iDB holiday gift guide 2013: Lory’s picks

Holiday Gift Guide

There is still two weeks until Christmas. If you order gifts online within the next few days, you probably won’t even have to pay extra for expedited shipping. If you are still trying to think of something to buy for the person who has everything, check out our holiday gift guide for ideas. Similar to last year, the writers at iDownloadBlog have compiled a list of favorite gift ideas.

Below is my list of favorites for this year. Basically, I thought of a list of things that, either I own myself and love, or hope someone reading will get for me this year (hint, hint). I’ve included gift ideas for music fans, business minded iPad users, and that special geek in your life…

iPad Air

iPad Air lock screenI am a huge fan of Apple’s tablet. I’ve owned every generation except the fourth (I just couldn’t justify buying a new tablet only eight months after getting the third-generation). The iPad Air is, by far, the best of Apple’s tablets so far. The size, weight, and processor speed are leaps and bounds above any tablet I’ve used. If you hurry, you can even get the iPad Air engraved to add a personal touch to your gift.

Some may say that the iPad mini with Retina display is the better deal. I can agree with that, for the first time, the 7.9-inch tablet really is the same thing as the iPad, only smaller. However, I prefer the larger screen size for playing epic RPGs and reading books. If the recipient of your gift will use it for digital painting, movie editing, music creation, or anything that requires a lot of screen space, the iPad Air is the right tablet. Prices start at $499.


UE BOOMWhen it comes to portable audio, nothing beats this little speaker. Not only does it have full, rich surround sound, but it is small enough to fit in your beer coozie. I use my UE Boom on a regular basis. Just the other night, I paired it with my MacBook Pro when the audio wouldn’t stream through Apple TV for a show I was AirPlaying. It was so loud and clear that I thought my Pioneer speakers were actually playing the audio.

The cylindrical speaker is water and stain resistant and coated in plasma “armor.” It features a small D-ring on the bottom so you can clip it to your backpack when out on a nature hike. You can get it in a variety of colors to compliment the gift recipient’s personality. Plus, link two BOOM’s together for stereo sound in different parts of the house. Grab one for only $180.

FabricSkin Keyboard Folio

FabricSkin Keyboard FolioI may have mentioned this before, but I love the keyboard layout of Logitech’s iPad keyboard cases. They have perfected the design so that typing with only 10 inches of room doesn’t feel cramped or awkward. The new line of FabricSkin Keyboard Folios is, in my opinion, the company’s best so far. Not only does the keyboard features the comfortable typing layout, but the durable cover looks and feels fantastic. It is like siting down in a luxury car for the first time. Plus, the new two-clip connector makes it easier than ever to take your iPad Air in and out of the case.

The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio comes in Carbon Black, Mars Orange Red, and Urban Grey. Pick the color that pleases you the most for $149.99.

Livescribe Smartpen 3

Livescribe SmartpenThis ballpoint pen/stylus pretty much blew my mind when I got my hands on it. I still can’t believe that technology has come so far that a person can write on a piece of paper and their handwritten words will be automatically transferred to a digital device. Not only that, but my messy chicken scratch was easily transferred into typewritten words.

This digital transcriber also records while you write. So, if you are taking notes on a lecture, you can go back to the moment in time when you wrote a word down by tapping on it. Seriously, if I had this pen when I was in college, I would have done so much better on my finals. You can purchase the Livescribe Smartpen 3 with a 50-page starter notebook for $149. The Livescribe Smartpen 3 Pro package comes with a 100-sheet Dot Paper notebook, an extra ink cartridge, a leather portfolio, and a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium for $199.

iHome iDL 100

iHome iDL 100If you have more than one iOS device in your house, you will want to get this gift for someone in your life. The iDL 100 is a triple charging stereo FM clock radio. It features two Lightning connectors on top so you can charge your iPhone and iPad at the same time. Plus, it has a USB port on the back so you can charge a third device. Plug in your various gadgets right before bed and they will be ready to go when you wake up in the morning.

Plus, use the compatible iHome app to set up to two alarms, preset up to six radio stations, and adjust the EQ for optimum audio output. You can either listen to the FM radio stations in your area, or play music from your iOS device through the connected speakers. The iHome iDL 100 is available for $149.99 and is a must-have for multiple device charging.

Parrot Flower Power

parrot-flower-powerIf you have a gardener on your gift list this year, get them something that will make their green thumb grow. Parrot’s wireless plant monitor measures sunlight, soil moisture, temperature, and fertilizer levels. Stick the colorful reader into your plant’s soil and add the type of plant that it is to the compatible app. Based on the data collected and the type of plant it is, you will be alerted when it is time to water, rotate, and feed your potted piece of nature.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy, the device monitors the health parameters of the plant and sends information to you via the free smartphone app. If it is getting too cold for your outdoor plant, you will know when it is time to cover it from frost. If the soil has lost its nutrients, you will know when to add more fertilizer.

The Flower Power comes in blue, green, and brown and is available for $59.99.

Bag of Holding

Bag of HoldingFor the most organized person in your life, ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding is the perfect gift. This oversized messenger bag comes with a padded laptop compartment, three additional, consecutively smaller compartment, and two huge pockets. Plus, some of the compartments come with a cell phone holder, pencil case, and small pockets for storing dice. It is made from sturdy canvas and shiny brass zippers.

The recipient of this gift doesn’t have to be a fan of Dungeons and Dragons (but it helps). Anyone with a lot of stuff to carry around will benefit from the multiple compartments. The Bag of Holding is available for $49.99. There is also a “handbag” model for the ladies that looks a bit more like a purse.

Gifts under $30

Phoneography Starter Kit

phoneography-starter-kitOnce you take a few pictures with your iPhone and publish them to any social networking site, you will become obsessed with hobby iPhone photography. Whether you are trying to get the perfect composition #nofilter, or want to make your new shoes look like they were professionally photographed in 1976, there is a lot of different ways you can turn simple pictures into masterpieces.

Photojojo offers a great beginner’s kit for the new iPhone owner in your life. It comes with a 2-in-1 wide angle and macro lens, a Phone-O-Chrome Color filter for gradient color shots, a four week online course that teaches you photography fundamentals (when completed, you will receive a $10 gift card), and a cute little pouch to put it all in. Grab the Phoneography Starter Kit for $30.

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against HumanityQuite possibly one of the funniest/most offensive games you will ever play is Cards Against Humanity. Players are dealt a hand of answer cards with words and phrases such as “Kevin Bacon” or “White privilege.” One person draws a statement card, like “Alternative medicine is now embracing the healing powers of [blank].” Players lay down the card that they think the statement drawer would like the best. Hilarity ensues.

This game is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with racist, sexist, and all around horrible stuff that was lovingly created by a couple of big-hearted guys with odd senses of humor. I never thought I would ever hear my mom say the words, “What’s bukake?” You can download the PDF of Cards Against Humanity for free, but the work that goes into printing and cutting out the cards is worth the price to purchase a premade, laminated deck of cards for $25.

Ready Player One

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2In 2011, Ernest Cline flipped the light on in the geek community’s basement, exposing the rest of the world to things like text-based games and Gary Gygax. I just found out about it this year and it is one of the books I am currently reading. If you or someone you know has not yet heard of Ready Player One, this is a great book for geeks and gamers.

The story is of a teenager in 2044 who is on a mission to win a competition that would reward him with the ultimate prize of inheriting the fortune, and game company of the richest man in the world. It combines a bit of the sci-fi computer world of “The Matrix” with the lesson-learning story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” You’ll be in on the geek culture as the protagonist spends his whole life completely immersed in pop culture, RPGs, and video games from the 1980. You can buy the book in practically every brick-and-mortar retail store for about $16 (it’s $10 on Amazon). It is also available as a Kindle ebook and an Apple iBook for $7.99.

Those are my picks for the best gifts to get your favorite techie or geek this year. If you still don’t have a gift idea for some people in your life, fear not. The rest of the iDB team is working hard on their gift guides to help you out this year. Please let us know what you hope to unwrap this holiday in the comments below.