It’s that wonderful time of the year – for the Tech50Plus Holiday Gift Guide 2018! Here’s the second part of our suggestions for the 50+ gift-getter:
Asus Zen AiO 27 – Space Saving Power: All-in-ones don’t have to be a compromise between power and saving space. Asus’s top of the line Zen AiO 27 offers both. A gorgeous 4K UHD touchscreen display, high-end Intel i7 processor, plenty of space and memory, and even a decent video card. It’s an impressive package and a great choice when you need a PC that can work and play without slowing down. Specially created for designers and artists, the Zen AiO works well for when you just need a bigger & sharper screen. The Windows 10 machine also sports the option for Amazon’s Alexa built right in. Available for under $2000 direct from Asus.
Epson FastFoto Wireless Photo Scanner – The Ultimate Way to Save Your Precious Moments: In the age of digital-only photography, it’s easy to forget just how many of our memories are still only on film. Turning physical photographs into digital treasures has always been a slow, time-consuming, and problematic endeavor, which makes the Epson FastFoto a one-stop-shop dream for safeguarding all those pictures to the digital realm. Able to scan photos up to 8”x10” all the way down to wallet-sized, the FastFoto even scans both sides of the image in case there are notes on the back. The scanner also works with documents, but its focus on making photo scanning a simple and fast process (up to one photo a second!) makes it one of the best ways to save your memories. Available for under $500 on Amazon.
WORX SD SemiAutomatic Driver – The Quickdraw Champ of Electric Screwdrivers: Automatic screwdrivers are one of those things that should be in every tool drawer. Lightweight and handier than lugging a drill around, the WORX SD Driver is especially noteworthy thanks to its comfortable pistol-grip design and, more ingeniously, revolver-style bit cartridge. The WORX comes with two Rapid Reloadable cartridges, each preloaded with six different bits. Changing bits is easy thanks to the simple slide-action mechanism. WORX claims the SD will stay charged for 18 months as well, so it’ll be ready to work when you are. Currently under $25 direct from WORX. (NOTE: It’s actually $10 more at Amazon)
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 – Easing Aching Eyes: A surprisingly inexpensive alternative to most smartphones, the Jitterbug Smart2 is directly geared to an older audience. The 5.5” screen and simplified easy-to-read menu put an emphasis on ease of use for the less tech-savvy person on your list. The Jitterbug includes a special 5-Star button on the screen for emergencies. Should the user need emergency assistance, they just tap the button and a 5-Star agent will connect with them, confirm their location, call emergency services, roadside assistance, or even designated family members. Available direct from GreatCall for under $75. You can also find it on Amazon.
Kelvin K2 Smart Wine Thermometer – Wine at the Perfect Temperature Everytime: If you have a true wine aficionado on your list who also loves tech, consider this a perfect marriage. The Kelvin Wine Thermometer will not just tell you the temperature of your chosen bottle of wine, but its expansive app will give you all the details on over 200 types of wine. Using Bluetooth, the K2 thermometer sends temperature data to the mobile app and alerts you when the wine has hit the designated perfect temperature needed to assure maximum flavor results. The app also includes tons of tips for wine enthusiasts to get the most from their favorite elixir. Available for $32.99 from Amazon.
JumpSmart – Power When You Need It: Impressive power in a thermos-sized package, JumpSmart is an all-purpose charging wonder. Capable of jumpstarting most consumer vehicle batteries – from cars, trucks, and SUVs to boats, lawn mowers, and motorcycles – it’s a terrific emergency device. The JumpSmart also doubles as an 1100-Lumen flashlight with different brightness modes and sports a USB jack for charging nearly any mobile device around. The JumpSmart is also packed with safety features and step-by-step instructions to get you going safely and quickly. $120 from Amazon.
Oomo 3D Immersive Earphones – Personal Theater Sound at Home or On the Go: For times when traditional over-the-ear headphones are simply not an option, try the Oomo 3D Immersive Earphones. Inexpensive, but offering big sound, these wired earbuds are perfect for when you want to be active and still listen or even those times when you want to just sit and watch a movie or listen to music. Thanks to its virtual 5.1 surround sound, these buds are great for watching shows or movies at home at your preferred volume level without disturbing anyone else, especially when watching on a tablet or other mobile device. For under $65 on Amazon, the price is right too.
Google Pixel 3 XL – The Premier Phone for Android Purists: Go straight to the source for that hard-to-please techie on your list who leans toward Android but hates the sheer amount of bloatware on every other brand of Android-based phones. The Google Pixel 3 XL isn’t just the best phone Google has ever made, it’s easily one of the best phones on the market, period. With its superb 6.3” display and storage options between 64 GB and 128 GB, the hardware is topnotch. But the real reasons to catch this year’s Pixel over the competition are the fantastic camera enhanced with the most impressive night mode available and the joy of the pure, unadulterated Android OS. Since it’s from Google, the Pixel will always sport the latest version of Android first and it makes a huge difference. Clean, powerful, and intuitive, the Pixel 3 is just a great piece of equipment. From $799 at Google and Amazon.
Johnson Controls GLAS – The Premier Smart Thermostat: Smart thermostats are easily the one smart home device above all we recommend for every home. While there are plenty of choices, the Johnson Controls GLAS is our favorite. This is the top of the line in HVAC home controls, thanks to its gorgeous minimalist design that features a beautiful 5” OLED touchscreen, intuitive interface, and built-in voice assistance thanks to Microsoft’s Cortana (it runs using a special mobile version of Windows 10). It easily links to other virtual assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, monitors and reports on the air quality both indoors and out, and lets you either set your own schedule manually or intuitively create one based on your activities. Under $300 at Amazon.
Douchebags Big Bastard – Horrible Name, Great Bag: Ignoring the incredibly questionable company and product names, the Douchebags Big Bastard is the bag you need when you want to carry a lot in as little space as possible. Capable of holding 90 liters of stuff and weighing 10 pounds, the cavernous main compartment provides maximum capacity in a surprisingly easy to maneuver package. The rib-cage design protects your gear without the need for bulky padding and it opens in just a single motion like a cargo truck, revealing mesh pockets. There’s also a top pocket on the outside for easy access to smaller important things. The Big Bastard even comes in a wide variety of colors. Order it direct for $125. (Note: it is listed on Amazon but at a far higher price.)
Caavo Control Center – A Universal Solution for Controlling Your TV Devices: Essentially an intelligent four-port HDMI that lets you control everything connected to it with one remote, the Caavo Control Center is a universal remote that aims to make using multiple devices easy for everyone. The Caavo knows what you’ve plugged into it and offers voice searching that looks for multiple devices and services to find options. This search function alone makes it a uniquely powerful and convenient tool for viewing enjoyment. It does require a cheap ($20 a year) subscription to cover the upkeep of tracking all that content and lets users connect to its mobile app to do a host of cool things like create viewing lists and browse your available content. The Caavo is $100 on their site or Amazon.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 – Know Who’s Ringing From Wherever You Are: There are several smart connected doorbell options and we like most of them, but the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has a few bells and whistles that made it stand out. It uses a rechargeable, removable battery pack. The 1080p video camera gives you a clear picture of who’s at the door and the night vision works great. You can integrate the Ring with Amazon’s Echo devices to alert you to visitors and even let you hear and talk to them. Alternatively, you can just use the app to get a live feed on your phone of the Ring’s eye and communicate with anyone standing on the doorstep. Although you probably wouldn’t know it just looking at the website, the Ring does require a subscription plan to really work properly ($3/month or $30/year). This lets you automatically record 60 days’ worth of doorbell action, which you can review, share, and save anytime via the app. Available on Amazon for $140.
Yale Real Living Touchscreen Lever Lock – A Connected Door Lock: Yale has a long history of making ways to open doors, but the Yale Real Living Touchscreen Lever Lock is certainly in a class by itself. Aside from the convenience of using four to eight digit passcodes instead of a key to unlock a door, the Lever Lock can connect to your smart home hub and be used with voice assistants like Alexa. So, instead of worrying about whether you locked the door before you went out or to sleep, you can just tell Alexa to lock the door. The Lever can hold a couple hundred different codes as well, so everyone can have their own. $260 on Amazon.
Asus ZenFone 5Z – AI-powered Cameras, Lower Price: Taking their cue from last year’s iPhone X (much like Google did with the Pixel 3), the Asus Zenfone 5Z sports a notch to glean out every bit of screen space it can. The result is an impressive phone with a 6.2” display, solidly high-end specs, and an emphasis on AI-assisted camera magic that works to give you the best possible shots in a wide range of conditions. The ZenFone is also equipped with both fingerprint and facial recognition for extra security and ease of unlocking and can support expanded memory through SD cards up to 2TB. Catch the ZenFone for $450 at Amazon.
Gourmia GAF575 Digital Air Fryer – Fried Food Without The Actual Frying: If you’re curious about this new trend of air frying, the Gourmia Digital Air Fryer is the perfect starting point. This 5-quart countertop cooker lets you roast, grill, broil, and even “fry” without using any oil. Using convection heat to make sure everything cooks evenly and rapidly, the Air Fryer makes it easy with eight pre-set cooking modes and easy cleanup. Available from Costco for $60.
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 – Vivid Memories Deserve Vivid Printing: After you’ve captured all those photo memories to digital, you’ll want to be able to print them out in the highest quality possible. Enter the Epson Expression Photo HD, a photo printer with a focus on vivid colors that can quickly churn out brilliant copies of your pics. Supporting borderless prints up to 13”x19” and using special 6-color ink cartridges, the Epson offers fast quality prints in color and black and white. The printer also supports automatic two-sided printing, a smaller footprint than previous models, and lets you print straight from your mobile devices. Under $280 from Amazon.
ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 Laptop N580GD-DB74 – Big Power in a Small Footprint: If that special someone needs both power and portability in their next PC, ASUS has the solution with their VivoBook Pro 15. With its smooth and sleek aluminum exterior, the VivoBook is less than an inch thick and weighs only 4.4 pounds. Those diminutive dimensions hide impressive hardware—an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics power, and 15.6” 4K UHD screen. This is a workhorse laptop that won’t kill your back carrying it around. Under $1000 at Amazon.
Vanatoo Transparent Zero Speakers – Small Package, Big Sound: If you want a pair of higher-end desktop or portable stereo speakers, Vanatoo’s Transparent Zero Speakers should definitely be on your watch list. At less than 8” tall, these speakers offer impressively full-range sound and 48 watts per channel. Analog and digital inputs, along with built-in Bluetooth ensure you can connect nearly any source to them, and the speakers even come with a remote. A pair is currently $260 from Amazon.