The festive season is coming, and with it, a host of dilemmas. Red Wires examines the 14 most common tech-friends in your life, and the perfect solution for each!
For the person whose desk resembles a Jony Ive concept board, consider the space-saving PowerCube ($15). Resembling a folded-up powerboard, the Cube has four power outlets and two USB ports to charge all your devices with none of the ugly cords. Need more? Stack the cubes together for unlimited charging stations.
The average person spends one year of their life looking for misplaced items. For the person that seems to be pushing that average up, look at Kickstarter success story TileMate ($35). Small tiles can be attached to keys, phones, or anything else. Then, you can dial your wallet, or check where you left your car on the map.
The power struggler
Know someone who constantly battles to keep their phone battery full, or is always pestering you for a charger? A wireless charging pad like the Samsung Wireless Pad ($50) will make life easier for them. It’s far easier to make sure your phone is charged when all you do is lie it down. You’ll need to make sure the phone is Qi (wireless) charging-enabled. If not, wireless charging receivers like the HTC MicroUSB or the QIVV ($9) receiver are able to fix that.
Studies have confirmed ‘the handwriting effect’, where information is recalled more accurately when it was written as compared to typed – which might explain the mess of Post-It’s and scribbles on your co-worker’s desk. For writing anywhere, anytime, consider the Fisher Space Pen ($55). It’s designed to write on any angle, in zero gravity, and in extreme temperatures. You could also buy it for its stylish looks, compact design, and brushed aluminum body.
The media-loving parents
Many parents have graduated from DVD box sets to streaming services and YouTube searching. Make it easy for them to access these on the TV with Chromecast ($59). This compact dongle allows you to stream video seamlessly from a mobile to the big screen. Apologies in advance for all the ‘hilarious’ YouTube clips they’ll want to show you.
The VR adopter
There’s a lot that has been said about Virtual Reality over the past year. With tech releases from HTC, Playstation, Oculus and more all finally on the market, VR will make an entry into wider consciousness next year. Dubbed VR’s ‘gateway drug’ the Samsung Gear and S7 bundle is a great first step – and what’s more, is available with Vodafone (from $70 a month).
The mobile gamer
Is there a battle for the TV screen in your house? Allow your gamer to play PS4 wherever with the new Sony Xperia. As long as they stay in Wi-Fi, they can use their phone screen as a PS4 screen anywhere in the house (from $75 a month with Vodafone).
The pro photographer
For the friend who’s consistently eyeing-off a DSLR or fiddling with manual settings on their phone, a lens enhancer ($50) is a brilliant (and cheap!) addition to a burgeoning photographic arsenal. In the quest for minimalism, phones generally don’t have the space for a DSLR-quality lenses. Clip-on lenses like the Olloclip ($79.99+) contain a fisheye (which covers almost 180-degree views), the wide-angle (that grabs almost twice the light of a phone lens), and a macro lens (for greater zoom and detail), which will significantly enhance your photography toolkit and boost any Instagram feed in the process.
The truly adventurous tech user in your life might occasionally drift so far off the beaten track they receive no cellular coverage or reception at all. The goTenna Off-Grid Text and GPS ($149) allows a smartphone to send GPS locations and text messages to anyone using the goTenna System. Stay tuned (hopefully) for their next product that allows you to browse your Feed anywhere in the world.
The non-stop ‘grammer
If your Secret Santa has an Instagram feed busier than Rudolph on Christmas Eve, then consider an Instax Share Printer ($160). Consider it the 2016 version of a Polaroid camera – you can share your photos with friends instantly by printing them on the spot.
What does one gift your group’s self-appointed DJ? The weatherproof Logitech UE Boom ($178) is a stylish solution for sharing tunes with the group without suffering through subpar phone speaker renditions.
The rogue one
Find them the droid they’re looking for with a fully-functioning BB-8 model ($220) – the fan-favourite from last year’s Star Wars film was complemented with a mobile-controlled toy that learns as it goes. If that’s a little complicated, a cute R2D2 phone charger ($25) might be a perfect stocking stuffer.
The wireless enthusiast
For the relentless cord-cutter, there’s only one option: go wireless. For a long time, Bluetooth connectivity was considered an inferior method of transmitting audio due to skips and patchy connection. Now, it’s reliable way to listen to tunes without the mess. We recommend the Bose QuietComfort 35 ($399) for design or the Sony 1000X ($699) noise-cancelling headphones for the audio, but for more options, check out our full wireless headphone guide.
Got a friend with more gadgets than you can poke a stylus at? Simplify their lives a little and get a device that can do everything. The iPad Pro 9.7 ($850) (the best tablet on the market, according to some) acts as a do-all platform for all the tasks you can throw at it.
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