Technology gifts are like sharks. They’re constantly moving for fear of dying out. (That said, please don’t submerge your holiday gifts in salt water.)
This year’s Kindle Paperwhite is next year’s Kindle with a keyboard. It’s a crushing reminder of the inevitable march of technology that will continue until all the humans are dead and—as Flight of the Conchords told us—there is only one kind of dance: the Robot and the Robo Boogie. Well, two dances.
Here are some not-yet-obsolete tech toys worth giving to all the humans left in your life.
Sony DSC-QX10 ($249.99; Best Buy, Future Shop, London Drugs, Sony Store)
Increasingly, our cellphones are also our cameras. While some companies have responded to this trend by making smaller DSLR cameras, Sony has created a camera that’s a smartphone attachment. The 18-megapixel Sony DSC-QX10 can be used with iPhones and Android devices to help solve the most pressing issue with phone cameras—lens quality. The combo is smaller and lighter than even the best mirrorless digital camera, and it’s a good step forward for anyone wanting to take their smartphone pictures to the next level.
Samsung Galaxy Camera ($599.99; Best Buy, Future Shop, London Drugs)
If Sony’s smartphone attachment isn’t quite what you’re looking for, how about a 16-megapixel camera with a smartphone built in? While the Samsung Galaxy Camera won’t make calls, it does pretty much everything else an Android phone does. Sharing your photos is a cinch with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.
Motorola Moto X ($99.99 with a two-year contract, $449.99 with no contract; Best Buy, Future Shop, Rogers)
Sadly, in Canada, we don’t get to take advantage of the super-customizable options that Motorola offers to American customers through its website. Still, the Moto X is a phone worth checking out. Some manufacturers try to make their Android phones look as much like the iPhone as possible, but being owned by Google allows Motorola to branch out and build a different experience for users. As a Google phone, the Moto X is sure to be the most up-to-date in terms of the Android OS. If you’re looking to buy someone a phone that’s not an iPhone, the Moto X might be the ticket.
Apple iPad Air ($519 and up; Apple Store, Best Buy, Future Shop, London Drugs, Simply Computing)
Apple continues to take incremental steps forward with the release of each new iPad, crafting near-perfect computing experiences for all types of users. While some power users may prefer an Android tablet, most people will be far happier with the user-friendly iPad. The Air is incredibly light as well as responsive, with a 64-bit A7 chip. The Retina screen is a joy to read from, too.
Recon Jet (US$599; reconinstruments.com/)
Vancouver-based Recon Instruments is doing some of the most interesting stuff in wearable computing and heads-up displays in the world. The Recon Jet is a cyclist’s dream, delivering vital information such as maps, heart rate, and music selection on the road. Out of everything on this list, this one most feels like it’s from the future and, therefore, a step toward the inevitable robot uprising. Orders placed now will ship in spring 2014.
Mophie Powerstation Duo ($99.99; amazon.ca/, Apple Store, Best Buy, Future Shop)
For many of us, a smartphone is our connection to the world, a vital link between us and the information we need and the people we want to connect with. If only their batteries lived up to the major role they play in our lives, instead of barely being able to eke out enough power for a day of heavy usage. While there are bulky battery cases for popular phone models, the Mophie Powerstation Duo external battery is a more elegant solution. The Powerstation Duo can charge two USB devices at once, including an iPhone and an iPad. Excellent for getting you through a busy day or extending your device’s life on a trip away from power outlets.
Timbuk2 Hudson Laptop Briefcase (US$269; timbuk2.com/)
I’ve been a fan of Timbuk2’s messenger bags for years. They’re always good-quality, but they haven’t given off the professional and respectable vibe your average freelance tech writer craves—until now. The Hudson laptop briefcase is stylish enough for the boardroom or a trip to Whistler. With clever pockets for all your gadgets and associated cables, it’s as smart on the inside as it is on the outside.