It is that time of year again to think about tech gift ideas for the holidays. The offerings get more exciting each year and some of our suggestions are improvements and newer versions of products that you may already have been using. Take a look at these:
1. The Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver has no docks and is wireless. While cnet.com recently pointed out its pros and cons, at $25 it is a good bet. It connects to any stereo and you can wirelessly stream music from any bluetooth-enabled device, including all iPads. Although it is wireless, it still needs to be plugged into the audio component and wall outlet.
2. The Kindle is still a superior choice for reading eBooks, and the least expensive, no frills version starts at $69. It lacks any lighting, but if that is a need for you, the Kindle Paperwhite is the more expensive alternative at $119. The Kindle is only in black and white (unless you are using a Kindle Fire) but works wirelessly and has a huge selection of books, magazines, etc. I can’t live without mine!
3. You may have seen have seen some of the latest Samsung Galaxy S3 commercials, which have been popular and abundant and feature this fun new product. It is a great alternative to the iPhone and has a huge HD screen, large battery, good camera and many software extras. As featured in many of its commercials (including the one with people waiting in line for an iPhone) the Samsung allows two of these phones to share photos and video when tapped together, and it is loaded with Android 4. There have not been great reviews of its voice, a competitor to Siri, but it is an excellent phone.
4. If we mention the above phone, we also have to highlight the iPhone5. Its LTE compatibility enables it to have speed in any network and its camera is excellent. Apple offers the iPhone5 in three storage capacity options. It also has a longer and larger screen and a faster AG processor. The cons of this phone are that its Apple Maps is not up to par with Google Maps, and it has a smaller connector, which requires an adaptor for charging, etc. It is, however, the best iPhone yet.
5. As far as tablets, PC Magazine is claiming that the newest Apple iPad is the best in the high end category. It starts at $499, although the version that the magazine reviewed costs $629. It has the best large screen in the tablet category and a great selection of apps. Its pixel screen is excellent in quality.
An alternative to this tablet is the Samsung Galaxy, which starts at $600. It has an on-board dual facing camera for video chats and runs Android apps.
In the smaller tablet category, the Google Nexus 7 starts at $199 and is a 7 inch tablet. It has a slim, sleek design and a fast processor It runs on the latest Android OS and has a decent selection of apps.
6. If you are looking for a laptop, a recent Wall Street Journal article (Nov. 21, 2012) by Walter Mossberg gave a good summary of the latest. The decision to buy a laptop has becomer more complicated, especially with the addition of Windows 8. According to Mossberg, the MacBook remains the traditional laptop of choice. Apple still separates the Mac from the iPad tablet. As you may have read in a previous “tech tip” of ours, Windows 8 offers two approaches on one. The traditional Windows desktop mode works best with touchpad or mouse and keyboard. The other is the start screen mode, which operates like a tablet and has tablet like apps.
If you are looking for a familiar laptop, focus on the Mac. If you are interested in having both approaches in one device, consider the Windows 8 laptop. Just to make it more confusing, you can go with the standard Windows 8 or the Windows 8 Pro. The latter is easier to connect corporate networks from home.
As far as pricing, the least costly Mac laptop is the 11 inch MacBook Air and is still starting at $999. You can expect to spend $600 to $1,000 for a well-equipped thin and light Windows 8 laptop.
Happy Tech Shopping and Happy Holidays! Look to our Tech Tip Blog for more tips on technology.