Syncfusion 2016 Tech Gift Guide

It’s the gift-giving season again, and time is running out. With traveling, cooking, remembering to unplug the inflatable decorations, keeping an eye on the weather, and all the other anxiety-inducing tasks at hand, it’s easy for people on your list to slip your mind and look at you with empty hands on the big day, asking, “Where’s my gift?”

To help save you from social malfeasance and placate any needy techies on your list, we’ve put together our fourth annual Syncfusion Tech Gift Guide.

Microsoft Surface Book
This year’s Surface Book is shaping up to be the go-to for mobile, high-performance machines this side of dedicated gaming rigs. It features an extremely high resolution 13.5-inch display, a dedicated NVIDIA GPU, a fully detachable screen that turns it into one of the most powerful tablets around, Windows 10, and much more. This machine is so powerful it can run robust CAD programs, video editing software, and current-gen games at impressive settings. The Surface Pen is also included for precise drawing and note-taking interactions. Once the Surface Dial is released, using the Surface Book will be a well-rounded hub for design, sketching, brainstorming, and all other creative tasks. If you’re looking for a laptop upgrade, don’t settle for the competition that did away with the function keys and called it innovation. Get a Surface Book.


Microsoft Surface Book. Source: MicrosoftStore.com.

Adjustable Height Desks

For anyone thinking about upgrading to a new desk at home or in the office, an adjustable-height desk is a must-have. It’s as good as having two entirely different desks in one spatial footprint. There are dozens of manufacturers and models to choose from, offering desks that adjust with a manual hand crank, or slide up and down effortlessly with electric motors and push-button controls. Cheaper alternatives sit on top of your current desk and can be adjusted to the right height for sitting or standing. Whether you’re a single-monitor kind of person, or someone with four monitors set up in different orientations, there’s a solution for everyone. Invest in one on wheels and you’ll be unstoppable, literally.


Desktop Standing Desk by VARIDESK. Source: Varidesk.com.

Moleskine Smart Writing Set

This gift is ideal for someone who meets these three criteria:

  • Prefers writing on real paper with a real pen.
  • Wants to store drawings, doodles, etc., digitally without the tedium of using scanners or cameras.
  • Despises the imprecision associated with tablet and stylus form factors.

Moleskine is famous for its hardy notebooks kept closed with an elastic band, modeled on the blank notebooks of the early twentieth century. The Smart Writing Set allows pen-and-paper die-hards to work with paper in a non-fussy, modern way. The centerpieces are the Pen+, a fully functional ink pen with a built-in infrared camera and Bluetooth connectivity, and the Paper Tablet, a Moleskine notebook with special technology embedded into the paper itself. Pair the Pen+ with an iOS or Android device with the Moleskine Notes app, and everything you mark with the pen in the Paper Tablet is accurately copied to the app. The Pen+ even keeps track of what page or notebook you’re working in. Inside the app, you can edit, organize, search, and share your notes easily, making the set a distinguished alternative to plain old note-taking mobile apps.


Moleskine Smart Writing Set. Source: Moleskine.com.

Travel Pillow with Built-in Hood and Earbuds

Sometimes you want your physical appearance to communicate to others, “Don’t talk to me,” but in a non-confrontational way, especially when you’re using mass transit during the holidays, be it planes, trains, or automobiles. With this wonderfully innovative neck pillow from 1 Voice, you can plug the embedded earbuds into your music player of choice, pull up the hood, pull the drawstrings tight, and doze off in any mode of transportation in which you’re not the driver. The pillow is available in gray or black, so if you want to be left alone, I recommend the black. 1 Voice also makes a sleep mask with sewn-in Bluetooth headphones and a memory foam pillow with built-in speakers. If anyone on your list is a fan of sleep and music, which ought to be the majority, one of these makes an excellent gift. 


1 Voice Travel Neck Pillow with Hood and Headphones. Source: 1voicenyc.com.

Drones

A 2016 gift guide wouldn’t be complete without a drone. New models by new companies hit the market all the time, and all of them come prepackaged with questions about their legality depending on where you live. Some are tiny, deriving their fun from aerial acrobatics and the wonder that flight can inspire. Others are hulking things that can be equipped with cameras or have cameras built-in to capture aerial footage of whatever you want. They certainly have their place in public services, cinematography, and now personal package delivery, but I can’t say whether they’re actually fun to play with for more than 10 minutes. They’re definitely cool and highly coveted, though, and have a devoted base of enthusiasts. (If you’re seriously looking for a drone, this Drone Holiday Gift Guide from UAV Coach will help much more than I can.)


X8HG Drone by Syma. Source: Symatoys.com.

Droning: The Other, Soothing Kind

What’s even more fun than piloting something with spinning blades that can endanger yourself and others? Listening to slow oscillations of sound, of course! Sound generating machines have been around for decades, generating different colors of noise that can help center you, draw you away from the chaos of the moment, briefly deliver you to a peaceful space, or even help guide you to sleep. Today, you can find hundreds of noise-generating mobile apps and websites with different levels of customizability. One piece of noise-generating hardware that makes a great gift is a Sound+Sleep machine from ASTI. Depending on the model, you get 30, 48, or 64 sound profiles, spanning the rhythmic sounds of the ocean, the constant background noise of a city, and the grating-for-some, soothing-for-others static of white noise. Other available features include USB charging ports, a headphone jack, auxiliary input, and volume that naturally adjusts to the ambient noise of the room. Combine one of the travel models with the 1 Voice neck pillow and you’re set to sleep through the remainder of the year.


Sound+Sleep SE by ASTI. Source: