The holidays are meant to be happy, fun, and productive times. Shopping, while certainly a bit crowded during this time of year, can be fun when you are buying something that you know that special small business owner in your life will want.
Or you can just buy one of these gifts for yourself and get a tax write-off, to boot. In this holiday tech gift ideas slideshow, we give you some fun suggestions and ideas, for yourself and others.
Tablets are all the rage this year, so let’s start with a few of these handheld computers.
In a Los Angeles Times post and survey 78 percent said a tablet was on their holiday shopping list. There are so many to choose from, I tested the first four with loaner devices. I didn’t get a chance to test the Surface, but, of course, it gets rave reviews.
This elegant tablet from Google (made by Samsung) is impressive. For $399, you get a machine as powerful as many low-end laptops. Add a lightweight mobile keyboard (see below) will make you even more productive. I like the Gorilla glass screen. It is hack-friendly – you can open the Nexus 10 and repair it yourself (well, if you are that kind of techie).
It has a special wifi technology that speeds up your browsing, too. If you don’t want a tablet, but a small smartphone computer, you could try the Nexus 4, unlocked with no carrier contract, for $299. It is a powerful competitor to the iPhone.
Click the blue “Start Gallery” button to see more of my holiday tech gift ideas.
This is a 7 inch tablet. I reviewed the predecessor and some of the same thoughts still apply. For $199, you can use this mid-sized tablet for browsing the web, checking email, reading books (work PDFs or Microsoft Office docs with an app), watching training videos (or personal ones).
Impressive sound and display.
It’s shaking up the mid-size tablet space and appears to be a real winner. The Los Angeles Times tested it against the Kindle and Nexus 7 and decided that the mini won. I found it to be as elegant as all the hype, frankly.
The subtle difference in size, compared to others in the category, makes it particularly nice to hold for all tasks.
Prices start at $329.
This is in the 10 inch tablet category and many small business owners tell me that they like the idea of a Windows-based machine to get access to all their Microsoft documents easily.
Prices start at $499.
This Bluetooth headset is impressive. At $99, this hands-free headset is excellent. If you need an office speakerphone, take a look at their Calisto 620 for $149.
As a side note, check out this fun contest currently being run by Plantronics, “What’s the Strangest Place You’ve Taken a Business Call?“ I had started a conversation about a loaner of the Legend prior to learning about this sweepstakes.
This cool new radio/music service lets you listen for free to any album or track, via your desktop, PC or Mac. The mobile service is a premium level starting at $4.99 a month. You can get gift cards at Target online or in stores or sign up on the web.
Premium edition lets you listen ad-free and they’ll give you a free 30-day trial. To be clear, this is a digital service and no cords are necessary.
No iPods were harmed in the making of this post.
Now it may be hard to make a case for business use with this new camera, but I think it might help lots of small business owners who are not professionals, or barely amateurs. It isn’t just a new camera, but a new kind of camera.
In essence, the Lytro camera lets you create living pictures that you can endlessly refocus after you take them. It sounds unbelievable and I am going on my photographer friend’s recommendations because I have not had a chance to test it yet.
Starts at $399.
Jawbone is famous for its little, high quality Bluetooth mobile phone headsets. But they’ve been branching out into other products and this little wireless audio system, ironically called the Big Jambox, will connect with your devices or computer or even serve as a speakerphone.
At $299, it is an elegant way to amplify your iPhone or Android music device, a.k.a your phone. Every now and then, I really want to keep one of the loaner devices that companies send me.
The Big Jambox fits in that “want.” It is just a cool little package.
If you work from a home office and want a way to save on your energy bills, take a look at this new thermostat. As its name implies, this thermostat learns your schedule and programs itself. Seriously.
Plus, you can control it from your phone. If you can install a light fixture (not just screw in a light bulb), then you can hook this device up and save money on heating and cooling.
Cost is $249.
This is something every multi-device office needs. If you have ever tried to charge your iPad2 with your Samsung SIII charger, you know it won’t work.
There’s this subtle microAmp thing… solve it with Kensington’s powerful multi-device charger. It even has technology to charge your phone/device faster, safely.
Cost is $19.99.
There are no shortage of iPhone cases, Android cases, or iPad keyboard covers. I’ll leave the iPhone case world alone, but there’s one I really like from Kensington. I needed a simple cover for the Ting Cell phone that I’m testing.
This case sales for $19.99. They make a really nice faux-leather iPad folio case with an actual working keyboard, too!
I have tested about three mini keyboards for the iPad2 only to be disappointed each time. Can’t win them all, I guess. However, there’s one I really like.
Kensington really delivered with their Bluetooth-enabled keyboard for $74.99.
While this holiday shopping list is aimed at higher-end devices to enhance your productivity, I tried to add in a few fun, lower-cost items that might serve as a gift to that special entrepreneur friend or ally.
What are you giving clients, business friends or colleagues this year?