Wow, where did the year go? The holiday season is upon us again and this year, we ask the girl and guy geeks at Zing Design to give us their list of the top 10 coolest 2014 Christmas gift ideas for the silly season. Here they are, sorted from the lowest to the highest price:
- Raspberry Pi A+ ($25.00 USD)
- iDevices kitchen thermometer (From $39.99 USD)
- Decibullz ($50.00 USD)
- Cuff (From $50.00 USD)
- GoGlove (From $79.00 USD)
- Corsair Keyboards(From $169.99 USD)
- Jawbone UP3 ($179.99 USD)
- LittleBits Smart Home Kit ($249 USD)
- Primo (From $280 USD)
- Cintiq Companion (From $1049.00 USD)
For the geekier geeks
Faster, smaller and cheaper than previous models, the A+ is an awesome cheap gift with tonnes of value. For those unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, it’s what if you get if you take a modern personal computer and strip it back to the absolute bare-bones basics.
This is cool gift for geeks of all ages and abilities. Kids can use it to learn programming and hack Minecraft. Older geeks can use it as a very small, low power computer for watching their movie collection on the TV (it has an HDMI port and outputs 1080p). Super geeks can use it to do … well pretty much ANYTHING. See the Raspberry Pi blog for some examples of the crazy, wonderful ways which people have utilised this cool little computer.
Looking for other ideas for the seriously geeky? Don’t forget to check out the LittleBits Smart Home Kit!
For the gourmet geek
$39.99 – $79.99 USD
Whipping up a juicy turkey during the holidays is hard business! The tricks are 1) brining it before cooking and 2) keeping an eye on the internal temperature while it is cooking away in the oven. Basically, you need to yank it out when the internal temperature of the turkey hits between 68 – 74C/155 – 165F and leave it to rest on the bench for at least 30 minutes.
I found the best gadget for this, is the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer, which allows you to easily monitor the inner temperature of your dishes all on your smartphone. The base and your smartphone will alert you when it reaches the optimal temperature for a certain type of meat and the two probes also allow you to potentially monitor two different dishes at the same time. The only drawback is that the bluetooth alerts only work within a 10-12 metre (32-39 feet) radius. The standard set cost $79.99 USD, but they also have a smaller mini version at $39.99 USD.
For the active geek
Using headphones or earphones on the go can be tedious. Anyone performing physical activities can relate to the frustration of constantly rearranging earbuds or headphones as they get loose or fall out altogether. Shopping around you can find some pretty sweet earphones out there that can be custom made to fit your ear perfectly. But with a price tag of over $300, it becomes a bit unrealistic for a lot of people.That is, until I stumbled across Decibullz, custom earphones at a quarter of the price.
Decibullz come as a standard looking earphone, then by using water and a microwave, you can mould them perfectly to your ear shape. If you loose or break a mould for any reason, ordering a replacement is cheap. Reviews talk about it being the most comfortable earphone they have ever used, and looking at the videos it looks simple and easy to do at home and on your own.
All that combined with a much more affordable price tag, makes the Decibullz a great gift for anyone active.
For the girl geek
$50.00 – $350.00 USD
Finally a piece of wearable technology targeted for women! Cuff is a small rectangular block, that can be inserted into different bracelets or necklaces, allowing you to change it up to match your outfit, mood, or to keep it concealed. It counts your steps and calories like a fitness bracelet and will sync up with your smartphone’s through their dedicated app. But that’s just the beginning – there are some amazing features that really puts the Cuff, a cut above the rest.
As a female, a lot of our wardrobe attire doesn’t really allow much room for our phones. Mine lives in my handbag most of the time and it’s frustrating when I miss a call or other important notifications when I’m out and about. When you get a call or other alert, Cuff will vibrate, allowing you be notified while your phone can stay in your handbag. It also vibrates rapidly when you get a certain distance from your phone. This is a great feature for me as I have a bad habit of leaving my phone at home or at a table at a cafe.
One of the best features of this device has to be its Emergency feature. When you setup your Cuff, you preset contacts on the app as your emergency contacts. If a situation does occur, just press your Cuff a certain way, and it will notify those emergency contacts with your location and activate the audio on your device.
Overall this device is a step in the right direction, not only for wearable technology but wearable technology for women. The fact that you can change the types of jewellery that it slips into will be popular, and knowing that you can discreetly call for help gives peace of mind, and I look forward to seeing how this device will develop in the future.
For the outdoorsy geek
From $79.00 USD
This product is currently through Kickstarter as a pre-order, and not available just yet, but looks like it’s going to a fantastic piece of wearable technology.
Listening to music on the mountain or running in the winter season is great, but it’s tedious removing gloves and getting out your phone, just to change a song or adjust the volume. There are headphones with remotes, but don’t withstand the cold. The GoGloves are configured so that certain finger taps work as a remote control for your phone. The hand gestures can change tracks, increase or decrease volume, or even answer phone calls, all without having to take out your phone and/or gloves off.
The other great thing about this device is the small chip that can be removed from the gloves. It works separately without the gloves, where you can use it as a remote to take photos, or start your GoPro recording remotely.
For the gaming geek
From $169.99 USD
These Corsair keyboards are perfect for the serious pc gamers out there. With 16.8 million colour per-key backlighting and wicked fast response, it would make a great gift or upgrade from your typical desktop keyboards.
The visual difference between the K70 and K95 is the programmable G-Key bank available on the K95. You can programme what keys will have particular backlight colours with the included software, and with onboard memory, it will remember any personal settings that you make if you unplug and plug in elsewhere later on.
When you purchase the keyboard you also choose what type of keys are used with the Cherry MX range. From the pro Red to the entry level Blue, there is something for everyone by personalising it with play types, and game genre preferences, to get the most optimum results.
For the health-conscious geek
The Up3 is the latest fitness band from the UP Jawbone series. It boasts some great features with a reasonable price tag. The Jawbone UP3 is currently available on pre-order and for shipping within the USA only. The wait time is around 6-7 weeks.
It contains all the basic features that other fitness bands have, measuring your calories burned, travel distance, steps taken etc. It has LED icons that light up, and although it doesn’t have a notification screen, it does use vibration for alarms and reminders like if you have been sedentary for too long. A great feature for office workers!
The UP3 also contains Bioimpedance sensors that track your heart rate and give you advance specs on your sleeping patterns. With this new technology, Jawbone are saying that with these sensors. they will be able to provide hydration and stress levels in future updates, without having to upgrade the hardware.
I think out of all the fitness bands out there, The Jawbone UP3 looks to be one of the best. With your heart rate monitored using a newer and more accurate system, being notified when you need to get up and get moving, and a battery life of up to 7 days, it makes for a great gift for many.
For the always-connected geek
$249 USD (Pre-order)
The LittleBits Smart Home Kit turns all of your household objects into internet-enabled smart products. It is seriously awesome! You can reinvent what you already have, around the house or build entirely new smart devices from other hardware. Best of all, no wiring or programming is needed, all you need is the internet and snap a few Smart Home Kit modules together.
The Smart Home Kit is only available on pre-order at the moment, shipping will start from early December. Don’t forget to check out their other seriously awesome kits for the seriously geeky!
For the little geek
From $280 USD
Primo is a toy created for kids from ages 3-7. It’s designed to teach the basic programming language sequence, but by doing so with physical toy with hands on play and logical thinking.
Included is a wooden box shaped robot, named Cubetto, that you place somewhere away from his or her “home base”. Using the control panel and coloured pieces provided, you need to instruct the robot which way he needs to go, to get him back home.
This product is effectively laying the foundations for programming by using the logic and an understanding for the queue and functions, that can be used later in life. Even with a price tag on the steeper side, this toy is for a large age range and would be a great investment for growing families.
For the creative geek
$1,049 – $1,999 USD
Have you ever wanted to use your Wacom tablet away from your computer? I know I have – I love my Wacom tablet but sometimes I want to work outside, or away from the computer. I’ve tried getting one of those style’s for my Android tablet and although it generally works well I find that having to manually change brush thickness makes everything take so much longer.
Well, now Wacom have release the Cintiq Companion. This tablet looks awesome! It comes in two different versions. one is Android powered and the other runs windows 8. These tablets give you the best of both worlds – you can use them as you would any other Wacom tablet by plugging it into a usb port on your computer or even better, unplug them and they because a portable android or windows device with Wacom tablet functionality. From what I can tell, the windows version seems to be the most powerful of the two but it will set you back between $1,799 to $1,999 USD, depending on how much storage space you are after.The android version on the other hand, is priced between $1,049 and $1,099 USD but comes with considerably less space for storing your files.