It’s approaching the end of the year and the
FestivusChristmas season is almost upon us, so it’s time to start looking at what to get the Android lover in your life as a gift to open on Christmas morning. There’s a lot to get to and we’ve attmepted to get something for almost everyone’s budget, the only thing you’ll need to consider for some things on this list are the shipping times, so if it needs to be shipped, get in early to allow for delivery.
High End Android Handset
Everyone wants a new phone and there’s quite a range this year, if you’re so inclined you can purchase one of these outright – and we recommend you do, I mean who wants to receive a phone with a two year commitment attached?
|LG||Nexus 5||The Nexus 5 is a no-brainer when it comes to Android phones, well priced, excellently specced and you get the latest version of Android before almost any other device. We like the Nexus 5 and a full review is coming soon(Very Soon). The only choice you have to make is whether you want the White(Panda version) or the Black and which storage version you want 16GB or 32GB(We always recommend the 32 but we’re not everyone.|
|Samsung||Galaxy S4 ||In the world of Android Smartphones the one model that outsells all others are the phones in the Samsung Galaxy S line-up. This year the Galaxy S4 is again a great device with high-end specs, software features that offer some great usability enhancements and will generally make you pretty happy all round. Widely available accessories also make the Galaxy S4 a great phone to look at and it’s available everywhere.|
|Galaxy S4 Active ||If you like the Galaxy S4, but find yourself often dropping your phone into water or perhaps you work in an area which is prone to high levels of dust, then the Galaxy S4 Active is definitely a phone you should be looking at. It’s a fairly good looking device too, with many people preferring the look of the Galaxy S4 Active to the standard but hey they’re both pretty good devices.|
|Galaxy Note 3 ||The Galaxy Note 3 offers a huge screen, monstrously good battery life and all sorts of stylus based software tweaks as well as the Touchwiz Software that some people just can’t do without – The ladies love the ‘Wiz, right! – and the Note 3 improved on the performance and usability of it’s predecessor. Like the Galaxy S4, it’s available everywhere and the Accessory range for this Mega Phone is amazingly vast, definitely a great choice if you need that extra screen real estate or battery life.|
|HTC||HTC One ||If great design, specs and just overall quality are your thing then the HTC One is the phone you just cannot go past. Milled out of a single piece of aluminum, the HTC One has been winning awards for design all over the world. With fantastic software features like Blinkfeed and some well thought out photography focused software like Zoes and hardware which allows you to take some great low-light photos, the HTC One should be top of your list if you want the best looking Android phone this year.|
|HTC One Max ||If the HTC One is the look you’re after but you’re worried about battery life or want a larger screen, then the HTC One Max is definitely the phone for you. The HTC One Max offers all the same software functions of the HTC One but with Sense 5.5 right out of the box, as well as the same design stylings of the HTC One. The addition of the Battery cover which extends battery life is also another reason to add the HTC One Max to your list of phones you should be looking at.|
|Sony||Xperia Z1 ||If a phone with the highest quality camera sensor in the Android market is what you’re after then an Xperia Z1 should definitely be on your list of phones to check out. The fact that this phone can be used to stir your drink – if you’re so inclined – is another reason for those people who just don’t really want to worry about where their phone is when going swimming. With some slightly improved design over their earlier Xperia Z handset and some pretty nice looking software that integrates with both the Sony media eco-system as well as the Google eco-system the Xperia Z1 is the phone for you.|
|Xperia Z Ultra ||It’s the first Sony phone that’s made the jump into the Mega Phone category and Sony has done so with a bang. With a 6.4″ Full HD Screen that is fully life-proof with an IP58 certification on-board, the Xperia Z Ultra is a phone that you just can’t go past. Paired with the same Sony software experience of the Xperia Z1, you get the best of both worlds and the 8MP camera is still quite the decent shooter.|
|LG||LG G2 ||LG is a company who has in the last 12 months produced some of the best Android hardware/software combinations you can find. As the manufacturer of the current and previous Nexus devices, LG has learned some tricks from Google that they’ve applied to the design of the LG G2 and boy does it work well. The high-end hardware is paired with a smoothly optimised lag-free version of Android that includes some excellent software functions and an interesting hardware design that sees the hardware button controls moved to the back. The LG G2 is a phone that should be taken seriously by anyone in the market for an Android phone.|
The tablet market has exploded in the last few years and especially since the release of the Nexus 7, Google has been addressing the many shortcomings in the Android tablet range. The recent inclusion of a Tablet specific area of the Google Play store to highlight tablet optimised Apps will hopefully show developers that their Apps can receive more attention if they take the time to include a Tablet version.
2013 has been a great year for tablets and whilst we have yet to see a refresh of the Nexus 10, the Nexus 7(2013) is a truly brilliant tablet, but the other manufacturers have also released some pretty top notch products as well, so these would make a great gift for anyone who’s looking for something to consume some media or read some books on.
|Nexus 7||Geoff loved the Nexus 7 when he reviewed it and quite frankly most of the Ausdroid team also purchased the tablet and found it to be an extremely worthy successor to the original Nexus 7. With an option for an LTE model this year as well as the advantage of being one of the first devices in line to receive Android updates, the Nexus 7 is definitely a device worth having at the top of your Christmas shopping list.|
|Samsung||Galaxy Note 10.1(2014 Edition)||The Galaxy Note 10.1(2014 Edition) has literally just launched in Australia after being announced with the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear back in September. We haven’t had a chance to review the stylus driven tablet as yet but the previous model was quite good and the bump in resolution paired with the faster specs and S-Pen capabilities make this a tablet worth looking at.|
|Sony||Xperia Tablet Z||The Xperia Tablet Z was a breath of fresh air from Sony. We hadn’t seen a terrible lot worth being excited about in their tablet line-up, with the Tablet S and Tablet P failing to really get much in the way of attention. The Tablet Z on the other hand, really impressed Phil when he reviewed it and found that it is a fantastic – lifeproof(Water/Dust resistant) – beast, it’s fast, light and very, very thin. It’s definitely a tablet worth looking at.|
|LG||LG G Pad||The LG G Pad has only just launched in Australia and is available from JB HiFi. Jason is currently in the midst of reviewing the device, but we had some hands-on time at the launch and found the G Pad to be a very promising device. The Q Pair software which can pair your phone to the tablet to receive notifications from ANY Android phone running Android 4.1 and above was a great idea and with the IR port, should make for a fantastic addition to your living room.|
The whole wearables market has exploded in the last year, leading the way is of course Google Glass – which we hope to have on next years list – but in the realms of products you can actually buy, the market is really concentrating on smartwatches right now and there’s three out there that we reviewed during the year and found are worthy of your attention, although only two are in the running if you don’t have a fairly high-end Samsung phone.
|Pebble||Darren reviewed the Pebble and loved it, he’s still liking it to this day. We had a deal going with an Australian group, however they unfortunately ran out of stock. Good news is you can still order the Pebble directly from Pebble themselves through their website or order it from |
|Sony Smart Watch 2||Rob, one of our newest writers got himself the Sony SmartWatch 2 and in his review he seemed to like what Sony were doing with their second shot at the Smartwatch market. The Sony Smartwatch 2 is being sold on the Sony Australia website for a massive $354.95 but if you jump on over to Kogan, they will sell it for $179 + Delivery|
|Samsung Galaxy Gear||The Galaxy Gear is an unknown quantity in terms of longevity at the moment, announced as a Galaxy Note 3 exclusive, Samsung has tried in recent times to update their other phones to be compatible with their first Smartwatch as quickly as possible. If you or your Android fanatic have a compatible Samsung phone, the Galaxy Gear appears to be quite the worthwhile device. Check out Australian retailers or online sellers to find the best price for you.|
Android Cameras and Camera Accessories
There’s some pretty cool stuff happening in the Android Camera range but we haven’t seen a whole lot released here in Australia this year apart from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. But if you’re willing to go the extra distance and import from the U.S or Europe then you can get a high-end Android Camera or in the case of Sony – Lens Camera.
|Sony||DSCQX10||The Sony Lens cameras caused a stir when announced during IFA in September, the concept was very much something new and untested and very much something the Sony of old would have done. The QX10 is the lower end of the two Lens Cameras that Sony released with the QX10 packing an 18.2MP Exmor R Sensor and 10x Optical zoom. We’ve seen limited availability of the Sony Lens Cameras in Australia so far but the DSC-QX10 can be ordered from the Sony Australia website for $279.00 + Delivery.|
|DSCQX100||This is the higher end of the Sony Lens cameras, the QX100 offers a 20.2MP Sensor with a F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom. It can be purchased directly from the Sony Australia website for $599 + Delivery.|
|Samsung||Galaxy S4 Zoom||If a Galaxy S series Phone with a physical Zoom lens has been on your must-have list for a while, then the launch of the Galaxy S4 Zoom is a dream come true. This phone camera has been bumped up to 16MP and paired with a 10x Optical Zoom, but still retains all the software features on the Galaxy S4. There have been some compromises with the Galaxy S4, namely the Screen(not a fullHD screen unfortunately) and the CPU(Dual-Core) but for anyone after a great Camera Phone(not a phone camera) then the Galaxy S4 Zoom should be on your list of phones to check out.|
|Galaxy NX||While the Galaxy NX hasn’t been released here in Australia yet, the Android running, mirrorless system lens camera is a high end version of the Samsung Cameras that have been winning fans in the camera world for a while now. Whether Samsung can make the transition to selling the higher end cameras a valid proposition for ‘real’ photographers is a question that hasn’t really been answered yet. The Galaxy NX is available in Europe and the US so you’ll have to look at options to import this Android based Camera if you’re really serious, but with prices starting at US$1599 it’s serious shutterbugs only for this camera.|
If you’re an avid Mobile Phone photographer you may want a couple of tricks up your sleeve and we’ve got a couple of suggestions to help you out. First up are some lenses for your mobile, PhotoJoJo sells lenses that add some extra depth to your photos quite literally with telephoto and macro lenses as well as Fisheye, Wide Angle and Polarizing lenses and best of all we can get you a discount! Use the code AUSDROID5 to receive a US $5 discount on orders of US $40 or more.
Next up is one of my personal favourites, the Joby Smartphone camera Mount. I use this mount to take photospheres and it has produced some of the best quality shots I’ve seen yet. The mount is also great for taking family shots on a tripod when paired with a timer in the Camera App on your phone. You can get one of these for around $25 through Fishpond with delivery Australia wide included .
This one deserves its own section because without doubt, it was one of the more exciting new products to come out of Google this year. The Chromecast is a HDMI dongle you plug into a TV which you can control from your Android or iOS device, as well as your Windows or Mac computer and make your Dumb TV into a Smart TV.
While it’s only really working with Pandora, YouTube, Google Play Music and Movies at the moment, the Chromecast is about to get a full SDK release which could see the functionality explode, the downside is that it’s not technically available outside the US yet. Luckily Fishpond have been organising imports of this handy little dongle for the low price of $49.97 which includes delivery Australia wide, but it’s a long wait to receive them, so you may want to get in early to order one ASAP.
We’ve reviewed a few things over the last year that may just tickle your fancy. They have a link to Android in a way and may just be that extra stocking stuffer(or main present) that you’re after.
If an automated home system is what you’re after then the Philips Hue WiFi lighting system is something that you just cannot go past. With the ability to remotely control the lighting throughout your house and by remotely we mean anywhere, the Philips Hue offers a range of software settings to suit any mood from a party to just lying in bed reading. It’s expensive but a very well thought out and implemented product.
Logitech Harmony Smart Remote
We’ve all got too many remote controls around the house and Logitech is one of the leaders in Universal remote controls. With the addition of the ability to control your devices from your Android(or iOS) device, the Logitech Harmony Smart Remote is an option that you should definitely look at to remove the clutter and battery chewing remotes from your living room.
In Android 4.2, Google introduced compatability for a wireless streaming standard called Miracast. While Miracast doesn’t really offer the smooth streaming that you want just yet, it’s still an evolving technology that’s found in the latest Nexus devices as well as most of the high end devices on the market like Samsung Galaxy, HTC and LG phones and tablets as well as all the Nexus devices. With the addition of Intel’s WiDi standard, the Netgear PTV3000 also offers you the ability to wirelessly connect your laptop to a TV using WiFi. Netgear are continually improving the PTV3000, and at around the $80RRP mark it’s something you probably should look at.
Sennheiser Adidas OCX685i Sports Earbuds
If your Android addict – or yourself – is in need of some quality earbuds, then the Sennheiser Adidas OCX685i Sports Earbuds are definitely worth a look. The Ausdroid team has pretty much exclusively gone to Sennheiser as their default brand for headphones and for good reason, they are just that good. There’s a great range of Sennheiser headphones out there so it’s worth seeing which ones would suit your needs and budget over at the Sennheiser website.
Google Play Gift Cards
Google Play Gift Cards went on-sale in Australia this year in late August, they give you a way to gift Apps, Games, Music, Movies, Books or Newspapers to anyone who uses Google Play. Available exclusively from Woolworths, Woolworths Fuel, Big W and 7-11 in $20, $30 or $50 denominations the cards can’t be used to pay for subscriptions or hardware but pretty much anything else on the Google Play store is open slather.
Android Collectibles and Apparel
Now, if your Android fan is as happy with all their devices and you’re looking for something perhaps a bit off beat to compliment their Android addiction, then why not dress them up in some apparel, get some cool Android or Android themed Mascots or even some stickers to decorate your surroundings. Dead Zebra, Android Stickers and even Google themselves are able to help you out with all this.
Dead Zebra have been releasing Android Mini figurines, Android T-Shirts and Stickers for perhaps the longest of anyone and have just released Series 4 of their hugely popular Android Mini Figures. They’re about to release other items of apparel, like Socks as well as a new t-shirt into their range, so it would pay to check out the Dead Zebra store online and see if they have anything that tempts you.
Next, if you’re after some more t-shirt or sticker designs, then check out the Android Stickers website where you’ll find a massive range of products to please any Android fan, from T-Shirts to Stickers you’ll find some really neat designs.
Google themselves have also gotten into the Android Merchandising side of things – and why wouldn’t they? They offer all sorts of Google, Android or Chrome branded merchandise through their Google-Store website. The UK branch of Google seems to be the mob who supply the Australian side of their merchandise, so you’ll need to order fairly quickly to get some of the merchandise sent to you, head on over to the GoogleStore website to see what you can find.
If you’ve been caught up in the whole Kit Kat craze, and weren’t lucky enough to secure one of the 500 limited edition Android KitKats that were made then you could always see what Etsy seller Pixel&Print can do for you with their range of 3D printed goodies which includes a 3D Printed Android shaped KitKat :
They have a range of other Android themed 3D Printed plastic figures available as well, including a new Christmas ornament which may be just the ticket for your Android fan.
Finally, there’s something a little off beat – a Puppy Dog Chair. What has this got to do with Android you ask? Well, when Google first introduced their famous Android statue outside of Building 44 at their headquarters in Mountain View California, the Android statue had a dog. Unfortunately this dog was apparently stolen quite quickly but you can own one of them!
The dog was designed as a childrens chair by designer Eero Aarnio and if you head over to the ReplicaFurniture website they’ll sell you one for $99 (+ shipping)…now you just need a massive Android statue.
Update: The fine folk over at Gadgets4Geeks have generously offered a 10% Discount for their ENTIRE store for Ausdroid readers. Use the code
AD-GEEKMAS to get the discount. I personally am off to purchase a Carmount Kit, which Phil reviewed back in August, it looks like it will fit my Nexus 5 quite well.
We wish you a Merry Christmas this year and hope you can find something in this list to make the Android fanatic in your life happy on Christmas morning.