theSync: 2012 Holiday Gadget Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

This week on theSync, I share with you my pics for the best holiday gadgets to give that special someone.

Or just yourself.

Buying stuff is cool, but remember what’s most important. PSA over, let’s get to the gadgets.

1. The Nest Learning Thermostat

Every year, the home automation nerds bring us a step closer to having Jarvis make breakfast for us in the morning. Topping this year’s list is the Nest Learning thermostat. I’ve mentioned this on Briefcase Radio and I’ve briefly spoken about it on theSync, but I’m a big fan of this little device. The Nest learns your preferences and dynamically adjusts your A/C and heater for optimum temperature and savings. For just this innovation alone, it’s a steal at $249 and can be controlled by your iOS or Android smartphone. You can pick it up at Home Depot or online at

2. A Mini-Tablet

I know. We all have iPads, Nexuses, Kindles and what not, but you can never have too many computing devices in your life.  I panned the iPad Mini a couple of weeks ago, but I have to say that I’m impressed by the weight and feel of the device.  I stand behind my original argument in that it doesn’t make sense as a business tablet, but it is a great toy.  The Mini is light, well built, and well, made by Apple.

On Briefcase Radio I spoke great things about the Nexus 10, Google’s Samsung constructed super resolutioned tablet.  The Nexus 7 is the 10’s baby brother.  At $199, you’d be crazy to not get the Nexus 7 over another mini-Android tablet.  It feels good in your hands, runs Jellybean, and has a beautiful display.

Cool kids get iPad Minis, the nerds get Nexus 7’s. If you don’t think you fit in with either group, pick up the Kindle HD.  Last year, I reviewed the Kindle Fire and I was really impressed with Amazon’s tablet entry.  The HD is a pretty good improvement upon their existing design with an updated screen.  It costs the same as the Nexus 7 with a true 1280 high resolution screen.  Amazon claims that it is the world’s most advanced tablet with it’s true HD screen, dual-band wifi, and solid black design.  They might be right.

3. A Grown Up Tablet

Last week, I spent some time with a Microsoft Surface RT device.  And this may be the best product Microsoft has released.  Microsoft introduced the world to tablet and smartphone computing over 10 years ago, but couldn’t execute.  This time, the Surface has the battery life, screen capability, and application support to make it worth while.  If you’re special one is a business owner or entrepreneur, this is that tablet to get.  Why? Two words.  Microsoft Office.

4. A Really Good Pocket Digital Camera

Even though we publish the Snapperific app, and are soon to come out with Snapagram, I still believe that digital cameras make great Christmas gifts.  We can make more money, but we can’t make more time.  And nothing captures the time we spend with our families better than pictures.  CNET, recommends Panasonic’s Lumix ZS20 digital camera, and I agree with them.  The ZS20’s 20 mega pixel sensor can catch a fly buzzing a four feet with crystal clarity.  But more importantly, you’re getting Leica performance without paying Leica money.  On this camera, you’re getting a Leica lens and sharing the same silicon as Leica’s digital cameras.  For less!  That’s a great gift.

If you’re not in the mood for Panosonic cameras, check out the Nikon Coolpix 800c. The 800c is an Android powered camera which means at some point you’ll be Instagramming and Facebooking your images straight from the back of the camera.  I was wondering how long it would take to see Android powered cameras and this year they are right on time.

Huh? What about DSLRs.  See below.

5. Smarter Smartphons

Every year we read about, watch talking heads, and here ringtones coming from new super phones.  This year, LG files one in the ridiculously spec’d out category with the LG Optimus G.  Let’s see.  Quad-core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5 gHZ, 2 GB of RAM, 4.7″ HD display, expansion slot, and LTE.  I’d wager that some of you are reading this and listening to theSync using computers with lower specs.  At $99 on contract, it’s the ‘IT’ cellphone surpassing even the mighty S3.

6. Stocking Stuffers

I say it every year.  You can’t not have too much storage and energy.  Get plenty of SD and CF cards for those digital cameras.  If you’re really savvy, pick up the iPad digital camera connection kit from photojojo so that your special one can easily copy those moments to their iPads.  An FM transmitter for your mate that doesn’t have in-car Bluetooth would be nice.  A Victorinox SWAK USB drive is always a cool and welcome gift.  An Apple Magic Mouse is a stylish and productive accessory for your loved one’s workstation.  And finally an external battery pack for those iOS and Android smartphones being unwrapped on Christmas morn.


We all know about the war between the S3 and iPhone5.  Why should I mention them here?

Thanks for listening and reading.  It’s the start of the holiday season, so please enjoy yourself, behave responsibly, and if necessary make sure you have a designated driver.

You’ve been synced.

What Didn’t Make the List

The Wii U

This is going to be another ‘IT’ gift for the season.  Reports have stated that Wii U’shave sold out at Wal-Marts and other retailers.  Why didn’t it make the list?  According to initial reports, the Wii U’s graphics and processing performance hasn’t been spectacular with the hard core games such as Mass Effect 3 and others.  Although Nintendo was never the system for the hard core.  I would wait and see or try it before you buy it because software only gets more complex with time, not simpler.

Smartphone Controlled Helicopters

You can walk into any mall in bumble-America and find a smartphone controller helicopter.  They are cool.  I want one myself, but you know where they are.

Google Glasses

As much as I’d like to live our my Kurweillian fantasies, the Google Glasses won’t be out until 2013.  I hope to get my hands on a set ASAP.  If they work out, they will be on the list next year…

The Canon 5D Mark20xyz or the Nikon D9z

I am a Nikon fan.  I’ve only own Nikon DSLRs.  I currently own a Canon G9 prosumer camera, a Bronica SQAi, a Yashicamat 124G, a Pentax K1000, a Nikon F100, and an old, old Polaroid.  The new Canon 5DmkIII is supposedly the best thing to ever happen to photog since autofocus, but I own too much Nikon glass and have shot too many Nikon images to not be biased.  It wouldn’t be fair to you, or to my cameras.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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