The IT Nerd’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017

For the fourth year in a row, I am doing a holiday gift guide. This year, I will focus on gifts that caught my eye from my all over the place. I will also give gift suggestions from the various items that I reviewed this year. So, without further delay, let’s get started.

Weatherproof and shockproof for the cliffs, the sea and the tundra, the tough-as-nails COOLPIX W300 goes where other cameras fear to tread. Bring its 5x optical zoom lens into water as deep as 30m while SCUBA diving, or record a midwinter time-lapse in temperatures as low as -10°C. It’s also constructed to shrug off a drop from 2.4m high. Check out my review hereMSRP: $499.95 

For intermediate photographers looking for a bargain this holiday, the D5300 is now available. A reliable crop sensor DSLR, the D5300 comes with built-in Wi-Fi and a swivelling LCD screen for shooting comfortably from any angle. MSRP $669.95 MSRP camera body only or $799.95 MSRP camera body with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II. 

A wide-angle action camera for the wide-open world, the KeyMission 170 sports an f/2.8 aperture for an immersive first-person view that performs well in low light. It’s also compact enough to follow you everywhere. MSRP $499.95. 

Upgrade to the ultimate streaming player! The Roku Ultra is fully loaded with a powerful quad-core processor, stunning HD and 4K HDR picture quality, and an advanced point-anywhere remote (plus a remote finder feature, in case it gets lost between the couch cushions) that doubles as a controller for some casual gaming. And for those early-morning or late-night binge sessions, you can plug headphones right into the remote and listen without disturbing the rest of the family. You can read my review here. MSRP $119.99.

The first router made exclusively for gaming, the WRT32X is the perfect gift for the gamer on your list. The built-in Killer Prioritization Engine detects gaming traffic and automatically gives it priority to give you the fastest ping times and an edge over your competition. And with a customized gaming firmware and interface to make controlling the router better and easier, the WRT32X is the fast-track to a happy gamer. You can read my review here. MSRP $369.

A great gift that will benefit the whole family, VELOP sets up in minutes and delivers flawless, ultra-fast, full-strength signal throughout your home. Because not every home is the same, this modular system lets you use as few or as many VELOP nodes as you need, and place them wherever you need them, making dead zones a thing of the past. With powerful tri-band mesh technology, you’ll get seamless roaming and maximum speed right out to the edge of your network, even when everyone’s streaming their favourite shows. Read my review of the VELOP here. MSRP $249.99 (1-pack), $479.99 (2-pack), $649.99 (3-pack).

ZTE has entered the connected car space with the Smart Drive, now available at Rogers. Just connect this little gadget to your car’s diagnostic port (standard on all cars since 1996) and you’ll receive helpful maintenance reminders and instant notifications about car trouble, unlocking information to help you keep your vehicle safe. Keep your family safe real-time location updates for peace of mind that your teen driver made it safely to their destination. Driving behavior analysis helps you become a safer driver and minimizes wear and tear on your car. Smart Drive also works as an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, perfect for GPS and allowing your passengers to stay connected even while on the road. Read the review of Smart Drive here. MSRP $99 CAD w 2-year term plus $15/month.

The Bluewave GET is an ultra-compact wireless headphone amp – and the perfect gift for the music lover on your list. Plug your favourite headphones into the GET’s 3.5mm headphone jack and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The GET’s powerful amplifier and 24-bit Hi-Fi AptX-HD compatible software makes your music sound better, includes controls for volume, play/pause and shuffle, and even features a built-in microphone so you can answer calls without taking your smartphone out of your bag, purse or pocket. Read the review of the GET here. MSRP $123.59 CAD (pre-order price).

The OWC USB-C Travel Dock lets you connect its integrated USB-C cable to a Mac or PC laptop or other computer to utilize its five ports of mobile connectivity from a dock small enough to fit in a pocket. MSRP $49.95. 

The NuGuard KX case for iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus uses state-­of­-the-­art military-grade X­-Orbing Gel Technology to absorb and evenly distribute kinetic energy. This revolutionary technology is engineered into a one-piece design that features a hard outer shell integrated with a soft interior core, providing protection and style at a price you’d pay for a regular case. Incredibly thin at ½”, it protects your iPhone 8, 8 Plus and other iPhones against accidental drops, impacts, and scratches, while still easily fitting in your pocket. MSRP: iPhone X: $59.99, iPhone 8: $49.99, iPhone 8 Plus: $59.99, iPhone 7: $49.99, iPhone 7 Plus $59.99.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock with an amazing 13 ports, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock brings exceptional connectivity to Thunderbolt 3 laptops and computers through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, delivering unprecedented power and speed to laptops and other devices. MSRP $299. 

The Zus Smart Tire Safety Monitor is different from most tire pressure monitoring systems. Most tire pressure monitoring systems, including ones that come as standard equipment on cars only tell you when a tire is significantly down on air pressure. They have no way of telling you via your smart phone that you might have a slow leak which can allow you to address a potential tire issue much earlier. Read my review hereMSRP $129. 

ecobee products provide comfort in the rooms that matter using room sensor technology to better manage hot and cold spots in the home, and provides energy savings when you’re away without having to touch a button. The recently launched ecobee4 has built-in Amazon Alexa voice services which enables the ecobee4 to respond to any command and perform the many ‘skills’ that come with Alexa. Compatibility with the Google Assistant allows homeowners to control the smart thermostat through eligible speakers and smartphones. And far-field voice recognition allows the ecobee4 to conveniently respond to voice commands from anywhere in the room. MSRP $329.

Do you have any suggestions for additions to this list? If so, please post a comment and share your thoughts.

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