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Last minute gadget gift ideas

- December 18th, 2013

DropCamHD Xmas

Gadgets as gifts are truly great to give and to get but how do you select just the right one from the wave of offerings out there? The truth is it’s tough. So here’s a selection of just a few to give you some last-minute food for thought and help you wade through the sea of gadgetry for this holiday season.

DropCam Pro Keeps an Eye Out

If you’re travelling over the holiday season it might be a good idea to keep an eye on the home front. For that, the intelligent DropCam Pro is a great choice (reviewed here). It features an all-glass lens with high sensitivity infrared LED sensors that yield great video even in lowlight conditions. Its 130° field of view and 8x digital zoom will help you see more or less of what you want. Plus its built-in mic provides crystal clear two-way sound so you can also hear what’s going on at home.

You can watch remotely through your computer or smartphone and with the optional cloud recording save up to a maximum of 30 days or 720 hours of continuous video. You can also invite others to view your stream or share it publicly.

DropCam Pro also learns as it watches (in beta) and over time it will recognize your motion patterns, like opening the fridge or the dog scratching at the door, allowing you to customize your alerts from various activities.  You can also schedule when and for how long DropCam is active. No cables are necessary as DropCam Pro connects to your network via Dual-Band Wi-Fi. It retails for $219.99, comes in black or white and is available from Amazon.ca or Best Buy.

 en-INTL_Surface_Pro_2_64GB_5HX-00001_SP1

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

If you’re a Windows only person and can’t decide whether to get a lightweight Ultrabook or a tablet, the new Microsoft Surface Pro 2 might fit both bills. Recently updated, it comes in tablet form but with the full-blown version of Windows 8.1 PRO. It features an Intel i5 processor with a TPM Chip that allows for storage of digital certificates, encryption keys and passwords for extra security.

The Surface Pro 2 ports a 10.6″ ClearType Full HD 1920×1080 display with 16:9 widescreen orientation. It has two built-in 720p HD cameras, a mic & stereo speakers and a micro SD card slot for an optional 64GB of storage. It also features Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

At 900 grams, it’s not the lightest tablet in the category but it’s a heavy hitter in processing power and still has better battery life than its predecessor. It can also sit idle for one-two weeks and charges up in two-four hours.

It has a built-in kickstand to keep it upright and Surface Pen for note taking and drawing.  To complete the package, you simply need to snap on an optional Surface Cover that doubles as an external keyboard. Prices start at $899, with storage capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB and 4GB or 8GB RAM memory. You can pick one up or order it from the Microsoft Store.

ma750i-2

Stainless Steel Earbuds, Anyone?

For the real earbud person who looks for style and sturdiness and wants more than the run-of-the-mill out of the box kind, consider the over-the-ear UK-designed RHA MA 750i noise isolating earbuds. The model number has nothing to do with a BMW 7-Series, but they’re certainly built like one, constructed from individually machined stainless steel components including hand-made drivers. They come with 10 sets of ear tips including dual density, double flange and memory foam that should fit most ears types and satisfy most listening tastes.

The cables are steel reinforced with gold-tips and an in-line 3-button remote with mic. You also get a stainless steel ear tip holder and everything fits into its compact premium zip-up carry case. They look great and they sound pretty darned good too! RHA MA 750i comes with a 3-year warranty and you can pick up a set for $129.99 from the Apple store.

 Swann Mosquito RC

Mini Helicopter, Big Fun!

This helicopter is more than mini it’s a mosquito! With a diameter of only 3″ and weighing less than 1 ounce, the Swann Mosquito Mini RC Helicopter can easily land in any stocking. Ideal for first time pilots and ideal for indoors, this little gem is simple to set up and features dual-blade rotors and Swann’s Easy-Fly Gyro Technology to keep this gadget stable while up in the air. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that will give you up to seven minutes in the air with a 30-minute recharge time. It comes with a 6-way multidirectional remote control with charging plug, USB charging cable and a bonus landing pad game.

Swann Mosquito Mini RC Helicopter retails for $34.99 and is available from Costco.ca.

 iPad mini Retina

iPad mini with Retina Display

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s not so big, but with a larger display than most smartphones, consider the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display. Recently updated, this small wonder features the same 64-bit killer performance as the iPad Air (recently reviewed here at CanoeTech Blog), but in a compact 7.9″ form factor that is only 7.5mm thick and weighs a mere 331 grams.

Like its big brother, the 2048×1536 resolution display is stunning. It has two antennas for faster Wi-Fi and MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology that can easily double the download speeds of the previous model. It has a much-improved FaceTime HD camera and a 5MP iSight Camera that can capture stills and 1080p HD video. It will also sound good with its built-in dual mics.

Starting at only $419, it comes at a great price point that won’t break the bank. Like the iPad Air, it’s available in 2 colours, storage capacities up to 128GB and available in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE (Cellular) models. Add to it a new iPad mini SmartCover or for full-protection, the iPad mini Smart Case and you have a nice little package anyone would be proud to receive as a gift. It’s available from the Apple Store or your fave Apple Dealer

photos courtesy of their respective companies.

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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