As usual, I have a full Christmas list of Geek Gifts I want this year and a group of items that I couldn’t wait for and purchased already.
To start with, I have recently upgraded my laptop to a new Lenovo T470s, which is a bit pricier than Santa’s budget. However, one accessory that I had to purchase was a travel adapter. The FINsix Dart is advertised as the world's smallest & lightest charger in the world. It is mostly universal (check HERE to verify it is compatible with your laptop). It comes in many colors and one of the best features I have found is the high-power USB charger port that is near your laptop to easily charge iPads or iPhones. It also comes with a convenient travel pouch and several other power ends so if you are in a meeting and someone forgets their charger, you can probably help out. Best of all, it costs less than most replacement chargers on the market, so why not get the most portable. The only drawback is the power prongs do not retract and could get bent in transport.
I am always looking for ways to automate the home, and before, it seemed like every new home automation device required a new application to learn and a different setup. This year Samsung has started to own a large part of the market with its SmartThings. It is a smart home hub that can put your Nest, Sonos, cameras and even home security items all in one console. All you need to do is verify that the device you are adding is SmartThings compatible and you are good to go. Even better, you can call Nex-Tech to buy and have this installed at a low price.
Stocking stuffers can be difficult to find and a lot of time it feels like I am buying junk that people won’t use or even worse calories we don’t need. This year buy cables. If you read my articles you know I am an iPhone user, so buy Lightning cables. Now, don’t get the cheap cables, because if you have bought these in the past, you know that they may only charge at a slow rate or work in only one direction. Get the good cable that is “Apple Certified”. Everyone needs more of these either in their car, house or work. If you really want to make people happy, pair that with a 2-amp charger (Don’t get the 1-amp that charges slower!) This may be one of the most coveted items this season when the family gets all together since someone will forget their charger.
As my wife could tell you, I can lose anything anywhere! This is where my next item comes into play-the Tile Mate. It is a small tile that measures 1.3” X 1.3” X .2 Inches and you can attach it to your keys or other easily lost items. Simply download the app and pair, then the next time you lose the item you can find it on a map and make it ring. It is that easy and very low cost.
Everyone should have a GREAT mouse for their computer. The Microsoft Arc Touch mouse is my favorite mouse out there (And I have tried a lot of them). This mouse works great in the office since it has the Blue Track eye on the bottom it works on almost any surface I have tried from glass to an arm rest. It also has the click wheel in the middle to scroll. Best part is it folds flat for travel (which shuts it off) and is super light. It's great for the traveler, but just as good for everyday use in the office. A mouse is one device you probably use every day, but settle for whatever your computer came with.
Now for my 15-year-old son, Caden Riat's input!
AirPods are true wireless headphones that are simple and work with more devices than just Apple products. AirPods are $159.00. They are a little on the pricey side. However, with a 98% customer satisfaction rate, it’s worth the price. In comparison, AirPods are lower cost than most Beats headphones . After launching in December of last year, AirPods were on back order for 9 weeks. Now they ship in less than a week. These headphones are one of the best accessories for the iphone and Apple Watch. I truly recommend a pair!
Amazon Echo Dot
Last year I wanted an Amazon Echo, but at $100, it was pricey for something I wouldn’t use a lot. The Echo Dot costs $50 and does the same thing the regular Echo does. I like the Dot, as it can be used for the weather, turn on smart home items, tell you the news and much more! I don’t use the Dot a lot, but it was only $50 and does pretty well. Fun fact: Amazon sold enough Echo Dots in 2016 to reach Mount Everest two times!
I’ve had an Apple Watch from the first Generation to the second. The Apple Watch might be very expensive, but the price is worth it. It is also a great companion for the iPhone. The Apple Watch can track your calories, exercise and how often you stand. The Apple Watch does a really good job at keeping your iPhone in your pocket. However, there are still times when you need to pull your iPhone out for activities the watch doesn't perform. I wanted the Apple Watch because it’s not the regular smart watch; it’s very customizable with all the different types of watches and watch faces. If you want a regular watch-nothing too fancy-get the Apple Watch Series 1. If you want a watch that lets you leave your iPhone home, I would recommend Apple Watch Series 3. This watch has LTE built in! I am hoping to own one sometime in 2018. Fun fact: Apple has surpassed Rolex as the most popular watch in the world!
HiRise for iPhone
I wanted this product because I think it’s better to put your iPhone on a dock at night, and it’s more secure than just laying my iPhone on the night stand. The HiRise is sold by Twelve South, which sells Apple accessories. HiRise costs $30 and can charge your Apple Pencil, Apple TV remote, iPod, iPhone and iPad. There is more than one look for the HiRise as it comes with three little stands that connect to the big stand and make the iPhone lean back more or stand straight up. It has a really simple set up, is a useful product and is cheaper than Apple's dock.
Xbox One X
The new Xbox One X has my eye. I do own a Xbox one and it is great for the average gamer and better than Apple TV or smart TVs. I want the Xbox One X because it has over a TB of storage and over a teraflop of computing power! The Xbox is great for watching Netflix, YouTube and gaming. I like playing games on my Xbox in my free time and watching the newest shows on Netflix. The price of the new Xbox One X is around $500. However, this will be one of the best gaming experiences you’ll ever have. This Xbox is made to add to a great 4K TV and last a long time. Xboxes are known to have a short life span sometimes, so Microsoft has fixed that problem with the One X!