It’s that time again! Time for all of us here at Micro Visions to make our list of desired gadgets in hopes that someone finds it in their heart to move us to the “nice” column and make our Christmas wishes come true! So without further adieu, we now present our annual list of Technology Gift Ideas for 2015: Things We Really, Really Like!
Officially funded on Kickstarter just this past week, Phone Drone Ethos by xCraft wants to give your smartphone wings! Set your iPhone or Android device free by deploying it as an autonomous aerial camera. xCraft has leveraged the sensor, processor, and wireless capability of your smartphone to provide a powerful, cloud-connected aerial vehicle for a fraction of the cost of a typical drone. Pledging is now closed, however initial backing of the Phone Drone was priced at $195 for the initial unit and additional $40 for the extra battery and case.
Microsoft Surface Book 256GB / Intel Core i5. With its unsurpassed battery life, gorgeous sharp display, and tank-like fulcrum hinge, this MacBook Pro rival is industrial chic and comes packed with Windows 10 Pro and Intel’s sixth-generation Intel Core i5 CPU. Building on the momentum of the Surface Pro, the high performing Surface Book is Microsoft’s first attempt at a laptop. Not just a laptop, though. The removable slate portion of the device becomes a clipboard (tablet) perfectly designed for taking notes with the magnetically attached pen that, incidentally, launches OneNote with just a click. Configure your “Ultimate Laptop” at the Microsoft Store, starting at $1499.
Looking to save money on your heating bill but frustrated by those confusing programmable thermostats? Check out The Nest Learning Thermostat. The third-generation Nest thermostat programs itself by monitoring and learning your temperature preferences; Sleep comfortable at 63°, warm up to a cozy at 69° during the day, then taper back down to 63° starting at 10:30PM. Whatever your preferred temperature, Nest pays attention and begins building your schedule in as little as one week. Plus, you can always over-ride Nest’s settings either directly to the wall unit or from any location via your smartphone. Nest also monitors your home and notifies you if something is wrong (like if your furnace is acting up) and right now has an available $50 rebate through Consumers Energy. $249.
Speaking of comfortable temperatures, if your office is located in a beautifully repurposed historical building, you’ve probably got a great view of the Grand Rapids skyline and a nasty draft to boot. Sunbeam’s Heated Fleece Wrap provides 1425 square inches of extra soft fleece, four temperature settings for customized warmth, two pockets, and one automatic shutoff to appease the boss. A #1 best seller on Amazon, just $25 with available Prime shipping to warm your bones STAT!
The Star Trek Transporter Pad LED Coasters won’t actually materialize/dematerialize your drinks, but they sure would look (and sound!) cool on your desk!
– Officially licensed
– A ThinkGeek creation and exclusive
29.99 for a set of 4
Google Chromecast: Cast your favorite entertainment from your phone straight to your TV. Just plug the device into the HDMI port on your TV and you’re ready to go. Chromecast Audio also available, which allows you to cast your favorite music to any speaker by connecting the small device and using WiFi. At just $35, this is an incredibly economical way to upgrade any TV in your house and use your phone as your remote.
Shower out loud with Kohler’s Moxie®, a showerhead with built-in wireless speaker. Imagine the possibilities with this clever gadget that provides up to 7 hours of your favorite music, news programming, and more. Pairs wirelessly with any Bluetooth enabled device. “Just you + water + clean, clear sound.” As low as $99 at Amazon.
Apply now to be one of the first to receive the first fully untethered holographic computing devices. The development edition of HoloLens is scheduled to begin shipping during the first quarter of 2016 for $3000 per unit to a select group of approved Windows Insiders. Not virtual reality, this is augmented reality. HoloLens intelligently maps your surroundings and mixes holograms with the world around you. No screen to touch, you’ll be able to manipulate holograms simply with gestures. (Oh yes, Tony Stark, we want to be just like you!!)
Samsung Level On Wireless PRO headphones offer an ergonomic shape and come in both bronze and black so not only will you enjoy great sound, you’ll look like a million bucks doing so. Incorporating Samsung’s state-of-the-art UHQ audio support technology, Level On Wireless PRO headphones have a number of convenient features such as foldable frame, 4-mic active sound cancellation, 10-hour talk/listening time and intuitive touch controls. These will be the last wireless headphones you’ll ever need. $299 from Samsung.com with free shipping through the holidays.
Apple CarPlay is a system that integrates your iPhone apps with your car’s digital systems, allowing you to control them and your device, more easily. The in-dash experience is now available during production of new cars, or as an aftermarket solution for those finding it easier to purchase a new device rather than a whole new automobile. With CarPlay, you can connect your iPhone 5 and newer to the receiver in order to respond to incoming calls, play music and podcasts, dictate messages, and access navigation maps with ease. A number of models are now available from Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine in price points starting around $500. (not including installation)
However; If your budget DOES allow for a complete auto upgrade, allow us to recommend the Tesla Model X.
Though last year we thought the Model S was pretty impressive, we hate to deprive the Tesla experience to the rest of the family. Billed as “the safest, fastest, and most capable sport utility vehicle in history,” the Model X has room for 7 adults, pwns Michigan winters with its load-balanced all-wheel drive, and we dare you not to love entering the vehicle through those amazing falcon-wing doors. The active safety system utilizes camera, radar, and sonar to monitor surroundings, and the medical grade HEPA filter keeps the cabin free from outside pollen, bacteria, viruses and pollution. Late for the soccer game? No problem. The Model X accelerates from zero to 60 in as little as 3.2 seconds. A modest $5000 deposit reserves your Model X which is estimated to be ready for delivery in the second half of 2016. (No official word on the final price yet, however all speculation points to a cash price similar to that of the Model S which stands at around $70,000.)
Note: For those that find that price tag of the Tesla out of reach, our runner-up vehicle this year would be the Porsche Cayman S. $64,000 will put one of these babies under the tree, and we’d recommend the silver (of course).
Happy Holidays, everyone!