7 Last-Minute Gifts (and Smart Devices) for Almost Anyone this Christmas
It’s down to the holiday wire, and you’ve still got a short list of folks to buy gifts for. And to make matters worse, these are probably the hardest people to shop for as well. But fear not, wearied one! We’ve got you covered with some smart devices that would make great gifts for nearly anybody still left on your list.
Smart Devices Make for Even Smarter Gifts
Technology is changing our lives as we live them. And these gifts will make your loved ones’ lives easier – day in and day out.
With a Kindle Voyage, your loved ones can now go on adventures anytime, anywhere – without having to lug around a big, old, paper tome to keep themselves entertained. And the Kindle Voyage 6” E-Reader is always ready to travel.
Amazon’s thinnest Kindle ever was passionately crafted for readers. Its high-resolution 300ppi display screen reads even more like the printed page. The new, adaptive front light provides ideal brightness, day or night, and this auto-brightness setting can also be manually adjusted. In size, the Voyage is slightly smaller than other e-readers on the market, making it easier to slip into your pockets. And with the new PagePress feature, Amazon has reimagined how we flip pages. You now simply have to press or squeeze the bottom of the device’s edges and, voila, the pages have turned – all without ever lifting a finger. It’s not a button, but a pressure sensor, and it comes with three settings for sensitivity.
Beyond that, the Voyage’s battery lasts for weeks, not hours. It also comes pre-loaded with a free, 30 day-trial of Kindle Unlimited free, allowing your loved ones to choose from over 1 million titles to entertain and enlighten themselves.
So when your family is in the thick of life, the last thing they want to think about is have to stop to make dinner. At the same time, ordering out gets expensive quickly, and granola bars are really only good for holding them over until they can eat something more substantial. So, instead of putting life on pause (which rarely works), get them one of these Smart Crock-Pot slow cookers with WiFi baked right in.
This 6-quart Crock-Pot comes with cool-touch handles; built-in cord storage; a glass lid; and removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware. But from there, the consistent cooking gets even smarter (and easier). This connected product cooks beautifully, like Crock-Pot always has, and now it delivers enhanced control, convenience, and peace of mind with integrated Wi-Fi technology.
Using the free and intuitive WeMo App, it’s easy to see the status of your meal at a glance. This advanced Crock-Pot lets your folks adjust the cooking time, shift the temperature setting, and turn off the slow cooker entirely from your smart device. No need to memorize when the meal will be done cooking, as the app has a built-in countdown timer. And for those with less-tech-savvy relatives in the house, they can also easily control the Crock-Pot without the app by just plugging it in and pressing the button on the front panel. They can even start the Crock-Pot manually with the front button and then let someone else change the temperature or turn it off from the app later on.
If it’s designed well, a smartwatch shouldn’t look like someone strapped a small computer to his or her wrist. Instead, it should act and feel like a watch first and foremost, but with the embedded, smart functions of a small computer tucked within. It should be elegant on the outside while housing some of the most advanced computing technology on the inside. And the LG Urbane Wearable Smart Watch does just that. It’s not gaudy like its competitors, drawing attention to itself in the name of conspicuous consumption. It does not scream out that it’s a smartwatch, but rather, subtly unifies fine craftsmanship with breakthrough innovation.
Compatible with most devices running on an Android 4.3 or later operating system, this smartwatch boasts a 1.3” full-circle face with a gorgeous, P-OLED digital display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and a classic, stainless steel, full-metal body with a screw-less back cover. And the premium watch band that comes standard with it is just as stylish, but dad can replace it just as easily with any watch band of 22mm if he wants to further personalize it.
The Urbane also comes with the latest version of Android Wear and includes the ability to use WiFi connectivity to let your loved one get notifications from his or her phone when out of Bluetooth range. It can also survive two days of FULL USE (with the display always on, all notifications on, WiFi on, bright display, etc.), so rest assured that the battery is stoutly built.
There’s also fitness integration – with a built-in continuous heart rate monitor that syncs with sensors and applications for real time health and fitness data. There’s even environmental biosensors that detect and track barometric pressure, gyroscopic movements, and more. And, of course, there’s music streaming control for the tunes stored within the internal memory of a paired, compatible Bluetooth device.
And while it may not have 1000s of apps like the Apple Watch, it does distinguish itself with excellent performance, superb speed and responsiveness, and features that Apple hasn’t implemented very well yet. To put it most succinctly, the LG Urbane Smart Watch is tradition and style evolved for the technological needs of the 21st century, and anybody out there would be happy to sport one.
If music is your folks’ main motivation, then there’s none better than Bose. As a company, Bose reinvests a lot of its money into the R&D (research and development) of its audio technology and engineering. This, in turn, means that their dedication to innovation has kept them at the top of the sound system market for decades. And with the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker, they’re taking over the portable audio market as well.
The SoundLink will play your folks’ favorite tunes from their favorite Bluetooth devices out loud – in clear, full audio with that deep, warm bass that’s so characteristic of Bose products – just about anywhere they want to go. This is because Bose’s proprietary technologies and unique design produce clear, full-range, well-balanced sound anywhere, even from a range of about 30 feet on the SoundLink – so everyone can enjoy the music without the wires.
“All of the positives of an old school boom box, now just smaller and without the need of an endless supply of D batteries.”
It’ll sync with the user’s smartphone, tablet, or other Bluetooth device, employing a simple-to-understand interface that uses voice prompts to talk him or her through the Bluetooth-pairing process – all without struggling to make the technologies play nicely together. The speaker even remembers the 8 most recent devices he or she has paired with it, so reconnecting them again is easier than ever. And, as if that isn’t cool enough, the SoundLink can pair with two Bluetooth devices at the same time, letting them play DJ and switch between both quickly.
The speaker is small and lightweight (only 1.25lbs.); and its rounded, compact shape will fit easily into any bag or backpack, making it portable as well. It’s constructed of materials durable enough to withstand your an active, mobile lifestyle – so your loved one can take it with him or her to the beach, out on the deck, in the garage, in the workout room, and even out tailgating as well, since the lithium-ion battery has a life of 8-9 hours on a full charge. And, should he or she need to be out for longer, the unit will simultaneously recharge and perform as a speaker when plugged in.
Because of its portability and oversize sound, this little Bose SoundLink unit has all of the positives of an old school boom box, now with the added benefit of smaller dimensions and without the need of an endless supply of D batteries. Oh, and it comes in a variety of colors, so it can groove with almost anybody’s style.
Remember the last time you were hanging out with the granny? You know, when your mom was taking all those pictures with her digital camera of everyone laughing and having a great time? Well, why not gather those up pictures and make a scrapbook for granny? Even better, why not create her a digital collection instead?
The NIX Digital Photo Frame is the simplest solution for displaying all your digital photos. Just transfer your photos and videos onto your own USB jump drive (or the 8GB one that comes with the frame) or SD card, plug it into the frame, and let your photos play. It’s perfect for the not-so-tech-savvy granny because she gets a photo frame that works well, all with the convenience of not having to operate it herself (unless she wants to, of course).
Using the intuitive remote, you can manage the way your photos and videos are displayed, with the ability to play both photos (JPEG format) and videos (MP4 format) within same slideshow. And the fast processor recognizes portrait orientation and adjusts accordingly (so none of that silly photo resizing is necessary), and you get to view thousands of photos and videos in superb picture quality (720p HD) from your inserted device. The photo frame boasts a 12” screen, a high-resolution (4:3 ratio) LED backlit display, and built-in stereo speakers – all while still weighing at less than 3.5lbs
You can also choose from a variety of photo transitions, change the orientation of your photos and videos, and select which specific ones you want to play. Sort them the same way you want to see them: by image name or number, by date, or by shuffling them around. There’s also a Clock/Calendar function that gives the frame an extra bit of utility. And, for its coolest feature, the frame’s Hu-Motion Sensor turns the frame on when you enter the room and off when you leave! So, for granny’s ultimate convenience, set the frame to switch off after sensing no movement from 5 minutes to 1 hour.
Studies show that 75% of American adults suffer from chronic dehydration. But, with this Mavea Elemaris Kompact 5-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher, the ones you love can keep hydrating with the cleanest glasses of water known to man.
Mavea is a subsidiary of the world’s leading water filtration company that first invented the device 45 years ago in Germany. Now, maybe your loved ones have used a different filtration system before, but Mavea takes it to the next level, courtesy of their years of experience and development. First, when it comes to changing the filter, there’s no more guessing. The filter change indicator measures filter life in 3 ways: a signal to replace it based on the length of time the filter’s been in use, the user’s consumption, and the quality of his or her water.
Second, Mavea filters significantly improve the quality and taste of any water. 85% of all commercial and residential water sources have hard tap water and, while technically safe to drink, it contains substances that affect its taste, smell, appearance, and overall quality. The Mavea filters, however, take out the bad – drastically reducing its chlorine taste and odor, making your love one’s drinking water clearer and refreshingly delicious. They also leave in the good – such as calcium and silica for healthy bones and teeth. As a result, Mavea filtered water improves the taste of coffee, tea, concentrated beverages, and ice cubes. And with a 5-cup capacity, your loved one can refill his or her water bottle all day long.
Let your loved ones garden year-round with the Miracle Grow AeroGarden. This soil-free, hydroponic, indoor gardening system grows fresh herbs, vegetables, salad greens, flowers, and more 5 times faster than regular soil. But it’s not just a way to grow plants and vegetables indoors during the winter; it’s a way to grow them faster and more easily than you ever could outdoors, all year long. And while the idea of hydroponic gardening is far from new, this system makes it so incredibly easy – by automating nearly everything.
The AeroGarden features a fully-interactive, touch-screen control panel that tells the user when to pour in water; reminds them when to add plant food; automatically turns on and off the high-performance, full spectrum, 45-watt LED lighting system; and provides timely tips and on-screen help functions. Inside the box, the user will find included a 9-Pod Gourmet Herb Seed Kit that contains Genovese Basil (x2), Thai Basil, Curly Parsley, Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Mint, and 3 oz. of liquid plant food. And if one of the pods happens to not sprout, Miracle Grow will send you a new seed pod as a replacement.
The plant seeds are already embedded in the pods, which include a sponge to soak up the right amount of water to start germination and give the plants a medium for root growth. The grow lights and water pump cycle as needed to create the right conditions for germination, and then, two weeks later, the system switches to parameters more optimal for the fast growth given the type of plant you’ve chosen. All your loved ones have to do is think about which recipes they want to cook with what they’ve just grown.
So this Christmas, take care of the ones you love by keeping them well-read, well-fed, hydrated, looking good, and entertained. There’s enough variety and utility in each of these smart devices to keep them happy for years to come.