Welcome back to TechSpot's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide! All of this year's tech gift recommendations are coming individually from our staff members and editors with their own picks on gifts they would like to receive or give. Jesse is a front-end web developer/designer, technophile, and futurist with a idealogical affinity towards paying for quality, as you'll see shortly. Find his picks below and be sure to check out the rest of our staff's gift guide posts here.
The TC-PST60 plasma series from Panasonic received the CNET Editor’s Choice Award in April of this year, and was granted the first ever five-star rating to come from CNET. These panels deliver outstanding picture quality with some of the deepest black levels ever to come from a plasma, and do it at great price. Panasonic recently announced that they are discontinuing their plasma line, so now is the time to buy if you've got videophile taste on a budget.
Product Finder score: 88
The Revolv home automation hub controls the internet of things in your house. Program and control devices like Nest, Sonos, and Hue, or any other smart device, in the unified Revolv app with IFTTT style logic. Imagine, as you pull into your driveway, the garage door opens, the front door unlocks, the lights in the house turn on, the thermostat is adjusted, and your favorite internet radio station starts playing. And then reverse the process when you leave.
Take your hacking, modding, and tinkering seriously with a set of Wiha ESD screwdrivers. These precision drivers from the legendary German toolmaker help to protect components from electrostatic discharge. Buy quality tools and you’ll only have to buy them once.
Sonos Speakers $200 - $700
One of the consequences of surrounding yourself with technology is the mess of cables that often comes with it. I’m all about leveraging technology to eliminate the inconveniences of everyday life, and Sonos does this with style. Connect one Sonos component to your router, and the rest of your setup need only be plugged in for power. There’s much more to love about Sonos beyond their wirelessness, including awesome audio quality, and an app that aggregates your local media library and dozens of other music services, and allows selective streaming to any ‘zone’ in your house.
Product Finder score: 87
Roomba 800 Series $700
The new Roomba 880 represents the next stage of evolution in vacuum robots. While the previous generations used traditional brushes that invariably become tangled and require maintenance, the 880 uses “tangle-free debris extractors” that greatly reduce the hassle of owning one of these laziness enablers. Coupled with a motor generating five times more sucking power, iRobot says these new models remove 50 percent more dirt.
Portable rechargeable battery packs are super convenient to have assuming you’re able to charge them before heading out into the field, but what if you won’t have access to a power source for an extended period? Seemingly straight out of a sci-fi novel, Brunton has you covered with their mini hydrogen reactor. That’s right, a hydrogen reactor for your pocket. It ships with two hydrogen cores that each provide enough power for six iPhone recharges. New hydrogen cores are $20 each, or you can purchase the H20 Hydrolizer and recharge them yourself.
Jellyfish Art $366
We can’t all live the opulent lifestyle of a Russian billionaire with his own designer pets, but having exotic critters in your home has been made a lot more accessible by Jellyfish Art. Jellyfish are typically difficult to keep in tanks because they tend to get sucked into filtration systems. Installations in restaurants or hotels use expensive custom systems to circulate the water through a round tank to keep the jellyfish in the center. Jellyfish Art’s desktop tank miniaturizes this system so that you too can add a dash of extravagance to your life.
TechSpot's Holiday Gift Guide 2013 is sponsored by Best Buy.