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CyberStreams Holiday Tech Gift Guide

By:Christine Fettinger

Not sure what to put under the tree this year? Here are a few recommendations on the seasons best $50 and under gifts, and some cool ways to bring your own flair to your techie gifts.

5 great gift ideas for the whole family:

  1. On the Go Speakers:

    Besides being a staple for your teen or anyone with an on-the-go lifestyle, Bluetooth speakers are increasingly affordable. This makes them a great gift option.

    Of the CyberStreams Holiday Tech Gift Guide Bluetooth speakers on the market, the Philips SoundShooter Wireless has received undeniably positive reviews. Despite some quirks in the sound quality, the eye catching “grenade” design and 8-hours of battery life make it a great below $50 buy.

  2. Mini-Music Players:

    If you are on a budget or just looking for a secondary device for working out, mini-music players can be a great way to give the gift of music!

    One standard go-to is the iPod Shuffle. Without a screen and at only 2GB capacity, it is really only a good option for your work out. That being said, it is sturdy and stylish, and fulfills its function well! IPod shuffles start at $47.99.

    If you are looking for something with a bit more functionality, or are just not enamored with the iLife, you may want to consider a ScanDisk Sansa Clip Zip. Although it does not function with iTunes, this device does everything the iPod Shuffle does but it has the added advantages of a screen, 4 GB of storage, an FM radio, and a voice recorder. Plus, you do not have to pay for Apple design -this device runs at $39.99

  3. Headphones:

    You can have a great music player, but if your headphones are not up to snuff your sound quality may still be horrible. With a wide range of prices, styles, and features, headphones and in-ear headphones can make great stocking stuffers or bigger ticket items!

    Panasonic tends to make headphones that are high quality for their price. The RP-HTX7’s are a good example of this – full size yet lightweight, available in several colors, and with decent sound they are a great buy for $32.

    If you are looking for in-ear headphones, a high-quality option at a price you like is the Moshi Mythros. At $30, these are some of only in-ear headphones at the cheaper end of the spectrum that still offer an integrated microphone and one-button remote for cell phone calls.

  4. Routers:

    If there is one thing that drives me crazy, it is slow Wi-Fi. While not flashy, the gift of a better router will leave everyone in the family happy.

    One option for a router upgrade is the D-Link DIR 605L N300 Cloud Router. Available for $33.49, the router is affordable, reliable, and easily manageable. Although it does not have the features associated with other routers, this router is a good update for any household.

  5. Media Streaming Devices:

    Media streaming to your television is one of this year’s must-have updates. No more channel surfing and finding nothing of interest. With support for services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc. you and your family are sure to find something worth watching.

    One of the most inexpensive options on the market, the Google Chromcast lets you stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Youtube, and Google music and video aps for Android owners. Instead of a remote you have to use your smartphone to control the device, but the price of $35 makes up for this caveat!

    If you are looking for a more feature-rich option, the Roku LT is worth your money. At $50, it does not offer the full Roku range of options, but with more than 1,000 supported channels it easily out-features the Google Chromecast.

3 Creative ways to personalize that gift:

  1. Create a QR Code instead of a handwritten gift tag:

    A personal QR Code on the card is an easy way to personalize your gift with your techie individuality. Following are the basic steps in this process:

    • Record your video message. Upload it to an online platform such as Google.

    • Go to a QR generating site such as http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/. On the drop-down menu, select “URL” and paste in a link to your video message. After selecting the size of the bar code you want, click “Generate.”

    • Print out your QR code, and paste it on to your greeting card, gift tag, or onto the package directly!

  2. Customize your own wrapping paper:

    Sites like Giftskins and Photojojo help you create customizable wrapping paper, so that your gift stands out from all others.

  3. Design a custom case:

    Want something a little more permanent than wrapping paper or a card? If you are giving someone a smartphone for Christmas, consider including a customizable case!

    If you use Instagram, the website Casetagram lets you choose a collage designed from photos you took. If you are not an Instagram user, Castegram has a varity of pre-designed cases that you can choose from, ranging in price from $35 to $40.

For more information on technology, product reviews, how-to’s, and news, check out the CyberStreams Blog. With over 10 years of experience, CyberStreams is a trusted industry leader and source of information and support for the community.