The clock is ticking as we count down the remaining holiday shopping days of the year. As with every year, we parents procrastinate and then run around like maniacs in an attempt to get the perfect gifts for people in our lives who rattled our nerves the least. Luckily, I’ve gathered a few awesome yet affordable products to fill out your holiday haul.
None of the gifts here are gender specific so feel free to impulse buy. The tech items are also grandparent-friendly for the most part. No need to go on a web searching spree to learn how to work them either.
The whole Internet of Things concept used to just be the babble of eggheads who wanted their homes to work like something out of a James Bond movie. But in only a few years, IoT gear has become a full on craze with Amazon’s “Alexa” virtual assistant leading the charge. Their Echo device bum rushed pop culture and is one of this year’s top gifts for the holidays.
Adding to their dominance is the Echo Show which handles the usual lighting, home entertainment and personal organization tasks but adds a color screen into the mix. Through Alexa, you can make audio and video calls to friends and family. The call quality is dependent on your home internet connection, so if you have one of those super-charged, top-tier cable TV plans, you can finally get the most of it by letting your kids panhandle for toys in crisp, clean, colorful video.
I’ve followed the Power A company for a while and they’ve been putting out solid video game products for years. With the arrival of the Nintendo Switch, they’ve recently dropped a line of accessories for the video game system. My top picks are the collectible Mario and Legend of Zelda lunch boxes that come with an exclusive Joy-Con Comfort grip. Additionally, there’s a screen protector and a pair of earbuds. A great bargain at 30 bucks.
It’s time we’ve all finally accepted the fact that waiting for things suck. That includes the time it takes to enter the combination or fish around for the key to a padlock. Capitalizing on our collective laziness is the Tapp padlock that allows you to unlock it through your smartphone’s bluetooth connection or fingerprint.
According the company’s website, the more you use the fingerprint feature the faster it will start to unlock, speeding to a 0.8 unlock speed. So the more your plant your sweaty, post workout fingers on the lock’s reader, the quicker you can get to your stuff and flee the gym for tacos.
Aimed at the pre-school and kindergarten audience, Dr. Panda is one of the rock stars of kiddie mobile games. Adding to the growing list of edutaining apps they have available, Dr. Panda recently released an augmented reality kit that lets kids express their artistry on flash cards and have them come alive through the lens of an iPhone or iPad. Augmented reality isn’t to be confused with virtual reality, so that means you won’t need any special goggles to make it work. Think of your child drawing a vase on a flash card and through the iOS device’s lens, it will look like it’s sitting atop the card.
Considering all the disgusting things we inhale daily, it’s surprising we aren’t all wearing hazmat suits each time we venture out from home. Bioscarf aims to be the next best thing, as not only will it protect your neck from the cold, its fabric acts as a filter to block dust, smoke and pollen. The simple design and color options make Bioscarf easy to coordinate with whatever style you rock. The portable air filtering functionality is a must have in larger cities where airborne nasties run the show.
Believe it or not, the thumbstick controller buttons on the wildly popular Nintendo Controller actually benefit from putting these small rubber covers on them. They’re made to keep sweaty thumbs from sliding and costing rage-inducing mistakes. I found them to also be great at keeping the thumbsticks clean and yuck-free from skin oil and snack debris.
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