While we’re gearing up for Google I/O in just over a week, but before we get to that fun it’s time to think of your mother with Mothers Day coming up the Sunday after I/O ends. Your mother may be techy, or she may just appreciate a nice gift, and we’ve got a few suggestions on what could make a nice gift for mum.
Google Play Vouchers – $20, $30 or $50
I recommend Google Play Gift Cards all the time. They’re great for purchasing books, games, apps, movies and music – or paying for a subscription like many of you do.
Google Play Gift Cards recently got a make-over but they still come in $20, $30 and $50 denominations as well as a load-and-go option allowing you to put anywhere up $500 on it.
Video Streaming Stick or Set Top Box
Streaming audio or video is always great. As usual the Google Chromecast Audio and Chromecast Ultra are great, but this year there’s new entries on the market, with Vodafones Android TV box, and Amazon releasing their FireTV Stick Basic.
The new entry for Google Chromecast is the Vodafone Android TV box. Powered by Android TV it has more of an interface and it comes with a remote control that you can use to hit YouTube or Netflix with just one tap, or talk to the Assistant to find out stuff just like a smart speaker.
The newest entry for video streaming in Australia is the Amazon FireStick Basic. It’s a dongle like a Chromecast, but it also has a remote control to make it a little easier for anyone who isn’t comfortable with ‘casting’ from their phone or tablet. As the copy for the FireStick on the Amazon site says it ‘provides an easy way to access content from Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube and over 4,000 apps and games’ – though with Amazon and Google currently fighting, we doubt you’ll see easy access to YouTube for a while.
Any of these options would be great, but gauge what your mother is into before you forge ahead. If she’s into Google’s eco-system or likes YouTube then a Google Chromecast or Android TV box is for her, if she’s more inclined towards Amazon or shoppping, then the Firestick Basic is a pretty decent option.
Smart Speaker from $79
A smart speaker is definitely a quick way to get mum something that’s fun to use as well as useful around the home. Smart speakers can tell you what’s happening in your calendar, play music, control your smart homes and even just perform searches including telling you what the weather will be like today or for the rest of the week.
Starting from $79 you can grab either a Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot depending on whichever eco-system takes your fancy.
A smart speaker is definitely buying into an eco-system so if your mum is a Google fan or more inclined to using Google services like Play Music or Chromecast you may be wanting to stick with a Home Mini, but If your mum is open to using things like Amazon Prime Music or Video then an Alexa powered speaker could be for you.
It’s probably best to start mum off small with one of these and see if she likes it first.
For the active mother out there, the 3SIXT Full HD Sports Action Camera is possibly what mum could want.
The camera can capture 1080p FullHD videos at 30fps, or capture up to 12MP still images through the 140° wide viewing angle lens onto a microSD card. You can connect to the camera using an Android (or iOS) app, available free from Google Play. The camera can also be connected directly to a TV through MicroHDMI, or to a PC via microUSB for charging or transferring video or pictures.
At $99.95, this is a bargain for the action loving mother.
Plantronics Backbeat Fit 505
If mum is in need of some “me” time lately, then chilling out with some new headphones listening to some music may be what she needs.
The Plantronics BackBeat 505 wireless headphones are a great place to start for mum, they’re wireless and come with lightweight memory foam ear cushions that will last all day on a single charge. They’re also sweatproof so mum can take the to the gym as well. On-ear controls allow her to control her tunes without grabbing her phone out either.
The Plantronics BackBeat 505 come in three colour choices for just $119.99.
There’s a new king in town when it comes to cheap Android phones with the launch of the Nokia 1 in Australia.
For $149 this compact little beauty packs in a 3.5″ display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (with microSD card) and runs a custom version of Android designed by Google to run on lower-end hardware. The phone is guaranteed updates for 3 years, and who doesn’t want to make sure mum stays secure with updates?
Mum can even add a touch of personalisation to the phone with the Xpress-on covers available from $19.95 each in Azure, Grey, Yellow and Pink colour options.
If you want to get something really neat for mum this mothers day, the recently released Amazon Echo Spot is awesome.
The Echo Spot has all the same functionality of an Amazon Echo Dot, with smart home controls, ability to find information about the weather or even just general searches or just playback an audiobook or some music. The key feature of the Echo Spot though is the inclusion of a built-in display and video camera that is perfect for video conferencing or displaying information.
At $199 this isn’t the cheapest gift, but it’s a good one to help you keep in touch.
HTC U11 Life
The Nokia 1 is a great start for the entry level, but if you’ve maybe got some dollars to spare then the HTC U11 Life is another great option for mum.
HTC have opted for Android One to power their phone, it’s a clean version of Android and it runs really well. Like Android Go you get guaranteed updates from Google, so mum will be safe from any potential issues with Google handling the security udpates.
At $599 you get a lot more hardware than the Nokia 1 with a lovely 5.2″ FullHD resolution SuperLCD display that’s powered by a faster Qualcomm processor. A 16MP camera on both the front and the rear of the phone will allow mum to indulge her inner photographer. A 2600 mAh battery will also let her last all day no matter what she’s doing.
Ecovacs Robotics’ DEEBOT OZMO 610
Before you go off at me for including a vacuum cleaner on a mothers day list, this little puppy is going on the fathers day list later this year too. I mean it’s a robot vacuum cleaner – it’s for EVERYONE!
The Ecovacs Robotics’ DEEBOT OZMO 610 is awesome, it both vacuums and mops automatically around your house following a planned cleaning route. Built-in sensors automatically detect when it’s time to switch from vacuum to mopping to ensure you get a brilliant clean.
The robot vacuum is app controlled, allowing you to initiate or schedule cleaning and if you got Mum an Echo Dot above, she can also tell Alexa to start cleaning as well.
At $899 it’s a bit above the usual price, but it looks very cool.