Get the family and go

Gift guideproduct reviews

Tech the Halls – 12 Great Gadgets for Each Day of Christmas

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Listen to your favorite carols on A-Audio Legacy Headphones, with the first-ever three-stage listening technology, which allows for selection between base enhancer, active noise cancellation and audio modes – putting listeners in the driver’s seat to choose the sound that best suits them in the moment. Comes with a detachable phone cord with remote and mic for connecting to mobile devices and dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $299.headphones800

Upload the Photos Click Click Click

If the unthinkable happens and you lose your smartphone or it crashes beyond recovery, all those great shots of holiday parties, kids opening the presents and other holiday pics could be lost forever.  Back it up quickly and easily with the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive.  The thumb-drive-sized device lets you offload your content from your micro-USB enabled device onto the drive memory, and then connect to a compatible device or USB 2.0-enabled device to transfer and back up that content.  Available at retailers worldwide and on in 16GB to 64GB capacities, $19.99 to $49.99.


I’ll Have a Blue-tooth Christmas without Wires


Fill the house with Christmas music, streamed on the beautifully designed Vers Q aptX Bluetooth sound system, with each Q speaker housed in a cabinet carved from a unique solid block of sustainably harvested natural wood that resonates as only real wood can. Its amazing design aside, the 1Q system ($129) delivers incredible 6.5W stereo sound powered by Bluetooth® v4.0, aptX technology that connects with almost any mobile device (smart phones, tablets, laptops) with a range of 30 feet and nine hours of battery life. Also available in a 2Q system ($199) featuring 13W stereo.  Available at and Apple Online Store and select Apple Retail Stores.


Jingle Ball Rocks


Kids will gather round the Sphero 2.0 ($99) for hours of play as the remote controlled programmable round robot, Bluetooth operated with iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, rolls at speeds of up to seven feet per second (4.5 mph) and carries out orders from more than 50 feet away. With over 30 apps, this smart sphere can run circles around a room, dodge through obstacle courses, act as a controller for games like Exile and Nyan Cat Space Party, and be the center of attention for tabletop games like Colorgrab and Pass the Sphero. Charges cordlessly through induction.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.  Available at Radio Shack.


Grandma Got Emojis of a Reindeer

Now there’s no excuse for grandma and gramps to not get digital.  AARP has designed a powerful yet accessible tablet for the ages with RealPad, an out-of-the-box ready-to-go tablet with all the bells and whistles made easy enough for those more mature folks who might be intimated by a little too much tech.  It’s preloaded with all the apps a basic user needs, ready to connect to Wi-Fi for browsing online, getting email, video chatting, sharing photos and playing games.  For those who need a bit of help getting up and running, there are how-to videos and 24/7 tech support on call.  Available at for $189.


We Won’t Go Until We Get In

Whether your holiday houseguests arrive early or the nanny or handyman needs to get in the house, now you can let them in with a swipe on your smartphone, from wherever you are, using Kwikset’s Kevo Bluetooth-enabled smart deadbolt. The Kevo mobile app turns a smartphone into an electronic key to control the deadbolt remotely, and the app tracks activity for 30 days, so you know when the deadbolt was locked and unlocked.  Users can give unlimited guest eKeys to allow authorized guests to enter — for a 24-hour period or on a schedule – such as residents might need for dogwalkers and maids — instead of the old-fashioned and risky “key-under-the-mat” arrangement.  Kevo is compatible with Bluetooth Smart Ready/Bluetooth 4.0 supported smartphones, including iPhone 4S, 5, 5c and 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.


Focus Upon a Midnight Clear


Love the convenience of a camera built into your smartphone or tablet but wish the quality was better?   Now you can have the best of both worlds and capture clear, crisp, wide-angle and up-close photos and 1080p HD video on your mobile device in a snap, with the Kodak PIXPRO SL10 Smart Lens Camera ($199), with a 1SMP BSi CMOS senor and 10x optical zoom.  Using a free app, you can use your device’s screen as a viewfinder to zoom in and out.  Then save images or video on a microSD card or transfer then to your device for instant sharing. Available at RadioShack.


Let There Be Peace En Route


While heading to grandma’s for the holidays keep the kids content (and quiet) on the trip with the Vivitar Camelio tablet, featuring Android 4.1 (JellyBean) and a 7” screen, perfect for children to play games, listen to music and watch videos on long rides on planes, trains and automobiles.  Up to five users can create their own profiles on the tablet and customize their account with Camelio “Personality Packs” with cool wallpaper, widgets, and a themed bumper case with characters like Hello Kitty, Monster High, Barbie, My Little Pony, WFF and Hot Wheels.  Features included wi-fi, camera, HD video and preloaded apps ideal for kids.  $99 at


Holiday Cheer Check


Had one too many egg nogs?  Check your alcohol level before you hit the road with the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer, ($99) a smartphone breathalyzer that uses police-grade sensors to track your BAC level so you know, for sure, the impact alcohol consumption has on your body and brain. Make sure you are unimpaired and safe to drive so that the only flashing lights you see this holiday season are on the Christmas tree.


Yule Logs Should Crackle, Not Your Smartphone Screen


Snowflake patterns look beautiful on a window pane but not the screen of your smartphone.  Wrap your phone in the protective armor of a NuguardKX Kenetic Energy X-Orbing case ($29)  for iPhone 5/5S, 4/4S and Galaxy 4. The KX case is constructed of US-made X-Orbing gel that has been military drop tested – which apparently means dropped from incredible heights just as if soldiers put them to the test. The cases have access to all ports and buttons and are easy to install.  Enhanced with th4e KX NuGuard ($14.99) hammer-resistant screen protector, your smartphone will be nearly indestructible.  Both products carry a lifetime warranty.  Available at AT&T Stores and other retailers listed at



The Mouse (Pad) King


Son of a nutcracker, who would have thought a mouse pad could have such style!  The computer user on your gift list who has everything probably does not have a NuPad Leather Mouse Pad, made of luxurious Brazilian leather, handcrafted in the US.  The closed-cell sponge rubber underside keeps the pad from slipping, and the fine leather surface makes for accurate tracking for optical, laser or rollerball mice. Available starting at $19.99 from


Four Devices a Powering …

There may be 12 days of Christmas, but who wants to wait that long to charge up all the new tech gadgets you get under the tree?  With the Power2U – AC/USB Wall Outlet ($29.99) you can charge multiple devices at once conveniently and energy-efficiently.  The in-wall outlet eliminates cable clutter, and it uses smart technology to determine if a device is a phone, tablet or other devices and provides the appropriate power.  When a device is fully charged it cuts off power to avoid overcharging your battery and wasting power. Compatible with all models of Apple iPads, iPhones, USB chargeable iPod models, Android tablets and phones, gaming systems and other devices that charge via standard USB plug.  Designed for standard 15A circuits in homes and can be installed in 20 minutes.  Find a local retailer at


Tags: Kodak ProPix, Sphero 2.0, tech gifts,