I’m a procrastinator. I’m still doing my holiday shopping with just days left until Christmas. I avoided Black Friday & Cyber Monday as much as I could. And guess what, my 2016 Tech & Gadget Holiday Gift Guide is…well…right at the very end. But if you act quickly, you might still make those shipping deadlines. Or just print out a picture of the gadget and wrap that up. Or even better, give the gift of kindness! Regardless, if you are scratching your head about what to give that loved one, particularly when it comes to gadgets, here are a few things you may want to look at!
For this 2016 Tech & Gadget Holiday Gift Guide, I’m listing out consumer electronics that I have either tested, am in the process of testing, or know enough about it to mention. I have linked all reviews (note: some of these may be sponsored articles but for the most part, I have tested the items I have written about). I encourage you to read the full review. Or, if you need quick recommendations or have questions, just ask me on Twitter (@HighTechDad) or message me on Facebook and I will try my best to get back to you quickly!
Obviously, not everything on here is for everyone. I recommend that you really think about who you are giving your gift to. A techy or geeky gadget might not be the best for those less technologically inclined. Also, I highly recommend making a gift if you can or have the skills to do so. Alas, I’m not that creative!
But on with the show!
HighTechDad’s 2016 Tech & Gadget Holiday Gift Guide
Ok, I’m going to cheat a bit here, just because I’m so behind and I simply want to get this published. Back around Father’s Day of this year, I put together a Father’s Day Gift Guide which has a bunch of recommendations from items I reviewed earlier. So START THERE! Items included in that Gift Guide are (with direct links to the articles):
- Homido VR Headset
- SnapPower Guidelight
- NETGEAR PowerLine
- Cree Connected Light Bulbs
- CottonBrew Personal Tailor
- ASAP Dash portable battery
- Cross Pens
- AAXA P5 Pico Projector
- NETGEAR Arlo Q
- Slingbox 500
- TarDisk Pear
- Solartab Solar Battery
- Pioneer AVH-4100NEX car stereo
- Clean Sense DIB-1500R Bidet
- Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport
- DISH HopperGo
- ecobee 3 smart thermostat
- Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill
- Sling TV streaming service
If you want a synopsis of each of these items, then first go to my Father’s Day gift guide page. There are pictures, links to my reviews, a brief summary of the item, and the price (as of when that article was published in June 2016).
Since June, however, I have had my hands on quite a few other devices. Some of these I have written about, some I’m still testing and will hopefully review soon, and just some items I think should be on the list. Here are the post-June-2016 items that I believe should also be included in my 2016 Tech & Gadget Holiday Gift Guide. First the list (with links directly to my articles), then the details:
- Connected Camps for kids
- Teal drones
- EMIE Power Blade portable battery
- A .ME domain
- DISH wireless Joey
- 2016 Samsung Clothes Washer
- 2016 Samsung Clothes Dryer
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Pitaka Aramid iPhone 7 case
- Qi Wireless Charging devices (various)
- NETGEAR Orbi Wifi router (not yet reviewed)
- Bragi – The Dash cordless earbuds (not yet reviewed)
- Wink 2 smart hub (no review planned)
- Ultimate Ears Roll2 (no review planned)
- Amazon Echo (no review planned)
Whew, quite a selection, right? So for those items in the second list, here are a few more details on each (remember to re-read my Father’s Day Gift Guide too)!
Connected Camps for kids
Summary: Are your kids addicted to Minecraft? If they are, you may want to check out Connected Camps. Connected Camps has a variety of courses for after-school or during the winter or summer. Think about giving your child an experience! They will remember it for years to come!
Price: Prices vary based on the course. Check site for details.
Summary: I was invited out to get some hands-on with a new, incredibly fast drone. And get this, the founder (who races drones) is only 18 years old. While the Teal drone won’t be available for the holidays unfortunately, it can be pre-ordered. And I truly believe this drone will be worth waiting for, given the tech inside and the modular design.
EMIE Power Blade portable battery
Summary: Everybody needs a portable battery since devices tend to gobble up power like crazy. The neat thing about the EMIE Power Blade is its design. It is ultra-thin and incredibly lightweight. And it clips right into a binder! Great for students and professionals alike. I carry mine in my bag and barely notice it’s there.
Price: $80 on their site and currently $70 on Amazon.
A .ME Domain
Summary: A few years ago, I got personal domains for my wife and kids. I wanted to do something unique and that would potentially last them a long time. They use it just for email right now, but they may use the domain for a blog or something else in the future. Domain.ME offers personalized domains which are a great gift that keeps giving.
Price: Varies depending on the domain registrar.
DISH Wireless Joey
Summary: If you have DISH at home for your TV-viewing needs, one of the best things you can do is put another TV in a different room. With the DISH Wireless Joey, you don’t need a technician to come out and run cables under your house. In fact, you can set it up yourself relatively easily. This article talks about how easy it is to do it.
Price: Varies based on your setup and account standing.
2016 Samsung Clothes Washer
Summary: In our family, I’m the main person doing most of the laundry. And with a family of 5 (4 of whom are female), that’s a lot of clothes, especially delicates. This Samsung is massive! What used to take me two loads now takes just one! And it is connected so that I know how much time is remaining on my smartphone.
Price: Retail ~$1400 and you can buy the set (washer & dryer) on Amazon for about $2,600!
2016 Samsung Clothes Dryer
Summary: Much like its sibling, this Samsung dryer is huge. It even has a delicates drying option so we no longer have drying racks inside and outside our home! There are many, many different drying settings based on your needs. And, like the washer, the dryer is connected as well (with an optional dongle).
Price: ~$1599 (for gas version) or ~$1499 (for electric) and you can buy the set (washer & dryer) on Amazon for about $2,600!
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Summary: The latest and greatest Apple iPhone 7, particularly the 7 Plus, is an amazing smartphone. The 7 Plus has a camera that rivals more expensive DSLR cameras available on the market…and it is a supercomputer in your pocket. If you or your loved one currently has an iPhone 6 or older, this is a worthwhile upgrade!
Price: Varies based on storage capacity but it starts at $649 (iPhone 7) or $769 (iPhone 7 Plus). Unlocked versions on Amazon start around $700.
Pitaka Aramid iPhone 7 case
Summary: If you are looking for a lightweight iPhone 7 case (and yes, there are millions of them out there), you might want to take a look a the Pitaka Aramid case. This super-thin case is made from ballistics material (think Kevlar) so it is strong. And because of the fibers, you can get it in unique patterns.
Qi Wireless Charging Devices
Summary: More and more tablets and smartphone have Qi wireless charging built into them. And now you can get things like clock radios, charging pads, car smartphone holders and even furniture that have Qi wireless charging in them.
Price: Various. See the review for details.
NETGEAR Orbi Wireless Router
Summary: I have yet to write a full review of the new NETGEAR Orbi wireless router so consider this a mini-review. However, I have added it to my home network (not as my primary router but as a Wireless Access Point). For starters, the unique design of the Orbi make you want to have it out in the open (which is recommended for better WiFi signal anyway) instead of it being tucked away on a shelf. What is unique about the Orbi as well is the fact that it essentially creates a mesh network. You set a single SSID and this is used on all connected Orbi satellite transmitters. You can get incredible coverage (the more Orbi satellites you have, the more and better coverage you will get. The setup was incredibly easy, especially if you do an out of the box type of install (which i did NOT do). Setting up as a WAP was just as easy. It handles all bands from really old to the 802.11ac protocol. In the area covered by Orbi, the throughput is fantastic. These are tri-band routers with gigabit speeds.
Price: Retail is $399 for 2 (Orbi and Satellite) which is $367 on Amazon. See the full line on Amazon here.
Bragi – The Dash wireless earbuds
Summary: With the elimination of the headphone port on the iPhone 7, a trend which other smartphone manufacturers may follow, Bluetooth and wireless headphones and earbuds will become increasingly popular. Bragi has introduced a new type of wearable, The Dash, which they call a “hearable.” It’s much more than just a connected earbud. It is packed with all types of sensors (18 of them) allowing to you to track your activity, use nods and shakes of your head to answer the phone or skip songs, uses taps to call Siri into action, slide your fingers across it to raise or lower the volume levels, has heartbeat tracking and step and distance counting, has 4 GB of internal storage so you don’t even need your smartphone with you to play music, and has something called Audio Transparency which allows you to hear your surroundings in an amplified way so you don’t need to take the earbuds out. It’s truly a next-generation earbud! There is a less expensive version with fewer features called simply The Headphone as well.
Price: Retail is $299 for The Dash and $149 for The Headphone. The Dash is $245 on Amazon.
Wink 2 Smart Hub
Summary: If you are looking to get a smart hub for your home or business, I highly recommend the Wink 2 hub. I had the first generation which only used WiFi for connectivity. It was ok. The Wink 2 is so much more stable and better, mainly because it adds Ethernet connectivity to it. Just plug it into your network and start configuring all of those smart devices around your home. I have lights, garage door, thermostat and smoke alarms all connected. And it integrates well with Amazon Alexa so that I can use voice commands to turn on or off certain lights around my home. It’s pretty wild! It supports a variety of smart gadgets as well.
Price: Retail is $99 and it’s $99 on Amazon as well (new release).
Ultimate Ears Roll2
Summary: The Ultimate Ears Roll2 is an amazing Bluetooth speaker. For starters, it is quite loud and has a great base. And best of all, it is waterproof (you wouldn’t want to submerge it simply because the Bluetooth connectivity would degrade). My daughters absolutely love the Roll2 especially for shower time! They can hang it in the show (there is a loop to make that easy) and they don’t have to worry if it gets wet. It even comes with a mini inflatable inner tube for floating in the pool! And it has some crazy colors.
Price: It retails for $99 and prices on Amazon start at $95 depending on the color scheme.
Summary: In my opinion, no connected home should be without an Amazon Echo (or Tap or Dot). You control it using your voice (it’s creepily always listening) but the amount of things you can have it do or speak back to you are truly amazing. As I mentioned above, you can integrate it with the Wink 2 hub so you can tell it to turn on or off lights, you can get the most recent news, have it play music, and my kids use it for spelling help and other homework items. It has something called Alexa skills which allow you to use 3rd party apps and functionality with it. For all of the capabilities the Echo has, I would encourage you to look on the product page.
Price: On Amazon the price is $139.99.
There you have it! My 2016 Tech & Gadget Holiday Gift Guide!
Hopefully, you have some gift ideas for the 2016 Holidays now. And remember, if your shipment can’t get to you in time, you can always print out a picture of whatever device or gadget you are gifting and wrap that up. Good things come to those who wait! Remember to feel free to send me questions on Twitter or Facebook and I will respond as quickly as I can.
Again, I should mention, one of the best things you can gift is Kindness!
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Happy Holidays to all! And may you have a wonderful New Year!
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift, sample of a product or service, and/or monetary compensation for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: Who doesn’t love getting a little tech for the holidays! Just make sure you spend quality time with friends and family as well!