As 2015 creeps up on its closing, Christmas is the last chance to buy that special someone the perfect gift (unless their birthday falls after Dec. 25). iDownloadBlog is ready to give you the inspiration you need to get the right gift for the right person with our fourth annual Holiday Gift Guide.
This year, my personal preferences for the perfect package under the Christmas tree leans toward wearables and virtual reality. But, I’ve also included a few gifts for traditional techies, as well as ideas for the non-tech geek in your life.
Apple’s latest set-top box is, by far, the company’s best. With it, you can stream movies and music, but my favorite new feature is that you can play video games using the included Siri remote. Right now, there is a decent selection of tvOS games, but throughout next year, there is sure to be even more amazing content created exclusively for Apple TV. You can get the 32GB version for $149 or the 64GB one for $50 more.
Star Wars’ newest favorite droid is about as cute as can be and you can control your very own version with your iPhone. The company that created the app-controlled Sphero was the design team behind the creation of BB-8’s adorable shape. There may be cheaper remote-controlled models out there, but this one is made by BB-8’s parents and is just cuter. Get it on Amazon for $180.
If someone you love is in the market for a fitness tracker, Misfit’s small metal disc is just about right for step and sleep tracking. It has a surprisingly accurate tracker and is waterproof to boot. Plus, the disc is designed to be used with different accessories, including necklaces and fancy wrist straps. The second-generation Shine also features smartphone notifications and colored LED alerts. The device can be synced with IFTTT for additional features like automatic goal status updates on Facebook and use with smart connected devices in the home, like Phillip Hue. You can get the original model for $50 on Amazon or upgrade to the second-generation model for $100.
View-Master recently got an update for the 21st Century. Now, kids can see the world in virtual reality using a compatible smartphone. It’s not just for kids, either. The VR viewer is compatible with any stereoscopic video, including those 3D clips on YouTube. So, grownups can have just as much fun. The starter pack comes with a sample reel with very limited content. But, if you want to give the kids some amazing VR content, you can download the View-Master apps for free, which have the same content anyway. The in-app purchases of $15 a pop is where the real content is. The View-Master VR viewer is available on Amazon for $32.
Smartwatches are the new trend in technology right now, but not everyone wants the full-featured experience of what Apple Watch provides. Martian Voice is the perfect hybrid for watch-lovers that don’t want to have a computer screen on their wrist. It looks like a traditional analog watch and has basic smartphone notifications, complete with alerts for every notification you get (like from Twitter or Facebook.) Plus, there is a small text ticker at the bottom of the screen that will display words from your notification for you. It is also compatible with Android-based devices. You can get a variety of different Martian hybrid smartwatches on Amazon, but the Voice line is currently only available from the company’s website for between $249 and $279, depending on your design preferences (my favorite is the Aviator).
Gifts under $30
In January of this year, a brand new game exploded (pardon the pun) on Kickstarter. It was described as a game for “people who are into kittens and explosions… and laser beams… and sometimes goats.” It was the most-backed project in Kickstarter history. Now that the pledges have been fulfilled, it is available at your favorite board game store. Players try to blow each other up by playing cards that have a kitty doing something he shouldn’t with something explosive. There are strategic ways to keep yourself alive thanks to some hilarious defense cards. Each card is lovingly designed by The Oatmeal creator and features some adorable kitties doing adorable things. There is also a NSFW pack with some R-rated hilarity. Each deck of 56 cards is available on Amazon for $20.
When the weather gets to be painfully cold in the winter, it becomes a serious drag to go outside. However, family and friends are always inviting us out to wonderland festivities. If you plan to take a nip of booze to keep you warm, but want to do it on the sly, then these game cartridge flasks will do the trick. As far as anyone can tell, you are just a serious gamer with a love for Super Mario Bros. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll discover that the Italian brothers are actually bar hoppers instead. There are also cartridge flask inspired by such games as Duck Hunt, Zelda, Mega Man, Castlevania, and more. Each design costs $20 on Amazon.
When I say adult coloring books, I don’t mean “adult” coloring books. What I’m referring to is the trend in coloring books that are more complicated in design than traditional kids’ books. These usually have intricate flowers, patterns, and cityscapes. These are the kinds of illustrations that will take you hours, and requires more specialized artist tools than a box of crayons. Research has shown that coloring promotes relaxation and reduces stress. So, if someone you know needs help living a balanced life, an adult coloring book might be the perfect stocking stuffer. Books range in price from about $10 to $20, depending on the distributor.
If your teenager comes to you asking for a Samsung Gear VR, or even worse, an Occulus Rift for Christmas, you don’t have to invest such a heavy amount of cash into their holiday fun. Instead, you can toss a Google Cardboard viewer into their stocking. The DIY-based headset is so popular now that they are being given away for free during a variety of promotional events. If you live in New Zealand, you can even get one on the outside of a box of Nutri-Grain. If you don’t have the time or energy to try to track down a free one, you can just grab one on Amazon for as low as $5.
The connected home is fast becoming the newest trend. However, most smart devices are somewhat expensive. Even the cheapest Wi-Fi connected smart bulbs run more than $30. This little wall plug turns anything plugged into it into a smart device. Set up your coffee maker, light switch, or TV set. Using the compatible app for iOS or Android, you can turn things on and off without having to get out of bed. Because you can get one for about $23 on Amazon, you can make your home smart while being a smart shopper.
These are just some of my ideas for finding the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. If your friends have different tastes, don’t worry; the rest of the iDB team is on task to bring you their inspiring ideas, as well. In the meantime, what did you ask Santa for this year?