I originally posted this as tips for anyone in need of ideas ahead of buying Christmas gadget gifts for their nearest and dearest tech fans. In light of the fact that Christmas is over it may now be read as ideas for anyone looking to make up for having bought their nearest and dearest lame gifts of socks, bath salts or public transport vouchers again.
- Google Cardboard
2016 is shaping up to be the year the VR headset with Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens expected to start shipping around late summer. Thanks to Google you don’t have to spend half a month’s salary to experience the joys of 360 degree immersive content. All you need is a cardboard headset, android smartphone and the Cardboard App. If you pop over to Google Cardboard you can either pay about €30 / $35 for a headset or even download plans to build your own. Other variations are also available on Amazon.
- Apple TV
The gift that keeps on giving. The new Apple TV allows you to customise your TV with a growing number of apps including your favourite content apps, TV channels, music, games, shopping and more all wrapped up in a pretty slick interface that has a calming effect on your living room. For more see my review : http://beyondthehoverboard.com/index.php/2015/11/23/apple-tv/
I will write a more detailed overview of the smartwatch world very soon, but to keep this brief the best way to shop for a smart watch is by price, preferred operating system and of course style. If you are shopping for a die hard Apple devotee then you’ll need to push the boat out for the pricier Apple Watch.
There are around 14 models that are part of the Android Wear family. My personal favourite is the Moto 360 which has been recently updated with a slimmer, faster version. With that in mind most of last years models are currently heavily discounted to make way as the next generation of Android Wear watches reach stores.
The best value smartwatch has to be the Pebble Classic which now sells for €100 / $110. It’s a no frills simple smartwatch that is compatible with everything from Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and even Blackberry. The great thing about simplicity is longer battery life. The Pebble Classic boasts up to 7 days battery life one a single charge.
- Bluetooth Headphones
The days of wires getting yanked out of your phone/mp3 player whilst walking, running or by simply breathing are over. Discover the joys of wireless music. Finally you can go for a run and leave the extra bulk of a phone at home. By pairing bluetooth headphones to any decent smartwatch then you can enjoy your favourite playlists without needing to strap a phone to your arm or try to jam it between the elastic on your sweatpants. Headphones like the Sony AS700BT Sport can be picked up from around €60 / $65.
- Netflix Socks
Not to be outdone by Google Cardboard the good folk at Netflix have been working overtime to solve the problem of falling asleep and losing track of at what point in your favourite show you actually nodded off. Plans and instructions are available to download from Netflix Socks. All you need is an arduino microcontroller,IR LEDs, LED indicator light,battery,momentary button,accelerometer, some practical electronics experience and of course a pair of socks.
Remember a gadget is for life, not just for Christmas.