Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the electronic gadget-lover in your life? It can be challenging to keep up with the latest devices in the fast-changing world of technology.
The non-profit Business and Professional Microcomputer Users Group Inc. (BPMUG) is ready to help. At its recent monthly meeting, held in West Hartford, the computer users group sponsored a demonstration by Staples Easy Tech Field Manager John Yearsley at which he presented a sampling of what’s new and improved in the world of technology. From other sources, we've added a few of our own picks as well.
Lenovo Yoga or Lenovo Thinkpad Twist are new touch-screen laptops with flipscreens that twist and turn into tablets.
The Apple MacBook Air is a new super-thin, super-light laptop. Apple’s other popular laptop is the well-known Apple MacBook Pro.
Chrome Books are laptops running Google’s ChromeOS. This is a good choice for a “second computer,” said Yearsley. They are particularly useful for Internet and email use. The Samsung 13” Series 5 is a popular choice.
Tablets may be the most popular gifts this year. Amazon has rolled out the Kindle Fire HD, which is highly rated and a top seller this year. Yearsley said he covets the Google “Nexus” line of Android tablets — available with a seven- or 10-inch screen. Apple has new iPads — the iPad with Retina Display and the iPad Mini.
For those who simply want to read electronic books, an e-reader may be the best choice. The new Kindle Paperwhite, from Amazon, is a top seller. For those who prefer a keyboard over a touch screen, there is the Kindle Keyboard. Other e-readers include the Nook Simple Touch Reader, from Barnes & Noble, and the pricier Sony PRS-T2 Reader.
There are some great choices if you're in the market for a new cell phone this year, although the ones that come with 2- or 3-year contracts are hard to give as gifts. The iPhone 5 is an obvious choice for those who love Apple products. If you're willing to branch out, critics are raving about the Samsung Galaxy S III, which has a larger screen than the iPhone 5 and some great features, including an Android operating system. Another highly rated phone is the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.
For those looking to upgrade their HD TV to a “smart TV” (to access the Internet or stream video such as Netflix), there are devices that can help. Some examples are NeoTVmax, Google TV, Roku and Boxxee Box. Gaming devices such as the Xbox and the Wii also have this option.
Watch what is going on in your home with the D-link wireless camera, a device that connects with your home wireless network and lets you view the live video and record from anywhere.
Meet “The Nest Learning Thermostat,” which is a device to replace a thermostat. It “learns” what temperatures you like throughout the day and creates a custom schedule for your home. It can be adjusted from anywhere via Wi-Fi.
Brookstone’s wireless headphones for the TV or computer make a great gift.
The Logitech Bluetooth Wireless Speaker enables you to play music from your tablet, cellphone or computer. It’s easy to move throughout your house or to take on the road or to parties.
Microsoft has introduced the Wedge Touch Mouse. Optimized for Windows 8 navigation, it has wireless Bluetooth connectivity and has a sleek and compact design.
There are no battery hassles with the Wireless Solar Keyboard, made for both Mac and PC. It runs off warm light and can be a companion device for a tablet.
USB hubs: Run out of USB ports on your computer? There are USB hubs with multiple ports that come in cute shapes.
Thumb drives/flash drives: Many of these are offered in fun designs like a car with headlights, Angry Bird figures or charm bracelets and many more.