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Monday, December 17th, 2012
If you’re getting calls from anxious friends and relatives asking for gift suggestions as Christmas shipping deadlines loom, accessories for the devices your children own or are about to get are wonderful choices. Often times it’s hard to know what accessories are best for brand new devices but here are my suggestions of tried and true favorites that I’ve matched up for easy shopping.
Getting an iPhone? You need a great case that can handle everything that life throws at it. My pick is from LifeProof. LifeProof’s cases fully encase your iPhone 4, 4s, or 5 and protect it from water with a slim, functional design, that still allows users to press on the screen as if it the phone was caseless. The two piece case has a front and a back that snaps together and keeps water out of the charging and headphone ports thanks to rubber gaskets. The case doesn’t get in the way of taking great photos whether you’re above or under water.
Getting a Nintendo DS or 3DS? You need headphones that will still be cool yet protect young ears against hearing loss. I like iFrogz Animatone Headphones for toddlers and preschoolers and the Earbuds for older kids. The headphones provide the perfect fit for smaller heads and older kids will like the cool styling of any of the three Earbud designs.
Getting an iPad? You need a case that will protect the edges. The new cases from Apple that are magnetic are certainly stylish but they don’t protect the glass around the edges from bumps and dings that come with regular use. Since an iPad is a pricey investment, get it a good case that will protect all sides. If your iPad will be used by preschoolers and toddlers, you need the Speck iGuy which will protect it on all sides and whose fun arms make it easy to hang on to. Another favorite is the Speck MagFolio because it’s slim, durable and wraps around all sides. If you’re looking for one with a keyboard, my hands down favorite is the ZaggKeys ProPlus. It’s a sophisticated choice that fits right on top of the iPad screen thanks to magnets and features a backlit keyboard.
Getting a computer the whole family can use? Get it a spillproof keyboard. The Logitech Washable Keyboard is a durable full size keyboard that can be fully submersed in water for a cleaning when it gets dusty, grubby, or spilled on.
Getting an eReader or tablet? From Kindle Fires, Nooks, and the more tablet-like Kindle HD, these devices need durable cases that are lightweight yet will protect them. I like the neoprene cases from Built. Whether you choose envelope style designs in a variety of fun prints or slim sleeves, rest assured that a Built case will last for the life of your device, and possibly longer. For kids who are using their eReaders and tablets for reading eBooks and eTextbooks and are taking notes for class as they read, the Papier de Maison cases are an affordable and attractive choice thanks to beautiful prints and a place for a notepad and pen.
Getting overwhelmed with the sheer number of devices and cords the children in your family own? Get organized by gifting items that will help kids keep track of their stuff and teach responsibility at the same time. Built’s Cargo Travel Organizer provides a place to keep chargers, accessories, and any adapters. I also like Kangaroom’s Personal Media Pouch because of the 6 pockets that keep everything nicely organized thanks to and are just the right size for an MP3 player, USB Flash Drive, compact video camera, and all their associated chargers. Both are zippered organizers with lots of pockets that can hold plenty of gear.
Photos courtesy of the aforementioned companies
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Friday, May 11th, 2012
We’re getting down to the wire for Mother’s Day gifts but sometimes the best gift is one that will truly surprise, delight, and be useful all at the same time. Here are 5 of my favorite tech accessories that I’d love to give and receive this year.
Go hands free with the Jawbone ERA. Bluetooth headsets keep getting better thanks to improved technology. Jawbone ERA features stunning audio quality thanks to a 25% larger speaker that provides HD quality sound whether taking calls or listening to favorite songs. Caller ID that identifies callers by name in a non-robotic voice and smart NoiseAssassin 3.0 technology kills background noise and adjusts the volume on both the calling and receiving end. A built-in accelerometer allows users to shake the ERA to pair it with their phone or simply tap it to answer a phone call. High tech meets high function in a great gift that’s a must have for moms who need to stay in touch in a safe and hands-free way.
Let her take calls in a whimsical way with Pop Phone. Pop Phone is a retro handset complete with a curly cord that plugs into the headphone jack on mom’s smartphone. This retro device is not hands free, nor is it Bluetooth enabled, but it is sure to turn heads and start conversations wherever she goes as long as she doesn’t talk and drive while using it.
Decorate her desk with The VTech Retro Phone ($59.95, Model #LS6195). It may look a little old school but the high tech version of the phone reminiscent of yesteryear features a cordless handset with a 500 foot range, caller ID storage of the past 50 calls, digitized and encrypted calls to reduce identity theft and discourage anyone from listening in, last 10 number redial, eco-mode that optimizes battery performance, digital answering system, backlit keypad, and more!
Cut the cord and go wireless. Since everything is wireless these days, give her a mouse that suits her personality. The Logitech Global Graffiti prints found in the M325 and M310 wireless mice incorporate the hottest local trends and fashions while fitting comfortably in the palm on one’s hand thanks to the ergonomic design making them a great tech accessory. If mom prefers solids to prints, Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 come in limited edition colors that are sure to put a smile on her face.
Add a little more bling to her day with Hello Kitty Earbuds. These comfortable earbuds are sparkly, fun, and feature volume control right on the cord to work with her MP3 player, iPod, iPhone, and computer and are sure to stand out even in the deepest depths of her bag.
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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
In our house we have our favorite holiday chocolates and treats but I always try to go light on the candy and heavy on extra goodies that I know our kids will love and use. While these items may be a little bit more than your average spend on sweet treats to fill a basket, their longevity will outlast any sugar rush, making them well worth every penny.
Crayola Color Studio HD App & Crayola iMarker ($29.99)— Turn your iPad into an interactive digital coloring book with the Crayola iMarker that features vivid colors from the 64 count crayon box. The iMarker can mimic the look of different materials including crayons, markers, paints, and colored pencils as young artists free draw, play games, and create their own coloring pages.
Belkin RockStar Multi-Headphone Splitter ($19.95)— Always plugged in tweens and teens who still delight in the treats left by the Easter Bunny will love this headphone splitter that allows up to 5 friends to plug in their own headphones to listen to the same audio feed.
Molded Sleeves for Kindle Fire and iPads ($14.99)— These super slim Molded Sleeves are made of lightweight foam that make the highly protective of the precious device inside. The sleeves feature bright contrasting colors and an imprinted lasting print in sunburst (iPad) or raised pyramids (Kindle).
Kangaroom’s Personal Media Pouch ($12.99) — If it’s exhausting trying to keep track of devices, make your child responsible by giving them a place to keep everything. The Personal Media Pouch keeps everything nicely organized thanks to 6 pockets that are just the right size for a MP3 player, compact video camera, digital camera, and all their associated chargers.
iTunes Gift Card (in denominations of $15+) — Since there is always music, movies, shows, and apps to download, an iTunes gift card is always a welcome gift.
What are the must-haves in your baskets each year and are you going to branch out with candy alternatives?
Easter bunny on a beautiful spring meadow with dandelions via Shutterstock
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