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Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Brandon’s list

by Brandon Russell | November 5, 2015November 5, 2015 12:00 pm PDT

I’m having a crisis. Early on Sunday evening I looked out my window and realized that while gaining an hour of sleep, it was already dark out. Witchcraft? And not the kind of cheerful purple glow you get during summer. This was a strangulating darkness, cold and eerie and bleak. A sure sign that winter is coming.

Luckily I have things like pumpkin spice lattes, puffy michelin man jackets and Home Alone 2 to lift my spirits. And, as my gift guide shows, a whole lot of beautiful, gorgeous, delightful technology to keep me busy until springtime comes.

Normally my gift guide is filled with gadgets to give off the illusion that I have eclectic tastes. These aren’t things I’d actually buy, or even want. It’s like having a collection of leather-bound books. You have them to feel studious and to impress your peers.

This year, however, is different. Everything, save for the Model X (I’m not made of money! I wish!), I’d actually go out and buy. In fact, most of them are currently on my Amazon Wish List, begging to be purchased. We will make your life better! they keep saying. It’s a test of endurance and mental strength every time I visit Amazon’s website.

Good thing I turned off one-click ordering.

Join me, won’t you, as we both imagine how much fulfillment I’d get if only the Nexus 5X were in my pocket, or the OnHub was sitting on my shelf. It’s glorious. You’re me boy, Blue! You’re my boy.

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Money is No Object

Model X

$132,000

Is it even necessary to explain why I want a Model X? Forget the fact that it gets 250 miles of range, or that is can go from 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. What I love about the Model X is its crazy safety features, Falcon wing doors, panoramic windshield, and enough seating for seven. Everything about this car to me screams future, and I would very much like to own one one day. Hi, Elon! Hook it up.

Gifts Under $2,000

Surface Book

$1,499

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Imagine the noise Homer makes when thinking of donuts. That was my reaction to Microsoft’s Surface Book, which is like a more insane Surface Pro. It’s a versatile workhorse, and comes with a Fergalicious hinge that makes the clamshell design of regular laptops look old and boring. The great thing is the Surface Book doesn’t force you down a particular path; it can be a tablet when the occasion calls, or a laptop for typing out that novel on Swallow migration you’ve been meaning to write.

Gifts Under $500

Limited Edition Star Wars Battlefront PlayStation 4 Bundle

$399

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I love the PlayStation 4. I also love Star Wars. Why not combine the two into one glorious bundle? This holiday season, Sony will offer a limited edition bundle to commemorate the release of Star Wars: Battlefront, which is hitting stores on Nov. 17. If you had the chance to play the beta, you know how incredibly fun the game is. If not, you’re in for a treat—and the Star Wars fan in your life will dig Darth Vader’s beautiful face plastered on the PS4. It even comes with a special edition controller that best reflects Darth Vader’s evil mood.

Under $250

TP-LINK Google OnHub

I have a perfectly adequate router sitting behind my TV at home. But it’s ugly and looks like a science experiment gone wrong. It’s clear router design has never really been a priority. The OnHub, however, poses a double threat in that it’s a beautiful device that’s also easy to use. Routers don’t have to be grotesque monoliths of plastic and jutting antennas, and the OnHub proves that.

Amazon Echo

I don’t know how often I’ll use the Amazon Echo, but I still want one. Since it was introduced, Amazon’s ever-present personal assistant has gained a lot of handy abilities over the past few months, including customized sports updates, and the ability to find local businesses and restaurants. That’s on top of everything it could do already, like set timers and answer questions. I have a feeling me and Alexa are going to be good friends. Siri and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms.

Gifts Under $100

UE Roll

Do I need a Bluetooth speaker in my bathroom? No. That doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in some tunes while I scrub myself clean. The UE Roll sports a slick design, a waterproof design, and “unapologetically awesome 360-degree sound.” It also has a range of 65 feet, and gets up to 9 hours of battery life. No better place to sing than in the shower I always say (I’ve never said that).

Magic Keyboard

There’s nothing magical about Apple’s new wireless keyboard, but I still love it all the same. I already wrote about why I like it, but the long and the short of it is it’s comfortable and very easy to use. It sports a sleek design, an improved scissor mechanism beneath each key, a low profile, and a battery that can last about a month before it needs recharging.

Gifts Under $50

7-inch Fire

I am shocked Amazon is offering a tablet for just $50. Even more shocking is the fact that it’s actually pretty good! Seriously! I’ve been using one for the past few weeks, and I honestly have no major complaints. The screen isn’t great, and it’s on the chunky side. Otherwise, it does exactly what I need, and battery life is solid. This is the perfect device to give kids.

Chromecast Audio

I have no use for a Chromecast Audio, but I can see this being a terrific gift for dads. Case in point: my girlfriend’s dad has a set of speakers that are just begging to be used with Google’s new dongle. I’ve read nothing but good things about the Chromecast Audio, and at just $35, it makes for a pretty decent stocking stuffer.

Google Chromecast Audio-6


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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