Holiday Gift Guide 2015: What Topped Our List?

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Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us and Christmas is just around the corner. If you’re in the thick of the annual gift-buying frenzy, we’re here to help. After an annual survey of the Expand team, we’re back with another list of ideas for your favorite tech lovers.

For the Designer

iPad Pro

At first glance, the iPad Pro just looks like a giant iPad. We can’t help but laugh as we’ve watched our tech devices get smaller and thinner, only to turn around and get bigger. (Looking at you, iPhone.)

The iPad Pro is practically a different device with a different audience and a different purpose. With its huge screen, higher resolution and greater processing power than any iPad before it, the Pro is ideal for the design professional. Adding the $99 Apple Pencilmakes it even more artist-friendly.

Where to get it: Apple.com, Apple Store or certified Apple retailers |$799 for 32MB with Wifi

For the Movie Lover

TV

Sometimes, you just want a new TV. But television isn’t as simple a category as it once was, so it pays to do your research. There are TVs that have built-in streaming and gaming capability, and there are others that just have a really, really good picture. Both can run the gamut in price. Different reviewers will have different opinions, too, so make sure you read more than one source. Get started here and here.

Where to get one: We’ll assume you know where you’d want to buy a tv, but bear in mind that price and availability will vary by brand and unit.

For the kids

Toy Drone

No matter your stance on drone ownership, toy drones are at the top of many kids’ Christmas lists this year. It made the Expand team’s list for the second year in a row. There are many to choose from within a reasonable price range and availability at your local big box store, but like any piece of technology, do some research before deciding which one to get.

Our dev team’s favorite is the Syma Quadcopter.

Where to get it: You can get the Syma X5C on Amazon for under $50.

For Kids of All Ages

Raspberry Pi 2

If you, like me, wondered what on earth this was, you can read more about Raspberry Pi here.

It’s described as “a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse” that’s powerful enough to do most everything you’re used to doing with a computer. It was created to be an educational tool to teach kids how to use programming languages like Python. Kids are encouraged to share their creations on the company’s website.

Anyone, from kids to computer hobbyists, could have a lot of fun with this nifty little computer.

Where to get it: Raspberry Pi 2 (and prior models) are available through the website for $35.

If You’re Not Techy, but are Buying a Gift for Someone Who Is

Laptop Bag or other accessories

If you have a tech geek on your gift list, you may hesitate to research and buy the latest newfangled contraption. But every tech product needs accessories and peripherals, and those can make great gifts that are truly needed, appreciated and easier to buy.

A laptop bag is just an example. Laptops shrink in size every year, so there may be someone on your list who’s schlepping a bag to work every day that’s twice the size of the laptop they use. Find out how big their laptop is and look for something streamlined, but sturdy.

Where to get it: Zappos has a great selection of bags ranging from fashionable to functional and everything in between. Plus, they have fast, free shipping and free returns.

For the photographer

Sony Alpha 7r ii

Sony describes their new professional camera as “...taking image resolution, sensitivity and speedy response to new heights. The Fast Hybrid AF system’s dense extra-wide focal plane phase-detection AF coverage keeps a subject in sharp focus entirely throughout the frame, while 5-axis image stabilization reduces blur which otherwise tends to affect handheld shots. High resolution is further enhanced by 4K movie recording featuring full pixel readout without pixel binning.”

If you know someone on your list would find that exciting, and you have the extra cash lying around, you can buy one of these fancy cameras for around $3000.

Where to get it: Sony includes a list of on-and-offline retailers on their website.

For the History Buff

Letters of Note (book)

Published last year, Letters of Note began as a Twitter account of the same name. Curated by Shaun Usher, the book contains a collection of letters written by notable people in history. A second addition, More Letters of Note, is set to arrive in the U.S. in 2016.

Where to get it: The first edition of Letters of Note is available on Amazon for around $25.

For the Philanthropist

Charity Choice Gift Certificates

Charity Choice allows you to give the gift of a charitable donation. Buy a gift card, and your recipient can choose from an extensive list of participating charities to send the funds. As the purchaser, you are able to designate the amount of the gift card and it’s fully tax deductible.

 

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