Face it. You'll be ordering things online at the last second today and you need last minute gift ideas. Blame the big snow storm, even if you live in Phoenix. The goal is to appear to have put time and thought into these items, yet you will be making decisions based on the smallest slice of personal information. When it comes to making impersonal choices for people you want to bestow gifts upon, of course you're going to trust a guy you have never met writing for an internet publication. I'm that man, and these are some of your best bets. These ideas are for people who like technology; want to have something different than every other person holding an iPhone wearing Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Since you have left this until the last second you will have some shipping challenges and inventory hurdles to clear and some of these items come in and out of stock on an almost hourly basis I found. See the last minute gift ideas>>
HAVA Titanium HD
The HAVA Titanium HD WIFI is a small, sleek box that takes your HD home cable or satellite signal and allows you to watch it on a computer or mobile screen. Smaller than rival Slingbox HD Pro it also allows you to watch content off a USB hard drive. Set up was easy and using the included proprietary cables I was up and running in no time. Picture quality as always on these devices is all about network speed, but I was impressed. The two real selling points are the USB hard drive functionality and the Mobile software. The USB function sets it apart from the Sling HD Pro, Sling offers the USB option on its Slingcatcher but not the HD Pro. The Mobile software for HAVA was only $9.95, the Sling software is $30. They both have the same Mobile offerings except Sling does make a
version. All the mobile remote viewers are now Wi-Fi based as the carriers cannot handle the weight of streaming video. I used it to watch an NFL network game at my in-laws since they don't get the channel and it performed quite well. The HAVA mobile on-screen interface was far better on mobile as it offers almost full screen controls. That is important because the lag between input and reaction on mobile can be seconds even over the fastest Wi-Fi. If you are buying for someone who travels and has a laptop or iPhone, at $249 HAVA Titanium HD WIFI is a winner.
Warning, these are so popular they are sold out everywhere, but worth a backorder for any smartphone lover in your life. With touchscreen sensitive material sewn in the thumb, index and middle finger, the newer model is good for basic commands, but don't try to write the boss an email wearing these. Considering I have seen people wearing gloves use the tip of their nose to push a smartphone button, this is a far better option. My tests found your fingers needed to be snug up against the "dots" to work, so proper glove sizing is key. They are sold as an iPhone accessory but work on any touch screen. Now, back to that sold out problem, these are so perfect for that iPhone junkie, an IOU will do it. The company's PR office says they are getting new deliveries all the time.
This recharger is perfect for the traveling techie. While the battery doors covers are thinker than I like, the fact I no longer need so many cords in my life is worth the trade. Look for major changes in the product line as the CEO told us this fall they are looking to evolve the technology and there is every reason to believe they will just make a battery for your smartphone with the RFID Powermat chip in there. Take a look at the video to get the full picture on Powermat from the CEO with our James Rogers.
Cordless Smartphone Charging
NeatDesk is a document scanner that grabs business cards, receipts and papers off your desk and files them to your computer. With an OCR built in, it reads your documents and allows you to export the data to Excel, Word and such.
Watch Alix Steel's video to get a real feel for just how well it works and how it can be a big help at tax time.
This wireless music station supports iPhone/iPods and Blackberry over Bluetooth and WiFi. While I don't need to explain either of those wireless technologies to you, it is important to note Bluetooth is not the best way in my opinion to send music, so use the WiFi feature. The beauty here is you get great sound and still can use your device for all its email and data. Some reviewers have complained about not being able to play music from third party apps over the device, but at that point, just get Sirius/XM.
Asus Ultra-Slim Monitor
The first time I saw the ASUS MS238 LCD monitor at a media show, I was speechless. It is crazy thin at just over a half inch and it has no stand, the monitor is held up by a thin bezel on the back that adjusts at the touch of a finger. The monitor is 23.5" and super light with a stunning image quality. Here's the rub, you can't get it yet, but you can pre-order it on Amazon for $239 and deliver the promise of joy. After all, it is the thought that counts. Happy holidays!
Bill McCandless is the executive editor for multimedia at TheStreet.