Sunday , December 17 2017

Best Gadgets for Christmas Gifts in 2017


It’s that time of year again, we’re all floundering around trying to find something for our loved ones and of course it’s never easy to find something for everyone. If you were thinking of buying a phone for someone, we’ve got that covered. If you’re thinking of something else, well here’s our best gadgets list to consider as suggestions.

They range from stocking stuffers through to the big gifts, so if you’re looking for something neat for the Android/Tech/Mobile enthusiast in your life check out what’s here:

Google Play Gift Cards


If you’re just stumped as to what to buy someone with an Android phone, tablet or even Android TV then Google Play Gift Cards are great. You can buy a $20, $30 or $50 card, or get one of the loadable cards that allow you to put up to $500 on them.

A word of warning though, you CANNOT purchase hardware with these gift cards, so don’t expect that. You can use them to pay for your Google Play Music/YouTube Red subscriptions however, and it’s always handy to have some Google Play credit laying around ready for a massive sale on Apps, Games, Books, Music, TV Shows or Movies.

Smartphone Lens Kit from 3SixT for $34.95


Clip-on smartphone lenses are a pretty good idea for the gadget lover in your life, this kit from 3SixT offers three lenses – a 230° Fish Eye lens, 0.65x Wide Angle lens and a 15x Macro Lens to capture even the tiniest details in high resolution.

For $34.95 it’s a cheaper stocking stuffer style gift that’s sure to please the tech friendly person in your life. It comes with a neat protective carrying case to protect the lenses when not in use so grab one today from your local Newslink newsagent, Network Comms, Optus, Telstra or checkout the 3SixT website.

Belkin Global Travel Kit for $49


For the world traveller out there, the Belkin Global Travel Kit offers a wall charger and six interchangeable regional plugs, making it a great charging solution when travelling. The plugs are suitable for Australia, the UK, the US, Europe, Korea and China.

The adapter has an output of 2.4A with a single USB-A outlet on the rear. At $49 it’s a pretty decent option for anyone looking to travel overseas.

Tile Sport/Style Bluetooth trackers from $50

For the absent minded out there, the Tile Pro series is a great tool for keeping track of your wallet, keys etc. With options for either a single unit for $50 or in a 2-pack for $90 the Tile Pro is a great looking device that lets you find your Tile tracker with an app on your phone.

The Tile Pro series are waterproof and they’ve doubled the previous range of the Tile trackers up to now 200 feet, and it’s also twice as loud. You can find these goodies at both Harvey Norman and JB Hifi.

Google Home Mini from $53


We’d be remiss if we didn’t make mention of the Google Home Mini, it’s a base version of the Google Home but all the same functions built-in, it will answer your questions, control your smarthome devices and of course play back your tunes.

You can get this bad boy for as low as $53 from some retailers for a while in both Chalk (white) or Charcoal (Black) colour options, or you can pay $79 to get a Coral (Red) coloured one from the Google Store. It’s a no-brainer for anyone who wants to experience smart speakers so check it out at JB Hifi, Officeworks, The Good Guys or Harvey Norman.

Audiofly AF33W Bluetooth Earphones

We don’t have much choice these days with a lot of manufacturers removing the 3.5mm headphone adapter from their phones. So, if you’re looking for a budget range of Bluetooth earphones why not try the Audiofly AF33W Bluetooth earphones? At $59 they’re quite a decent looking set which are available in either Black, or an all white design with rose gold highlights.

The AF33W earphones offer up to 3.5 hours of battery life, they’re IPX4 rated for sweat protection while you work out and a an inline control lets you control your music or take calls, and they also come with support for Bluetooth aptX.

You can find the AF33W in-store at JB Hifi now.

Foxtel’s Now Box from $99


Foxtel’s Now Box is a controversial choice, but it’s a pretty decent offering if you want to get into Android TV without ordering in an Nvidia Shield or Xioami Mi Box. That said there are issues – it doesn’t support Netflix, nor does it support Kodi so it’s a bit of a bummer on that note. It does support Foxtel Now, as well as Stan and there’s now support for ABC iView, Channel 10 and Channel 7, all of whom have Android TV apps, and even Channel 9 and SBS OnDemand support Chromecast streaming on the box.

It’s available now for an introductory price of $99 from the Foxtel website which includes all the Foxtel Now packs.

Navig8r Cab X 717 Crash Cam at $199


This one’s a bit personal for me, after our car was T-boned a week ago we’re in the market for a dash-cam and the Navig8r Cab X 717 Crash Cam looks like it will do the job quite well.

Available over at Australian electronics manufacturer Laser’s website, the dashcam is just $199 and offers two dedicated wide-angle front view and internal cameras. The cameras capture full high definition 1080p and high definition 720p and the internal camera comes with night vision as well to capture any happenings in the dark.

The dashcam comes with a microSD card slot to capture all the footage on, and is powered through a microUSB connector. It’s easily mounted inside your windscreen to capture the best view.

Sphero R2-D2 App enabled Droid for $229


By the time we get to Christmas the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, will have been in theatres for at least two weeks and what better to satisfy the Star Wars fan in your life with a fully remote controlled R2-D2?

The Droid is controlled with an app on your Android or iOS device allowing you to steer R2 around the house. R2 will watch and react to all the Star Wars movies with you, and he’ll make all the noises he does in the movie. R2 will also jiggle up and down and has a retractable third wheel just like he does in the movies.

The Sphero R2-D2 App Enabled Droid is available from $229 from JB Hi-Fi or you can shop around for a little bit better price. He’s definitely worth it for the Star Wars fan in your life.

Ring Video Doorbell from $189


The ability to answer your door, or even check out what’s happening at home is a great idea and Ring are the industry leaders when it comes to Video Doorbells.

There’s a range of options available from Ring on their website, ranging from the original Ring Video Doorbell from $189, through to the Ring Video Doorbell Elite for $699. The mid-range option of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 or Video Doorbell Pro seems to be a safe bet though, with options for 1080P recording to the cloud where your videos are safe if someone does try something nefarious.

The Ring Video Doorbell series are app controlled, so you get alerts when someone presses the bell, or you can also get an alert if something moves in front of the camera with scalable motion detection options in the app. It’s a good bet that the gadget lover in your life would love one of these.

You can find Ring products at Bunnings, Officeworks, Harvey Norman and more, or head over to their website, ring.com to check out their range.

Bose QC 35 Mk II from $399

For the true Android audio-phile in your life the second generation Bose QC 35 headphones are a must have.

The Bose QC 35 Mk II are, like their predecessor supremely comfortable to wear. They have great built-in active noise cancellation. The major difference between MK1 and Mk2 is the inclusion of a Google Assistant button, that lets you access the Assistant by pressing it and talking – the Assistant can even read back your notifications.

Chris named them as the best Bluetooth headphones that money can buy this year, so with that recommendation check them out – you can find them priced from between $399 to $500, so be sure to shop around. You shouldn’t need to pay the (fairly steep) recommended retail price for these.

Logitech Harmony Elite Remote around $449.95

“Ok Google, ask Harmony to turn on the AirConditioner” – with those words I was sold. Anything plugging into Google Assistant these days is worth it for me, with a wide-range of support for up to 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices including TV and set top boxes to disc players, gaming consoles, AV receivers and streaming media players — plus it also works with all your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and more.

As you can probably tell from the above description, the Logitech Harmony Elite is basically a universal remote control for everything in your life. It unifies control of your expanding universe of home entertainment and smart home devices. The remote has a colour touchscreen with motion-sensing backlit keys, and one-touch automation, which Logitech says ‘makes universal home control intuitively magical’.

It’s not exactly what you’d call cheap at $449.95 but you can find it a LOT cheaper if you shop around. It will also solve a lot of problems if you’re looking for something high-end for that gadget lover in your life. You can check it out on the Logitech Australia website.

ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 930 Vacuum Mopping Robot for $1,299


This Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 Vacuum Mopping Robot is on my must check out list, as vacuuming is a chore I abhor. Unfortunately like most of those jobs it has to be done.

The robot vacuum cleaner is controlled by an app on your smartphone for now, but an update coming next year will let you use Google Home to tell it to start cleaning. The app lets you schedule cleaning, map out areas and more.

The built-in vacuum can suck up all the dirt and dust, while the built-in 300ml water tank and washable cloth inside finishes the job to let you come home to a squeaky clean floor.

It’s on the high-end of the price list at $1,299 from Harvey Norman but you can probably try to negotiate on that price. Still, it’s a hot looking vacuum cleaner.

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He’s been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there’s a phone that’s run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan’s dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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