More Great Gifts for the Holiday 2012

On Monday, December 3, 2012 0 comments

I've gotten pinged a few times with people looking for gift advice on some subtle alternatives from my 2012 Holiday Gifts for Cool Kids of All Ages write-up. Questions about options on how to leverage certain products within their current setup and the like. While talking through these scenarios, I hit upon some other great products, many of which I have recommended at one time or another over the past year. So here is my "Another Great Gift List for People that have Everything 2012"!

I mentioned the Big Jambox which is a Bluetooth wireless speaker system that allows you to bring "big sound" with you no matter where you go. But for those of you looking to bring wireless music enjoyment to the home...I would strongly recommend Sonos PLAY: 3 ($300). Sonos is such a quality outfit. Every product they make delivers great fidelity and are thoughtfully executed.

So what does the PLAY: 3 do? Well, it lets you stream your iTunes music library to speaker anywhere your WiFi reaches. All controlled by your iPhone or iPad. You can also access a host of internet music streaming services including Amazon, SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Definitely a great gift of the music lover in your life!

And while I am at it, the original, smaller Jambox by Jawbone ($130) is still a wonderful and quite portable solution for streaming your music from your iPhone, iPod Touch or Android...any Bluetooth device. It even has a stereo headphone type of jack.

One question I am regularly asked is "How do I get the music on my smart-device to play on my home stereo?" and I point them to the Belkin Music Receiver ($20'ish). This inexpensive little device receives the Bluetooth music from your Bluetooth player (iPod Touch / Smartphones) and outputs via a regular RCA or headphone jack to your audio system. This is a great, low-cost solution for hooking up your iPhone to your home stereo to stream music around the house!

Speaking of audio around the house. Sometimes you just don't want to bother other people and while I have mentioned other great headphones, these are probably the finest set for just around $100! The Audio Technica ATH-M50 professional monitor headphones are spectacular. Now I do need to caveat that these are not portable headphones per se. They have a rather long, coiled wire but for hooking up to your home stereo, PC or lounging around the house, these are amazing!

Even their ATH-M30 model for around $60 are an amazing performer!

If you are looking for some great ear-buds for your mobile device under $50...check out the great Klipsch IMAGE S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise Isolating headphones.

And now that your home stereo can play all that cool music, you will want to be able to control it, the TV, Blu-Ray player, stereo and the like. I recommend the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote ($130'ish). Don't be fooled by the new Logitech Harmony Touch! That is the new version and the user experience is very awkward...still strongly recommend the Harmony One Advanced!

One thing that I really like to do for my holiday gift giving, is to give someone the gift of something they probably need but not consider getting for themselves. And one of the biggest areas of "neglect" is backing up your computers. And guess what...computers die, hard drives die, things get glitchy...and you loose valuable digital content.

A great solution is just pick up a small portable USB backup hard drive. I am partial to Western Digital and their My Passport ($90) line of drives. I have several that have proven to the highly reliable. For some reason my Seagate drives die within a year. So I stick with WD and have been happy. Just plug it into your computer and install the backup software and off you go. There is a My Passport for the Macintosh (less than $100) available as well that is compatible with Apple's wonderful Time Machine back-up solution. Note: You can reformat the PC version of the drive use on the Mac and vice versa but will loose the software along the way. Not really a lose except for the Windows backup software on the PC version of the drive.

While I am not a fan of the Android tablet offerings to date, I can see why someone would pick up an Android Smartphone. They are less costly, offer differentiated sizes, features and you more variety of options. And at the end of the day, you can make a phone call, browse the web, get your email and txt messages all at the price you are willing to pay.

This works as long as you do not have an iTunes music, apps or video library. If you do, stick with the iPhone! It is the best-in-class product in the category but if you don't, then an Android is an option for the techie or cost-savvy consumer.

While your carrier will offer different hardware, different pricing and different limitations, I would recommend you look at the Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Razr Maxx HD, Samsung Galaxy Note II (really like this one but it is rather big and not the easiest to tote around)...

...Okay, I tried to offer alternatives but you can get an iPhone 4S from many carriers for under $100! And there is not that much of a difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. Yes, the iPhone 5 is the nicest smartphone with an amazing app library, very well integrated eco-system of music and video integration. And all of that comes with the $100 iPhone 4S...pretty amazing!

And be sure to check out my full 2012 Holiday Gifts for Cool Kids of All Ages posting for tons more great gift giving ideas!

Other holiday gift lists and advice:

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas 2012

What NOT to Buy this Holiday Season 2012!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

LarryLarry Pacey, award-winning designer tracks the latest news on consumer products, electronics, appliances, smart devices, networking and the gadget lifestyle.For the latest news follow me on:

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Just my 2-cents,



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