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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Jon’s list

by Jon Rettinger | November 11, 2015November 11, 2015 1:00 pm PDT

Already that time of year and I’ve got a bunch of items to add to this year’s gift guide. Honestly, how do you choose just a handful of items when there are so many great options? I’ve narrowed my list down to items that I find really useful.  The type of things that I use daily, or would use daily. Or otherwise things I feel make doing things really convenient.  Take a look, what would you add to your gift guide?

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Money is No Object

BMW i8

MSRP $141,695

I know my colleagues will go Tesla, but the BMW i8 gets the nerd and gear head in me going, plus this is the one item on the list I get to carry the wallet of a much richer man. Aside from looking like something out of a SciFi movie the BMW i8 has the tech to match its good looks. Sure it’s a plug-in hybrid, but far from the run of the mill Prius, this is more of a twin engine setup.

Its 20ish mile EV range is enough for my daily commute but when I really want the range and optimal performance, I can push its 1,485 kg carbon fiber reinforced plastic frame to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Plus, look at those doors!

Gifts Under $2,000

Surface Pro 4

Starts at $899

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I travel quite a bit and its tough to find the perfect computer to take with me. I’ve gone from Macbook Pros to Airs and MacBooks, but I haven’t found something that was the perfect blend of performance and weight, since I’m usually carrying a backpack. Turns out, I’ve been looking at the wrong company.

The Surface Pro 4 coupled with Windows 10 and the latest typecover is the ideal combo of power and weight making it the ideal travel companion. On a plane, I can hold it like a tablet and catch up on my movies. At an event its my editing machine, and back in the hotel, it’s perfect for some Netflix and chill time.

If you are looking for one device to do everything, direct your gaze to the Surface Pro 4.

Gifts Under $500

Logitech Harmony Elite

$399.99

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I’ll admit the first thing that came to mind was the Apple watch, but then I glanced at my wrist and remembered my ambivalence to all wearables. The most useful piece of tech I’ve recently is the Logitech Harmony Elite.

A few months back I switched my family from U-Verse to DirecTV (mostly for Sunday Ticket). I was using a universal remote that evidently can only be sold and updated via a licensed technician.   In order to get it working with my new provider I had to call someone… and that killed me inside. After a ton of research I settled on the Logitech Ultimate Home and have never looked back.

Since my purchase, the company rolled out an updated remote, the Harmony Elite. The macros are super easy to set up, the UI is clean, and best of all, I don’t need someone else in my house whenever I want to add a new component.

Gifts Under $250

Amazon Echo

The gift I’m giving to my parents and grandparents (spoiler alert if you guys are reading this) is the Amazon Echo.

When it was announced I really didn’t see the utility, after all, can’t I just as Siri or Google Now to do whatever I’d ask the Echo to do? The answer is still yes, but even with a phone in my pocket, I’m still asking the Echo to set timers, tell me the weather, remind me to buy things, or just play music.

The Echo lives in my kitchen, and it’s hard to remember how we did things before Alexa came into our lives.

Disneyland Tickets

I’d love to say Disneyland tickets, but at $185 a pop for a two day ticket, I’ll gift a single ticket. I have a 2-year-old at home who insists during part of the day that he is Spider-Man and the other parts he is Mickey, costume and all.

We haven’t taken him to Disneyland yet (a perk of living in Southern California) but before the year is out, we plan on taking him to meet Mickey, Donald, and Pluto in person.

Gifts Under $100

Mophie Powerstation Plus

Whenever I travel I try to cut down on the chargers and adapters I bring to save space and weight. The Mophie Powerstation Plus makes a perfect travel companion.

Available in various storage sizes, you can pick one up with either a Micro USB or lightening connector meaning you can leave your wall warts and USB cable rats nest at home.

Amazon Fire TV with 4K

When it comes to streaming boxes there are a ton of options, but for under $100, the Fire TV with 4K is still an awesome deal.

Granted Mark was not a fan, but as a gift for someone who just wants to watch some Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime videos, it’s a hard deal to beat, plus, it now has Alexa on board.

Gifts Under $50

Fire Tablet

The Fire tablet for under $50 is next to impossible to beat. At this price, it’s almost disposable and falls right in the prime sticking stuffer price point.

For me, this is what I’m giving my son to play with when we are flying, I’m giving one to my grandparents as their first tablet, and I’m keeping one for myself, because why not? It’s a $50 tablet!

Micro-USB to Lightning Adapter

While still overpriced at $20 the Apple Micro USB to lightening adapter means I only need to bring one cable whenever I go anywhere and don’t have to deal with Apple’s own crazy overpriced lightening cables. Fun fact, if you take my advice and pick up the Mophie powerstation, get the Micro USB version, and the lightening adapter. Boom, two for one!


Jon Rettinger

Jon, perhaps best known by his YouTube alter ego Jon4Lakers, has a love for technology that can never be quenched, no matter how hard he tries. If...

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