iDB holiday gift guide 2013: Oliver’s picks

Holiday Gift Guide

We’re now firmly into that time of year where we all start panicking. Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time. A time for bringing family and friends together for a good party and far too much eating. But alas, before all that can happen there’s the hard work that comes with buying gifts, and that’s why we at iDB are doing our utmost to take the stress out of buying gifts for the geek in your life.

As Cody has already pointed out, this is the second annual gift guide, and we’re hoping that it will be as useful for you reading it as it was for us as we wrote it. I may not be the first to share my gifting tips here, but hopefully I’ve still got a few ideas up my sleeve that haven’t already been chosen.

Let’s find out, shall we? That sounds like a plan…

Apple iPad mini with Retina display


The first item on my list is a big one, but it’s also my top recommendation. It’s also one that Cody has already shared, but it’s so good I felt that it needed another mention. The iPad mini as already arguably my favorite iPad, even before it gained that gorgeous Retina display, but now that it’s been granted a lot more pixels to play with, the little tablet has become the go-to device in Apple’s tablet lineup. In fact, I like the iPad mini with Retina display so much, that I intend to buy myself one for Christmas. It’s that good. If gifting an iPad mini to your loved one sounds like something you’d like to do then you’ll need to be prepared to spend at least $399 for the new hotness, and in my eyes it’s well worth the outlay. They’ll thank you for it, and then you’ll thank me for suggesting it!

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Let’s be honest here, there’s just nothing quite as awesome as flying a quadcopter. Well, maybe flying it using an iPhone is even better. Introducing the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, possibly the most impressive flying machine we’ve seen in a long time, and certainly something we expect any self-respecting geek to want in their toy box. And with good reason, too. Controlled via an iOS device and with a built-in camera for capturing HD video and photos, we can’t think of a better use for four rotor blades and an iPhone. We dare you to come up with one! Admittedly, at just shy of $300 it’s not cheap, but just look at the thing!

Any Spigen case


Now I admit that this is a little unorthodox, and the done thing here is to be a little more specific with our recommendations, but I just couldn’t choose which Spigen case to recommend. I’m not usually a case kinda guy. Until my iPhone 5, I’ve kept all my phones naked, though that probably explains why my short-lived affair with a Galaxy S3 ended with glass all over the floor. But I digress. Spigen makes some stunning cases, and not just for iPhones. There are cases for iPads and, should you be that way inclined, phones and tablets from the likes of LG, Samsung and Asus. If it’s got a screen and needs protection, Spigen is well worth the time to check out. They even have champagne-colored cases! Oh, and my current case? A Spigen Saturn in Metal Slate. Spigen cases start at $10 on Amazon.

Philips Hue bulbs

Again, I’m unashamedly catering for the more discerning gift-giver here, and at $200 for a start pack, the Philips Hue bulbs certainly aren’t cheap. But, once you see them in action you’ll be hooked on changing the brightness and even the color of your rooms right from your iPad or iPhone. In fact, using the recent recent IFTTT update that supports location-based triggers, you can even have your lights come on when you drive into your garage. Super awesome, I’m sure you’ll agree. $200 on Amazon.

Something a little more reasonably priced

While top of the range accessories and so-cool-that-it-hurts flying machines are awesome, it’s a fact of life these days that we aren’t all going to be spending big this Christmas. And that’s absolutely fine – it’s the thought that counts anyway. So, with that in mind, here are two or three gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

Lightning to 30-pin adapter: In a world where Lightning cables have replaced those 30-pin dock cables that we all have lying around, being able to repurpose some of those cables is always a good idea, and at under $30 one of these adapters should see you right, especially if like us you have some super-long cables you want to re-use. Yes it’s more expensive than a standard Lightning cable, but it also has the potential to be a lot, lot longer too.

Apple gift cards: The venerable gift card. Not just great for buying things in the Apple Store, but brilliant for buying apps on the App Store. I’m hoping for some of these myself! Best Buy has some really good deals on Apple gift cards from time to time. Make sure to see if they currently have any special offer.

Cocoon GRID-IT! Organizing System: We all carry all kinds of accessories around with us. If you’re the kind of person that has an iPod touch, some earphones, a couple of different charging solutions and maybe a stylus to carry around alongside the charger for your MacBook and more, then this is for you. Starting at just $10, depending on the size you choose, you can keep everything stowed away. Nice and organized!


There’s no doubt that most of these recommendations will be a little on the pricey side for most of us – I know I won’t be gifting an iPad this year, sorry – but I’ll leave the more mundane stuff to some of my colleagues. Christmas is a time for wonder, and with the likes of Hue bulbs, AR.Drone flying wonder machines and Retina iPad minis, you can’t get much more wondrous than that.

Make sure to check out holiday gift guides from other iDB editors.