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Halloween is over and it’s already time to think about the holiday season. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I understand. I’m not ready for music or decorating the tree, and I certainly haven’t considered all the gifts I need to buy for people yet.
However, one thing I really enjoy is shopping for gifts. From a young age I have also enjoyed IT and tech a lot, which means this blog is one of my favorite assignments of the year, so buckle up!
The gifts are in various categories and at a few different prices. This guide should give you some ideas, whether you’re a longtime tech or just shopping for someone who is. Before we get started, let’s go over some tips on the best time to buy.
Do not rush
It is important not to go out tomorrow and buy all the things. Chances are there are plenty of retailers with some of the best deals around Black Friday and through Cyber ââMonday.
Online retailers like Amazon are doing more to try and take some of that spirit off physical stores during Black Friday in recent years. Meanwhile, retailers like Target and Walmart are also trying to capitalize on the excitement of Cyber ââMonday.
With that in mind, feel free to wait a bit and see if you can get the best deal possible. The best time to purchase certain items may indeed be after Black Friday. Retailers may discount items to get rid of excess inventory. If the item is popular enough, it’s important to note that this strategy could backfire on you.
And with that, let’s move on to gadgets and gadgets.
Home theater is a big category for home technology. There are TVs, speaker systems, and streaming media players to watch.
Best TV for the Money
You can get a good cheap 1080p TV these days. The tech guy on your list is going to want the latest and greatest, but you don’t have to break the bank.
VIZIO makes extremely high quality electronics at an affordable price. It won’t be the last time you’ll see them in this roundup. You can get a 50 ” 4K TV with high dynamic range (HDR) for less than $ 600.
For context, 4K improves picture clarity because it is double the resolution of a standard 1080p HDTV. HDR increases the spectrum of the color gamut that can be displayed by your TV so that you get the deepest black and the whitest white.
You will lose some pop, but you can also get a 4K display without HDR for about $ 100 less.
When it comes to home theater, you don’t want to use the TV speakers. They just don’t produce a sound deep enough to really immerse you in the experience. With that in mind, one thing to consider is sound bars and speaker systems.
When it comes to streaming media players, there are four big competitors in the market.
The current option that I would recommend is the Apple TV 4K. It’s a bit more expensive than the other options I’m going to talk about, but the good thing here is that if you have existing HD content from iTunes or a previous Apple TV, you automatically get the 4K version of the content when. ‘it becomes available at no additional cost. This is not the case for many other services.
It starts at $ 179, with $ 20 more for a version with more storage capacity. This one also has extensive gaming capability and can also function as a hub for your smart home devices.
Roku, Google Chromecast, and Amazon fire all of them have 4K streaming dongles for around $ 70. For an additional $ 5, Amazon is currently offering an HD antenna, so you can get your local channels in high definition if you’re a cable cutter.
We don’t have a lot of technologies referenced in Iron Man, but one area where we could be very close is that of its voice assistant JARVIS.
The Amazon Echo is one that I have had personal experience with, so I’ll start there. I use voice commands to turn lights on and off via smart plugs connected. In this area, they have also released updated versions that can serve as their own hub for supported devices, so you don’t need to have a separate connector. It allows me to control radio and music streaming with just my voice. I can control my Fire TV Stick. I can ask the Echo all kinds of questions, including weather and sports scores. More recently, I connected two of these devices to an intercom system so that I could call between rooms.
That’s not to say the Echo is the only game in town. The Google home offers a very similar set of features. Apple is also entering this arena in December with its HomePod.
The HomePod maybe to watch. It uses its directional microphones to determine the audio environment in the room it is in to give you the best possible audio experience. It is also the only speaker / voice assistant option that supports Apple Music. That said, the audio calibration features mean there is a price jump. At $ 349, the starting price is $ 200 more than its closest competitor.
When it comes to video games, I’m going to touch on virtual reality becoming a reality for consumers, as well as the all new home console hardware.
The newest and best video game at the moment is virtual reality. It offers the most immersive experience by putting you right in the game. That said, it’s important to note that the newer and better sometimes come at a steep price.
One of the cheapest entry points into this arena may be a PlayStation VR. However, you are considering a minimum of $ 350 for required VR accessories and $ 250 for a PlayStation 4.
HTC Vive VR costs $ 599, but it currently requires a PC that is powerful enough to handle some of the processing load, and these don’t come cheap. The Oculus Rift is only $ 399, but you also need a compatible PC. Finally, the Samsung Gear VR costs $ 130, but requires a compatible Samsung smartphone.
Living room consoles
Players tend to organize themselves into tribes. You are a Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox gamer and that’s it. I would advise anyone looking to buy a console or games for their friends or loved ones to be very aware of which side of the triangle this particular person falls. That said, my analysis of the offerings from each of these companies will be purely from a technical and usability standpoint.
In addition to beloved characters like Zelda and Mario, Nintendo has a very compelling console offering in the switch. The console offers several styles of controllers and can be installed at home or taken on the road. With enough controllers, up to eight people can play together in the same room in addition to the online multiplayer options. It also has some of the motion control options made popular by its Wii predecessors. The Switch costs $ 399.
For the same price, Sony offers its top of the range Playstation 4 pro. The console offers 4K playback with HDR for Blu-rays and multimedia content as well as the same features for games if the developers choose to integrate them.
From a purely technical standpoint, the Xbox One X beats the competition in terms of power, but from a practical standpoint, it offers the same 4K HDR features as the PS4 Pro. It really depends on what the person you’re buying for prefers to play for.
Tablets and phones
A lot of these are bought during the holidays, so I feel like I have to say something about it here, but it is important to note that it depends a lot on your personal preferences and, more and more, on the size. of your budget.
For people who have iPhones, there are two new options this holiday season. The iPhone 8 has a really nice front camera that can do cool things like filters on the fly. There is also wireless charging. Then there is the iPhone X. It has all the features of 8 plus Face ID and the ability to use a range of cameras to do really cool things like animated emojis. (It’s something better seen than described.) There are also some interesting apps with augmented reality. This is the first iPhone with an OLED screen, allowing more realistic colors. However, the iPhone X will set you back at least $ 1,000.
On the Android side, there are plenty of great options for phones at all price points. However, two phone options that really push the boundaries of what can be done with Google’s smartphone platform are Samsung’s Galaxy range and the Pixel Phones supported by Google. You may be able to pay for the phone on a monthly basis through your carrier.
In many cases, tablets look like their phone counterparts with larger screens and no call capability. In many cases, you may be able to get them cheaper than a phone.
If you mostly read on tablets, you might want to take a look at the new kindle devices. E-ink screens are not dazzling, even in direct sunlight, and they are also easier on the eyes.
It’s not strictly tech, but a lot of people who are into tech are also fans of comics, sci-fi, and all kinds of other cool stuff. If you’re just looking to find someone who takes pride in calling themselves a pop culture geek something they’ll truly appreciate, check out services like Loot crate and My geek box.
You can get them at a number of prices ranging from $ 15 to around $ 50. You can choose to get random cool items or items based on the theme you choose. It could be anything from Harry Potter and Marvel to Star Wars and even WWE. You can choose to get one or send a monthly subscription.
We’ve looked at many different gift options, but we’ve included a list of our favorites below: