We Wish You a Techy Christmas
This gift guide will cover all the tech lovers on your holiday list this season!
Logan Krupe, Tech Columnist
Welcome to The Reflector’s 2015 Christmas tech gift guide! Regardless of your interests or budget, there’s plenty of awesome technology to put under the tree this year!
For Star Wars fans: The Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid
$189, Best Buy
The trailers for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens have a lot going on, but one droid in particular has stolen the hearts of Star Wars fans. The cute little BB-8 droid has a spherical body on which its head seems to defy the laws of physics by staying balanced. Robotic toy specialists at Sphero have released one of the hottest toys of the Christmas season with a 9-inch tall, smartphone-controlled version of the BB-8 droid. Using an iOS or Android smartphone, users can steer the roly-poly droid around, send it voice commands, or even set it to explore its surroundings as it tries to avoid obstacles. Seriously, this little droid is adorable!
For music fans: The Chromecast Audio
Last year, I praised Google’s Chromecast as being a great way to get video from smartphones and computers onto a TV. Now, Google has done something similar for music with Chromecast Audio. The little hockey-puck shaped device can send audio from any iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Mac or Windows laptop or Chromebook to any speaker with an auxiliary jack, an RCA connector or an optical audio connection. Like many of Google’s devices, the setup is dead easy, and this is a great way to get music onto a speaker that is not Bluetooth enabled.
For those who love drawing and sketching: The Wacom Bamboo Spark
Approx. $180 depending on model chosen, Best Buy
As much as smartphone and tablet technology has evolved, you just can’t beat the feel of drawing and writing on real paper. The Wacom Bamboo Spark allows users to write or draw on regular paper using an included pen. At the push of a button, the user’s writing or drawings can be transferred instantly to a connected smartphone or tablet. Previous devices of this type required that the user buy special pads of paper to use, so this is certainly an improvement! Wacom also has built-in support for common note taking apps such as Evernote. There are various forms of the Bamboo Spark, tailored for different types of use and different devices, so find out which one…draws…your interest!
For those with multiple devices: The Logitech K480 Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard
I find myself using a Macbook Pro, a Windows desktop PC and an Android phone throughout the day. A consistent typing experience is a luxury for people who frequently switch devices, and Logitech delivers one. The K480 Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard is meant to pair with any Bluetooth-enabled tablet, smartphone, desktop or laptop. The only notable exception is Windows phones. Users can simply switch between paired devices with an easy turn of a dial, and type away!
For people who can’t decide between buying a tablet or a laptop: the Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Starting at $899, the Microsoft Store
Microsoft has touted its Surface Pro line of tablets as being “the tablet that can replace your laptop.” Running a full version of Windows 10, the Surface Pro 4 demonstrates Microsoft’s growing confidence in creating great devices. The Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3 inch display, with an innovative Surface Pen that magnetically attaches to the side of the device. Despite being quite a powerful device with a full range of Intel processors available and up to 16 GB of RAM, the Surface Pro 4 is only 8.45 millimeters thick and it weighs a featherweight 1.73 lbs. The newly improved Type Cover keyboard (a separately sold accessory) designed for the Surface Pro line has also been greatly improved this year.
For those curious about smartwatches: The Pebble Time
$250, Best Buy
The Apple Watch may get all the press when it comes to smart watches and Android Wear watches may be improving, but I still have a soft spot for Pebble. My original pebble smart watch has lasted me years and I enjoy how Pebble’s software updates have added truly useful functionality over time.
The Pebble Time now has a colour screen that is still easy to read in direct sunlight. However, unlike virtually all other smartwatches, the Pebble Time has up to a week of battery life before needing a recharge. I think that’s a big win. The Pebble Time does a great job of displaying basic info and notifications, with a growing number of watch faces and apps that are available.
So if you can’t decide on what to get the tech person in your life this holiday season, chose from any of these great gifts no matter your budget and they will love you forever, or at least until next holiday season!