You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it twice. Now it’s time to get gifts for the folks on that list. But what should you buy, especially for the tech-savvy people? You can turn to many of the gift guides on the web, but our guide is for the devoted Mac, iPhone, and iPad user. Pick up one of our suggestions, or use them as inspiration to figure out a gift on your own.
Asus PB287Q 28″ 4K Monitor: HD is passé. It’s all about Ultra HD now, also known as 4K video. The PB287Q is a 28-inch display with a native resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. At a $649 list price and frequently available for less, it’s a lot more affordable than other Ultra HD displays, which can cost most than a thousand dollars. As Macworld points out, you sacrifice a few features for the price, but the PB287Q does the job. [$563 at Amazon]
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock: Apple laptops are quite popular, so there are a lot of MacBook users who plug-in and unplug their devices as part of their daily routines. With the $300 (and currently on pre-order sale for $249) Thunderbolt 2 Dock at your desk, you connect all your devices to the dock, and then you connect the dock to your laptop with a single Thunderbolt cable. When it’s time to go, just unplug the one cable; when you return, just plug in the same cable. [$249, pre-order at OWC]
Dynamism Ultimaker 2: Remember when 3D printing was only for companies with big budgets and specialists? We’ve come a long way since then, and you can have your own 3D printer at home. The $2,499 Ultimaker 2 from Dynamism comes with Cura, software for designing your creations, and it has settings for beginners and experts. The Ultimaker 2 is PC Magazine‘s Editor’s Choice for 3D printers, with the site pointing out that the printer is ideal for makers and designers alike. [$2,499 at Dynamism]
LaCie Christofle Sphére: Don’t settle for a boxy, boring hard drive when you can give something more artistic. The $490 Christofle Sphére is a gorgeous silver-plated sphere that houses a bus-powered 1TB hard drive. Handcrafted in France, the Sphére uses a USB 3 connection, so you don’t have to sacrifice speed in the name of art. CNET‘s review of the Sphére says it stands out in both performance and design in a crowded market of hard drives. [$490 at Lacie]
WaterField Designs Mac Pro Go Case: Apple’s Mac Pro is so small that you shouldn’t be surprised to find a professional toting a Mac Pro around from location to location. But instead of using the original box, use the $129 Mac Pro Go Case a bag that’s specially designed for the Mac Pro. The soft lining inside the bag protects the Mac Pro, and accessories and cables can be stored in the Go Case’s disc pouch that covers the top of the Mac Pro. Macworld called the Go Case an “elegant” bag for the Mac Pro. [$129 at SFBags]
Cobra JumPack Battery: It sucks when your iPhone battery runs dry, but it’s even worse when you’re stranded somewhere because your car battery is dead. The JumPack is a 7500 mAh portable battery pack with a peak current of 400A, enough juice to jump start a car. Cobra includes special jumper cables that work with the JumPack, as well as a standard power adapter and a 12V charger. Mobile devices connect to the JumPack via USB. [$101 at Amazon]
Beats solo2 wireless headphones: The $300 solo2 wireless headphones are the first released by Beats since Apple’s acquisition of the company became official in August. The headphone’s Bluetooth connectivity has a 30-foot range, and the battery lasts 12 hours. More importantly, as of the launch of the original solo2, Beats has improved the audio quality, and there’s no degradation between the wireless and wired modes. TechCrunch says the solo2 wireless sounds “surprisingly good.” [$300 at Apple Store]
Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1: While we live in a digital world, there’s something fun and sentimental about printed photographs. The $180 Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1 is small enough to take to parties and get-togethers, and it connects to your iPhone wirelessly so you can print a picture right after you’ve shot it. The iOS app has different templates for adding text and to make your prints more festive to match the occasion. The Digital Trekker Blog said the SP-1 can be “an indispensable tool.” [$151 at Amazon]
HTC RE Camera: You have a camera with you all the time, thanks to your iPhone, so why do you need a camera like the RE, much less want to pay $200 for it? Because as easy as it is to use your iPhone’s camera, you can still miss out when a surprise photo opportunity presents itself. With the RE’s one button control, all you need to do is literally point and shoot, and its 146-degree wide-angle lens means you don’t have to worry about framing. You can set the RE to shoot videos or stills, and it’s waterproof up to 1 meter deep. The iOS app gives you access to saved videos, provides a viewfinder, and offers camera settings. Greenbot has a full review of the RE. [$199 at Amazon]
Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash: The easiest way to improve your photos is to have better lighting when you take a picture. The iPhone’s flash has come a long way, but it still has its limits. The $59 Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash gives you more flexibility, allowing you to place the flash where light is needed, instead of coping with the fixed flash on your iPhone. The flash has 40 diffused and cool LEDs so you can adjust the light through Nova’s iPhone app. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket so you can carry with you all the time. [$59 at Amazon]
Olloclip 4-In-1 Photo Lens: Olloclip’s camera lenses for iPhone have always been popular, and the 4-in-1 Photo Lens improves on a successful formula. Designed for the iPhone 6, the 4-in-1 clips on the phone over the front-facing or rear-facing cameras to expand your choices in optics. The 4-in-1 includes a fisheye lens, wide-angle lens, macro 10x lens, and macro 15x lens for $79.99. Learn more about the 4-in-1 by reading our hands-on article. [$79 at Olloclip]
SanDisk iXpand: iXpand is a flash drive that can copy files from your iOS device, giving you one more way to transfer files between devices. The drive works with an iOS app that you use to transfer photos and videos, and you can even play media files from other devices directly on the drive. The iXpand also has password protection, so your files are safe in case the drive falls into the wrong hands. CNET provides a review. [16GB ($59.99), 32GB ($79.99), and 64GB ($120) at Sandisk].
littleBits Smart Home Kit: Home automation is making its way through the neighborhoods of America, but why isn’t it catching on more quickly? Mostly because most home automation systems require you to replace the items already in your home. You don’t have to do that with the $249 Smart Home Kit, which includes 14 “Bits” that you add to appliances and other items in your home. With some handiwork, you’ll soon have the Internet of Things throughout your house, and you can control it all with your iOS device. [$249 pre-order at littleBits]
Logitech Keys-To-Go: The $70 Keys-To-Go is a portable stand-alone keyboard that’s extremely thin and lightweight like the iPad Air 2. Keys-To-Go weighs a scant 6.35 ounces, and is barely a quarter of an inch thick, so it won’t take up a lot of room in your bag. It’s covered in FabricSkin and there are no nooks and crannies, so if you’re at the coffee shop and you spill your latte on the keyboard, all you need to do is wipe it off. In its review of Keys-To-Go, TUAW says the Bluetooth connectivity works quickly and easily. [$70 at Logitech]
Orbotix Ollie: Originally called the 2B, the $99.99 Ollie is a new robotic toy from the makers of the Sphero. This time, the robot is tube-shaped and comes with a set of wheels that make it go as fast as 14 miles per hour. Ollie is durable enough so that you can off ramps and make it spin, and the iOS app shows you how to do more tricks. In a review, Time called the Ollie durable, but “even more niche than Sphero.” [$99 at Amazon]
Parrot Bebop Drone: You can get a bird’s eye view of the landscape around you with the Bebop Drone. It has a 14-megapixel fisheye camera so you get a wide angle view, and image stabilization makes sure your videos and pictures don’t suffer from the shakes. The drone uses Wi-Fi to connect to your iOS device. The Next Web says that the controls require practice, but it’s “definitely suitable for beginners.” [$500 at Apple, shipping in 1-2 weeks]
SteelSeries Stratus XL: When the gaming gets serious, the iPad’s touch controls can be frustrating. Times like these require a dedicated controller like the $70 Stratus XL. It connects to the iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth and has two joysticks, a D-pad, four action buttons, and four shoulder buttons. Most importantly, it’s comfortable in your hands, making it easier to perform precise movements while you’re getting your game on. Our sister site TouchArcade went hands-on with the Stratus XL earlier this year, and said it felt great when held due to its large size, which is similar to a standard console controller. [$70 at Apple]
Out of ideas?
You can also buy iTunes Gift Cards that are redeemable in the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Mac App Store.
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