It’s that time of year again and I want – I got is putting together massive Gift Guides of things I think would be perfect to give as gifts this season. So the fashion route is out for holiday gifts. I can’t blame people for that, it’s hard to get the right piece. Don’t worry about sizing, colour or style as this third gift guide in the series is all about the gadget.
My Mom is always asking me to print her photos of my nephew and niece. I didn’t have a proper photo printer until I went to an HP event and got my hands on the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer. It’s wireless which is such an important part to my home network as I’m trying to get rid of excess cables. I can print photos from my smartphone using HP software or Google’s Cloud Print. Some other great features include a touch screen, duplex printing, Internet access, scanning, copying and faxing. The Photosmart 7520 will automatically print a selection of NYTimes stories on Sunday morning if you want it to. The HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer is on sale for $109.99 right now at HP.com.
So, this summer I got an intimate look at Microsoft Windows 8 and the Surface. Suffice to say, it made me happy as a Windows girl. It only makes sense that I’d put the new Surface 2 in my gift guide. Improvements to the Surface include faster processor, dual-position kickstand, thinner, lighter, increased battery life, Full HD display, better front and rear facing cameras, faster usb ports, backlit Touch and Type covers. Microsoft Office, Skype and Skydrive accounts are also included. The Surface 2 starts at $449.00 and Surface 2 Pro at $899.00 on microsoftstore.com.
I finally ditched the Blackberry + iPhone smartphone combination I was doing this year. I contemplated getting another Blackberry because I knew there was no way I was going to make the iPhone my primary device. I had a real love hate relationship with it. Once it was clear that Blackberry wasn’t going to make another full sized keyboard based phone I decided it was time to ditch the company and go Android. HTC’s PR company send me an HTC One to review for a month. It was love at first sight. Anyone who saw me that month can attest that all I talked about was this damn phone. Recommending it to everyone. I loved the phone so much, I went out and bought one the day before I returned the review device. To understand the importance of this decision you have to understand that I haven’t paid for a smartphone in a number of years (thanks to the blog). I felt so strongly about the HTC One that I went out and spent my hard earned money on it. I don’t regret it for a second. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned and the best smartphone camera I’ve ever used. Check out my Instagram to see what’s it’s capable of. Telus, Bell, Rogers and Virgin Mobile all stock the HTC One but it retails without a plan for about $650.00.
I was very lucky to be one of the few people that was gifted the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 + Gear. If I wasn’t such a huge HTC One fan, the Note 3 would be my primary smartphone. The size of the Galaxy Note is one of it’s strengths and one of it’s major weaknesses for me. It’s just too big for my hands to use as an everyday device. I do lot of one handed manipulation of my smartphone and I’m not ready to give that up. I never realized how much I miss a stylus until I got my hands on the Galaxy Note. I’m really impressed with the handwriting recognition and it’s damn cool to write longhand on a device and have it converted. The old person in me loves this because sometimes thoughts come out better with a pen in hand. The Note 3 isn’t my primary phone but it’s come to replace my Kobo arc as my tablet. I love playing Tiny Death Star and Restaurant Story on it and Instagram is so incredible. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is Samsung’s push into wearable computing. The Gear is too big for my wrist so I never really used it. It’s a bit of a toy to me but would be a perfect gift for the tech nerd who wants to be the first to try all the new stuff. The Galaxy Note 3 is available at all major telecoms and it retails for about $750. The Samsung Galaxy Gear retails for about $329.99.
I still a fan Kobo devices. I like the Kobo Arc because it runs Android and it’s in colour. With a colour ereader I felt comfortable ordering digital magazine subscriptions from Zinio and purchasing books with photos and illustrations from Kobo..The Kobo Arc has been upgraded this year to include HD resolution, faster processor and improved camera. Kobo Arc 7HD starts at $199.
I’ve struggled for a number of years with commercial grade steamers. They’d last a year or two then break. I swore the next steamer I bought would be profession grade. I polled my stylist contacts and was told Jiffy is the steamer to beat. I tracked down a Jiffy J-2000 steamer on Kijiji and I couldn’t be happier. I was lucky to find a used one but I would have paid full price for it. WM Prager sells Jiffy J2 steamer and it retails for $295.00.