Last Minute Holiday Tech Gifts Guide


Christmas is only a few days away. Let this be your last-minute guide to a) giving tech lover gifts b) making purchases that may count as 2012 tax write offs or c) rewarding/self-gifting. You decide, but let me know if you pick something out.

Last Minute Holiday Tech Gift Guide

All all of these gift ideas [and comments!] come from the ABT holiday gift guide blogger panel event, which means you can purchase most of them there. Thanks to ABT for inviting me to attend and to the panelists for their reviews: Josh Davis of ABT, Chris Foreman of ARS Technica @foresmac; Marcus Leshock WGN reporter @marcusleshock, Elliott Serrano RedEye Geek To Me @geektome; Nancy Loo “Big Tiny” blogger and WGN reporter @nancyloo; and MJ Tam publisher of @mjtam.

Whatever you use this guide for, I hope it helps you find something you need. And, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas week and an amazingly awesome 2013!!!


If you have an iPhone 5, the $29 Lightning adapter for iPhone, will come in handy.


Need a wireless headset? Check out Motorola’s $50 Bluetooth.

Blu-ray player

Standard DVDs really do look better on a blu-ray player, especially on HD TVs. Redbox now offers Blu-ray movies.


If you’re not a Blu-ray fan, check out this compact, and inexpensive, device that lets you watch Netflix and stream programming in HD. Prices start at $49-$99 – what an affordable alternative to cable! Roku offers more services and channels, and is the best option for those who don’t have Apple products.


Thumbs down all around on 3D TVs. The panelists suggest waiting for 4K, which looks like retina TV, or Ultra HD. The resolution is so high the screen looks like you can literally touch it. The price tag? $25,000 for a Sony 80”4K TV. But, if you’re willing to pay that much, Nancy will do personal newscasts and will even bring in breakfast – no TV necessary.

Apple TV

Apple TV is cool because you can sync your Apple devices with your TV. With the addition of the $99 Apple TV box, your TV becomes a big digital picture frame or an oversized computer screen. Everybody can send their stuff to the TV via iframe, you can mirror your Mac screen, browse Apple movie trailers or watch Netflix.

Power Packs

Priced at $99, the Juice Pack Air is one of the best case/chargers for phones. You can get a full charge off of the brick. The Power pack is great when you’re in the airport and don’t have to be by an outlet. It can chargesanything with a USB and has two ports.

iPod Nano Bluetooth

The Nano is redesigned to reach a more narrow market. Young kids and fitness fanatics will like it to use it with Bluetooth and wireless headphones. It’s $149 and has a touch screen. Although the headphones that come with it don’t have a microphone, it does have a microphone recording app.

iPod Touch

The styling on new the $300 iPod touch is really good for mobile gamers.


The panel enjoyed debating the merits of the $199 Google Nexus 7 16GB versus the $329 16GB iPad mini.

The Google Nexus is heavier, but some people like that feel. Everyone was okay with the iPad mini not having a retina display. If you have all Apple stuff, you’ll probably pick up the mini.

Google and Amazon have a very clever strategy. They sell their tablets for what it costs to make. They’re hoping people will buy apps, and they want to grow the app market. Given the choice, the panelists would choose Google’s tablet over Amazon’s Kindle. Competition is healthy and will make them all better, but with Apple’s integration it makes it hard to cut the Apple core.


At $199 Beats headphones sound really good. They’re best when geared towards electronic hip-hop with bass heavy music. Kids and young adults want these headphones with customizable colors, designs and covers that make a fashion statement.


The new super slim PS3 $260 comes with 250GB of memory and is bundled with Uncharted 3. Sony’s new console comes out in 2013.

PS Vita

Vita can be used for so much of the PS3 stuff; there is s benefit to PS 3 this season. You can play your game on the road and it loads into the cloud.


The Canon t3i, at $650 with 18-55 lens, is a better value than the recently released Canon t4i.

A new Nikon nexus camera has Android built-in to upload one image at a time, not a complete gallery.


At $900, Sony’s 46” Bravia TV may sound pricey. But, it’s only $14 per year to run. Any TVs that are 2 or 3 years old will be 2-3 times that much.


The new retina MacBook Pro was the winner here. If you need power for photography or video work, the panel advised going for the 15” model. If you want a lighter model, go for the MacBook Air.

Tech Gift Recommendations from the Blogger Panel

Josh Davis suggests giving the $230 Panasonic tablet to people that aren’t tech savvy .

Chris Foreman recommends Fender’s new $199 Squier Stratocaster that comes with a built-in USB port with digital audio that goes right into recording software and has a regular amp plug.

Nancy Loo likes Nike’s $149 fuel band. Wearing the band does make her work out and it syncs with her phone so she can see the numbers.

Marcus Leshock advised that you don’t give somebody something that you want. Think about what they like to do. Know what a person’s interests are and then tailor the gift.

Elliott Seranno recommends giving a gift certificate for a comic collections, using the Comixology free app.

MJ Tam gave a recommendation, but I’m skipping it here to suggest you watch the ChicagonistaLive! Holiday show. There, you’ll see five bloggers selecting gifts from Walgreens. I was excited to select health and wellness gifts for the show.

Multiple Monitors

Thanks to Jon Spangler, a partner at Linda Hudson Writing in San Francisco, for contributing this suggestion to purchase another monitor. Jon recommends the Viewsonic VG2732m-LED, “We ordered a second one this past week and they are very nice monitors (using miniDisplay Port – to – DisplayPort adapter cables ordered from Other World Computing in IL).”

If you do any writing at all – and who doesn’t – you’ll appreciate how Jon and Linda use their new monitors. Jon says, “We really cannot write, edit, or proofread effectively on a 13-inch laptop screen! 🙂 I am really glad we went to 27-inch monitors. Now we can have two documents open simultaneously–or two pages of the same doc or PowerPoint presentation–complete with Track Changes accumulated over several revisions. Ditto for multiple applications and pages (web browser, word processor, source docs) while composing a press release or PPT. A 21- or 24-inch monitor just does not offer that capacity.”


Thanks so much for reading this post! What’s on your holiday gift wish list?  Inviting you to add your recommendations in the comment section.

Disclosure: Product price and descriptions may vary. Notes taken at the November ABT event may include price or product errors. Please check manufacturer and seller sites for accurate information. Before taking a tax deduction, check with your accountant or financial planner; this post is not intended to offer professional financial advice. I received no compensation for attending the event to learn more about electronics and gifts for the holidays. I love tools and gadgets that make life and business easier, faster, richer and better!

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