New! Faster! Smaller! Just released! Shopping for gadgets during the holidays can be thrilling. There are so many fun products being released just in time to fill your stockings, but making choices that your friends and family will love receiving- especially if you’re not the most tech-savvy- can be a bit daunting. That’s why I’m a proud, card-carrying member of the Staples Holiday Council— I’m working with them this holiday season to reduce the stress in holiday shopping and to help people find the perfect gift for everyone on their list (from the tech aisles, of course!)
There’s nothing quite like giving someone their first tablet, or the thrill of upgrading to a newer, lighter model. Tablets are one of those unique products that are great for kids, grandparents, and everyone in between- they really adapt to the users needs and have that magical “just enough tech” composition that makes them easy to use for all. This season, standouts include the new iPad Air, which sports a lighter, thinner body and a sharp retina screen, and the re-designed Microsoft Surface 2, whose Pro version has a USB port, display port and SD card reader, making a real contender to replace your bulky laptop. The new Kindle Fire HD is a fabulous tablet for families: It’s loaded with features that parents have been begging tablet manufacturers for, like easy-to-use parental controls that can set time limits for each child, and the optional FreeTime subscription which gives you a world of free kid-safe content for your kids to explore from brands like Disney and Nickelodeon for just $2.99 per month.
Super-charge your TV
TVs aren’t just for watching TV anymore. A streaming box is the perfect gift for someone who is ready to super-charge their TV and access things like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and more from their television. For Apple iCloud and iTunes users, the Apple TV is a great option because it builds in access to your photos and music as well as thousands of movie and TV show titles. Plus, it’s easy to use AirPlay to send a home movie you take on your iPhone or iPad right to the TV for instant viewing. The Roku 3 is the fastest streaming player ever from Roku, and includes an innovative motion-control remote you can use to play games like Angry Birds, that also has a headphone jack you can use to watch late night TV without disturbing your partner. Plus it gives you access to all the major music streaming services, tons of movies, as well as sports and news channels. Google’s Chromecast is an exciting new addition to the space- at $35, it’s the least expensive way to send entertainment from your Android tablet or laptop to your television, no remote required.
Let’s Hear It!
You’ve no doubt witnessed the explosion of audio accessories that have hit the market- Bluetooth speakers and brightly-colored headphones that make listening to your device fabulous and fashionable. Beats by Dre has lead the way, practically creating the market for fashion-forward headphones, and their newly remastered Studio headphones and their sleeker, Solo HD headphones in a stunning new array of colors are great gift ideas for the audiophile on your list. Beats also has Pill ($199), a Bluetooth speaker that lets you amplify your tunes with style, similar to Jawbone’s Jambox series, which is another great choice. Jambox speakers come in a range of sizes: The Mini Jambox is new this season at $179, and has great sound that fits in your pocket, and the Big Jambox has party-sized sound and fun mix-and-match colors.
If tech companies have anything to do with it, the gifts you want this season are things you can tap, swipe or charge. While you might just think of Staples for binders and paperclips, I’ll be wandering their tech aisles this holiday season to show you all the great gifts you can grab for any budget— it’s a must-visit tech destination for stress-free holiday shopping.
This post was sponsored by Staples. That said, I only recommend products I am truly excited about and believe my readers will enjoy.