WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts for Mobile and On-The-Go

Christine Persaud

Published: 11/04/2019 09:20:01 AM EST in Sound

WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts for Mobile and On-The-Go

We're back with the WiFi HiFi holiday gift guides! Each week, we'll release 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 you can use with your smartphone, or simply on-the-go.

Apple AirPods Wireless Earbuds

Someone who already owns and loves the Apple AirPods, or who has been thinking of getting a pair, will appreciate the new Pro version gift-wrapped in a nice, small box for them and placed under the tree. They add Active Noise Cancellation, "superior, immersive sound," and a new lightweight, in-ear design. Each earbud comes with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing a comfortable fit and superior seal. A vent system equalizes pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs, says Apple. AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant, as well, so they can be worn in the rain or while working out. You can cancel out all ambient noise, or use Transparency Mode to hear a bit of the environment around you - great for those who listen to tunes while running or walking in the streets, or who want to make sure they hear important train or airplane announcements. A neat Audio Sharing feature lets you listen to the same source with a friend by simply bringing another pair close to your device. They last for up to five hours (3-4.5 with ANC on) but you'll get more than 24 hours with the charging case. Make it personal by adding a special engraved message when ordering on Apple.com or in the Apple Store app. $329 Apple.ca

Tile Sticker

By now, you're probably familiar with Tile Bluetooth trackers, which I've included in past holiday gift guides. They are handy little devices that you can clip to a keychain or lanyard, or slot in your wallet to keep track of the item's location should it be lost, stolen, or left behind. Not only can you track the location from your smartphone and ring the device, you can also do the opposite and use a tracker to ring your smartphone if it's fallen under the couch cushions or you can't remember where you put it down in the house. If the device is truly lost, the network of Tile users can pinpoint its location in the app to help you find it. The latest version Sticker, is just that: a sticker that you can affix to pretty much any clean, flat metal or plastic surface like the underside of a skateboard, your wireless earbuds case, camera, remote, or other item. (I tested it by sticking it to the inside of my son's school backpack - not a bad idea for concerned and extra-cautious parents!) It has a three-year battery life and 150-foot range. $50 for two or $75 for four - they'd make awesome stocking stuffers or holiday party gifts. For the holiday season, Tile is also offering several multi-packs, including the Tile Essentials pack that includes two Tile Stickers, a Tile Slim, and Tile Mate for $90; a Pro Combo pack with two Tile Pros for $75 and a four-pack for $130; a four-pack of Mates for $90; and the Tile Mate/Slim Combo pack with two of each devices for $100. Tile.com

Ventev Wireless Chargestand

I've had one of these 15-watt chargers on my living room side table for the past year, and it's an absolute lifesaver. When I need to recharge my iPhone, I don't need to fumble for a cord, plug it in, and position it somewhere on the table. I just plop the phone atop the stand and it charges up while sitting upright. This way, I can also continue to use it to control my smart home as well, or take it on and put it back when needed. The phone can sit vertically or horizontally by repositioning the adjustable puck chargepad that fits into the centre of the stand. If you prefer, you can also lie the puck flat and charge that way. It works even with most cases on the device (I use it with the Handl case, which is also on this list.) It comes in grey or white for US$60. Another great option, and one I'll probably be adding to my home, is the chargepad duo (US$60) which, as the name implies, has room for charging two devices at once, whether it's two phones (you and your spouse or multiple kids) at up to 10 watts each. They won't sit upright like with the chargestand, and they'll charge a bit slower. But it's great for placing on a table in the foyer where you can drop your phone when you get home from work, or guests can leave their devices to charge. Ventev.com

Handl iPhone XR Case

I recently reviewed this smartphone case, which I've had on my iPhone XR for the last few months. What's great about it, aside from the sleek and stylish design, is the flexible and elastic brace system that secures your phone to your hand by allowing you to slide your fingers in between the case and the brace. Additionally, the brace can push into the slot on one side to function as a built-in kickstand, propping your phone vertically or horizontally. The brace makes it easy to hold your phone while having a conversation without having to wrap your fingers around the device, putting strain on them, and it makes taking selfies a cinch without worry of trying to both balance the phone in your hand and depress the shutter. I tried out the Merlot Pebble finish, but there are other options as well, each of which is $60. Handlnewyork.com

LG G8 ThinQ Smartphone

Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) technology in LG's G8 ThinQ smartphone uses the phone's OLED display as an audio amplifier, vibrating the entire surface to produce sound. CSO also reportedly improves clarity, making voices easier to discern and subtle musical notes more noticeable. In speakerphone mode, audio is delivered with bass through the bottom speaker. A 2-channel setup sends audio out of the bottom speaker and through the top third of the display. Working with audio partner Meridian, the phone also features DTS:X 3D Surround Sound to emulate a 7.1-channel system with or without earphones, a 32-Bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC that can up-sample most audio files for increased clarity and depth, and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) support for high-quality audio streaming. Boombox Speaker takes advantage of the internal space of the phone as a resonance chamber to generate improved bass and more volume. It's a great option for the audiophile who's also an Android user. Lg.com

Shure MV88+ Video Kit

A perfect gift for the budding podcaster or vidcaster, this kit includes a portable microphone and accessory kit that helps content creators capture high-quality audio for video recordings using mobile devices while on-the-go. As an expansion of Shure's Motiv line-up, the MV88+ kit also includes a Manfrotto PIXI tripod, phone clamp, and mount, along with iOS and USB-C cables; and has a headphone jack. Built on the success and classic design of the MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone, it's good for any type of content creators, field recordists, and even musicians looking to record immersive, high-quality audio. Use it for standalone audio capture, replacing the need to carry a portable audio recorder. MAP $329 Shure.com

Singing Machine Carpool Karaoke Mic

If you know someone who is a fan of the popular late night talk show segment (and Apple Music series), or simply loves to belt out tunes and sing karaoke, this mic, a collaboration with CBS Consumer Products, wirelessly connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and a car's FM tuner or via Aux cord. Then stream favourite songs from music apps like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube, and hear your voice over the car's speaker system as you sing along. The unit has a rechargeable battery, high-fidelity mic with independent mic volume and echo controls, and fun lights that pulse and sync with the music. The company notes, of course, that the singing is intended only for passengers. US$50 Singingmachine.com

Klipsch T5 Earphones

The Klipsch T5 earphones employ Klipsch's patented True Comfort oval ear tips, small nozzle, patented housing designs and approach angles so they accurately sit inside the ear canal. The soft oval silicon tips reduce ear fatigue while providing comfort and "an excellent seal" for noise isolation and superior bass. With up to eight hours of battery life per charge, plus an additional 24 hours via the charging case, there are Four Clear Voice Chat (cVc) microphones that offer crystal clear calls and ambient noise reduction, and a new Bluetooth 5 battery efficient chipset that provides increased signal and range. With USB-C charging, they are digital-assistant ready. Use the free Klipsch Connect app to personalize the listening experience, monitor battery levels, adjust EQ settings, get firmware updates, and more. Black, MSRP $249. Klipsch.ca

Scosche FlyTunes Wireless Audio Transmitter

Scosche's FlyTunes Wireless Audio Transmitter plugs into a 3.5mm AUX output and pairs with Bluetooth wireless headphones or other devices for listening wirelessly and connecting up to two devices for sharing the audio source. Ideal for use on airplanes to listen to seatback entertainment systems, with fitness machines at the gym, for kids in the backseat, or for listening wirelessly from non-Bluetooth devices that have a 3.5mm output jack, it works using a simple single- or dual-pairing process. Two folding prongs plug into a single- or dual-output, so it works with any model of aircraft. A short AUX cord allows you to plug into difficult to reach AUX output locations. The rechargeable battery provides up to eight hours of use per charge, and can be recharged along with AirPods in the Scosche Charge case (sold separately, US$30). I tried them out with a friend during a flight to Vegas this summer, and they worked flawlessly. Though I'd recommend keeping the little instruction card in the convenient carrying case to remind you of the order and button press sequences to pair if you tend to be forgetful! Black or white, US$40. Scosche.com

SureCall Fusion2Go Max Multi-User Vehicle Booster

This booster is a good option for road warriors who often travel to rural areas by car, or drive through dead zones where cellular connectivity is spotty. It incorporates patented Extended Range Technology (ERT), which improves data speeds while boasting increased operational reach between vehicles and cellular towers. ERT taps into the signal closer to its source, which improves the signal quality and allows for faster downlink/download speeds. With double the uplink power over other models, you can travel farther away from cell towers without losing signal. Compatible with all devices and data carriers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, it supports up to five devices on the same network, increasing speed and reliability for voice, text, and 4G LTE data. It is easy to install using a magnetic mount that eliminates the need for tools, software, or service fees. US$499 Surecall.com

Belkin BOOST Charge Duratek Cable

While wireless chargers are all the rage, you can never have too many charging cables, which can come in handy at home, at the office, in an airport, on an airplane, in the car, and while on the go. I have multiple cables in outlets throughout the house, as well as one I keep in my workback, one in the car, and another on my home office desk! This one is reinforced with aramid, a super-strong material used in protective clothing, tennis racquets, and surfboards. The material can flex without stretching, providing a protective structure for the wires inside. The outer jacket is a hard-wearing double braided nylon that resists damage as well. The point where the cable joins with the connector head is made flexible with TPE and longer than on other cables, which absorbs stress and reinforces the juncture between the cable and connector head, preventing separation. Each one comes with a leather strap to keep cables organized Lightning to USB-A cable and strap, USB-C to USB-C cable and strap, USB-C to USB-A cable and strap, and a USB-C cable with a Lightning connector and strap; four, six, and 10-foot lengths; black, white, or pink; US$25 to US$35 ea. It's perfect for the car, especially as we gear up to brave frigid cold temperatures outside. Belkin.com

Beyerdynamic Beat Byrd In-Ear Headphones

A great stocking stuffer or corporate giveaway item for the holiday party, these earphones boast an ultra-flat headphone housing for added comfort, a unique Y signet, and bright orange cable. The name Beat Byrd was inspired by jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker who performed in his legendary club "Birdland" in New York. They come with three soft silicone ear tips in small, medium, and large, for an ideal fit. They can also be used with Comply (Series 400) ear tips for better shielding against ambient noise. The orange cable doesn't lose its suppleness and shape, and the material minimizes cable noise. Ear tips and cerumen protection can be cleaned and replaced if necessary. MSRP US$25. Beyerdynamic.com

Pioneer ND-DVR100 Dash Cam

There's plenty of reason that lots of people are looking into dash cams these days, most notably that they can record an incident, providing footage that can be given to the police or used with an insurance claim. WiFi HiFi contributor David Susilo reviewed this model earlier this year, and absolutely loved it. It has a G-shock sensor, loop recording, snap-shot photo, and 114-degree lens, and uses 27.5 fps recording to prevent flicker. It records footage in 1,080p quality at different compression levels, and records to a microSD card. To install it, just mount it on the windshield, positioned behind or next to the rearview mirror using the adhesive back, route the power cable to the cigarette lighter adapter, and you're done! If you want, you can also opt for a professional installation to get a cleaner look. $200 Pioneerelectronics.ca

Urbanista Stockholm True Wireless Earbuds

As a viable alternative to the Apple AirPods if you don't want to fork over $200 for a pair of those, these stylish buds offer an impressive 14 hours of rated listening time through extra charges from the matching lightweight charging case, and 3.5 hours of listening per charge. Available in a variety of trendy colour options and compatible with both Android and iOS devices, they have simple touch control features so you can switch tracks, adjust volume, answer incoming calls, and activate voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant. There's a noise-cancelling dual microphone on the right earbud. $129 Urbanista.com

Apple iPhone 11 Smartphone

Any iPhone user on your list will appreciate an upgrade, so if you are looking to do this for someone special, like a spouse, child heading off to university, or parent, the iPhone 11 is the logical choice. It boasts dual cameras and Night Mode for photos, and is powered by the A13 Bionic chip with up to 20% faster CPU and GPU. Rated IP68 for water resistance up to two metres for up to 30 minutes, it has a 6.1-inch all-screen Liquid Retina display with wide colour support and True Tone for a more natural viewing experience. You can interact with apps using Haptic Touch in iOS 13, which provides app shortcuts for everyday tasks from the Home screen. The Ultra Wide and Wide cameras capture four times more scene and support 4K video with extended dynamic range. Dark Mode offers a more private way to sign into apps and websites, and a new Maps experience. Purple, green, yellow, black, white, and PRODUCT(RED)); 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities; starts at $979. Apple.ca

Alcatel 3T 8 Tablet

If you know someone looking for a basic, and affordable tablet for on-the-go video viewing, web surfing, and other basic tasks, this one is a good option. It includes CloserTV, which aggregates content from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu (in the U.S.), Amazon Prime Video, as well as cable and satellite TV services in one place. Log in to your account, search for titles, and view through the app directly on the tablet or cast shows to a smart TV. Kids Mode provides parental controls. The 4G LTE-capable tablet features a long-lasting 4,080mAh battery that can run for up to 8.5 hours of video streaming over Wi-Fi per charge, or seven hours of high-speed LTE use. Eye Care Mode reduces blue light to help relieve visual fatigue and offers optimized brightness and tonality in extreme lighting conditions. Google Assistant lets you use your voice to manage tasks and services or provide answers. $7.50/mo. for 24 months through Telus or Koodo, $180 outright. Ca.alcatelmobile.com

Sennheiser Momentum Headphones

Fans of Sennheiser headphones will appreciate these, wireless versions of the popular Momentum ‘phones. They offer auto on/off and smart pause: they can sense when they are put on or taken off using proximity sensors and pause and resume playback accordingly. Designed for all-day listening, they feature genuine sheep leather and soft padding on the earpads and headband and last for up to 17 hours per charge. With Active Noise Cancellation and a Transparent Hearing function, they have one-touch access to Siri, Google Assistant, and soon Amazon Alexa, and a three-button interface to control audio or calls. Pairing is via NFC and an automatic pairing mode. Further tailor the audio experience with the built-in equalizer via Sennheiser's Smart Control app. Fold the headband and store them in the fashionable fabric carry case. Smart Tile technology offers an integrated Bluetooth tracker that ensures you can find your headphones via the Tile app should they be misplaced. MSRP $580 (approx.) en-ca.sennheiser.com

Article Tags:  wifi hifi holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide, gift guides, tech gift guides, tech gifts, gifts for mobile, gifts for on the go, gifts for your phone


WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts for Mobile and On-The-Go

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