The holiday season is upon us, and along with all the joy, tradition, family togetherness, and Christmas cheer comes that one nagging question we all struggle with:
“What gift do I get for _____________ this year?”
We all know the stress of trying to buy the right gift for that loved one who doesn’t really need anything and never asks for anything. What gift could we possibly bring them that might enhance their life and bring a bit of surprise along the way.
This year, the C2IT team wants to help by sharing a few of our favorite gadgets and tech that make our lives better. These are items we’ve used, tested, and enjoyed, so you can have confidence from a real user experience. They may not be brand new or revolutionary, but they work and enhance our lives. We hope these items will give you an idea or two for that great gift this year.
iRobot Roomba Vacuum – $350-900 – Recommended by Tina Cones and Adam Thompson
Robot vacuums aren’t really a novelty item anymore, but they do make cleaning a lot less of a hassle. Prices on “other” brands have really come down recently (Keith Parker has a bobsweep pet hair model that was only $200), which gives consumers more options when deciding how much they want to spend to get into the robot vacuum world.
iRobot’s Roomba still seems to be the leader of the pack, boasting self-charging, great corner cleaning, strong suction, and self-emptying features. Add to this the ability to fire up your Roomba while you’re out by using your app, and you’ve got a winner. This is sure to make a great gift for any person on your list. Your cat may disagree, however.
Apple TV 4K – $129 – Recommended by Keith Parker
There are certainly a lot of options when it comes to hardware that works well with streaming services. Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon FireStick, and a plethora of others. When it comes to the Parker household, we run Apple TV 4K and have no plans of changing anytime soon. The Apple TV 4K is screaming fast, easy to set up, simple to navigate, and gives you access to just about every streaming service you want. In addition, the picture is amazing, you can run the whole thing off your phone if you desire, and many of their services offer great 4K movies and sports options.
The only downside is that tiny little remote, which can fall between couch cushions and disappear easily. We solved this with a $10 silicone case, which makes the remote easier to handle and locate.
YouTube TV Subscription Service – $65/mo – Recommended by Chet Cromer and Keith Parker
Speaking of streaming services, our President and owner Chet Cromer highly recommends YouTubeTV. YouTube TV is an incredible alternative to cable. The user interface is easy to navigate, offers profiles for each family member that learns their preferences, offers unlimited DVR, and only costs $64.99 per month. The standard package offers 85+ channels, including your local stations, and also offers packages to add on premium channels for a monthly fee. YouTube TV also works beautifully with the aforementioned Apple TV 4K, has a robust offering of sports and on-demand movies, and the picture quality is solid.
For those looking to pay a lot less than the cable company offers for great features and easy user interface, YouTube TV is a great holiday gift.
Tablo – DVR for over the air content – $100-200 + small service fee – Recommended by Phil Dumm
For those who don’t want to pay for cable or a streaming service, OTA (over-the-air) is the way to go. However, one of the greatest drawbacks to using an antenna is the lack of ability to record your favorite shows or events. Tablo provides an answer to that dilemma with an OTA DVR that allows you to record your favorite shows. Tablo hardware comes in a variety of options, including the Dual Tuner (record 2 shows at once) or the Quad Tuner (4 shows at once). Some of the Tablo hardware requires additional USB storage, but some versions have built-in hard drives for an all-in-one solution. For an OTA user, Phil highly recommends Tablo.
Scrivener – $59 – Recommended by Adam Thompson
For those who love to write, outline, take notes, and create, Scrivener is an app they will absolutely LOVE. According to PCMag, “Scrivener is the best writing app for long-form writers because it was built with their needs in mind. Whether you’re pounding out endnotes for a nonfiction book or crafting characters to set loose in your next novel, Scrivener gives you a place to create, edit, and organize all your work.” Adam particularly loves Scrivener because it syncs seamlessly between devices and gives him a great space to take technical notes.
Apple AirTag – $29 or $99/4 – Recommended by Erin Cromer
Everyone has that friend that leaves their keys at the restaurant, forgets where they placed their wallet, and leaves their backpack at work or in the car. Apple AirTags might be the perfect gift for the misplacer in your life. AirTag works as a geo-tracker for your stuff. You can pair them with your Apple ID and then find these using the Find My app, just like your iPhone or MacBook or other Apple device.
SafeCam 360 Security Camera / Light Bulb – $39 – Recommended by Wendy Potts
Have you ever wished you could view your home from your phone or check on your pets from afar? Maybe you’ve looked into cameras, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. The SafeCam 360 Security Camera is a great solution, providing an easy security camera solution at a fraction of the cost. These cameras screw into a light socket and serve as a light bulb and provide a 1080P 360-degree panoramic view. Beyond that, they connect to your wireless network, provide two-way audio and real-time chat, and even offer night vision.
We hope this list gives you some great gadgets you could look at for Christmas this year. Our team enjoys these products, and we think you might as well!