There’s just so much new and exciting tech out there aimed at our generation that it was tough to narrow it down to a reasonable holiday wish list. We decided on an eclectic variety of gifts and a range of prices – covering computing, travel, do-it-yourself, entertainment, and even a chair.
Smartphone – Google Pixel XL – Google’s timing could not have been better, releasing this big screen Android phone just as Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 exploded. This phone has what some say is the best camera on any smartphone. And it is the first to come with Google Assistant, perhaps the most competent and conversational of the voice driven Artificial Intelligence bots. It draws on Google’s immense search capabilities to answer all kinds of question and does it fast. The fingerprint sensor is on the back, which makes the phone easier for one-handed use. It has a powerful and fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and a gorgeous display. It’s only available from Verizon – $320 if you take the two-year contract, or $770 without it.
Automotive Navigation and Safety Device – Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT – When you watch all the television commercials about new cars and their hi-tech safety
equipment, it’s easy to be envious. Putting those upgrades into an existing car is expensive. Garmin’s DriveAssist combines the best of its fabled voice command navigation with a host of safety features. It has a dash cam that records everything in front of you, and freezes the recording if it senses a crash. It has lane departure warnings and a front collision avoidance alert as well. DriveAssist will alert you to upcoming curves, school zones, red light cameras, and more. And with lifetime traffic monitoring, it will tell you about upcoming traffic problems and suggest alternate routes where that makes sense. Available for $300.
Portable Charcoal Grill – Homping Camping Grill – If the 50+er in your life likes to go tailgating, car camping, or picnicking, or even do a quick grill on the back deck, this hi-tech portable grill is ideal. For starters, it’s compact and fits into a case that’s easy to carry and store. It uses a fan to help control the fire. That allows you to use a lot less charcoal and creates a fire that’s far less smoky than traditional grills, making it useful in places where you couldn’t take a larger grill. It has an award-winning industrial design and is easy to clean (how many grills can say that?). Available in either black or orange for $199.
Easy Photo Scanner – Epson FastFoto FF640 Scanning System – Before the advent of digital photography, many of us who are over fifty accumulated hundreds or thousands of photographs that are now sitting in drawers, storage bins, or closets. But finding a way of saving them in a form that can be useful, or memorable, has been challenging. This system from Epson rapidly scans your pictures in bulk, both front and back, to record any notes on the back. Then the software allows you to put them in albums, categories, or even use facial recognition to keep track of individuals. This is a great way to make a family history, and to safely protect those images from the ravages of age, moisture, or natural disaster. Available for $650.
Bookshelf Speakers – Audioengine HDP6 Passive Speakers – We’re always looking around for the right combination of price and performance, and for some years we’ve been impressed with the offerings from Audioengine. Its latest offering is a set of bookshelf speakers that delivers a huge sound far beyond what you’d expect from the size and the price. The HDP6’S do a great job on Hi-Res files from top end to bass, filling the room the way you’d expect an expensive set of floor standing speakers to deliver. These are intended for someone who already has a music system – amplifier and pre-amp – with which they are happy – and that includes many of us in the 50+ market. They have a magnetically attached grill that makes them look even better. They come in three finishes: Black Satin and furniture grade Walnut and Cherry. Price is $499 for the pair. We’ve been happily enjoying the Cherry. If your audio maven needs powered speakers, the $750 Audioengine HD6’s have a built-in power amp, just add an iPhone or Sony Walkman for a complete music system.
Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – Mass Fidelity Core Wireless Speaker System – During a year we probably listen to scores of wireless Bluetooth speaker systems. But picking this one was not a tough decision. The Core system uses what the company calls acoustic holography technology to produce a stereo sound field that is astonishing in size and sound quality. It’s like listening to a pair of high-end speakers, except it’s coming from a device that’s small enough to hold in your hand. And that pretty much sums up our experience. Using a single speaker, the Core creates a stereo sensation – in recordings that separate right and left channels, you’d swear you can hear the music moving from one side of the room to another, a seemingly impossible task for a single speaker. You can pair the Core with as many as seven of its siblings for a whole house music system. Of course, with a price of $599, for most of us, one would be enough.
iPad Keyboard – Logitech Create for iPad Pro 9.7″ – This keyboard case is the ultimate creativity and productivity toolkit. It holds everything together – your iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and a keyboard – in one snug package, so all your tools are in one place whenever you need them. The edge-to-edge layout of well-spaced keys ensures familiar laptop-like typing and the mechanical scissor keys are tuned for productivity with 1.4 mm key travel – an optimal depth for comfortable and responsive typing. A full row of iOS shortcut keys put iPad Pro controls at your fingertips – change volume, language and more – all without leaving the keyboard. Available for $130.
Desk Chair – Steelcase Gesture Reclining Office Chair – Many of us of a certain age suffer from lower back pain, myself included. But I’ve been trying this chair for the past month and loving it to the point where I went out and bought one. Steelcase describes this as the first chair designed to support our interactions with today’s technologies. It was inspired by the movement of the human body and created for the way we work today. The chair design takes the unique movements and gestures of the body into account to provide a system of synchronized interfaces that together provide customized support for any posture. Available for $998 with a variety of add-on options.
Travel Backpack – eBags Professional Weekender – This bag is closer to the size of a wheeled carry-on than a backpack. It easily converts from a backpack to a briefcase and includes vertical and horizontal luggage handle pass-thru panels. It features a well-padded and vented Airmesh back panel and contoured straps with a removable, adjustable sternum strap. The interior is designed to carry clothing for 1-2 night stays along with a laptop. And it’s approved as TSA-friendly. Available for $135.
Weather Alert System – Midland WR300 AM/FM Weather Alert Radio – With the ability to customize your warnings to receive the ones you want, the WR300 also has a programmable siren level to adjust the volume of your alerts to suit your needs and AM/FM stereo. It has a large backlit LCD screen and color coded alert indicators. It automatically switches over from AM/FM to warn you of hazardous conditions and has 6 memory channels. Available for $90.
Professional Prints – WhiteWall – What do you get the person on your holiday gift list that seems to already “have everything?” A nicely framed photo of a special moment is always a great gift, but creating a work of art from a special moment is as unique and meaningful as the moment itself. WhiteWall, a photo lab based in Germany, can turn your special moments into amazing works-of-art without breaking the bank. Producing your photos on any number of unique substrates such as aluminum, HD Metal, or placing your photo under acrylic glass or behind a solid piece of acrylic block, are only a few ways you can present a gift that is unique and thoughtful. WhiteWall can even take photos from a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and preserve the memories in a beautifully-bound book. Hand-crafted wood frames for traditional presentations are also available. Prices vary depending on options. TECH50+ EXCLUSIVE: Enter code WW20GK at checkout to receive 20% off of your first order. Valid until 1/31/17.
Water Filter – Kube Advanced Water Filtration System – This is a great option if you’re tired of waiting for the pitcher to fill and you’ve ruled out a reverse osmosis system as an option, Kube is certified to NSF/ANSI standards to remove many contaminants that could be in your water, including removing up to 99% of lead from your drinking water. It installs conveniently and easily under just about any sink, so your filtered water will be dispensed from your existing faucet. You’ll be impressed by the plentiful supply of filtered water that Kube provides for all your drinking and cooking needs. Kube will improve the quality, taste and smell of your drinking water and give you the peace of mind that you’ve done more to improve the quality of your water. Available for $250.
Hybrid Camera – Sony a6000 – If your 50+ er is interested in ditching his big DSLR for a mirrorless system, this is a great place to start. It’s been dubbed the world’s fastest focusing camera. From fast-action to candids, every artistic shot benefits from 24.3MP detail and a BIONZ X processor. For capturing crucial moments that go by in a blink, the a6000 can shoot 11 photos in one second. It’s easy to use too, with two quick-access dials and custom buttons that let you change settings on the fly. Body available for $400.
Battery Backup – CyberPower EC850LCD – A compact UPS with standby topology, this device provides battery backup and surge protection for desktop computers, workstations, networking devices, and home entertainment systems. When the battery backup detects that the computer is off or in sleep mode, computer peripherals connected to the ECO Mode and surge protected outlets will be automatically turned off, reducing power usage and lowering energy costs. Available for $98.
All-in-One PC – Acer Aspire U5 – The 23.8″ Aspire U5 Series is a slim and elegant touchscreen All-in-One PC that brings a new dimension to home computing and entertainment. It features Windows 10 and an Intel Core i5 processor. Its kickstand design makes it easy to use with a keyboard as a desktop computer or as a tablet on the go. And with a 1TB hard drive, you’ll never run out of space to keep everything you need for work and play on one device. Available for $900.
Solar Charger – Secur SP-6000 Ultimate Solar Charger – This device features two high efficiency solar panels for quick charging and a built-in 10,000 mAh battery that will charge an iPhone five times. It’s lightweight and easy to carry, perfect for camping or biking. It also has dual USB ports with quick charging function and is rugged and water resistant for outdoor use, making it the ultimate companion to charge all your digital devices on the go. Available for $125.
Tablet – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S – This tablet fits perfectly into a streamlined lifestyle. Looking every inch the part, its sleek, lightweight form makes for a capable companion for everyday life. The 12-inch touchscreen is big enough to serve as a fully functional mobile office. And when you want to unwind, the beautiful sAMOLED display becomes your very own movie theater. Colors are brighter and better on the high resolution display. And the premium leather-like finish on the dedicated covers takes on the wear and tear of daily travels with purpose and grace. Available for $900.
Sunglasses – Tifosi Marzen – With exclusive Swivelink technology, these the RX-compatible sunglasses adapt to any activity. They come with removable sport and lifestyle arms that can easily swapped out based on activity, so there’s no need to switch between multiple pairs of eyewear. It’s the complete sport optics solution for the active lifestyle. The frame is lightweight and durable for all day comfort and the hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces provide a no-slip grip, even in sweaty conditions. The polarizing lenses are made from scratch-resistant shatterproof polycarbonate, optically decentered for optimal clarity. Available for $70.
Smartwatch – Fossil Q Nate Hybrid Black Stainless Steel Smartwatch – This military-inspired hybrid smartwatch blends analog design with smart connectivity. With Fossil’s new smart technology, this rugged wrist essential is always on and always connected with a battery life up to six months (based on usage). Strapped in black stainless steel, the Q Nate features Arabic and stick indices with a blacked-out dial and black brushed case. Using Bluetooth technology, the watch can receive smartphone notifications and help accomplish daily fitness goals when the hour, minute, and sub-eye hands spin or the watch case vibrates. Set an alarm, view 24-hour time, compare time in multiple time zones and track everything from steps to calories to sleep. Press the bottom pusher to take a photo, control music or find your phone with the help of our Fossil Q App. Available for $215.
Printer – HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 – If your 50+er likes to print photos, or does a lot of work for home, this professional quality, wide-format all-in-one fits the bill. . It prints, scans, and copies with standout color up to 11 x 17 inches for bold documents and presentations. He’ll be able to print from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet with the free HP ePrint app, from an iPhone or iPad with AirPrint, or even without a network using wireless direct printing. Available for $180.
Super Stud Finder – Walabot DIY – Give your 50+er a taste of Superman’s X-Ray vision. Walabot’s special sensor clips onto the back of your smartphone and can see up to 4 inches inside concrete and drywall. It has multiple sensing modes of raw data and pipeline and adjustable sensitivity for optimal calibrations to your specific construction. Walabot can also take a snapshot of what’s inside your walls for offline analysis. Available for $199.
Thermal Camera – Seek Thermal CompactPRO – This is Seek Thermal’s most advanced thermal imaging camera designed for smartphones. Made for iPhone and Android top models, this highly-portable thermal imaging camera features a large, 320×240 thermal sensor with high sensitivity and a wide, 32-degree field of view. Offering adjustable thermal span, level, and emissivity settings, the CompactPRO delivers high-resolution thermal imaging and software capabilities available at this price. It’s great for helping to find leaks or critters in and around your home. Available for $500.