Gadget Wish List for Christmas 2015

Just in time for the holidays, its our list of the top three gifts every tech geek will love this holiday season.

  1. Samsung Gear VR

The latest iteration of the Samsung Gear VR, which was released in late November, is considered by some including Geoffrey Fowler of The Wall Street Journal, to be a complete “no-brainer” as far as smartphone peripherals go, particularly if you own one of Samsung’s newest Galaxy models.

The gadget, a joint venture created by Samsung and Facebook Inc.’s Oculus, comes right out the box with hundreds of apps and VR experiences thanks to curation provided by the Oculus store, and will only set you back $100 USD. The latest Gear VR weighs 19% less than its predecessor (demo model) giving the 360-degree entertainment system a feeling that Fowler calls “accessible and slick, rather than awkward and sickening.”

The only major downside is that the Gear VR isn’t universally accessible to anyone with a smartphone, requiring one of this year’s compatible Samsung smartphones, like the Galaxy S6 or Note 5. The smartphone is required to stream content to the goggles, and only supports Samsung devices that meet certain hardware specifications.

Hopefully your one of the many people that jumped on this device the moment it was released. Because according to multiple sources including TechCrunch, the device sold out on both BestBuy and Amazon shortly after it was offered online.

  1. Sphero BB-8 Star Wars Droid

Disney’s always been one for excellent timing, monopolizing on both the release of their latest blockbuster film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the fast approaching Christmas holiday, with the release of a Star Wars themed toy that is sure to find its way under many young (as well as old) boys and girls’ trees this holiday season. It’s called the Sphero BB-8 Droid and is the spiritual successor, so to speak, to R2-D2.

Created by the robot-toy startup Sphero, the droid is approximately the size of a baseball and is steerable via a smartphone app (available for Android and iOS), using gyroscopes and motors to propel itself forward, backward and side-to-side at up to 5 miles per hour. The head attaches to the body using magnets, allowing for the mechanism to keep the head upright, and should the piece come off due to intense usage, you can easily snap it back on. The app allows the player to drive the droid around like a remote controlled car, or activate preset routines. And can even be controlled using your voice and your phone’s microphone! It’s fun overload, for sure.

Check out the full review of the Sphero BB-8 Droid done by TechCrunch:

  1. The X PlusOne Drone by XCraft

Drones are all the rage now. Between personal drones being purchased to capture eagle-eye photos (essentially the new selfie stick), to the endless commercial applications being explored by major retailers including Amazon, it’s not impossible to imagine a future where you could look up in the sky and see dozens, if not hundreds of drones whizzing around. That being said, wouldn’t you want to be ahead of the game by owning the F16 of drones?

An independent company XCraft, who recently received seed funding from the popular show Shark Tank, with their signature product the X PlusOne. What sets this drone apart from the competition is the ability to achieve both hovering (as is the case with the vast majority of multiple rotor drones), as well as forward flight. The wing construction allows the drone to tilt forward, pointing the propellers in front, allowing the drone to achieve speeds in forward flight motion of up to 60 miles per hour. This thing is perfect for filming fast moving subjects. Plus the softare allows you to control both manually and with preset routines. And above all, you can customize your drone to your liking on the company’s website, right down to the specs and colors.

All the bells and whistles come at a price though, with base models starting around $1,800 USD. After checking out this flight demo XCraft posted on YouTube, you might just be convinced that it’s worth the cost.

Jason Quintal | December 2, 2015

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