For those of you who might want to start 2014 with new tools and toys, here is a list of tech devices that would make great gifts for Christmas.
Christmas is just about six weeks away, and with Black Friday and other pre-Christmas sales about to begin, here are is a shortlist of devices that techies, and even the Average Joe, would welcome. The list comprises the latest product releases for 2013, for the most popular platforms, and with options available for a range of budgets.
Generally, the iPad is the most coveted tablet computing device on the market today. Apple released its latest iPad models earlier this month – the full size iPad Air and the smaller iPad mini with retina display. For persons who are looking for a more portable, yet powerful computing device, for which there is a wealth of safe, quality applications, which also allows you to synchronise content on your other Apple devices, an iPad would fit the bill
Google Nexus 7
Based on its size, the Google Nexus 7 is often compared with the iPhone mini. It is at a lower price point with no skimp on features or processing power, hence it can be a serious contender for purchase. Powered by the Android Operating System (OS) and manufactured by Asus, the Nexus 7 allows for multiple users, with their own separate customisable space, which makes it ideal when a tablet may need to be shared within a family, and especially when a kid-friendly environment is also needed.
If you are looking for a tablet that can substitute for a laptop, the Microsoft Surface must be seriously considered. In addition to using Microsoft Windows, with which many of us are familiar, it also includes Microsoft Office 2013 RT, which comprises Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, all modified for touch control. The device also comes with a number of ports to expand storage and connectivity, such as microSDXC card reader, a full-size USB 2.0 port, and HD video out port. The Surface family currently comprises the Surface, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, with different features and capabilities to suit your needs and budget.
Apple’s latest smartphone release, the iPhone 5S, has a number of technical improvements over its predecessor, the iPhone 5, and has been selling out since it was released a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, for those who have been holding out to buy a iPhone, the iPhone 5S might be the one. However for those who might need to watch their pennies but still want to have one of the latest iPhones, the iPhone 5C can also be considered.
Google Nexus 5
The Google Nexus 5, produced by LG, is the first smartphone powered by Android 4.4, KitKat, and will likely be the benchmark for the features and capabilities that the next generation of smartphones, especially Android phones, should possess. Considerable attention is being given to the phone’s voice command features, which allows users, without touching the screen, to speak instructions that the device will follow.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Released during the first half of the year, the Galaxy S4 is Samsung’s flagship smartphone and one of the leading devices on the Android platform. Packed with a tonnes of features, such as Air Gesture, Air View, S Health, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause and Watch ON, which were mentioned in our review, the S4 can broaden one’s horizons to the potential uses of a smartphone. Having said this, the S4 is not for the faint of heart. It is not as austere as the iPhone, and would excel in the hands of a tech savvy and adventurous owner who wants a smartphone that can be more integrated into his or her life and lifestyle.
Although tablets are becoming even more powerful and are replacing PCs and laptops both at the office and at home, when you do need a laptop, the Apple Macbook should be considered. The Macbook comes in two main flavours: the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro. As the name suggests, and at 2.38 pound (1.08 kg), the Macbook Air is ideal for persons who travel a lot and need but still need a powerful laptop at a more manageable weight. For those who need to focus on the power and do not mind a slightly heaver laptop, the Macbook Pro, or the Macbook Pro with retina display at 3.46 pounds (1.57 kg), could .be ideal.
For those who want who might want to extend the Google Chrome experience by working primarily with web-based applications, the Google Chromebook might be what you are looking for. Currently Chromebooks are made by reputable manufacturers, such as Acer, HP, Lenova and Samsung, at price points to suit most budgets.
Windows Touchscreen Laptop
Are you one of those persons who occasionally touches the screen of your laptop or PC thinking it would have the same effect as it does on a tablet? If you are a Microsoft Windows user, save yourself the embarrassment and get yourself a touchscreen laptop, such as the ASUS VivoBook X202E. This laptop carries the Windows 8 OS and a 11.6-inch multi-gesture touchscreen. Additionally, the standard machine comes with 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of memory; hence there is little or no loss of features or performance in comparison to non-touchscreen laptops at similar price points.
If you are looking to update or improve your home entertainment experience, do consider Google Chromecast. Connecting directly into your TV’s HDMI port, this dongle streams audio and video content from the Internet via Wi-Fi. Chromecast gets the content through mobile and web apps, and by mirroring content displayed by a Chrome browser. Currently, there are at least 30 Chromecast-compatible apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Vimeo and Google Play Movies & TV, which opens up viewing options considerably from the standard TV fare.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
For the person who has everything, especially a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, this smart watch might the gift he/she is looking for. This watch not only tells the time; among other things, users can answer calls, give voice commands (Samsung’s S Voice feature), and take snapshots on the go. As one of the first pieces of wearable tech available to mass consumers, the features and design of Galaxy Gear should continue to evolve, but it is still a statement piece and likely to be a welcomed addition to someone eager to experience where technology is going.
Sony PlayStation 4
For the diehard gamers among us who are firmly aligned to the PlayStation team, this newest release from Sony, which has only been available since last week, is a welcomed improvement from its predecessor (which is seven years old). Although games for the PlayStation 4 might are still being developed, with its stunning graphics, simplified interface and new controller, along with its competitive price in comparison to rival gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 and is likely to be on many a wish list for Christmas and beyond.
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