Nintendo Wii U
Price: $299.99 - $349.99
On November 18th Nintendo released the successor to the hugely successful Nintendo Wii console. With the Wii U Nintendo (finally) entered the era of HD gaming. The console features an improved online ecosystem that includes “TVii” an app that allows you to control your Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime streaming, Tivo, and TV all through one interface. The big attraction to the Wii U though is the all new controller. Featuring a 6.2” touch screen with a built in front facing camera, microphone, stereo speakers and motion controls. If the family is demanding their turn with the TV, continue the game on the controller screen while the family jams out to American Idol on the TV. The real challenge with the Wii U may be finding one in stock, as it is looking to be this season’s hot item.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Price: $199.99 - $599.99
On September 14th Amazon released the first of their new generation Kindle Fire tablets, the 7” 16GB was the successor to the popular Kindle Fire. On November 20th, Amazon unleashed the rest of the Kindle Fire HD family (some models are already backordered through December 3rd). The Kindle Fire HD family features a variety of models, with choice of either a 7” or 8.9” touch screen, Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + 4G LTE, and internal storage capacities of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB. The Fire is already looking to be a hit, so you may want to order one soon if you plan on gifting this by Christmas day.
Apple iPad Mini
Price: $329.99 - $659.99
Not to be outdone by Amazon, Apple released the iPad mini on November 2nd to compete in the market of the smaller/less expensive tablets. The iPad Mini features a 7.9” HD touch screen making it 23% thinner (7.2mm thick) and 53% lighter (0.68 lb.) than the standard iPad. Much like the Kindle Fire HD line, the iPad Mini offers a variety of models including choice of Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular, and storage capacities of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB. Whether or not you have ever owned an iPad, the iPad Mini is a great gift for the kids or anybody just looking for a more travel friendly version of the standard iPad.
Price: $499.99 - $699.99
For the first time in its history, Microsoft entered the world of computer hardware manufacturing with their “Surface” tablet. Microsoft hopes to compete with Amazon, Apple, and Samsung in the tablet space by offering a familiar Windows Operating System environment. The current models use the Windows RT Operating System (essentially a limited version of Windows 8), and offer a 10.6” touch screen with 32GB or 64GB storage options. The attached keyboard is part of the “Surface Touch Cover”, which is included in the $599.99 and $699.99 models, but can be purchased separately for $119.99. If you are looking for a tablet this holiday season the Surface tablet deserves a look.
Apple iPod Nano
With the 7th generation of iPod Nano, Apple took their consistently shrinking iPod Nano line and blew it up. This welcome change increases the screen from a paltry 1.5” screen to a reasonable 2.5” display, which drastically improves viewing photos, videos, and cover art. The Nano has 16GB of storage, (enough for up to 4,000 songs), and a built in FM tuner. Additionally, Apple has included the Nike+ fitness app, with built in pedometer, which allows you to track daily activities and goals. The iPod Nano makes a great gift for the audiophile, athlete, and/or outdoorsman in your life.
Striiv Smart Pedometer
The Striiv smart pedometer is a great gift for those needing a little push to get in shape. Not only does the Striiv track your individual steps, but it works to motivate you to do more providing you with instant feedback on your progress toward your personal goals. It also has both individual and wirelessly connected family/friend games built in to challenge you to get moving. Still not feeling motivated to move? How about walking for a cause? The Striiv features a Walkathon in your pocket. Reach 18,000 steps and you can choose to help save the rainforest or provide clean water to families in South America. Reach 60,000 steps and provide polio vaccines. The best part, all you have to do is walk; Striiv and their corporate partners donate to the charity in recognition of your achievement. You can get the Striiv for one individual for as low as $99.95, or you can join in the fun with the Family Bundle for $199.95.