iDB holiday gift guide 2013: Jim’s picks

The second annual holiday gift guide is taking submissions from the iDB editing team. Looking back, there are quite a few items that made my list this year, most of which were released in 2013. Also, as the hardware review editor, many of the items were reviewed on the site.

Last year I took a look at bargain priced items, but I threw pricing to the side this year. Why limit the excitement to items under $30? Take a look below for my suggested gifts for the gear head in your life. In no particular order, genre or category, let’s dive in…


Nest Thermostat Protect

Nest Protect is a fire and carbon monoxide detector of the future, or, well, now. Nest Protect is a Wi-Fi enabled home monitoring device that links with a Nest online account to let you monitor your home from abroad. Speaking to occupants instead of violently chirping, sending a push notification is a simplified way for home owners to keep tabs on protection devices. Simply waving a hand in front of the unit will silence the alarm when baking holiday cookies. The glowing ring also shows monitor status and can emit a soft night light if preferred. Nest Thermostat, of which I have two, is a way to schedule and monitor heating and cooling from the couch or abroad. It will even learn your schedule and turn the temperature down or up to save energy, without users programming anything.

Nest Protect is available in black or white, wired or battery, for $130 and Nest Thermostat is available for $250 . These are pricey gift items, but ones that can save users time and money. Not to mention, their home is much safer as a result.


Another way to monitor the home, Dropcam is one of the leading Wi-Fi cameras in the connected home category. With mobile and web apps, view free live streaming feeds through iOS devices or web browser. Zoom into specific spots of the video to get a more detailed view and, with night vision, even check up on things in the dark. Most importantly, receive notification alerts through a dedicated iOS app and even communicate through two-way audio. Conveniences include the ability to turn off the camera based on user location, camera scheduling, and optional cloud storage.

The Dropcam HD camera is available through Amazon for $150 and the Pro edition is an additional $50, at $200.

Zepp sensor and mount

Made by the same company that introduced GolfSense, Zepp is back at it with a sensor that will track baseball, golf, and tennis swings. Having used the original GolfSense, I was impressed with the technology. Using baseball as an example, the sensor monitors bat speed, swing plane, hitting zone, and impact angles. These items are closely monitored through a companion iPhone app that gives results in a 360 degree viewing field, impact analysis, swing data, and provides the ability to compare previous recordings.

The new sports dedicated mounts and corresponding sensor were just released in November. The sensor plus sports dedicated mounts are available for $149.99 directly from Zepp Labs for baseball, golf, and tennis. The items will not ship until December 18, but are guaranteed by Christmas.

Incipio ATLAS ID

Incipio ATLAS ID

The Incipio ATLAS ID was recently updated from the original ATLAS case to include Touch ID compatibility. I took the ATLAS for a dip in my neighborhood swimming pool this summer and was impressed with its ability. If you want the details check out my review, or the video of it going down the water slide. Complete waterproofing to 2 meters for 60 minutes, including shock and dust proofing certification make it a desirable case. It even has a jack that will pair with waterproof headphones for a completely submersible experience. It is a major gift, however, starting at $74 through Amazon.

 Audiofly AF45 and AF78 ear monitors

AudioFly splash image

We recently finished a giveaway contest for several AF45’s and I also reviewed the AF78. Pioneered by artists for the common listener, Audiofly prides itself on making quality earbuds. With features like CORDURA fabric lined headphone cables and dual driver chambers, Audiofly headphones are some of the best I have heard at their respective price points. They come in detailed packaging, contain a travel pouch, and offer high grade performance. When people ask me my advise on headphones, Audiofly is now my first suggestion. The AF45’s start at $30 through Amazon, which is 50% off, and the AF78’s are currently $190.



I own lots and lots of iPhone stands, all kinds of stands. Recently, I’ve been using the MiStand most often. An aluminum base arches to the ball and socket magnet. The mounting plate fits into the socket with a magnetic ball, providing full rotation and full viewing angle rotation. The complete viewing angle option is key with this device. Many stands allow specific angles, but with an ingenious ball and socket mount, this will tilt in all directions and remain steadfast, regardless of iPad’s weight. Using micro-suction pads, the stand is reusable and does not leave any residue on the iPad. For a more detailed explanation, read my full review. MiStand is available for £46 in an assortment of colors.

Stocking stuffers:

Bluelounge Kicks

Bluelounge Kicks – While the Kicks were originally designed for the iPad 2nd or 3rd generation, they are still compatible with all full size iPad models. Designed for iPad nudists, they are small silicone bumpers that attached to iPad’s back. Using 3M damage-free adhesive, they can be added and removed easily. The bumper is just big enough to keep iPad off dusty surfaces and away from table top scratches. They are perfect for resting iPad against the edge of a table while reading or watching a movie. Now, if only they made a pair for mini! Kicks are available for $12.

EarSkinz Blue

EarSkinz ES2 – If you are tired of your Apple EarPods falling out while moving around, especially running or working out, EarSkinz has a solution. In a review, I took a look at the ES2 silicon EarPod covers. They work wonderfully for keeping the EarPods settled during movement. I have kept these little guys on my EarPods ever since my article in early July. They come in 11 colors and are only $10.95 per pair. I highly recommend them.

Incase Lightning cables

Incase 3′ Sync and Charge Flat Cable – which is a long name for this USB Lightning cable. If you never experienced the convenience of a 3′ cable, I suggest picking one up. With a cable that long, who needs wireless charging? I have a 3′ cable and use it frequently on the couch or in bed. The flat design will hopefully prevent tangling and the colors are vibrant with blue, green, pink, and yellow. Incase just released these cables about a week ago and should make a splash. Pick one up for $29.95.

Divoom Bluetune Bean

Divoom Bluetune Bean – I took a look at this little guy in my Bluetooth speaker round up a few weeks back. It puts out a decent amount of sound for the size and comes with a little clip to make sure it is always handy. It comes in a variety of colors and is rated at 8 hours of playtime. At $29.99, it is reasonably priced.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the editors, who will be adding their picks in the Holiday Gift Guide section of the site. Everyone has different tastes and you should be able to find some great items in the upcoming articles. If you missed Cody‘s, Lory‘s, and Oliver‘s picks, don’t forget to go back and check them out.

If you have any ideas of your own, find us in the comments below.