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2014 Holiday Tech Gift Guide

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2014-holiday-gift-guide

The holiday season is among us with Black Friday just around the corner. Once again we have taken the time to gather up some of hottest items that we feel will be getting a lot of the spotlight. We have selected 20 hot items this year. Gadgets, gaming and TVs…let’s take a look at what’s hot!


Ultimate-Ears-BoomThe Boom by Ultimate Ears (Logitech)
This wireless bluetooth speaker was one of the hottest portable speakers we reviewed this year. Not only is it loud, but it packs an amazing range. It has a very small footprint, can hold a bluetooth connection for a great distance and you will spend hours not only bouncing from track to track, but also before the battery lets out since it lasts up to 15 hours on a single charge. If we had to pick a speaker to share this holiday, it would be the Boom.

Buy from Amazon


Bowers & Wilkins P5 Headphones
Bowers & Wilkins P5 HeadphonesWhat if the person you’re buying for isn’t looking for a bluetooth solution, but something a little more private instead? B&W’s P5 audiophile headphones will more than hit the spot. They look good, they feel good and oh man do they sound great. B&W is well known for their reference line of speakers, providing some of the best quality sound the dollar can buy. You will close your eyes and get lost into your music easily with these. They are accurate, they are warm and they are so very pleasing.

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iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum
iRobot-Roomba-880-VacuumNobody enjoys doing house chores, but who says you have to be the one for the job? Why not let technology take care of that for you? This iRobot is one of the latest models by Roomba that can clean almost any floor type. It has a longer lasting battery so that it can spend even more time on the run to make sure it gets every spot. It has built-in navigation technology that makes sure it doesn’t knock anything over or get stuck against the wall somewhere.

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Dyson DC65 Animal Vacuum
Dyson-DC65-AnimalHere comes another “alternative” choice! What if you do enjoy taking on that cleaning task? Or maybe you don’t trust a robot to be sneaking around behind your back while your away! The Dyson D65 Animal might be more down your alley. The Animal is a lean-mean-dust-fighting machine. As its name leads you to assume, it handles pet hair well on carpets, furniture and everywhere else. Dyson uses patented tech in all of its vacuums and fans, bringing you a unique way of conquering the task. The only drawback, is with Dyson you will always have to pay for the name. I guess that’s what happens when you build a attractive reputation.

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VIZIO 80-Inch LED Smart TV (M801i-A3)
Vizio-80-inchHow about upgrading the living room TV with a monster? Vizio has an 80 incher (non-3D) that will more than fulfill that role while not costing nearly as much as you’d think. In fact, at the moment it is only $2800. We don’t know how long that price is going to stay that way, but it sure does the consumer market a favor (now most everyone can afford a TV like that…at that price). You can read our review of it here.

Buy from Amazon


Sharp 80-inch Aquos Q+ Series 3D TV
LC-80UQ17U-5Let’s say that 80-inches isn’t enough, but you also require 3D and a slightly better resolution. In fact, let’s say you want the best resolution a smaller price can buy. It may not be as good as a Samsung, but it is also costs a lot less. The Sharp 80-inch Q+ TV rocks that position this year. It comes in higher than the Vizio price-wise, but won’t run you as much as the higher brands. The resolution is great (a semi-2k-ish resolution). (here is our review of it)

Buy from Amazon


Amazon Fire TV Stick
amazon-fire-tv-stickHow about something to go with that new TV? Something like tons of TV and movie content via all your favorite networks like Netflix, Hulu and of course Amazon Prime (as well as many others). It’s like Roku, but better? That’s supposed to be the idea at least. The Fire TV Stick isn’t actually out yet. It’s via pre-order at the moment and your order probably won’t even arrive until January due to the popularity (hype) of it, but a nicely printed “IOW” in a gift wrapped box would be sufficient until they receive their new wonder stick in the mail. What makes this a great deal is that you can get it for only $39 with free shipping pre-ordered. It does everything Roku can, offers voice search and is backed up by one of the biggest online companies in the world.

Buy from Amazon


Vizio E-Series TVs
vizio-e-seriesLet’s take a step back and give TVs one last look. Now let’s say 80-inches is far too big for your taste. You just want your typical 32-60″ TV, and one that isn’t going to challenge the wallet. In fact, let’s go with value pricing without a sacrifice in quality! That would be Vizio’s E-Series TVs. The come in all sizes and the price is going to be just right. If you wait until Black Friday, chances are, their prices will drop some more since all of the stores will be giving the E-Series some attention due to how dirt cheap they are (in price). (Series Review: here)

Buy from Amazon


The new GoPro 4 Silver Edition
gopro-4-black-edition(updated from Black to Silver) We debated this one for a bit since the price is a bit high which was a risky move on their part. However, it seems to still be a hot topic this holiday season, so be sure to see these in a lot of carts. We haven’t published a review yet since #GoPro never sent us ours, so no benchtesting and jaw dropping shots to share with you this time around. The GoPro 3+ was a hit, and it’s safe to assume the 4 is going to follow in its footsteps as sport enthusiasts around the world compete to obtain the greatest action footage ever (and drone footage, can’t forget about that hot topic).

Buy from Amazon


Xbox One  – Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle with Kinect Sensor 
Xbox One - Assassin's Creed Unity Bundle with Kinect SensorIt’s a little captain obvious on our part, but we have to add the Xbox (and the next 2 items) to the list. Everyone knows the gaming systems are always some of the holiday dominators. It seems in the list of options to choose from, the Assassin’s Creed Unity bundle is getting the most attention. We assumed it would be the Advanced Warfighter edition, not because of the game (which has heavily mixed reviews), but the custom designed console itself. We wouldn’t mind one here at the office to play and gawk at between articles and projects (it looks amazing). Instead, the Call of Duty one is getting a lot of bad press as being flawed (game not downloading or taking days to download, or simply no games playing at all, etc), while the Assassin’s Creed edition is getting all of the attention and selling like crazy without any console troubles.

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Playstation 4 Destiny Bundle
PlayStation 4 Destiny BundleOn with the captain obvious, the PS4 lands itself right into the list as it’s selling just as well as the Xbox. Toe to toe, they compete for the top console sales this season. The Destiny bundle seems to be doing amazing. The game itself has collected a long list of loyal fans, while a select few sit snarling as they feel it seems too much like another Halo. Really, it feels more like Halo meets Mass Effect (both of which are wonderful series). Expect to see just as many PS4s leaving the stores as Xbox.

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Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set: Super Mario Bros U & Luigi U
Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set Super Mario Bros U & Luigi UIn 3rd place, you have the family favorite, Nintendo. Still finding its place in a lot of holiday lists, they are selling hot as children yearn for the Disney-like magic that Nintendo delivers. This bundle, obviously filled with classic Mario fun, seems to be the Wii highlight. With both games included, it should be finding its way off the shelf this season. Most of us here owe Mario for an awesome childhood. It’s good to see the tradition continue.

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Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack (all consoles)
Skylanders Trap Team Starter PackA commodity among the younger kids, Skylanders are rocking the sales ads and there is a version for every console. Popularity just continues to grow as kids discover this collectible (genius) approach to a video game. Kind of evil really, as like Pokemon, you just have to collect them all. It is important to note though, that consumers have been experiencing troubles with the “Wii” edition freezing, so you might want to stay away from that copy. There doesn’t seem to be any freezing issues with the other consoles.

Buy from Amazon


Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet
Fire-HD-Kids-Edition-TabletAmazon launched a kid friendly edition of its popular Kindle called “Fire HD Kids Edition”. It’s perfect for the younger ones due to its ability to withstand torture. It has a tough shell to protect it from physical damage and the hardware inside is just as powerful as a normal Kindle. Amazon even covers it for 2 years in case it does wind up getting damaged by your child. There are some hiccups as it’s a new approach to the Kindle and they are still working out the kinks in the software (mostly filter controls working cross-apps). Nothing that software updates won’t solve though, so the concept is great, it takes the abuse and can only get better as they release new changes.

Buy from Amazon


Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs Apple iPad Air 2
Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Air 2This was a tough one as the Mac vs PC split is still strong and both have a powerful tablet to play with this year. The Surface Pro 3 is a bit expensive for our taste, but it does perform well and it’s great walking around with a Windows PC without the extra (physical) baggage. On the same note, the iPad Air 2 is rocking the world of Mac fans around the world. So this one is completely user preference and needed to share this slot. Which are you? Mac…or PC?

Buy it on Amazon today:
Going with PC? Click here for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets!
Going with Mac? Click here for the Apple iPad Air 2 tablets!


Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6Apple fans obviously love upgrading their phones every single time Apple launches new hardware……..right? Ok, that statement can be argued probably, but that doesn’t change the fact that many do. The iPhone 6 is just another player in that game and it is selling strong. Personally, we (at least most of us) feel the iPhone is over-priced (but that would be a special feature of almost every Apple product). Biased? Yes we are, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are selling like crazy.

Buy from Amazon


Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5First we were going to bet on the HTC One M8 for Windows (which is selling great), but the Galaxy S5 is beating it out heavily, mostly because the Windows Phone usershare is still catching up (but getting there slowly). Meanwhile the Android market share is selling strong and the Galaxy S5 is at the top of the list at this time. Some say it is the iPhone of Android devices. Is that true? That is another answer that will be found within user-preference!

Buy from Amazon


Garmin Vivosmart
Garmin-VivosmartFitness fitness fitness! The Fitbit started most of the craze of wanting to track your days activities using a device wrapped around your wrist or clipped to your waist-side. The Garmin Vivosmart is a nice looking band that not only tracks all of those important daily analytics, but also provides you with notifications from your phone (similar to a smartwatch). It works for both Android and iPhone devices, and comes in multiple colors. If you are a Windows Phone user however, you would be better off with the “Microsoft Band” since the Vivosmart won’t function with Windows Phones, and the Microsoft Band runs about the same price but comes with enhanced features!

Buy from Amazon


Microsoft Band
Microsoft BandOk, we just talked about the Microsoft Band in the last item, but it also earned itself a spot as well as a lot of users have been waiting for Microsoft to make a move into the smartwatch market. There was a lot of anticipation, and now consumers can finally get a smartwatch that fully supports their Windows Phones. It even supports Cortana (Microsoft’s personal assistant AI), which is fun. It’s a smartwatch, it’s a fitness tracker, it’s your quick access to Cortana. At the moment it isn’t available on Amazon, but you can get it in the Microsoft Store.


 

Seagate External 4TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive
Seagate 4TB External Hard DriveFinally, the last item in our list. Who doesn’t love a little boost in hard drive space during the holidays? You can find the 4TB Seagate (external) on sale this season, and at the moment you can find it for only $130 (at the time this article was posted). You can use it as an external drive like it was made for, or you can rip the drive from the inside of the box and use it to replace an internal drive. Either way, 4TBs is an enormous amount of space to upgrade to!

Buy from Amazon


Obviously there will be so many other items rushing off the shelves this season. We can however only spend so much time covering it all before we fall into a deep coma of holiday excitement. Hopefully our 20 recommendations help you in your holiday shopping. Some of us have already gotten a head start as the pre-Black Friday sales have been rolling in. Don’t forget to keep a strong eye out for Cyber Monday as well (the Monday right after Black Friday) as it is expected to be another tech-strong rush of discounts at all of your favorite stores.

Good luck and happy shopping!

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About Author

Designer, Editor and Product Reviewer
Poc Network

Ryan is an avid gamer that spends most of his time either commanding teams on the Xbox One or out on the grass kicking the soccer ball around when others are willing to take the challenge. He comes with a bachelors in electrical engineering and a hobby in the installation of advanced audio-video environments.

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