The perfect holiday gift is extravagant, practical, and up-to-the-minute stylish while fitting into the recipient’s lifestyle like an old friend.
Meeting those specifications is, obviously, as much an art as it is a science.
But with these gifts from the world of consumer electronics, you’ll have the key ingredients to a reliably festive formula.
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II
The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II ($299) wirelessly channels tunes from a smartphone or other Bluetooth-equipped device and sends it out into the world using Bose’s renowned speaker technology.
The just-out Soundlink Mobile II is an update of the well-received original model released in 2011.
The new edition features improved sound quality, especially on the bass end, a combination cover and stand, and easier pairing with Bluetooth players.
The similar SoundLink Air ($349) uses Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth to work with Apple’s Airplay wireless technology.
Lytro Digital Camera
When nearly every smartphone takes decent-quality snapshots, a standalone camera has to offer something special to justify its spot beneath the tree. The Lytro camera does that and then some.
Employing a ground-breaking technology new to consumer cameras, the camera’s light field sensor captures much more than the typical two-dimensional image, recording all rays of light traveling in every direction through a scene.
As a result, a photographer can change the focus of a picture after it’s taken, just to name one of the fascinating abilities this opens up.
The Lytro camera comes with 8 gigabytes of memory for $399 or, for $499, a capacious 16 gigabytes.
All Starts Racing Transformed (Sega)
Mere mortals like Richard Petty and Mario Andretti may have retired from racing, but Sonic the Hedgehog hasn’t even slowed down.
The Sega video game icon’s latest trip to the track is All Stars Racing Transformed, a reimagining of karting that, in addition to state-of-the-art graphics, adds a wrinkle that is literally transformational: Drivers can transform vehicles from cars into boats and even aircraft in the middle of a race.
All Stars Racing Transformed is rated E for Everyone 10 and up and is available for $39.99 for Nintendo 3DS, PS3, XBOX360 and Wii U gaming systems.
Escort’s new SmartRadar ($449.95) detector connects the familiar gadgetry of a radar detector to a 21st Century smartphone.
Using an Android or iPhone as its informational display keeps the radar detector’s profile low and its price relatively modest, without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.
An Escort Live app that runs on the phone lets drivers tap into a database of red-light cameras and speed trap alerts. If you don’t have a suitable smartphone, you can also use a small standalone display.
Shopping for gadget gifts can get expensive, but you don’t have to spend a lot to give a lot. Case in point: the Earbud Yo-Yo.
This $9.99 low-tech solution to a high-tech hassle keeps earbud cords tangle-free in pocket or purse, wrapping the wires around a squared-off reel and locking the ends in place with special grippers.
It works with earbuds for MP3 players, iPods, portable radios, gaming systems and DVD players as well as smart phones.
“Hot Holiday Electronics: 5 Gifts for Tech-Lovers” was written by Mark Henricks.