Top 10 Tech Gifts for This Christmas

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Christmas is almost here, which means it's time to finally figure out what gifts to buy.

Tech is always a good place to start, but there are a lot of potentially bad gadgets and devices sold at retail. So, since nobody wants to be known as the person-who-gave-an-inferior-device as a gift, we've compiled a list of the top 10 tech gifts for Christmas 2013.

The list includes everything from tablets to set-top boxes, video game consoles to smartphones, and a few smart accessories. It's impossible to find one iten that everyone will enjoy but with such a wide range of gadgets there's bound to be something for just about everyone on this list.

Be warned that a handful of these items may be hard to find, but such is the nature of popular devices. To acquire some of these gadgets at list price may require a bit of luck or great timing, or both.

iPad Air

The choice between the Apple's (AAPL) iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display comes down to the size of the screen. Both of Apple's latest tablets have the same specs and the same great app ecosystem. The iPad Air is great for information-dense apps and games, while the iPad mini with Retina Display is great for one-handed reading. With the right apps and accessories many people can replace their laptop with either iPad, but that's not an option for everyone. 

The iPad Air starts at $500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model.

Nike FuelBand SE

The Nike FuleBand SE is an improvement to the previous FuelBand in almost every way. The new model can track different exercise sessions, making it much easier to see just how well you did in each workout. This year's model also comes in colors, though they're simply accents to the matte black wristband. If there's one downside to the FuelBand SE, it's that it only works with the iPhone. Android users can only sync the fitness tracker to their computers.


The Nike (NKE) FuelBand SE sells for $150.

PlayStation 4

Sony (SNE) kicked off the next generation of video games with the PlayStation 4 in November. The console is built purely for video games, and it shows. The few games available for the PS4 look much nicer than the previous generation. The console may be a bit hard to find, and there aren't many exclusive games yet, but it's still a great upgrade for any gamer.

The Sony PlayStation 4 costs $400 and is the cheaper next-generation game console, though finding it at that price won't be easy.

Xbox One

With the Xbox One Microsoft (MSFT) set out to make a video game console that serves as the hub of all entertainment in the living room. With the new Kinect Microsoft says you can switch between games, apps, and even live TV with just your voice. The feature may not work perfectly all the time, but the console still theoretically makes it easy to switch between different media easily without having to switch inputs on the TV.

The Xbox One typically costs $500, but sells out quickly, so finding it at that price may also be difficult.

Kindle Paperwhite

With access to one of the largest eBook ecosystems and built-on Goodreads support, it's easy to call the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle Paperwhite the new eReader on the market. The device is lighter than a paperback novel and arguably easier to read on. The front-lit screen makes it easy to read anywhere, and at any time. Sure, Amazon has Kindle apps for smartphones and tablets as well, but anyone who reads a lot will appreciate how much easier the E-Ink screen is on their eyes.

The Wi-Fi Kindle Paperwhite costs $199 and the 3G model costs $179.

Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 is arguably the best Android phone on the market at the moment, and it's one of the cheapest off contract. Google (GOOG) sells the Nexus 5 for just $350 with no two-year contract. The phone lacks some of the added features of a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 or HTC One, but it has the benefit of always having the latest version of Android.

There are a few drawbacks to the Nexus 5 like the average camera, but even with its flaws it's one of the best all-around Android smartphones.

iPhone 5s

This choice should be fairly obvious. The iPhone 5s is the top-of-the-line iPhone at the moment, and an easy gift for someone who loves Apple (AAPL) products but hasn't been able to get the phone for themselves yet. The iPhone 5s looks almost exactly like the iPhone 5 except for the new fingerprint-sensing home button and the dual-LED flash on the back. It's the same great iPhone with some upgraded specs and few new features.

The iPhone 5s start at $199 on a two-year contract, or is available unlocked starting at $650.

Roku 3

With its huge selection of streaming video content the Roku 3 is easily one of the best set-top boxes on the market at the moment. It grants access to Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, streaming sports services, and other web video services. It may not connect to Apple's ecosystem or support AirPlay like the Apple TV, but it has many more options than Apple's device. Plus it has a headphone jack in the remote so you can watch movies on your HDTV without disturbing anyone who might be sleeping.

The Roku 3 costs $100, the same as the Apple TV.

Pebble smartwatch

The smartwatch market is still in its infancy, but the Pebble is the clear frontrunner in the category so far. The Pebble smartwatch makes it easy to receive notifications from your iPhone or Android phone without taking the phone out of your pocket. With the Pebble, notifications just show up on your wrist so you can see if they're worth acting on or not. It's a great gift for those who spend far much time checking their phone every time it buzzes, "just in case."

The Pebble smartwatch sells for $149, and come in a variety of colors.

Nexus 7

While there a plethora of 7-inch Android tablets available on the market at the moment, the Nexus 7 is the best option among them. Starting at $230 the Nexus 7 is the same price as the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX. The Nexus 7 has a lower resolution display, but had the benefit of Google's (GOOG) Play Store, which the Kindle Fire lacks. With the Nexus 7 you'll have access to the best apps and games available as soon as they come to Android.

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