Jason M’s Favorite Gadgets & Gifts for the Holidays [Holiday Guide 2015]

Of course it’s coming around that special time of the year and for 2015 we wanted to try something different. If you have seen from some of my other colleagues we each are compiling Holiday Gift Guides with some great recommendations that we have gotten our hands on this year.

Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Note 5


Even with it’s removable battery and expandable memory gone, the Galaxy Note 5 is still one of the best smartphones out there to beat. You have various options to replenish your battery via fast wireless charging and quick charging, a gorgeous 4K display for watching movies and playing games on, and one of the best smartphone cameras on the market to snap pictures and shoot video with. It’s refined S-Pen is great for multitasking purposes as well. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you can always go for its stylish cousin the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus which replaces the S-Pen with a sexy curved display.

Pricing: Varies by Carrier

iPhone 6s+


This device has come a long way and the iPhone 6s+ might be heading in the right direction. iOS9 gives you better ways to multitask, more notifications and the phone itself runs just as smooth. TouchID works better than just about any fingerprint scanner on any device and it makes ApplePay run smooth like a glove. Its 12MP camera takes great quick shots and its “LIVE” feature adds more depth to those images as well. This is also the first iPhone with 4K shooting which I might have to say has been pretty impressive. Just do yourself a favor and don’t get any storage smaller than 64GB.

Pricing: Varies by Carrier

Moto 360 2nd Gen

Wanting to stand out from others is easy when you use the Moto Maker option on the Moto 360 2nd Gen. You can decide to pick their 42mm face or go for the larger 46mm display which actually isn’t that large. From there the picks of bands and bezels are at your desire and you can go for a normal look or something crazy. Android Wear has picked up over the past year and the Moto 360 runs smooth with synced notifications and charges pretty fast thanks to its wireless charging.

Pricing: Starting at $299.99

Yuneec 4K Drone

Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K Drone 1

If you want to get into flying drones, the Q500 4K from Yuneec Aviation isn’t a bad place to start. While it may have a hefty $1,300 price tag, you get everything you need to start you down the right path of flying. It comes with two batteries, two sets of rotors, AC and car charging adapter and a huge remote control with a full color display powered by Android. The Q500 4K drone can soar as high as 400 feet in the air and its shoots dazzling images while recording gorgeous 4K video that keeps steady thanks to its awesome camera gimbal.

Pricing: $1,199.99 – $1,299.99

STM Drifter Energy Backpack

STM Drifter Energy Backpack

I been using the Drifter Backpack for about a year now and out of all the bags I use its been pretty much my go to for carrying my gadgets.This newer model comes with a smart battery pack for charging your gadgets when needed. It has a main compartments for your laptop, various other spots to store say a tablet, smartphones, etc. On the outside you can more accessible zipper compartment areas as well. On the sides is spots to put your water bottle and speaking of water the backpack has it’s own “raincoat”. While its been okay in the rain without it, for those heavy downpours its been a great piece of mind to conceal your backpack with this rain cover.

Pricing: $239.99

Chromecast 2015 / Chromecast Audio

Google Chromecast

Wanting to start out streaming media to your TV? Then you can’t go wrong with the Chromecast from Google. Its pretty dirt cheap and very easy to use. Plug in HDMI port, download the app and you are up and running. Great for watching some YouTube, HBO Go, Google Music/Movies, Netflix, etc as long as supported. Otherwise you can go the way of Casting which basically mirrors your smartphone or tablet screen onto your television. Of course there are more expensive options that do more but if you are just starting out its hard to beat the Chromecast. If music is more your speed Chromecast Audio can practically turn any speaker into a WiFi speaker with ease. Time to dust off those old music boxes.

Pricing: $35

UE Boom 2

UE Boom 2

I been a fan of the UE Boom for once some time and its successor the UE Boom 2 has made that love even stronger. First off the speaker is waterproof so don’t worry about getting it wet, its pretty much resistant to drops and stains, and it has a battery life of about 15 hours. Updates can be done over the air via its app and it has gesture controls. Various taps to the top of the speaker will provide play,pause, and rewind features. Best of all of course is the UE Boom 2 can be synced with another speaker for more great sound that you are accustomed to.

Pricing: $199.99

Kolibree Electric Toothbrush

Kolibree

You never really know how much you brush or good you do it till you actually monitor it. With the Kolibree electronic toothbrush you have the ability to create profile to see how good you brush and even check on your kids as well. While brushing the synced app you take all the data and tell you how good you did and what areas of your teeth to improve in. There is a fun game for kids to play where you essentially score coins for the better you brush. Also its rechargeable so no need to buy batteries all the time.

Price: $149.99

Accessories

Tile
If you or someone you know is prone to losing or misplacing things such as their wallet, phone, keys, you name it then it’s a no brainer to pick up a Tile. They are small, lightweight and can fit in your usual lost personal items. You sync them up to your devices via Bluetooth and that’s basically it. You can have multiple tiles at once and you can even share your Tile locations with others to help for the search of missing things when needed. Believe me that time you killed looking for stuff in the morning will be saved.

Pricing: $25

MyCharge HubMini
Pretty new to my arsenal of battery packs is the HubMini from MyCharge. Its been pretty much a life saver charging the iPhone 6s Plus and saves me from having to bring some of the larger, thicker battery packs. I love how small and compact it is and can pretty much throw it in my pocket. Great thing about it is that you can use it to charge iPhones as well as Android and Windows phones thanks to its microUSB and lightning cables.

Pricing: $69.99

mophie PowerStation+
Mophie Powerstation PlusIf you are looking for a bit of style with your battery packs then the PowerStation from mophie is a good idea. It has a nice strong build to it and depending what size you get you can pretty much charge your device from 0 to 100% with ease. In one day I used it to charge up three smartphones from the brink of extinction. They are a bit high in price but that what you pay sometimes for quality.

Pricing: Retails $99.99 currently $72.99

SanDisk Drives for iOS / Android
SanDisk iXpand Flash DriveOne thing you can usually count on with your smartphones is eventually running out of memory, especially if they aren’t expandable. Luckily Sandisk has a solution for this handling iOS devices such as the iPhone / iPad and microUSB smartphones such as the Galaxy S6, Note 5, and Nexus 6P. With the iXpand Drive you can connect it to your iOS device and move data off freeing up space and you can essentially run media off it as well. Same goes for their Ultra Dual USB Drives for Android devices. You plug it in and it recognizes it as a hard drive. Best part of both these drives are they fairly inexpensive and can be used device to device.

Pricing: iXpand starting at $42.99 , Ultra Dual USB starting at $8.99