Tech gifts for the whole family


Buying gifts for the whole family can be a daunting task. Keeping track of everyone is a chore, and figuring out what to buy is even worse. So this year, rather than suffer through the anxiety of scrambling to get everything together before Christmas morning arrives, check out our list of high-tech gadget gifts for the whole family.


Motorola-MotoActvMotorola MotoActv ($249)

The newly announced MotoActv from Motorola is more than just an MP3 player; it’s a workout buddy and fitness trainer, too. This watch-sized touch screen device (which, incidentally, also works as a watch) keeps track of pace and distance traveled when walking, running or cycling. Heart rate is monitored wirelessly. And the MotoActv even automatically analyzes songs to choose tracks that will make Dad feel like running an extra mile.

Williams-Sonoma-Beer-Making-KitWilliams-Sonoma Beer Making Kit ($40)

After a hard day’s work, nothing tastes better to than that pint of homemade brew. And nothing makes having one easier than the aptly named Beer Making Kit from Williams-Sonoma. Complete with all the necessary fixin’s, the kit includes a one-gallon fermentation jug, a three-piece chambered airlock, four feet of tubing and all the various ingredients needed to make either an IPA or a Summer Wheat ale. After 17 days, when the beer is ready to drink, Pops will have a favorite new hobby, guaranteed.


Amazon-Kindle-FireAmazon Kindle Fire ($199)

The hot new thing in the world of e-readers is the Amazon Kindle Fire. Part e-reader, part tablet, the 7-inch Kindle Fire runs on a modified version of Google’s Android operating system, customized to make it easy to purchase anything from e-books to paper towels from Amazon’s gargantuan product inventory. The high-resolution screen makes e-books and digital magazines look excellent, and the super-touch Gorilla Glass makes the Kindle Fire able to withstand the mishaps of which moms are all too familiar. Check out our Kindle Fire Review.

Apple-iPhone-4SApple iPhone 4S ($199)

Sleek, stylish and cool, the iPhone 4S remains the phone to have. The improved 8-megapixel camera, which can shoot full-HD 1080p video, is the first camera on a phone that’s good enough to make mom’s old point-and-shoot redundant. The 3.5-inch Retina display remains the one of the best in the industry and the super-fast A5 processor makes navigating through all the phone’s features a breeze. But the real plus for Mom is the easy-to-use, feature-rich iOS 5 operating system. The included Reminders app will make it easy for her to take care of everything on her plate. And the impressive Siri voice recognition assistant allows her to command her device just by speaking. If only the kids would be so responsive…Check out our iPhone 4S review.


Motorola-TriumphMotorola Triumph ($300)

Loaded with Google’s Android OS, the Motorola Triumph is the first Android handset available on Virgin Mobile’s pre-paid network. That means you can give the teen in your life the big, 4.1-inch touchscreen display, 5MP camera and access to the Android Marketplace without having to worry about him or her racking up mountains in overages. All-in-all, the Triumph is the must-have device for anyone looking for a pre-paid handset option, teenagers included.

Roku-LTRoku LT ($50)

All teens want is their independence. So give your favorite high-schooler the ability to control his or her own personal entertainment system with the LT video streaming box from Roku. The Roku LT connects to the Internet via built-in Wi-Fi, and can access over 300 channels, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora and Disney. (Some require a paid subscription to use.) And if your teen will soon be headed to college, just unplug the Roku LT, toss it in their bag, and their dorm room entertainment system is more or less taken care of.


Kymera-Magic-Wand-RemoteKymera Magic Wand Remote Control ($66)

Add a dose of magic to your favorite little Harry Potter fan’s life with the Kymera Magic Wand universal television remote control. Complete with its own stylized storage box and an instruction booklet that looks like an ancient scroll, the Magic Wand can connect to most televisions and other remote-controlled devices. The device is pre-programmed with 13 gestures, like flicks, swishs, and stabs, that make changing the channel as satisfying as summoning your first patronum spell.

NERF-Longstrike-Sniper-RifleNERF Longstrike Sniper Rifle ($30)

Turn a lazy afternoon into a game of (harmless) covert warfare with the NERF Longstrike Sniper Rifle. Measuring a full three-feet long, the Longstrike Sniper Rifle is the longest NERF gun ever made. It breaks down into three separate parts, for realistic sniper assembling. And with a shooting range of 35-feet, nobody in the neighborhood will be safe from getting hit with a headshot by a neon yellow dart.


Tagg-Pet-TrackerTagg Pet Tracker ($100 + $8/month)

Even the best dog can wander off if there’s a squirrel involved. So to keep your pooch from being lost forever, strap on the GPS-powered Tagg pet tracker. The Tagg, which costs about $99.95 for the first device, plus an $7.95 monthly service fee, attaches to your dog’s collar, allowing you to watch where Fido goes from a Web browser or mobile phone. (Additional Tagg collars cost $90, plus $0.95 a month for service.) Users can also create a “Geofence,” which alerts the owner any time the pup wanders outside the designated area. The battery lasts up to 30 days on a single charge, and the user will receive a text message when the battery is running low.

FroliCat-BoltFroliCat Bolt ($20)

Keep your cat (or dog) entertained forever with the FroliCat laser toy. The Bolt’s secret is a moving laser pointer, which swoops and sways around the house, causing cats to lose their minds with fun chasing excitement. Turn on automatic mode, and set the device down on any flat surface to give your kitten some quality play-time, or pick it up in your hand to create your own laser-tastic game. The Bolt even includes a timer so the device will turn off after 15 minutes.


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