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Black Friday Holiday Gift Guide for the Tech Lover

Black Friday Holiday Gift Guide for the Tech Lover

Rabbi Jason Miller | 11/15/2017
Tech Entrepreneur, Rabbi and Futurist

You might still be reliving your summer vacation, but the holiday shopping season has arrived in full force. Hanukkah begins the evening of December 12 this year so it’s almost a full two weeks before Christmas. That means you need to get started on your gift list early, but that’s why the Black Friday deals are so convenient.

Black Friday has become something of a ritual for every price conscious shopper and this year’s deals are better than ever – especially when it comes to tech gadgets, phones, drones and TVs. This year’s hot gifts on Black Friday will again be 4K smart TVs, but you can be sure there will also be great deals on everything from gaming systems, tablets, headphones, speakers, wearables, home appliances and hoverboards. What follows is my list of the tech-related gifts you’ll want to get a head start on because the savings will be great, and you can’t guarantee they’ll be available as we get closer to the holidays. So, no matter who is on your shopping list this year, you’ll want to get a jump on things to guarantee the best deals.


REM-Fit Sleep 500 12-Inch Hybrid Memory Foam and Pocket Coil Cooling Mattress – I’ve been sleeping on this mattress for months and my back and neck have never felt better. If you’re looking for a gift that will truly improve someone’s life, give them the gift of a good night’s sleep. The Nordic Chill fiber in this mattress will make the whole bed cool when you need it and it disperses heat evenly for a deeper night’s sleep when it’s hot in the room. With five layers of foam and coils to contour to your body, this is the go to memory foam mattress to go to in a crowded field. Perhaps the best part is how quick and easy delivery is. You’ll surprise your friends this holiday season when they open the box to reveal a giant foam mattress was in that small shipping box.


GOTRAX HOVERFLY XL All Terrain Hover Board – Let’s face it, hover boards have gotten a pretty bad rap ever since they came on the scene a few years ago. Broken bones and explosions did not make for good PR, but the new line of hover boards are a whole new ball game. All GOTRAX HOVERFLY hoverboards are UL 2272 certified for electrical and charging safety. The Hoverfly XL has 30-degree slope climbing capacity, top speed of 7.4 MPH and a range of 12 miles on a total charge. More important than those stats, however, is the fact that it’s much more stable and safe than prior models. The built-in Bluetooth speaker is a bonus and so is the fact that it’s on sale now for only $249.99 ($49 off MSRP).


Moen Essie Pulldown MotionSense Wave Faucet – Wow! That was my reaction after testing the latest tech innovation from Moen. The stylish kitchen faucet looks beautiful, but the impressive part is under the hood, so to speak. I never liked seeing fingerprints on the kitchen faucet and with Moen’s MotionSense Wave feature, I’ll never see them there again. A simple gesture turns the water on and off. While a kitchen faucet might seem like an odd holiday gift, it will be the ultimate conversation starter this holiday season. Trust me that if you give this gift to your friends and relatives, they’ll continue to thank you every time their kids’ hands are too dirty to even turn on the faucet.


D-Link Camera – One of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is peace of mind. The D-Link Mini HD Wi-Fi Camera boasts 720p HD video and 16 feet of night vision in total darkness. Whether you need to keep an eye on the kids, contractors at the house, or your property at night, you’ll be able to see everything from the convenience of your mobile phone or tablet. I recommend the two-pack for optimal coverage.


Even H2 Wireless Headphones There’s nothing more personal than music and that’s why we’ve seen the success of personalized playlists on services like Pandora and Spotify. The Even H2 headphones take personalization a step further for the music aficionado on your Christmas or Hanukkah list. They administer an 8-frequency sound test, allowing you to customize the music selection. The walnut paneling with faux leather make for a classy look. Available on Amazon.


Fisher Price Think & Learn – Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that kids love shiny objects. Good luck getting them to be productive when a phone or tablet is in their hands. The Fisher Price Think and Learn is the best of both worlds. Released last month, it comes with 400 digital experiences to help kids learn letters, numbers, phonics, shapes and more. Instead of distracting your kids with a movie on your next flight, with the Fisher Price Think & Learn, you’ll be able to keep them occupied and learning.


Front Row Camera – We all have that friend who misses out on life because they’re always on their phone trying to capture everything. The Front Row Camera from Ubiquiti Networks allows them to leave their mobile device in their pocket and see the world the way they are supposed to – with their eyes. The camera fits in a lanyard and weighs less than a typical smart watch. The wearer can capture video for later, or stream live on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great gift for someone who needs to record everything, but has trouble living in the moment.


Polaroid PL3000 Drone – Raise your hand if your kid wants a drone this year. OK, you can all put your hands down now and keep reading. I really like the state-of-the-art Polaroid PL3000. It’s not going to break the bank, but it has all the bells and whistles you can ask for. It can record up to 10 minutes of 720p HD video while streaming to your iOS or Android device. Also, you don’t have to be an Air Force Pilot to maneuver this drone. It has two speed settings, an “Altitude Hold” mode, and my favorite four words “One-key auto landing.” Just make sure not to fly it anywhere dangerous, and you will have to register it with the FAA.


goTenna Mesh – I love this gift for anyone who loves to go camping, attend music festivals, or is often out of range for their cell phone. Going “off the grid” can be great, but not in an emergency. The goTenna Mesh is smaller than a candy cane, but turns your phone into a relay station for GPS and text messaging, even if you’re nowhere near a cell tower. The product is currently being used by relief workers in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. It’s literally a lifeline for people who need one.


TomTom Spark 3 Health – 2017 has seen the “wearables” market explode with everything from Apple Watches to new FitBit models. The TomTom Spark 3 is the gift for novice and experienced runners alike. This model debuts a “personalized workouts” feature with 50 different built-in cycling and running workouts, integration with the TomTom Sports App, and a built-in heart rate monitor. The GPS Tracking and 500 songs of music storage ensure a distraction-free workout. You can leave your phone at home and just focus on the run.


Halo Sport – We all know someone who’s super serious about fitness and always trying to find the best technology to optimize their workouts. That’s why I recommend the cutting-edge Halo Sport for any workout fanatics on your shopping list. These headphones contain soft nibs to stimulate the learning centers of your brain, priming yourself for gains in muscle memory when you start your workout. Over a decade of research has gone into this technology and I saw personal gains in my own workouts after trying it for only a month.


Sport Solar Oven – Made by Solavore with design work from engineers at 3M, this solar-powered stove is ideal for the outdoors lovers in your life. Any friend who enjoys camping, hiking or hunting will truly appreciate this gift. Food won’t burn or dry out with the Sport Solar Oven and clean-up is a breeze (there’s no sticking or scorching). It includes two 3-quart GraniteWare pots and serves 6-8 hungry adults two different dishes. The best is that it’s safe, lightweight (only 9 pounds) and retails for under $300.


Garmin Star Wars Vivofit Jr. 2 Kids – I’m always trying to get my kids away from technology and for them to be more active, so the Vivofit has been a great solution. This is a great gift for your own kids or anyone on your list. The Star Wars Vivofit combines the fun of tech with reminders for kids to stay active. Exercising turns into a game and friendly competition, with an hour of physical activity unlocking new adventures in the app. I like its durability, with one-year battery life and waterproof design. Best of all, the kids will wear out before it does.


iRobot Roomba900 – We were all excited when iRobot first came out with the Roomba. Who doesn’t love the idea of having your carpets vacuumed when you’re chilling on the couch. The Roomba900 takes this to the next level by cleaning your floors when you’re not even home. It’s completely controlled via mobile app or with Amazon Alexa. This is a perfect gift for someone who’s a neat freak but is never home to clean. It will run for 75 minutes, recharge, then continue the job with a full report on the app.


Mohu Leaf Glide MH110925 TV Antenna – I can’t tell you how many people are asking me about “cord cutting,” and the different ways to escape cable TV. 1 in 8 households have done it, saving nearly $100 per month. The Mohu Leaf Glide will show all local channels, in high-definition, over the air. My favorite part is that it has the same range as an outdoor antenna, but without the hassle of installation.


Polaroid Snap Touch Camera – The Polaroid brand has a certain nostalgia factor, but the company needed to reinvent itself in the digital age. I feel the Snap Touch Camera is the best of both worlds. Yes, it’s a digital camera with apps and Bluetooth connectivity, but you can also print a hard copy of your picture instantly. This makes the perfect gift for someone who wants to hold their pictures in the palm of their hands. Think Polaroid with updated 21st century options, including a selfie mirror, video capability, and a self-timer. The Snap Touch Camera also offers print options that include color, black and white, and sepia, with the traditional polaroid border as a fun add-on.

Prynt – I love what digital cameras have done for photography, but there’s just something about having an actual photo in your hand. This is true for tech novices as well as experienced photographers. Prynt lets you print color pictures from your iPhone in seconds. My kids also loved the “augmented reality” feature that will bring the life of video to your still photos. The docking station is compact and connects seamlessly to your phone.


Street Hopper+ by Soundstream – This is for the music lover on your holiday shopping list who likes to listen to music loud. Street Hopper comes with an FM radio and optional Bluetooth microphone. It’s the ideal speaker to bring to the family picnic or to have outside while shooting hoops.


Aura Frame – There is no shortage of digital photo frames out there, but the Aura Frame has consistently been my favorite. It’s stylish and much smarter than its competitors. Aura can automatically filter out blurry images and select more images of more frequently used people. You can even set up the mobile app to automatically send pictures as you take them. Grandma can see that birthday cake before the candles are even blown out. Black Friday special: $50 off with Free 2-day shipping available 11/23-11/27.


Arlo Home Security Cameras (by Netgear) – Giving the gift of Netgear’s Arlo cameras shows you care about your relative or friend’s security. These battery-operated 720p-resolution, motion-sensing, night-vision-equipped, indoor/outdoor cameras are super easy to install, and they provide a sense of security whether you’re at home or away. The resolution is impressive, and the cameras can be used inside and outside the home or business to provide security. I recommend the four-camera kit and additional cameras can be added for a small fee. These are available at Costco and online.


SCOTTeVEST Fireside Vest for – If you know a techie like me, they will probably tell you they don’t have enough pockets for all their tech gadgets. That was my problem until I was introduced to the SCOTTeVEST. The Fireside Vest (they have various other styles) has more pockets than you can believe. It has places for phones and tablets, cameras, headphones, sunglasses, water bottle, keys, chargers and more. It’s ideal for traveling. I guarantee any guy you get this for will absolutely love it (it’s also a great conversation starter).


Plantronics Backbeat FIT – I’ve been using Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 noise cancelling headphones for years (and I give them as gifts too). That meant that I was already sold when the BackBeat FIT wireless sport headphones came out. I can’t recommend these enough. They come in 5 color choices, have an 8-hour battery and are only $129.99. These flexible, durable and waterproof wireless sport headphones come with a microphone to use your phone while you work out. A bonus is that you can receive interactive audio coaching from the PEAR Personal Coach App.


Kodak PIXPRO Orbit360 4K VR Camera – With more consumers wanting to shoot 360-degree videos and post them on their social networks, the Kodak model is the best gift to get a friend or relative started. This all-in-one 360-degree virtual reality camera has two 4K fixed focus lenses housed on either side of the camera body. Each lens is works in tandem, to capture and automatically stitch full 360° 4K video and easily upload 360° photos and videos to Facebook or YouTube.


Fitbit Ionic from Dick’s Sporting Goods – Dick’s Sporting Goods wants you to get in shape and make fitness your New Year’s resolution. That’s why the stores are featuring the Fitbit Ionic this holiday season. At only $299.95, this smartwatch delivers the guidance you need to reach your goals. There are much cheaper fitness trackers on the market, but they don’t have all the features of Fitbit’s Ionic. Give one to your friend this Hanukkah and they’ll love the Dynamic personal coaching, built-in GPS and continuous heart rate display. They’ll be able to stay motivated by storing and playing over 300 songs.


Wisenet SmartCam D1 Video Doorbell – We don’t always think of giving friends or relatives home accessories, but a lot of the best tech gadgets on the market today are for home security. While you’re likely familiar with the Ring doorbell from the television commercials, the Wisenet SmartCam Video Doorbell is a better device. The D1 is equipped with face recognition, human detection, Abnormal Sound detection, Two-Way Talk, live-view on demand, and additional next-generation technology, all giving you the peace of mind when you’re away from home.


B&O Play E8 AUDIO – These are for the music lover on your list who enjoys great audio quality, but doesn’t want to be tied down. The B&O E8 in-ear headphones are wireless, and they fit very comfortably in my ears. The Bluetooth audio was exceptionally clear for both music and phone calls, and the battery life was solid at about 4 hours. B&O also boasts a charging station that’s magnetic, making it less likely to lose the ear buds. At $299, it’s priced comparably with other high high-endbuds, but the quality makes them my go-to for this year.


BENQ Digital Projector – This will simply make any family the most popular house in the neighborhood. The BENQ digital projector has a 100-inch display that will seemingly show every blade of grass on the football field or the dismay on Ralphie’s face during “A Christmas story.” The audio quality matches the video quality thanks to enhancement by Waves. Imagine how popular you’ll be when you show up with this ridiculously awesome projector that will be used to show countless movies for years to come.


Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III – I recommend this higher end camera for any photo enthusiast on your list this year. Its many features turn amateur photography into world-class photos. The foolproof image stabilization makes for crystal clear pictures and 4K video. The easy shooting modes let you adjust for nighttime, sports, portraits, and more with the tap of a touchscreen. I found it to be very lightweight and easy to use. When so many people think you only need to carry an iPhone in your pocket for good photography, the Mark III from Olympus proves them very wrong.


Magellan TRX7 CS – Waze has been my go-to navigation app of choice when I’m driving, but these apps don’t mean there isn’t a good reason for GPS products like Magellan anymore. In fact, Magellan correctly saw the need for trail-based GPS and they upped their game. The TRX7 is water and dust proof, with an intuitive touchscreen that allows for minimal effort in mapping and saving your hiking adventure. It also features social media integration, because if you don’t post about your trip, it didn’t really happen. The Magellan TRX7 is perfect for the friends and family on your list that like to venture off the beaten path with their 4×4 vehicle.


3M Precision Standing Desk – We’re always hearing about the health benefits of standing desks and they’re true. My personal trainer and my doctor have both been on a crusade to get more people to use standing desks. I’ve tried out a few different models over the years and found the 3M Precision to be extremely comfortable, durable and easy to use. The key to any standing desk is personalization and this model adjusts from a height of 6 to 20 inches. It also can fit two 24-inch monitors on the top.


Asus Zen Screen – Asus has long been my favorite computer maker and I often recommend the brand to friends and clients, so I wasn’t at all surprised that I fell in love instantly with the ZenScreen. This portable, easy-to-use 2nd boasts a vivid display and is very simple to grab and go. Its single USB connector cable makes it compatible with almost any laptop, giving users an additional 15.6-inches of display. It’s also ideal for a college student who wants a second screen for under $250 in their dorm room without taking up too much space.


Deebot R95 – Have a friend with a pet that sheds? They’ll love the gift of this Alexa-enabled robotic vacuum with advanced features like dynamic mapping, app control and virtual barrier capabilities. Made by Ecovacs, this hand-free vacuum costs much less than its competitor models and it boasts more advanced features. Simply say “Alexa, ask Deebot to start cleaning” and in less than an hour your rooms will be fully vacuumed. You can also schedule a cleaning while you’re away using the mobile app. What I like about the R95 is you can use its dynamic mapping feature to draw an area on your phone you want the Deebot to avoid and it will stay away from that area.


Dyson v8 Absolute – If your friends aren’t ready to trust a robot to vacuum their living room, why not give them the gift of the next best thing? Dyson’s cord-free vacuum using the latest, greatest technology to effectively remove more dust, pet hair, and dirt. This super lightweight stick vacuum is the most impressive cleaning device you’ve ever used. At $599, it’s on the pricey side, but it’s worth it and whoever gets one this holiday season will be super appreciative. I’ve always enjoyed vacuuming (I’m a neat freak), but this has given me a whole new appreciation for it!


IRISNotes Air 3 – This amazing invention converts handwriting to editable digital text. This is the ideal gift for students who want to take notes in class and have those notes immediately converted to text on their computer. For as little as $129, this is a game changer. It recognizes over 30 languages (including Hebrew!) and you can easily export your notes to Microsoft Word or any email application. I bought several of these to give out this Hanukkah.


Nima Gluten Sensor – If you have any gluten free friends or family on your holiday gift list this year, you’ll be doing them a big favor by gifting them a Nima. This gluten sensor gives people with gluten allergies or intolerance the peace of mind when dining out at restaurants or a friend’s home. Nima is a discreet, portable device that tests a sample of food for gluten in a few minutes. A Nima starter kit retails for $279.


QardioBase 2 – With so many people choosing to get more physically fit for their New Years resolution, it’s no wonder that scales are a big seller around holiday time. The QardioBase 2 is certainly not your grandmother’s scale. This sleek smart scale and body analyzer has improved vastly over the first generation. QardioBase measures weight, BMI and full body composition including muscle, fat, water and bone. Paired with the mobile app, QardioBase tracks everything you’ll need to stay in shape next year.