Best Gifts 2014
Whether you're buying a high-tech token of affection for that special someone or a connected birthday gift for mom, everyone loves gadgets. However, finding the right gadget gift can be a challenge with so many interesting products vying for your attention. Fortunately, we've picked the best 10 to help you get started.
10 Great Gadget Gift Ideas
The gold standard for tablets, Apple's iPad just keeps getting better. Considerably more portable than its predecessors, the 9.7-inch iPad Air weighs just 1 pound and is only 0.29 inches thick. Along with the largest mobile app ecosystem, the iPad Air also sports some impressive features, including a gorgeous 2048 x 1536-pixel screen, a 64-bit Apple A7 processor and nearly 12 hours of battery life.
Starting Price: $499
A smartwatch that looks more like a fashion statement than a geeky tool, the Pebble Steel is made out of stainless steel and comes with both metal and leather bands. The waterproof watch pairs with your iPhone or Android handset and delivers important alerts to your wrist, allowing you to see incoming emails, social media messages and calls without reaching into your pocket. Better still, Pebble has more than 1,000 apps, including entries from big names such as Yelp, ESPN and Foursquare.
If your giftees have Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go or another streaming service, the Roku 3 could change their lives. Instead of watching these video services on the PC or phone, the Roku 3 connects directly to the TV and allows users to browse all their selections like they would with a cable box. Unlike the less-expensive Roku models, version 3 lets you play games with its remote control and view content on USB drives or microSD cards.
Perfect for kids (or parents who might share it with them), the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX combines a gorgeous full HD screen, strong performance with access to Amazon's extensive library of movies, books and music. A set of robust parental controls keep children safe and allow you to limit how much time they spend online while the Mayday button provides live help from an Amazon representative 24/7.
Available on all four major U.S. carriers, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 makes a great gift for anyone who likes to get things done. The Note 3's giant 5.7-inch screen makes typing emails for work a breeze while its pen and S Note software make it ideal for note taking. The phone's colorful full HD screen, sharp 13-MP camera and speedy Snapdragon 800 processor are great for play and, with its 3,200 mAH battery, you can work or play all day.
Starting Price: $299
Great for new moms and dads, the DropCam Pro lets you keep an eye on your home and family from anywhere in the world. The HD camera connects to the Internet and shows sharp, wide angle images of any room, even in total darkness. Your giftees will be able to keep an eye on the nanny or the dog from their smartphones or PCs and even chime in with audio from the DropCam Pro's onboard speaker.
It's a tablet! It's a laptop! For just $349, the ASUS TransformerBook T100 is both. This 10.1-inch Windows slate comes with a comfortable keyboard dock that turns it into a clamshell notebook. Add in a free copy of Microsoft Office, a powerful Intel Atom Bay Trail processor and more than 12 hours of battery life and you have one of the best bargains in tech.
Starting Price: $349
If your giftee needs a new laptop for work or school, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch offers the ultimate in portable productivity. This 3.5-pound workstation packs a speedy Intel 4th Generation Core series processor, a blazing fast SSD and an eye-popping 2560 x 1600-pixel display. With more than 9 hours of battery life, the MacBook Pro will work through an entire cross-country flight and then some.
Starting Price: $1,299
Monster's iSport Freedom headphones make listening to music or conducting calls in any weather totally doable. These durable over-the-ear headphones connect to any phone via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio jack while repelling germs, resisting water and survive shocks. A set of wireless controls for forward, back and volume live on the ear piece.
Your giftee may have a fabulous phone or a terrific tablet, but she won't have the best entertainment experience listening to music on its built-in speaker. The Bose SoundLink Mini connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth and offers stunning sound with strong bass, rich vocals and loud volume. While other Bluetooth speakers have more features or cost less, the SoundLink Mini delivers audio that's best-in-class in a compact 7.1 x 2.3 x 2-inch form factor that weighs just 1.5 pounds.