Father’s Day is June 17th, do you know what you’re getting dad yet? [Read more…] about Father’s Day Tech Gift Ideas Part 1
Gadget Gift Ideas
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings. So many gifts to buy this spring. Here are my favorite gadgets of the year. So far.
She’s hard to buy for but you want to give mom something she’ll love and use. These tech gifts fit the bill. [Read more…] about Gift Ideas for Mom
The camera in your smartphone or iPad is good enough to shoot a feature-length film. The Padcaster2 solves the biggest one.
If you’re looking for the just so right birthday gift for a 4-10 year old, stop looking and remember what you loved when you were that age.
Do you know someone who shoots video or streams live using their smartphone? Audio is ALWAYS a problem. This wireless mic, the Samson Go Mic Mobile solves it.
(note: reviews of products here are not influenced by any demo units provided by the manufacturer. Samson provided a demo unit for my honest review. I demo many products this way but I do not put the products on TV or on the website unless I am satisfied with their performance. If you purchase the item from the link below What the Tech? will receive a small commission.)
Lights, gadgets, camera, action:
Do you have someone on your wish list this year who has an interest in filmmaking or YouTube videos? Today’s smartphone cameras are so good at taking photos and video some Hollywood directors are shooting feature films with iPhones. Famed director Steven Soderbergh, who’s biggest hits are “Logan Lucky”, “Oceans Eleven” and “Erin Brockovich” is reportedly releasing a new thriller to the big screen in the spring of 2018 that was shot entirely on an iPhone 7. If that isn’t proof that smartphone cameras are ready for the big screen I don’t know what is.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you can just run out and start recording video that looks like a big production; you need gadgets and several camera gadgets are a big step forward toward making smartphone videos look like something out of a big picture studio.
A stabilizer removes any shakiness the camera would capture when you’re shooting by hand. There are dozens of stabilizers on the market such as the DJI Phone Camera Gimbal OSMO MOBILE, Black which gives the filmmaker steadiness and control of the smartphone camera.
A different perspective gives video shot with an iPhone or smartphone camera a much more Hollywood look. Wide angle lens adapters are a must-have to create the big-picture look.
The OlloClip lens kits are built for specific smartphones and devices and you’ll need to make sure you get the correct one for your phone. The OlloClip is the go-to for professional smartphone videographers as they provide both wide-angle lenses along with fish-eye, macro and telephoto.
olloclip – ACTIVE LENS SET for iPhone 8/8 Plus & iPhone 7/7 Plus – TELEPHOTO & ULTRA-WIDE Premium Glass Lenses
The Sandmarc wide-angle lens comes with snap-on case. I’m using the SANDMARC Wide Lens Edition for iPhone X – Wide angle lens, case and clip-on kit for iPhone – 2X Wider Capture with my new iPhone X and found it captures a higher quality image.
See it on their website https://www.genze.com/
As you’re looking over your Christmas gift list, you may be stumped over what to give one specific person. Mom.
I don’t know about your mom but I don’t think mine has ever asked for anything in her life. That’s my sweet mother but gosh-darn-it we all want to make mom happy with a thoughtful gift. (sorry for the language mom).
Truth be told though, moms and technology don’t always mix well. Gadgets are a dad-thing but I can almost guarantee there’s something on this list that’ll make mom happy and things she would never even think to ask for.
If mom lives out of town the Nixplay digital photo frame will help her watch the grandkids grow. This frame is different than others on the market because it allows someone to upload the photos from their smartphone no matter where in the world they might be. On a family vacation, you can choose photos to share just be adding them to the frame within the Nixplay app. Or, you can choose to upload the photos automatically when one is taken. The photo frame supports videos too.
The Amazon Surprise Sweets is a gift that keeps on giving. Get the Surprise Sweets Dash button. Whenever she presses the button, a box of sweets is shipped to her. The box of chocolates and other gourmet sweets arrive in a few days. She won’t know what she’s getting until it shows up on her doorstep. Each Sweet Treats box is charged to your account, They’re about 18 dollars for each order.
If mom doesn’t have a connected car where she can use her phone over Bluetooth through the car radio, she might like one of the Jabra hands-free devices. The Jabra Freeway Bluetooth in-car speakerphone has its own speaker and microphone so mom can answer and place calls just by using her voice. It has a mounting clip that slides over the driver’s side sun visor. To place a call she can Siri or Google and carry on a conversation without needing to pick up her phone. This one will also play music playing on a smartphone.
Mom may not even know she needs a personal assistant but after using one of Amazon’s Alexa devices she’ll be surprised just how often it’s used. Amazon’s 2nd generation of Alexa looks more appealing than the older versions. It is covered in cloth and comes in different colors. Mom can ask Alexa to play music, ask for the forecast or news briefs or answer a question she might have to prove her husband wrong. Alexa personal assistants can also help mom if she’s cooking dinner by suggesting meals based on what’s already in the pantry. And if mom has one of those Instant Pots everyone raves about, Alexa will provide recipes and how-tos. The Alexa has a built-in speaker but if you’d rather get her something less expensive but without a great speaker, the Echo Dot makes a fine gift.
If mom carries her smartphone everyone a portable battery charger makes a good gift, but a purse that has a portable battery charger built inside? An even better gift. The Mighty Purse from HButler has dozens of styles that each come with a built-in charger. The purse will keep an iPhone or Android device charged throughout the day. It only needs to be charged itself for a few hours.
Who says mom wouldn’t enjoy a gadget for Christmas?
I call these the gadgets of 2017 that makes people say “Coooool”. You know, like what your kids say when they open a gift they really like but have never seen before?
That type of gift is getting easier to find.
The Merge VR is one of the best and most affordable virtual reality headset I’ve seen. It’s made of a spongy type material that makes it comfortable to wear no matter the size of your head. It also makes them unbreakable when one gets dropped or tossed across the room. The quality is as good as I’ve seen in other mid-priced VR headsets and it works with most any phone large or small. What sets the Merge VR apart is that it shines most when trying out ‘mixed-reality’. Mixed is a combination of the virtual and real worlds. Rather than playing a video game where it’s all in animation, mixed reality allows users to see the action play out in the real world. Imagine playing a game of golf on the floor in front of you rather than in just the video game.
The Merge VR has an additional VR block that looks as though it’s covered in QR or barcode. This allows the apps you’re viewing inside the headset to see images displayed through the squiggly lines. When I tested out the Merge VR at CES I held the block in front of me and watched a cool kaleidoscope on the block and played a Pac-Man type game by turning the block from one side to another. For me, the Merge VR was as enjoyable as some of the headsets and systems that cost hundreds of dollars.
There are dozens of home security cameras on the market and most do a fine job. My favorite is the Canary security camera. I like this camera because my wife doesn’t mind putting on the mantel. It’s a classy looking device that doesn’t seem to be out of place next to picture frames. The HD camera of course has great video quality that you can watch on a smartphone through the Canary app. It will also record video when it detects movement that you can share with police if necessary.
Two gadgets I use absolutely every day are Philips Hue Lights. These smart lightbulbs go into the light socket of a lamp or overhead fixture and can be controlled by an app or by your voice and an Amazon Alexa or Google Home Device. A Hue Light Starter pack is around $70 and is perhaps the best start at turning a home into a smart home. Philips also has a lightstrip starter kit for $156. It’s also controlled through the app and will change colors just by asking Alexa or Google Home.
The Amazon Dash Wand sits on the door of a refrigerator and can be used to add items to a shopping list. Notice you need more milk? Just tell Alexa built into the wand. The neatest feature though is the wand’s ability to read barcodes. Point the scanner at an empty milk carton and it will be added to a grocery list that shows up on an app. Or, you can set it up to order the items immediately through Amazon.
The coolest tech gadget I’ve seen this year is hard to narrow down but the GeniCan is at or near the top of the list. It’s a device that attaches to an existing garbage can and as you throw things away it reads the barcode and adds a replacement to your shopping list. It’s amazing to see it in action. If there is no barcode you can just tell the GeniCan what to add to your list. The startup launched GeniCan earlier this year and has already partnered with Amazon to offer one-step ordering. Just set it up to place an order for any item through Amazon.
Any of these gadgets are guaranteed to make someone on your list say “Cooool!”