The most useful and entertaining tech gifts of the year.
It can be daunting to sift through the newest technology products to find something worthy of your gadget-obsessed friends and family. Fret not: These are the most useful and entertaining tech gifts of the year.
DJI Phantom 3 Drone, $700: If you are in the market for a reliable, easy-to-fly drone — and who isn’t, these days? — the Phantom 3 is the one to buy. DJI is the world’s largest consumer and professional drone company and its birds are sturdy, well-designed and simple to handle. The standard model of the Phantom 3 is a well-equipped basic flier. For a few hundred dollars more, advanced versions include better positioning systems and the ability to transfer a live video feed from the plane’s camera to your phone.
Amazon Echo, $180: You wouldn’t guess that Amazon’s odd-looking talking computer would be all that useful. But the more you use the Echo, the more you love it. Put it in the kitchen and call on it to set timers, create shopping lists, do quick math, get the weather, play music, settle trivia bets, control your TV and — because Amazon keeps adding more functionality — maybe a whole lot more.
Polaroid Snap Instant Camera, $100: In a throwback to yesteryear, you flip up the viewfinder of this stylish little camera, snap a shot and wait a few seconds for a tiny print to emerge. The camera — which can also save your pictures on a standard Micro SD card — uses Polaroid’s Zero Ink printing paper to produce a rectangular image about the size of a business card. That is not big enough to frame, and at about 50 cents a sheet, it is not cheap, either. But in an age of ephemeral snapshots, it sure is fun to hold a real picture.
Nest Cam, $200: An Internet-connected camera like the Nest Cam has all sorts of uses — just get creative. Spy on your pets, people-watch out your window, watch bread dough rise or check on the house cleaners. The Nest Cam can be mounted on a ceiling or wall and the video feed can be easily viewed from the Nest smartphone app.
Sabrent 10-Port USB Charging Station, $35: This inexpensive little charging station is a must for anyone who has a lot of battery-powered devices. Buy a few for around the house (plus a few USB or Apple charging cables) to create multiple charging stations — a place to plug in smartphones, tablets, e-readers, smartwatches or whatever else for a quick boost of power.