Pro by NETGEAR
If you know someone who wants to keep a secure eye on their home inside or out, but wants the freedom to quickly and easily install cameras with the minimum of fuss the new Arlo Pro system from NETGEAR is a great gift. Like the original Arlo the cameras are totally wireless and mount via magnetic ball and socket style joint- making them a snap to install and move. The new Pro cameras run on rechargeable batteries with a staggering 5 MONTH battery life in normal use! The cameras are weatherproof and have 2 way audio, night vision, motion detection, 130° camera angle, a smart siren, local backup option plus 7 days free cloud storage. A great gift for use in or outside the home – for home security, watching a babies room, checking on a pet or elderly relative when you are away from home or a myriad of other uses. Available from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers systems from US$249
JBL Pulse 2 Portable Speaker + Light Show
The JBL Pulse 2 is a great sounding. splash proof, portable speaker with colorful light effects that make it fun to take the music with you where ever you go. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours and you can use it as a standalone speaker, or wirelessly connect multiple speakers via the JBL connect app. The Pulse2 can be used to answer calls and connect to Siri or Google Now. I really enjoy its interactive light show, which is also controlled via the JBL Connect app. There are 8 different light shows to choose from including fire, rain, fireflies, stars, fireworks, traffic, hourglass and canvas- where you draw the light pattern. You can interact with each of the shows, for instance increasing the size of the flames, or the intensity of the rain or adding shooting stars. Many of the light shows also have accompanying sound effects. If you switch off the music you can listen to the sound of a fire crackling or rain pouring down as the light show mirrors the sounds. You can also change the light color to match a color in your environment by scanning it with the light sensor. The Pulse2 is a 84mm diameter x 195mm tall (approx 3″ x 7.7″) and weighs 775gm (approx 1.7lb) A great gift for the music lover, this speaker sounds great, has a good battery life and some really fun interactive light shows with accompanying sound effects. Available from JBL.COM, Amazon and other retailers RRP US$199.99 (currently on sale for $119.95)
Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater
For the movie lover or serious gamer the Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater is the ultimate gift. With the Royole Moon you can enjoy an immersive 3D cinema or gaming experience anywhere you wish. Two Full HD 1080p AMOLED displays at over 3000 ppi resolution simulate a giant 800” curved screen with stereoscopic 3D, and active noise cancelling headphones complete the experience. Moon’s screen is scalable, allowing full control over the screen size for a personalized viewing experience. It features a patented foldable design, ultra-soft headphone covers, and a premium breathable eye cover to ensure comfort even after long periods of continuous use. It also includes 32GB of internal storage and battery life of up to 5 hours of continuous video playback. Advanced optics allow most eyeglass wearers to enjoy Moon without their corrective lenses. Available www.royole.com and Amazon MSRP $799
01: The World’s First Dimensioning Instrument
01 from InstruMMents is billed as the world’s first dimensioning instrument. This makes it a great gift for anyone who wants to easily measure things- crafters, home handymen, and anyone who wants to design or create .01 rolls over straight, curved or contoured objects to intuitively capture, log, and share dimensions. Elegantly carved in aluminum, 01 is contained within a pen, pencil or stylus, and wirelessly connects to smartphones. Although it is currently being launched via Indiegogo it is already fully functioning and due to ship in time for the holidays. Available from Instrumments.com or Indiegogo from US$159
Custom Made iPad or iPhone case from Dodo Cases
Every tablet or smartphone deserves a case to protect it. A really personalized gift is to have a case custom created just for your loved one’s iPhone or iPad. Dodo Cases is a San Francisco-based company that uses traditional book binding techniques to create iPad and iPhone cases, and offers a custom case making service. For the iPad cases you can choose from a range of solid or patterned fabrics or 4 colors of leather. You can choose a single or two-tone exterior. For the interior fabric you can choose from a variety of solid colors or patterns or from a selection of city maps. The maps are a great way to personalize if you choose a city that has particular significance to the recipient. You can add final touches by picking the color of elastic and even have a name or message embossed on the front on gold or black letters. A truly one-of-a-kind gift! Available from DoDoCases.com custom iPhone cases start from $49.99 and custom iPad cases from $79.99.
SanDisk iXpand Flash storage for iPhone and iPad
A problem most iPhone and iPad users suffer from is lack of storage space- unlike Android phones you can’t just slip in a micro-SD card to increase storage and it costs a lot to buy iOS devices with large amounts of internal storage. The iXpand Flash drive from SanDisk is a simple solution to this problem. It is a very small, light flash drive that connects via the Lightning port of your iOS device. It is very easy to transfer content from your iOS device to the drive to create space and you can then use its USB connector to transfer them to your computer. You can also set it up to automatically backup your camera roll whenever it s connected. If you are traveling and want to take a movie with you, you can load it on the drive from your computer and watch it directly on your device without ever downloading it ! It has a flexible connector that allows it to be used with most cases, and is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128 GB versions. Available from Amazon and other retailers from US$59.99
RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge
One of the cool features about the new MacBooks is that they can now to powered via a USB-C instead of needing a proprietary Mac charger. This opens up more possibilities for charging on the go. The new RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge has a built-in USB-C port and enough power to recharge a MacBook as well as USB-A port for your other devices. This 13400mAh Lithium Polymer battery has ultra fast charging and recharging. It measures 6.5 in x 4.8 in x 1.1 in and weighs in at under 1lb, making it very small and light for a battery of this capacity. Available from MyCharge.com and Best Buy for US$99.99
One noticeable trend in the Connected Home market in 2016 is that more and more connected home devices are having Amazon Alexa integration . This means that if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot you can control them via your voice. The Amazon Echo is a pretty cool device all by itself but with the integration of other connected home devices its uses keep multiplying. The Echo has immersive 360º omni-directional audio with far-field voice recognition so it can hear you from across the room even while music is playing. It plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice, and controls a whole host of connected home devices. Echo also answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. Available from Amazon for US$179.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $139.99
Amazon Echo Dot
If you already have a speaker system in the room you are using your Echo in, you may prefer to get the more affordable Echo Dot, as it can connect to your existing speakers via a 3.5mm cable. Apart from the large speaker it has all the other features of its bigger brother the Amazon Echo. Like the Echo it has far-field voice recognition and can plays your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. It also controls a whole host of connected home devices, answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. It has a small built-in speaker and you can use Echo Dots in multiple rooms to provide Alexa enabled control throughout the home. The Echo Dot is Available from Amazon for US$49.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $39.99 and is also available in 3 packs at a $20 savings or six packs where you buy 5 and get one free.
SMARTvr Virtual Reality Viewer from Dodo Case
With the invention of Google Cardboard there is more and more Virtual Reality content becoming available in iTunes and Google Play stores. This is great as it means more people can access Virtual Reality content without needing to buy an expensive VR headset like the Oculus Rift. SMARTvr is a great way to access the content made available by Google cardboard on your smartphone, but using a more stylish and durable viewer than the original Cardboard. If fits most iOS and Android smartphones and folds to a flat package about the size of an iPhone 5 when not in use. The case is made from cast aluminum and ballistic nylon with a microsuede lens cover & light blocking shield. It is Google Cardboard certified and really simple to use You just unfold it, scan the QR code to link, slip the phone into the clips on the back, fold down the light shield, and you are ready to enjoy your VR apps. It is a great VR viewer- compact, portable, durable, affordable and flexible to fit different size smartphones
Available from DodoCase.com for US$39.99
Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar from Belkin
The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus no longer have an audio jack as they are designed to use Bluetooth headphones. However, not everyone likes Bluetooth headphones, so there are several new headphones on the market that use the iPhone’s Lightning connector as an innovative way around the problem. This does however create a new problem- if your battery starts to run low you can’t charge the phone and continue to use your Lightning headphones at the same time. Belkin has solved this problem with the Lightning Audio Charge Rockstar which doubles your Lightning ports – providing one for listening and one for charging. RRP $39.99 Available from Belkin.com, Apple and other retailers.
VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite
Do you have a friend or relative who still has lots of home videos lying around on VHS tapes or on camcorder tapes? This could be the perfect gift for them. Tapes deteriorate over time and it becomes harder and harder to find ways to play them, so its important to get them transferred to digital formats or you may lose the content entirely. Instead of taking them in to be professionally copied (which can be cost prohibitive if you have a lot of tapes to transfer) you can convert them at home with VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite. To use VIDBOX you need a VCR or camcorder that can play your tapes, and a Mac or PC. The Video Conversion suite comes with a key to download the software or you can install it via the included CD-Rom. The VIDBOX little white box is the key to connecting your video output device to the computer. You wire it to your VCR/ camcorder via RCA to RCA cables (included) or RCA to S-Cable (not included) and connect it to your computer via the included USB cable. Once it is connected launch the VIDBOX software and follow the on screen instructions. The video will record as a digital file on your computer in real time as it plays on your VCR/ camcorder. Once the recording is finished you can preview it and save to iMovie or iTunes (on Mac). The Video conversion suite includes software for both Mac and PC or you can buy Mac or PC only versions for slightly less. Available from VIDBOX.COM or Amazon RRP Suite $99.99 or PC or Mac only $79.99. Suite currently $69.99 on Amazon
For additional gift ideas check out all our Holiday Gift Guides
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