It's that time of year when even the most imaginative of us come up short with ideas for gifts to buy our family and friends. So the TUAW team is going to be providing you with some of our personal favorite gift ideas. Now, just because I've listed it here doesn't necessarily mean that I actually own an item or have even tried it out; in some cases, these are gifts that are on my personal wish list. Here we go!
Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100
My favorite Bluetooth audio system of the year was the Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100 (US$299.99), a system with 100 watts of room-filling sonic power that sounds and looks great. During my review earlier this year, I found the Bluetone 100 to have the best Bluetooth connectivity of any speaker I've tested. With its two patented Balanced Mode Radiator speaker drivers, Class D amp, and built-in digital sound processing, the sound quality is incredible. It's not cheap, but the Bluetone 100 would be well worth the money.
Fit Brains Trainer
The next item on my list is an app from Rosetta Stone Canada. Just about everyone knows how important it is to keep their body in shape, but what about your brain? Fit Brains Trainer is a free app, but requires an in-app purchase for continued use. The app runs you through a set of fun and challenging games designed to improve memory, processing speed, concentration, problem solving, and visual-spatial skills. Play it once a day, and who knows? You may find that your brain is working a bit more clearly.
This thing isn't even shipping yet, but it's already on my wish list. goTenna is a Bluetooth-equipped "stick" that fits into a bag or hangs from a backpack. If you're in a location with no cell phone service, it allows you to talk and text your friends by creating a point-to-point network between goTennas. What's it good for? Well, think of being able to communicate with others when you're in a foreign country out in the middle of nowhere, or talking to loved ones during an extended power outage when cell phone towers go down. Range varies, but can go from a half mile in cities or up to 6 miles on water. You can pre-order a pair of goTennas for $150 (half-price) right now.
Logitech Keys-To-Go Keyboard
If you start using an iPad to do work of any sort, you're going to want to use a keyboard. There's a problem with that, of course - just when you find an iPad keyboard that works perfectly for you, Apple changes the size of the iPad and you have to buy a new one. Well, maybe just using an external Bluetooth keyboard that works with any device is a better idea. That's where the Logitech Keys-To-Go Keyboard ($69.99) comes in handy - it works with iPad, iPhone, Mac, and just about anything else that has Bluetooth and can use a keyboard. It's big enough to comfortably type on, yet tiny enough to slide into a bag with your tablet or computer. Check out my review of it here.
Nest Dropcam Pro
This wouldn't be a list from me if it didn't have an "internet of things" tie-in. My winner is the Nest Dropcam Pro ($199.99), which is hands-down the best web/security cam out there. It takes no time at all to set up, has an amazing wide angle lens, and features a zoom mode that gives you the details when you need 'em. It's the best way to see what's going on at your home or office when you're not around.
Those are my picks for some fun and useful Christmas presents. My colleagues will be putting in their choices here soon; keep an eye open for what they pass along for some great gift ideas.