WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts With Bang for Your Buck

Steve Makris

Published: 12/20/2019 07:00:02 AM EST in WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guides 2019

WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts With Bang for Your Buck

We're back with the WiFi HiFi holiday gift guides! Each week, we'll release a new themed gift guides, chocked-full of great tech gift ideas for different people on your list. This week, we're looking at great gifts that might not necessarily be brand new but offer great bang for your buck.

Epson BT-30C Moverio Smart Glasses

Epson's BT-30C Moverio smart glasses offer a unique affordable proposition for USB-C-equipped Windows PCs and Android smartphone owners. This slick pair of thick eyeglasses are like regular glasses combined with the ability to insert AR and VR (digital information) in your line of vision through a pair of embedded prisms. In this case, 1,280 x 720 at 30Hz movies with the equivalent of viewing an 80" screen from 16.4' in HD, including 2D and 3D content as well as captions. You will also see confidential information from your connected Windows PC or your phone apps. It works at home, the office, or while traveling, and the video is just as bright outside as it is when viewing indoors. Epson includes a wired remote control and a pair or black eyeglass covers to eliminate the natural see through view, keeping the movie surrounded in total darkness. There is an insert for prescription glasses, too. $699

Senic Muse Blocks NFC Tiles

Here's a cool gift concept using NFC technology for quick one-tap access to your music subscription playlists, movies, or smart home scene. The "Art Smart" MuseBlocks from the Germany-based company are colourful 7cm square tiles embedded with battery-free NFC chips, which simply turn on when tapped by NFC-equipped phones. Holding your phone to one of these tiles brings up your song playlist that was previously programmed with included or free NFC software. It works with your favourite music apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Tidal. Use multiple tiles, each programmed to bring up different playlists on your phone for the right mood. It starts at $24 for a set of three colourful tiles, or an Art Set that Includes one wooden bar and seven Muse Blocks for wall mounting is $119. You can customize these tiles by ordering colourful blanks you can scribble on with icons and text or send in your own photos. Muse Blocks work with iPhone 7 and up and Android phones equipped with NFC.

Sonos Beam Soundbar

The Sonos Beam gives you value for your buck and would make a great for investment into the Sonos ecosystem if you're not on board already. It's loaded with technology. From the get-go, you get impressive stereo for gaming, clear vocals, and full movie bass sound. Later you can add two Sonos One models, $200 each for left-right rear speakers or to expand to other rooms. Voice enhancement specifically tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers emphasizes the sound of the human voice when you need it. A five far-field microphone array used for advanced beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation keeps sounds clear in any environment. It has optical in from your TV. But the icing on the cake is how smart it is: it's Alexa, Google Play and Apple ready for time saving commands. If you are glued to the TV screen and need to change the lighting, get brief weather reports or command other Sonos speakers at home, you can do it all from your TV chair. $499


ZQuiet QuietOn Snore Cancelling Earbuds

Anti-snoring mouth guard specialist ZQuiet has a unique gift for helping to prevent snoring...well, the sound of snoring from disturbing others, that is. Instead of torturing your partner with your snoring, consider gifting them with these Earbuds. Don't laugh now. Unlike cheap ear plugs that block all sound, these low-profile rechargeable buds are tuned to the frequency of snoring and can be switched on to full hearing mode when desired. $299

Viewsonic M1+ Ultra-Portable Cinema Projector

Viewsonic's M1+ Ultra-Portable Cinema projector, now with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, and premium dual Harmon Kardon speakers, offers quality viewing and sound on the go. It works in most rooms, and weighing just 630 grams, is easy to bring with you for viewing outdoors for a movie night - it runs for six hours per battery charge. It has 16GB of built-in memory and LED light technology that offers up to 30,000 hours of usage. Featuring 250 lumens of brightness, the M1+ projector is engineered with a 120,000:1 contrast ratio, as well as a short-throw lens that can display large images in small spaces. The M1+ makes it easy to share and view a variety of multimedia content with its multiple connectivity options including HDMI, USB 2.0 and USB Type C, Audio Out, and a microSD card reader. With support for Full HD (1,080p) resolution, the M1+ is also 3D compatible with optional ViewSonic 3D glasses (PGD-350). The integrated Smart Stand acts as a lens cover when not in use and can be configured on any uneven surface. It will shut the light off if it detects nearby objects. $230

Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart Toothbrush

This version of the Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart is a premiere electric toothbrush that comes in plain recycled packaging. At 30,000 brush strokes per minute, the three included auto sensing brushes will leave no plaque, stain, or crumbs behind, as I can attest to having used on for the past 10 years. Of course it's smart, too. The Sonicare app has improved over the years, accurately following your good and bad brushing habits with flexibility to go past the traditional two-minute cycle for more attention to spots recommended by your dentist. My advice to smart toothbrush newbies: you might abandon the phone app, which accurately follows your brushing onscreen, after a few days thinking you have the proper technique. But you'd be surprised how easily old habits can creep back after a few weeks. It's best to check your brushing with the phone app at least every month. Thankfully, one smart feature not requiring smarts and apps on this model is a flashing ring light at the base that warns you when you are brushing too hard. It uses wireless induction charging (good for two weeks) in a handy thick glass for rinsing or an even handier small charge travel base that takes up less counter space. $179

Epson EcoTank Printers

Gifting a regular new inkjet printer has an annoying hidden cost, especially for high volume users - expensive ink cartridge replacements. Epson's now extensive line of EcoTank printers cost a few hundred dollars more than their ink cartridge-using equivalents but bring huge ink savings in the long run that typically start paying off after the third ink cartridge replacement. For example, an EcoTank printer costing $350 comes with four ink bottles that can last for about two years of printing up to 7,500 black/6,000 colour pages. The next two-year four bottle replacement kit costs only $80! To match that, an equivalent ink cartridge printer would require up to 30 complete ink cartridge purchases over the same timeframe, costing more than $1,500. Wow! My pick for the best all around busy home/small office EcoTank printer is the ET-2750, which features voice commands, wireless printing from mobile phones, up to 5,760 x 1,440 dpi in any colour nearing laser quality when you need it, auto two-sided printing, excellent 1,200 x 2,400 dpi optical resolution scanning, and more. $350

Philips Soup Maker

Making homemade soup is not as easy as it looks unless you are a pro. The Philips Soup Maker is an amazingly simple device that chops, blends, and cooks simple ingredients into delicious pureed, chunky and milk-based soups as well as compotes, cold soups, and smoothies. It's failproof with easy instructions in an 83-page included cookbook with delicious photos and calorie, fat, carb, sugar, fiber, and protein listings for each of the four servings it makes. It packs 1000 watts when heat is needed with most soups cooking in 12-18 minutes, with the exception of a few 35-minute milk-based soups. Your soup is kept warm for 40 minutes and when you lift the sturdy top lid with push-button controls and chopper, simply pour from the base. MSRP $130

Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold Headphones

Allow me a moment of mindless extravagance. The Meze 99 Classic has similarly warm flat acoustic performance to its more affordable Meze Neo 99. But when it comes to killer looks, the Meze 99 Classic wins hands down with its immaculately finished walnut cups. Large drivers offer a rich sound in exceptionally large earcups with almost too deep bass and the sound of orchestral triangles coming through ever so clearly. Like the Neo 99, the unique suspension system of the cups fits around the head like a glove. One unique feature: if these headphones feel more comfortable worn the other way around, simply switch the independently removable quality stereo cables, too. The left cable is marked with a ring notch. Smart. MSRP $570

Huawei Watch GT Smartwatch

Huawei makes several watch bands with some unique features and surprising performance. The Huawei Watch for Android 4.4 and iPhone 9.0 or later devices is affordable with impressive battery life - up to 30 days when only receiving messages and calls. As I turned on more sensors like optical heartrate, gyroscope, magnetometer, ambient light, barometer sensors, and part-time exercise tracking, I averaged one week between charges. The coin-size magnetic USB-C charger fits in your shirt pocket for travel. Real-time heartrate reporting is accurate within two BPM of competitors while the GPS radio supports three Satellite Positioning Systems (GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO) worldwide for more accurate, faster and precise positioning. I like the thorough scientific introduction to advanced detail coaching and real time guidance training. It has many main and sub exercise categories in action activities with smart notifications including counting steps, your sedentary status, and monitoring peak intense activities and notifications of any messages, phone calls, alarms, or set reminders. Huawei TruSleep 2.0 rocks identifying common sleep related issues and provides more than 200 potential suggestions to help you sleep better. The AMOLED touchscreen is 326 PPI sharp, viewable from any angle. MSRP $259

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus

The Lightstrip Plus is light magic at your fingertips, or, in this case, voice command - it's compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit and Siri, and Google Assistant. The 80" strip is flexible so it can be cut, extended, or bent around tight corners. It has a high light output at 1,600 lumens with 16 million colours that can sync with music, be voice controlled, or controlled remotely when away from home. You can wake up to sunrise colours projected on your walls or behind furniture and go to sleep with your own sunset colours. Timers can be set with the Hue phone app as well as sophisticated "light recipes" apps from third parties. First time Hue users require a one-time purchase of the Wi-Fi-based Philips Hue Bridge ($75) which can handle subsequent Hue lighting products. MSRP $90

Huawei Media Pad M5 Lite Tablet

This luxurious looking tablet nudges itself between low and high-end Android tablets including pricey iPads in its 10.1-inch 1,080p sharp wide view display with minimalist curves, helped along with Huawei's ClariVu enhanced viewing technology. The co-engineered Harman Kardon quad-speaker system puts the M5 Lite in the same class as pricier tablets and quad speaker iPads with noticeably better clarity, less distortion, bass and concert hall audio effects, and more bass, especially when Huawei's Histen 5.0 stereo audio kicks in with 3D surround sound. Unlike competitors, Huawei includes a 2,048-layer pressure sensitivity M-Pen lite stylus for taping your way through navigation, handwritten notes and memos. The 7,500mAh battery fully charges in 2.9 hours. I like the Enhanced-Eye comfort when in Kids mode and smart reminders when the device is too close to your child's face, or when your child reads while laying down. When in Kids Mode, your child is safe from online influences. Instead, they will be per-occupied with kids activities that also use the onboard camera. Kids have to be signed out to access the regular part of the tablet OS. It runs Android 8 with full access to Play Store, Google Maps, and more. MSRP $389

BT-168D Battery Tester from Lee Valley

We're all guilty of hanging on to used batteries, unsure if they are still up to snuff. Simple and dependable to use, the BT-168D Battery Tester eliminates the guesswork. It works with any 1.2V to 9V battery, including rechargeable and most button-cells, giving an instant voltage reading you can compare to a chart on the side of the tester. Because it's powered only by the battery being checked, it always works - even a blank screen tells you right away that the battery is fit to be discarded. At MSRP $9.50, it would make a great stocking stuffer.

PowerCube Cordless Multi-Outlet

Another great stocking stuffer, PowerCube Multi-Outlets come in different colours and models. The USB model has four grounded outlets plus two USB outlets for devices such as cell phones and tablets. For use with standard grounded sockets, rated to 15 amps, 125 volts, and two USB outlets rated to 5 volts DC, 2100mA. These surge-protected fixtures are ETL approved for indoor use in Canada and the USA. MSRP $17.50.

Article Tags:  wifi hifi holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide, gift guides, tech gift guides, tech gifts, affordable tech gifts, bang for your buck gifts, stocking stuffers


WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts With Bang for Your Buck

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