Note from Investopedia: As gadgets are among the few gifts that excite anxious recipients the most, Fox Business Network (FBN) technology reporter Shibani Joshi weighs in below on what the hottest tech gifts are this holiday season.
Shopping during the holidays is equal parts stress and fun. Door-buster deals and free shipping promotions seem to only add to the confusion and frenzy of the season. I try to keep things easy. My shopping mantra is simple: This is the time to indulge in those digital items you've been salivating over all year long. I buy online as much as I can. I do tons of research - not just on features - but on pricing, so you get the best product for the least cash. I relish this time of year because this is the one time I get to treat my family to the latest battery-powered obsession that I think THEY should not live without. This is a snippet of the list that Santa will be bringing to my own family this year. I hope they wait to read this until December 26.
The Parents or Grandparents
If your parents are like mine, you find yourself angry and slightly embarrassed at the phones they carry. These are mobile phones from the digital dark ages; flip phones they received for free when they signed up for a cell phone plan back in 1998. This age group might not feel the need to spend hundreds of dollars on a mobile phone and certainly won't be inclined to paying to get content on these devices. Well, welcome to a whole new world. For anyone looking to dabble in what a tablet can do while upgrading to a fantastic smartphone, I really like Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
This is a perfect gift because it allows you to get some real bang for your buck. It's tall yet slim design makes it easy to use as a phone, yet gives you enough surface area to feel like a tablet. The single use battery life is about one and a half days and then there's the awesome stylus to help you avoid fumble around the keyboard. It has the latest Google Android OS for a seamless and intuitive user experience. The device is on sale at TMobile for $369 with contract.
For the Spouse That Has i-Everything
My husband has every i-device on the market and then some. Getting him to even consider a new tablet or smartphone device is moot. So instead I opt for ideas to make those Apple devices new again through accessories.
The iSport athletic earbuds from the makers of the "Beats by Dre" line are reasonably priced at under $100, have the street cred of being made by Monster and are distinctive looking and rugged. You can sweat, work and even surf in these headphones. It beats that pair you carry around from your last Jet Blue flight for sure.
Also on my list is this speaker dock for the iPad from Logitech. Our home iPad gets tremendous use as a Skype interface between my kids and our families, who live around the world. We are always trying to lean our iPad against books and odds and end furniture pieces to get the best view and keep it out of the way of kids' reach. The iPad cases don't cut it for me as a stand. This stand sits the iPad straight up for great video views, charges it while it sits and you get amplified sound through the speakers.
For the Techy Toddler
It didn't take long, but my two-year-old daughter has already claimed my iPad as her own. It is mostly filled with her apps and downloaded Dora the Explorer content anyway, but I still need to use these apps. Each time I try to pry the device from her tiny hands we quickly get into meltdown territory and there are a flood of tears and drama. I can't handle the drama. So, what better gift for the techy toddler than her very own tablet?
Leapfrog has one of the hottest kid items on the market right now: the LeapPad2. At $99, it is far less expensive than buying a regular tablet on the market for your kid and it's much more durable. It has many adult tablet-like features including: front and back cameras, touchscreen, a stylus and built-in apps. There are apps for every category: music, art, math and more. You can even connect the device to your computer with LeapFrog's Learning Path, which provides a status report on what games your child played, duration and performance. There are some complaints it runs a little slow, but I have yet to see that. With this device, you won't cringe at the sound of it crashing to the floor and there will be zero chances your entire photo library will be accidentally deleted, too. That's worth the price tag alon.