The holidays are an incredibly stressful time, as one bounds between stores and websites in the search of gifts for loved ones. Our friends have predilections towards specific tastes and it is here where problems arise.
What do we get the foodie? Or, the book worm? My technology-loving cousin presents a particular problem for me.
Our world is becoming more efficient through the proliferation of a science bordering on alchemy, reintroducing a child-like wonder into the gift-giving process. For the burgeoning technocrat, such as my cousin, the goal is to give him an electronic item that he can spend whole hours contemplating.
The recently launched Google Nexus 4, the newest Android phone from Google, seems to be one of the hottest commodities on the market, selling out within a half-hour of being released on November 13 and backorders are expected to take as long as three weeks. With the 8 GB model starting at $299, the Nexus 4 introduces a bevy of new features designed to make life easier by the tip of your finger, it is easy to see the reasons for the high demand for the Nexus.
With Google Now implemented into the phone, users can access information such as appointments, flight information, package tracking information, and other such things stored on their Gmail account on their phone. This, along with other Google services — Google Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Gmail are preinstalled — bring functionality to the phone that ensures that its user will never be lost in any sense of the word. The Nexus also boasts a new camera called Photo Sphere, an easier way to take panoramic pictures that lets users snap pictures in every direction and has the system does all of the stitching and editing together for him or her, producing breath-taking visuals without any complications.
The Wii U is the first next-gen system to be released in the console war. Much like the Wii, it comes with its own innovative controller, the Wii U Gamepad a cross between a traditional game controller — with its directional buttons, thumbsticks and triggers — and a tablet, with a six-inch display in the middle, a nod to the shift in the gaming market towards touch-screen gaming. With launch titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land and other games promising both cooperative and competitive play, the Wii U is an excellent investment for the video-game obsessed family.
Although technology makes things more accessible for us, technology itself is not always completely convenient. For example, I’m able to store hundreds of CDs into a music player that fits in the palm of my hand, allowing me to take my music anywhere while doing anything; however, because I can bring it anywhere, I do. When running or golfing, my headphones will begin to tangle and ruin the flow of the immediate activity. However, the convenience of the Earbud Yo-Yo is that it locks down flailing headphone wires by allowing you to customize the length of the cord, preventing knots and keeping wires from distracting you, a modest marvel for a world where technology is slowly creeping into every aspect of our lives.
As wide as a pencil, the nüvi 3450 is one of the better GPS systems on the market. Where most GPS systems fail is indicating what lane to be in as one exits a freeway or which side one’s location is on. There are numbers of nightmare stories to be had from exasperated drivers. What is great about the nüvi 3450 is that as you approach an exit or interchange, it shifts its display into a split-screen mode that show the upcoming junctions of your route to allow for proper navigation, ensuring for less mistakes on commutes to unfamiliar destinations. Perfect for those without a sense of direction, such as myself.
Roku 2 XS
The Roku 2 XS is a device that is almost artistic in its simplicity, allowing one to stream over 450 different entertainment channels, most prominent among them being Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. All one needs to do is connect it to the television through either an A/V or HDMI cable, connect it to the Internet and now one has access to stream in 1080P HD. Although it may be limited in technological power in comparison to other streaming devices, what I like about the Roku is its ease of use. With an easy to navigate interface, it allows for a viewing experience enjoyable for technological laymen such as my parents to be had without any real fuss or difficulty.
The Jawbone Jambox is a wireless portable speaker able to connect with any Bluetooth device and the small thing certainly packs a punch. Measuring at 5.95 by 2.24 by 1.6 inches, the thing can be held in the palm of your hand. However, don’t let the size of the speaker belie its power. With the ability to project at 85 decibels, it’s more than able to support the music for a modest party in a hotel room and the wireless range is excellent — customers have reported being 40 feet between their device and the Jambox and still receiving excellent sound. The best part about it arguably is the 10 hours of continuous battery life, ensuring that you can enjoy crisp sound wherever you go for a very, very long time.