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20 Simply Terrific Gifts for the Techie in Your Life

20 Simply Terrific Gifts for the Techie in Your Life


Topping this year's wish list are all the toys that charge, light up, talk, play, or communicate.

Tcl-roku-tv_0TCL Roku TV
Every year there is one item on my list that I adore so much I want to make it my own. This year it's the TCL Roku TV (and as proof: I begged the people with the company to sell me the test model they lent me, but when they told me it was too in demand for them to do so, I went and ordered one of my own off Amazon, where they sell for as low as $189). Here's why I'm in love: the TCL Roku is a super affordable Smart TV -- one that integrates broadcast and Web apps -- that offers more entertainment than any other Smart TV (that's 1,500 different streaming channels, many of which are free, and more than 200,000 movies and TV episodes). Even better: It was plug and play out of the box with a simple and easy-to-navigate screen that lets you access all of your other devices (so you don't have to switch back and forth between your cable or satellite box, your video gaming console, the Blu-ray or DVD player, and so on). A huge bonus is the tiny remote control (bigger is no longer better in the remote control game), which consolidates access to all accessories, and uses a more Web-centric model than the old-school remotes. It's easy to browse but even easier to set up favorites so you aren't sifting through over a thousand different channels each time you turn it on. It was super easy to program passwords and integrate my mobile phone with paid streaming apps like Netflix, and it has great picture and sound quality. It's the Smart TV easy enough for your grandmother to use, but once you see it you'll probably want to keep it for yourself (like I did!). From $179.99,

A-petite-projecteo_0A Petite Projecteo
A tiny projector, the adorbs little Projecteo fits in the palm of your hand yet allows you to play your favorite Instagram photos in a slide show projected onto your wall. Perfect for selfie-obsessed kids and adults alike. $35, GetProjecteo.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Makerboreplicator-mini-compact-mp05925_0MakerBot Replicator
Finally 3D printers -- which use plastic filament to produce high-quality 3D models -- are being made in sizes and prices more suitable for home use. For highest quality, stick with the inventor of the first 3D printer and go with MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact MP05925, $1,376, But if price is your biggest concern, you can get into the game with the XYZ Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer, $495, XYZprinting.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Juiced-2JUICED 2.0 Never Tangle Zipper Earbuds
The zipper design of these cool headphone cords provides a simple but hip solution to earbud cord tangles. With cords made from military grade materials, these puppies are built to last. Comes in black, neon blue, and glow-in-the-dark green. $24.99, Zipbuds.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

The-celebrity-robotic-avatar_0The Celebrity Robotic Avatar
This 600-pound, adult-size Celebrity Robotic Avatar, the only robot ever admitted to the Screen Actors Guild -- apologies to Futurama's Bender -- is the original party robot (for people with a lot of disposable income). It's the robotic avatar that has appeared in movies, television programs, music videos, and even entertained royalty. The robot is controlled with a really small, intuitive wireless remote that's so small it can escape detection, making it appear as if he is acting autonomously. His whole body moves in lifelike motions, which is nifty when he dances alone or with a partner. His impromptu banter with guests (delivered from the operator with a discreet wireless microphone) carries clearly from six speakers in his head and body. The monitor on his fiberglass and steel body houses an LED panel across his midsection that can scroll a customized message. $345,000, Hammacher.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Chromecast-and-google-play-gift-card-bundle_0Chromecast and Google Play Gift Card Bundle
OK, that Roku TV won't fit in a stocking, so this may be a better option for you: The Chromecast and Google Play gift card bundle is great little gift. Chromecast is a plug-and-play jump drive-size device that lets you stream videos and apps from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop (which you can use as a remote as well) directly onto your TV screen. You get all the apps you love like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, Google Play and more. And to help get the party started, top off your gift with a Google Play gift card to access the million-plus apps, TV shows, movies, books, and music tracks available. $35 Chromecast, $50 Google Play Gift Card, 633x3px-white-line_0_0

Kiwi-2-wifi-iphone-car-diagnostic-performance-kit_0Kiwi 2 Wifi iPhone Car Diagnostic/Performance Kit
The Kiwi connects to the onboard diagnostic port of your car and then wirelessly transmits your car's data to any iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It is compatible with cars made in the last 18 years, and you can install it yourself in mere seconds. It gives you a mechanic's ability to pinpoint the problems with your car (especially good for diagnosing that pesky "check engine" light that some of us have been igoring for years), without the hefty price tag of a mechanic visit. $60, ThinkGeek.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Acer_0Acer Chromebook
Finally, a decent notebook for under $200. The new Acer Chromebook 11 is an 11.6-inch HD Chromebook featuring an Intel processor with 16GB of storage and up to 8.5 hours of battery life. $199, Acer.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Power2u-ac-usb-in-wall-charger_0Power2U AC/USB in-wall charger
This patented AC/USB dual-socket in-wall charging solution enables you to turn a regular two-prong outlet into a socket for up to 4 devices with two integrated USB ports and two additional AC plugs for simultaneous powering. I want to replace every outlet in my house with one of these! $29.99, NewerTech.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Burg-12-smartwatch-phone_0BURG 12 Smartwatch Phone
Dick Tracy lovers, it's here: The first smartwatch that's also a phone, created by Hermen van den Burg, functions as a stand-alone phone, with the ability to make and receive calls and texts without connecting to a smartphone (but it also pairs with all iPhones and Android smartphones if you prefer). It offers all the basic functions of a smartphone -- phone calls, text, music, video, camera, calendar, contact lists, voice recording, etc. -- with a 1.5-inch 240 x 240 resolution, easy-to-use, scratch- and water-resistant touchscreen smartwatch. There's a funky purpose with interchangeable straps. Bonus: It comes with a free SIM card and $25 worth of free calls. $199, BurgSmartWatch.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

3d-pen_0The World's First 3D Printing Pen
I was still trying to get my head around 3D printing when I discovered this: The only pen out there that creates three-dimensional plastic drawings. While you draw in the air, instead of releasing ink, this pen releases warm thermoplastic, which hardens almost immediately, so you can create three-dimensional freehand drawings, without the need for a 3D printer. You can also download blueprints (like a six-inch-tall Eiffel Tower, a napkin holder, or Istanbul's elaborate Sultan Ahmed Mosque), trace the designs yourself, and then mend them together with the 3D pen. The pen heats up in less than a minute, so it's ready to go when you are. $99.95, Hammacher.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Alien_0Alien: Isolation
The gamer on your list wants a brand-new Xbox One or a PS4 bundle, but if those are too pricey, give them this hot new game instead. Alien: Isolation is a new first-person survival horror game capturing the fear and tension evoked by Ridley Scott's 1979 classic film Alien, the film that put Sigourney Weaver and butch babes in the military on the map. Players find themselves in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph stalks and kills deep in the shadows. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions, and use your wits to stay alive. Available on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, and Xbox One. Prices vary, GameStop.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Yantouch-diamond-3-in-l-bluetooth-speaker_1Yantouch Diamond+ 3-in-l Bluetooth Speaker
Think of this as a party in a box -- er, diamond -- that's as great for camping and backyard raves as it is for kids' parties and BBQs. This all-in-one entertainment system is the world's first three-in-one device, offering music, light, and alarm. The remote-controlled device has N-class 2.1 speaker system with patented sideways stereo effect (and, my DJ friend says, "super resonant bass") and a kaleidoscope of lights (16 million variations of pink, purple, blue, fuchsia, orange, gold, green, white, and red). The lights can be set up against a wall to create a wash wall effect or be placed in the center of the room or party as a conversation piece. You can use it as a soft light for reading, or synch with your phone apps to emulate sunset or sunrise to help you fall asleep or wake up naturally. And the Bluetooth 3.0 speaker has automatic Bluetooth pairing, unlike most Bluetooth speakers, which are hard to pair. $99, when using coupon code YT50DOFF at checkout.633x3px-white-line_0_0

The One Stop Desktop Charging Station And Organizer
This great desktop organizer can charge up to five devices at once (our choice: two mobile phones, one tablet, and a laptop, and it could still have plugged in one more item). It's cute, 100 percent eco-friendly, and made of sustainable bamboo. And the extra compartments keep everything you need, like your keys, wallet, and mail all in one place too. A must-have for anyone who wants to organize or simplify. $89.99,


The-talking-and-dancing-disco-robot_0The Talking And Dancing Disco Robot
If that giant robot isn't in your price range, how about this cute beat-sensing robot that dances to anything from simple hand claps to music stored in his soundstage to tracks played on your stereo. All you do is push a button on the robot's tummy and crank up your music, then watch him gyrate wildly in time to the beat; his hands also glow with varying intensity, and his face flushes with dance fever as he exclaims "Rocking on the dance floor!" or other phrases. When placed on his head support the robot even breaks out breakdancing moves. Pair him with a second disco robot, and they will chat, sing songs, or have a dance-off too. A free app lets you control the robot's dance steps with your smartphone or tablet. The included stage stores 128 MB of music in its integrated MP3 player or plays music from a connected smartphone or tablet over its built-in stereo speakers. $79.95, Hammacher

The Hands Free Gear Clock
This is the wall clock with small moving gears that rotate a large outer sprocket that tells the time. Instead of hands, the industrial clock has a simple arrow that points to the current time on the large outer dial, which makes a full revolution twice a day. Powered by the four fixed internal spur gears, the clock is nearly 2 feet in diameter, with bold numbers that are easy to read from a distance and submarkings at each 15-minute interval. Contrary to its prodigious size, this clock is constructed from lightweight ABS plastic with a metallic finish, making it easy to mount on any wall surface. $99.95, Hammacher.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

Hp-stream-8_0HP Stream 8
Sure, iPads are still awesome gets. But for those of us on the budget end of the spectrum -- or anyone buying gifts for kids who will beat the heck out of a tablet in six months flat -- the new HP Stream 8 tablet is a perfect low-cost choice. The cloud-connected, Intel-powered, Windows 8.1-based tablet comes loaded with one year of Office 365 Personal, 60 minutes a month of free Skype, 1 TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage for one year, and an optional 200 MB of free 4G data each month with no annual contract for the life of the device. $149.00,


Yin-yang-couple-bath-4_0Yin Yang Bathtub
From Trauywein comes this amazing new Yin Yang couple's bathtub that features soundwave massage -- vibrations that are tranmitted via water as you literally soak in the loudspeaker -- along with a traditional water massage (120 different water/air nozzles create the perfect "champagne" effect, where bubbles stay suspended in the water) and "regenerating" rainbow-colored lights. The split tub means you each can choose your own temperature and any additives (like bubbles or epsom salts). These models may be straight, but this rainbow-emitting tub says gay to me. $15,000, Trauywein-gmbh.com633x3px-white-line_0_0

The world's first spice pen, CinniBird literally draw on your food with spices. Every wonder how baristas and pastry chefs create those unbelievable decorations for food and drink? No clue, but with CinniBird it's super easy to do 'em yourself. $38,


Guardians-of-the-galaxy-steel-book-blu_0Guardians of the Galaxy Steel Book Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack
It may be a stretch to put a Blu-ray in a techie gift guide, but remember this is the super cool steel book 3D Blu-ray, and it's a disarmingly funny Marvel flick about a group of interstellar outlaws who join forces to save the galaxy from a villain who seeks ultimate power. So I'm pretty sure a lot of tech geeks like me want it in their stockings. $19.99,

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