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.
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.
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
This gift is ideal for someone who meets these three
- 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.