2013 Last Minute Holiday Buyer’s Guide – Part 4

These are some of the hottest gifts available now, and some really good advice on which to get and why.

soft32_presentOver the past few years, I’ve put together a Holiday Buyer’s Guide. I never got to do one last year due to commitments to the now defunct Byte. Thankfully, I’ve got a chance to do it this year; and while nearly everything you see here will have some kind of software available for it from Soft32, I’m going to cover the hot categories – tablets, computers, smartphones, and accessories.

What you’re going to see are recommendations only. I don’t have everything that I’m going to list, so these aren’t necessarily reviews and shouldn’t be considered as such. However, I will try to cover recommendations from as many major camps within a given category as I can. For example, I’ll likely recommend a computer from the Windows as well as the Mac camp, a tablet from the Windows, iOS and/or Android camp, etc.

This is going to take a few days to get through, so please come back often to Soft32 for updates to the series. I’m going to do my best to get the series completed as quickly as possible. I’ve been covering some of the best and hottest gifts available. Today, we’re going to talk about accessories; or those wonderful items that bring joy and extra convenience to an already awesome device.

Accessories – or All the Things you Never Knew you Needed

Over the past few days or a week or so, I’ve been giving you what I think are some decent gift ideas, but more importantly, some good advice about what to buy if and when you decide you need or want a – tablet, a computer, or a smartphone. The most important thing to remember here is that there is no right or wrong answer to the question, “what should I get.” The only thing you really have to worry about is buyer’s remorse (wishing you would have purchased something else) or in spending too much or more likely, not enough.

After you HAVE made a decision, there are a few things that you might want to consider purchasing to further enhance the experience you and your loved one(s) have with the device. The options are nearly limitless here. Lord knows, I am not going to pour through tons and tons of wireless speakers, headsets and cases. I’d probably go bats, and quite honestly, we don’t’ have enough time to consider everything that’s out there. There are a couple of items that you might want to consider regardless of what kind, type or brand of device you get. I will however, give you a couple suggestions in each of the three categories that we’ve considered – Tablets, Computers and Smartphones. Let’s take a look at those and see what we come up with.

However, before we get going, you’ll notice that I don’t’ have a lot of advice when it comes to buying accessories. I will mention this – be practical, at least in the beginning. Many accessories, sleeves, cases, etc. may look cool, but you may find that they don’t fill the need you thought you had after you get them. Give yourself the time and opportunity to work without some particular item or type of item until you KNOW that you’re going to need or use it. This is especially important if the add-on you’re looking at or considering is expensive.

Tablets

The best thing you can get for your tablet is a case. If that case also happens to be a keyboard, then it’s a double win. The issue here is finding one that works with your tablet of choice. Any Bluetooth keyboard will pair. Finding one that’s also a cover and can sleep the device when closed is really what you want. You’re also going to definitely want something to cover and protect the screen.

To that end, Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Black for iPad 2 and iPad (3rd/4th generation) is a GREAT choice for any iPad you might purchase, as it works with everything BUT the original iPad. At around $75 USD, it is a bit pricey, but if you plan to use your iPad as your main computing device, a dedicated keyboard is really going to be a big help when it comes to word processing or email.

Any other kind of accessory, is really gravy after you get a case; and a case should be the first thing on your purchase list for any new tablet you purchase, regardless of size or OS. The more protection you give your tablet, the longer it will last and the larger its resale value when it comes time to move on.

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2011 Gift Guide Part 2 – Suggested Gifts

Following the 2011 Gift Guide Part1 – Ok, Great! Now what should I buy? article here are my recommendations for just about every budget level, given our recent thorough discussion about Mobile Device Ecosystems.

It’s true.  The hottest ticket items this 2011 Holiday Season are all mobile – tablets, smartphones, music players, ultra-portable notebooks (the netbook is dead) – and the like will undoubtedly find their way to a gift box near you. Ecosystem aside, there are some really cool gadgets out there right now, and figuring out which basket to put all your eggs in can be confusing.

In order to make your last minute gift buying a bit easier, I’m going to take a quick moment and give you a couple recommendations in a couple different categories.  I hope this helps you in your Holiday gift giving.

Tablets

  • Apple iPad2: Ranging in price from $499 USD to $829 USD, depending on the storage and communications options you choose, the iPad has established itself as the clear leader in this category. This is the gadget that all tablet lovers are going to want this Holiday, as it plays music, movies, TV shows, runs applications, and is a great eReader. So if you’re budget is up to it, this iOS powered iDevice will be a sure winner.

  • Kindle Fire: At $199, this break-even priced Amazon, Android powered tablet has been labeled by some as the only non-iOS based tablet that can challenge the iPad. It streams thousands of movies and TV shows instantly via Amazon Prime, runs Android apps, plays music from Amazon’s MP3 store, comes with 8GB of internal storage, and reads Kindle eBooks without batting an eye. If the iPad is outside of your budget’s comfort zone, give the Kindle Fire some serious consideration, as the tablet’s UI and features are sure to improve in the coming months.

Smartphones

  • Apple iPhone 4/4S: Ranging from $99 USD to $399 USD, Apple’s iPhone 4/4S is the most popular smartphone in the US, and likely around the world.  Siri, available only on the 4S, will remake the way users interface with their iPhones, and is perhaps the biggest draw for new and existing iPhone customers alike. If you’re planning on giving an iPhone for the Holidays, order now, as many carriers, as well as Apple, are reporting lengthy lead times and delivery dates that are quickly nearing the end of December.

  • Droid RAZR: If Apple’s smartphone isn’t your cup of tea or is outside your budget, the Droid RAZR, available on Verizon Wireless in the US, also represents head-turning technology within the Android ecosystem. While a little more expensive than the entry level iPhone, at $299.99 USD, it sports “advanced artificial intelligence,” learning the user’s work habits, and speeding up those tasks it knows you’re going to perform most often.

Ultra-Portable Notebooks

  • Apple MacBook Air: As the only non-iOS/Android powered product in this gift guide, the Apple MacBook Air is both a Windows as well as a Mac based computer. The entry level model comes with 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. This ultra-thin, SSD equipped ultra-notebook ranges in price from $999 to $1599 USD, and may be a bit on the pricy side. However, as current models don’t have DVD drives or Ethernet ports, you’ll need to remember to buy the external SuperDrive as well as the appropriate adapter not only for your desktop monitor, but its Ethernet adapter as well; and this will push the entry level price up by $137 USD.  You may also want to invest in a USB hub or two. Despite all this, however, the Air is proving very popular with consumers and enterprise users alike.

  • Asus Transformer Prime: The $499.99 USD Asus Transformer Prime is technically a tablet, but with its $149.99 Transformer Dock, it instantly becomes a powerful, light weight ultra-notebook, capable of satisfying most of the needs for a computing device in this category.  The best thing about this device is its ability to function as both a tablet and keyboard-based computer.  While the device currently runs Android’s Honeycomb 3.2, its sure to get an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, ensuring that the device will provide a number of years of usability at roughly half the price of Apple’s MacBook Air.

As far as digital music players are concerned, the only one really left on the market, besides a slew of off-brand players is the Apple iPod.  You can’t go wrong with ANY of these, from the Shuffle to the iPod Touch.  You just need to pick a price point and a model and go with it.  This is a sure winner with anyone.

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LotSoft 2011 Thanksgiving Promo is pulling your families and friends closer than before

LotSoft, a domestic digital entertainment software developer, has started a huge Thanksgiving Promo Campaign from November 18 to November 28. Ten days in which they will offer 10,000 copies of desirable DVD/Video software (valued $300,000 in all). As a participant you have also the chance to play a Funny Holiday Game. The winner of this game will be able to gift BDlot Video Converter to his family or friends. The promo features also a Huge Discount on flagship BDlot products. For more details, you are warmly welcome to visit the Thanksgiving official page at http://www.bdlot.com/special-offer/.

Promotional details:

#1 Giveaway 10,000 copies of BDlot DVD Clone Ultimate, Valued 300,000 USD
The up-to-the-minute DVD copy software which is made for protecting and reproducing users purchased DVD movies.

#2 Funny Thanksgiving Puzzle Game
The winner will earn a chance of gifting BDlot Video Converter to their friends and families.

#3 $10 Thanksgiving Discount Coupon – THANKSGIVING – for ALL BDlot Products
If users miss this giveaway and need to purchase BDlot products in future, they can save 10 USD instantly by using THANKSGIVING, a long-term discount coupon for all BDlot products.

About LotSoft:

LotSoft, (http://www.bdlot.com/) a leading multimedia software provider, specialized on DVD/Video conversion and backup solution since the foundation in 2006. The company has delivered its professional and innovative applications to more than 8,000,000 satisfied customers all over the world, especially, in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc.

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