We ended up with a few more gadgets than planned, so here’s a short list of the stragglers. Once again, here are some of our favorite gadgets of the year in no particular order. Next week’s gift guide will be DIY Projects and Tools; look for it Thursday morning.
Hiku Connected Device Shopping Platform
Hiku is an incredibly simple product that will make your life much easier. It’s a small device that magnets to your fridge, and consists of a button, a microphone, and a barcode scanner. If you’re throwing something out that needs replacement, just scan its barcode. Need something that doesn’t have a bar code? Just tell the device. The items show up in the (free) app and are categorized for you (and of course you can add things manually). The latest version of the app even ties into online grocery ordering systems.
NVIDIA SHIELD + Remote
I just received the brand new Nvidia SHIELD TV and remote, and while I haven’t yet had time to put it through it’s paces and write a full review (coming soon), I am very excited about it and couldn’t wait to share it with our readers. SHIELD not only offers support for 1080p and 4K Ultra HD and can access all cord cutters favorite apps (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Disney, Sling TV, etc.) seamlessly with voice searching, but it also has access to a wide variety of next-gen Android Games as well as the new GeForce NOW (like Netflix for games) allowing you to play the latest and greatest games without having a PC or console that supports them locally! Lastly, SHIELD supports Chromecast so you can actually stream to your TV from both Android and iOS devices. For under $200, Nvidia SHIELD TV is a dream come true for cord cutters and currently includes the optional remote ($50 value) for free.
Alcohoot: Smart Phone Breathalyzer
Alcohoot is a breathalyzer for your smart phone. Combined with the simple to use app, the Alcohoot can give you an idea if it’s safe to drive, or if you should call a friend or taxi. The Alcohoot is easy to use, just plug it into the headphone jack on your phone, launch the app, wait 3 seconds for it to warm up and then blow. I can’t vouch for accuracy, but I got reasonably consistent results with most of the readings landing within 0.005% of each other, though I did have a couple outliers around 0.01%, I did find the experience eye opening. At around 0.05% I’m in no shape to drive, though legally I could probably get away with it. I’ll post a full review after the holidays.
KidzGear Bluetooth Headphones
These on-ear headphones are perfect for little heads (but can be adjusted to fit an adult in a pinch), and going wire-free is great for kids who tend to wander away from the tablet or phone without unplugging. But the best feature may be the volume limiter–it’ll keep your kids from losing their hearing from playing music too loud (like you probably did when you were a kid). Plus, it heads off the “I couldn’t hear you because I had headphones on” excuses. The wireless versions are only available in pink and blue, but there are similar wired versions in a variety of colors.
Afterglow LVL 3 Wired Headset
A proper PS4 headset was one of those things I didn’t know I wanted until I had it. The big crowd-pleaser seems to be PDP’s Afterglow LVL 5+, a comfortable LED-lit set of stereo cans that can push both game and chat audio and includes a Quad Boost haptic driver that literally lets you feel the bass. I, however, was more drawn to its little brother, the Afterglow LVL 3. It boasts the same padded ear cups and headband, adjustable noise-canceling boom mic, and solid 40mm Neodymium drivers. What it forgoes are the bells and whistles–or, more literally, the lights and haptic features, which also means it doesn’t require additional batteries like the 5+. It costs $20 less, coming in at just under 30 bucks, which straddles the line nicely between “heartfelt gift” and “budgetary thrift.” [Review materials provided by: PDP]
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens Darth Vader Shower Head
By now, like me, you’ve been inundated, and maybe even overwhelmed, by all of the licensed Star Wars merchandise. Some of it is downright silly, and, at first, I thought Darth Vader and R2-D2 shower heads fell into that category. However, my son was never so excited to take a bath or shower as after I installed our Oxygenics Darth Vader shower head. And they even work really well while being very efficient! Check out my full review here.
Made by: Oxygenics
Available at: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens Darth Vader Shower Head
Submitted by: Will James