DFA Gift Guide

2017 Post Holiday Gift Guide

From Tech50+ with the editors of Digital Family Advisor including Joseph Babbitt, Arlene Rosenberg, Richard Sherwin, Bob Plunkett and Susan Davis.

 Missed the Big Deadline? You aren’t alone! It doesn’t mean you can’t still get great gifts at great prices. Here are some suggestions for the best products to buy now for use later in year.

Electronic Gadgets and Accessories

These devices will help you stay connected and effectively use technology in the home or car.

Media Streaming

Roku Streaming Stick+ – Roku introduced a new line of streaming products this fall offering better performance and improved wireless reception. The Roku Streaming Stick+ comes with a voice remote that has power and volume buttons which will control compatible TVs. This eliminates the need to use a second remote. It has an easy to use interface and delivers more content than any other media streaming device on the market. The Roku Streaming Stick+ can deliver 4K Ultra HD and HDR picture quality if you have a 4K TV and fast Internet service. Roku has great search features including special 4K HDR apps making it easy-to-find the best quality content from Netflix, Amazon, Vudu and FandangoNow. This is the best streamer on the market and is good for travel too as it can be plugged into a TV in the hotel. Roku has also added many local TV stations for your home town. Available now for $69.99 on Amazon.

 

ChromeCast – The Chromecast may be a better option for those of you that are budget minded or use an Android phone. It does not include a remote, but many would rather use their phone to start streaming. The normal 2nd gen ChromeCast is $35, half the price of the Roku, and the Chromecast Ultra is available for those who need 4k streaming. So far feedback on this device is only fair to middling because there is no remote and the phone App is not reliable.

 

Car Mounts

 Kenu Airbases hold your phone in your car right in front of you with a strong suction mount on the dash or windshield. These latest versions give you a choice of how the phone will attach. The Airbase Magnetic comes with a small metal plate that you can either stick onto the back of your phone, or because it’s so very thin, slip it under your phone’s protective cover. The magnet is super-strong, holding your phone in place no matter the road. The Airbase Pro has an expandable grip to hold the phone by its sides. With either you can pivot the phone 360 degrees. $29.95 direct with free shipping, or on Amazon. Amazon and Big Lots also have a version of this for about $12.

Kenu Airframes hold your phone in your car right in front of you by grabbing onto a driver’s side air vent louver. These new models hold tight and you have a choice of how your phone will attach. The Airframe Magnetic ($24.95) comes with a small metal plate that you can either stick onto the back of your phone, or  slip it under your phone’s protective cover (as we did). The magnet holds your phone tight even on rough roads. The Airframe Pro ($29.95) has an expandable grip to hold the phone by its sides. You can pivot the phone 360 degrees with either model. Free shipping when bought direct from Kenu. Logitech’s version a little harder to use.

Phone batteries and storage

These devices will help you get the most out of our smartphone and ensure it does everything you need.

Power it Up! – The Ventev Powercell 3015C is a 3000mAh battery with a USB-C cable that can be used to add as much as 12 hours of extra talk or Internet time to a phone whose own internal battery has run down, and there’s no time or place to recharge it. There’s also a model with a Micro USB cable for other phones and one with a Lightning cable to allow the same use for iPhones. You recharge the Ventev Powercell with a regular microUSB charger, not included. $44.99 direct for all models, or for various prices on Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Extra Storage For iPhone – Apple’s iPhones infamously don’t allow the insertion of SD memory cards, as most Androids do, but you can remedy that with the Kingston DataTraveler Bolt Duo, a little memory stick that goes right in an iPhone or iPad Lightning Connector so you can backup or directly save 32 to 128 GB of photos, videos or anything else. The “Duo” part is that the other end is a USB 3 port so it can be connected to a laptop too with the right cable. Comes with a holder that goes on your keychain. $59.99 to $119.99 direct or on Amazon. The SanDisk version easier to plug in and available at Target and Walmart.

Make Your Own Cloud – Run out of room on a smartphone for more photos or videos? Offload them wirelessly from anywhere using the Kwilt Shoebox, a matchbook-sized device that connects to home or office Wi-Fi, and plug in a USB thumb drive or hard drive of any size, and save them there. It can playback from anywhere as well and there are no cloud storage fees. Power, USB and HDMI adapters are included, but storage devices are not. $49.99 direct.

Clothing and Home

These are useful gifts for your friends and family. Or yourself 🙂

Cold Comfort – Contigo 24 ounce Autoseal Chill water bottle – We’re told that staying hydrated is an important part of healthy living. This Contigo AutoSeal water bottle can be a big help. We’ve taken it out on long bike rides in mid-summer, and enjoyed cold, not just cool, H2O every step of the way. Contigo claims you’ll be able to keep your cool for up to 28 hours. It is self-sealing and is both leakproof and spill proof. Best of all, it’s designed so you can deal with all its functions using just one hand. It’s available in a variety of colors and sizes. Available at Amazon and Kohls.

Sock It To Me – SockGuy Socks – Socks have gotten to be fun, and the scores of designs from SockGuy are a big reason why. From short and thin to long and thick, there are socks here for any taste, except boring. Many retailers carry a wide variety of the SockGuy socks ranging in price from less than $5 all the way up to almost $70. And of course, there are holiday appropriate socks as well.

Hi Ho Silver – Balega Silver Socks – Athletic socks can make or break your workout. These Balega socks are designed to minimize friction while running and thereby eliminate blisters and chafing along your heels and toes. They feature a medium-volume cushioning along the toe region of the sock as well as a high heel tab. Antibacterial silver ions are woven into the fabric keeping your feet dry and odor-free. A variety of colors are available as well. $15 direct from Balega.

Durable Penlight Flashlight – 5.11 TMT PLx Penlight  – Whether at the bedside, in pocket, purse, or car, having a reliable flashlight on hand is always a great idea. Its small size means it can fit anywhere. The flashlight casts a 40-meter cone of light and allows for up to 4 hours of runtime. Available many retailers.

Nifty Electronics

These items make great stocking stuffers and won’t sit on the shelf. Your family will love these!

SD and Micro SD Cards – SanDisk – Whether it’s for a smartphone, camera, or hi-res music player, there’s a good chance everyone in the family can use some more storage. SD and Micro SD cards are compatible with a variety of cameras, laptops, desktop computers, and much more. Over the years we’ve had great experience with various cards from SanDisk. A 32GB SanDisk micro SD card and other models are available from just about any retailer, pharmacy or even food stores.

Multi-Port Car Charger –The Rapid X X5 Car Charger  Is there someone in the family who just can’t get enough automotive connectivity? The Rapid X X5 Car Charger comes to the rescue. This charger supports up to five devices with five USB ports and features fast charge technology. Available everywhere and on Amazon for $24.99.

 

Wireless Earbuds – SoundWhiz Turbo W18B-P Wireless Sports Earbuds – This is a great stocking stuffer for the fitness buff on your list and is a real value given what they do and how little they cost. These wireless earbuds provide comfort and in-ear stability with sound isolation and cVc 6 noise cancellation. Available on Amazon and is generally under $30.

 

Biometric Locks – If you have travelers on your list, or even folks who just need to secure their belongings, Bio-Key has a new line of small locks that use fingerprint recognition and Bluetooth so there are no worries about keys or combinations. Available for $39.99 direct in a variety of colors and patterns.

 

Where’s the Darn… – Misplaced your keys, your bag, your laptop? That’s where TrackeR comes in, small tags or buttons that you attach to items, and with a smartphone app you can make them ring – and in the case of the TrackR pixel also light up – to help you find what you’ve misplaced. Uses Bluetooth, but when out of range their Crowd Locate network kicks in to help. Works with Amazon Alexa too. The plastic TrackR pixel and aluminum TrackR bravo come in colors and have free replacement batteries. Around $30 each at Amazon Ebay or direct, less in packs of up to 12.

Cable Carrier – All those power and other adapters & cables needed to carry around with a MacBook? How about the BookBook Caddy Sack, a zippered tote to hold a variety of MacBook accessories wherever the notebook goes.

 

A Smartphone for your Child.

Child Friendly Smartphone – Motorola G5 Plus – Do you want your child to have a smartphone? Many parents do not, however it can lead to greater safety, and many toys have smartphone apps. When it comes to smartphones that are a great value but are modern and can take a beating, the Motorola G5 Plus is at the top of the list. This isn’t your typical, plastic smartphone, so your kids won’t be embarrassed to pull it out of their pockets. The aluminum exterior looks great and feels premium. It has all the latest bells and whistles, including a fingerprint sensor, fast charging, and a 12-megapixel camera. This phone is unlocked too, which means the folks can pick the carrier of their choice without being tied to a contract. It’s available directly from Motorola and from retailers for about $230.

Toys for the Kids

Here are some toys that your kids will enjoy, but will also stimulate their brain.

Kids Fitness Watch – The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 brings fitness tracking and much more to the grandkids. The watches come in Disney, Star Wars or Marvel character designs with either stretchy or adjustable bands, and there’s a 1-year battery included. Parents can track kids’ steps and sleep, remind them of homework or chores, and there are even “rewards” when they meet their activity goals. The Vivofit Jr 2 is waterproof and of course, it’s also a watch with alarm & stopwatch features. $99.99 direct.  

Drone – The Striker-X Drone takes photography and videography to a whole new level. Drones are a great way to help get your grandkids off the couch and outside. The Striker-X durable lightweight body only weighs four pounds and has four channel controls allowing the drone to fly up/down, forward/backward, strafe left/right, and rotate left/right. There is a built-in 2.4Ghz 4.5Ch HD picture and video camera with a 2GB MicroSD card. Get it from Amazon and some toy stores for under $100.

Stem Computer Kit – The Piper Computer Kit is a beginner’s guide to the world of PC hardware and programming. If your grandkid likes to build and solve puzzles, then the Piper Computer Kit epitomizes just that by combining both Minecraft, a virtual game that consists of building a 3D world from a variety of cubes, and actually constructing their own PC. This provides a fun way to expose your grandchild to the world of computing in a controlled environment. The kit includes a hand-crafted wooden computer case with an LCD screen monitor and Wi-Fi enabled gameplay with the Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft. Get it from many specialty stores for under $300.

Yoda Not I Am – A cute communicator for grandkids too young to have their own smartphone, Elfkins is a 9-inch tall, 3.5 pound hard & soft plastic device in the shape of a cartoony elf, that can speak to kids, move its mouth & arms, even light up its ears. The idea is that kids can use it to send verbal messages to parents and grandparents who have the app (iPhone 5 and above only), and the adults can speak back to the children in their own voice, send “kisses” and even join in non-screen activities – see their video. $150 direct with free ground shipping.

Headphones for Kids – The Coby Light Up Headphones not only offers premium stereo sound quality, but lights flash to the beat of the music making your grandchild’s listening experience interactive and fun while the padded earpieces make it comfortable. The wireless feature eliminates all frustrations associated with tangled cords. There is also a built-in microphone and call answer button.

Smart Robot – The Cozmo Robot is a small, interactive robot with a variety of functions that will entertain any grandchild interested in coding. The robot is fully equipped with Code Lab designed to help beginning coders learn how using MIT’s Scratch programming language. The Cozmo Robot also features numerous games such as Memory Match and Keepaway. Your grandchild can even take the Cozmo Robot out on explore mode in conjunction with a smartphone.

Robot Coding Kit – The Ozobot Evo is a pocket-sized robot is great for the older coders in your life. This robot can be programmed with OzoBlockly, which is based on Google’s Blockly, a language designed for kids. Your coding grandchildren can also program Evo with markers and color codes on paper. Get most anywhere for less than $100.

Real Race Cars Meet the Digital World – As if it’s not confusing enough to have Cozmo and Ozobot, add the Osmo Mind Racers to the mix. This game uses real Hot Wheels cars, then launches them into a virtual world of challenging race courses.  The big plus here is that many of your grandkids are already familiar with Hot Wheels.  The only downside is that the game requires an iPad.  The game is available from Osmo for $59 but you’ll also have to buy the iPad or iPhone base for another $29.

Artificial Intelligence Robot Kit – The Meccano M.A.X. is a personable robot that your grandchild can first build piece by piece and then interact with it in multiple cool ways. It features artificial intelligence and customizable programming. This little robot will ask questions, tell jokes, sing songs, greet people, and much more. The Meccano M.A.X. is a crowd pleaser and great with families. $125 at specialty stores.

App-Enabled Droid – When it comes to ball-shaped robots, Sphero has cornered the market, but their amazing miniature replica of the Star Wars series’ most iconic droid R2-D2 is easily their coolest and most entertaining. Amazingly animated, it’s almost like having a robot pet. Like all Sphero robots, however, it does require a smartphone or tablet to control via the free to download app. $129

LEGO Robot – For kids who love to build, Lego’s robot, LEGO Boost set lets them unleash their imagination in countless new ways. Boost promotes not just creativity, but basic programming skills as well, as it guides kids (and adults) through the process of creating robots and gizmos that can do all kinds of fun things from funky moving robots to zany noisemakers and more. $159

Hi-Tech Building Blocks – When it comes to great building kits, Lego isn’t the only game in town.  Brixo Blocks use Bluetooth connectivity and conductive blocks to tie together some simple looking but very powerful combinations that make things go. The Brixo kits are available in sets beginning at about $30 and going all the way to $300. Brick types include battery bricks, light sensor bricks proximity detector bricks, magnet bricks, LED lighting bricks, and lots more. The only thing that will limit your grandchild’s ability to create is their imagination, that and how much you’re willing to spend. Available directly from Brixo Toys and other locations.

For the Outdoors

These gifts will give the family fun in the sun! (or snow 🙂

 

Kid’s Night Vision Device

Help your grandkid get ready for their next spying mission with the Children’s Night Vision Recorder from Hammacher Schlemmer. This spy tool has five different night vision modes that can stealthily capture both photo and video. The two 5-LED infrared light clusters on each side of the device can illuminate objects up to 50 feet away, which is ideal for nighttime spying. Your secret agent can capture up to 80 minutes of video and 10,000 still photos. In addition to the device’s night vision modes, your spy can also use the thermal-tech filter, ghost recon, long/short range scope, and daytime mode. Get it from Hammacher Schlemmer for $99.95.

Remote Controlled Snowplow 

Now you can put your grandkid to work and doing winter time chores with the Child’s RC Snowplow from Hammacher Schlemmer. This remote-controlled snowplow can traverse at a top speed of 1 mph over pavement and icy pathways. The 2.4 GHz radio-frequency remote moves the plow forward, backward, right, and left to clear away snow from the driveway and pathways. Get it from Hammacher Schlemmer for $69.95.

Samsung Gear Sport – Fitness trackers are getting more popular every year, and manufacturers are stuffing in more features to set themselves apart. The Samsung Gear Sport is stylish and comes in two colors, a low-key black and a high visibility bright blue. Of course the watches will pair to a smartphone so being out for some exercise doesn’t mean your 50+’er will have to miss a connection. The Gear Sport has all the fitness tracking and coaching modes you might expect. It is not only waterproof but also helps you with your swimming strokes. It’s available from Samsung for just about $300. Several other fitness trackers have better and easier Apps to go with their hardware.

Travel Blankets and Wraps by Sherpa

Sherpa Puffy Blanket by Rumpl – The folks at Rumpl made their reputation by coming up with a line of warm, cozy, and colorful down travel blankets that double as wraps and couch throws. Now they’ve expanded into fuzzy fleeces with their Sherpa Puffy Blanket. I’ve been trying this out over the past few weeks and love it. I have a living room with big glass windows that’s imposible to keep warm during the winter. Snuggling in the Sherpa has been hands down the coziest way to watch television. I’m willing to guess that your favorite 50+ man or woman will feel the same. It’s available direct from Rumpl for $127.20

Backpack for the TechieTylt Energi Pro Backpack – This is a strong well-built bag with plenty of padding and great weight distribution. It has a ridiculous number of pockets and will easily carry and charge a 15-inch laptop, a tablet and aphone using a 20100 mAH battery. The bag weighs 4 lbs. with the battery and has an internal system for running wires to all your products so that they don’t interfere with anything else you may have packed. Among the positives about this bag are that you can also use it without the battery if you want to lighten your load; it has a handle pass-through; is TSA ready; and has a hidden water bottle pocket. The warranty can be doubled if you register it online.  Available direct from Tylt for $105.

Portable Speaker for those outdoor events

Creative iRoar Go – This 5-driver speaker is solidly built and beautifully designed with high quality materials.  It has some rubber that covers the connections and buttons for its water resistant IPX6 rating. With the Creative iRoar Go your favorite 50+’er can play music using Bluetooth, a microSD card, connect to their computer using the microUSB port, or just plug a device into the AUX port or a USB flash drive into the USB port. There’s also and input for a microphone (karaoke anyone?) It is very versatile, has great sound quality and is small enough to fit into a backpack. The Creative iRoar Go is rated with a 12-hour battery life which varies depending upon usage. It can also charge your smartphone or tablet or be used as a speakerphone. Available at Creative, Ebay and Amazon for about $130.

Golf Rangefinder

 TecTecTec VPRODLX 1K – Many people are avid golfers, and a rangefinder definitely comes in handy. The most technologically advanced laser rangefinder from TecTecTec, the VPRODLX 1K can accurately measure distances up to 1,000 yards and is precise within one yard. The premium, multilayered optical lens combined with diopter adjustment and 6x magnification provide an ultra-clear and accurate view. It features three scanning modes for every situation to help players measure distances to the pin, hazards, etc. – Pinseeker Mode, First Target Priority, and Continuous Scan Mode. Available in Standard and “S” editions (which features PinSlope Technology to calculate elevation-adjusted distances to the target), both are lightweight (0.41 lbs), durable and waterproof. Available at Amazon starting at $179.99

Computers and Accessories

These are some of the best computers and accessories for your family or home office this holiday season.

Desktop Computer 

There’s a pretty good chance that front and center in your home office is a desktop computer. We tend to favor one with a big screen as befits the needs of the 50+ generation. Of late we’ve been using the Dell XPS 27 All-In-One. The base model begins at about $1550 and includes a stunning 27″ 4K UHD display, a seventh-generation Intel Core i5 processor and 1TB of storage. It is equipped with Windows 10 Home Edition. The XPS may not be as reliable as a similar model by Acer and Lenovo. But other Dell models add more storage, a faster processor, and more onboard memory. One factor that sets this apart is that it comes with perhaps the best sound system we’ve ever heard on a desktop computer. It features ten speakers including two downward firing speakers that deliver room-filling sound. So if you need to take a break, you don’t need to go to another room to enjoy great music or a 4K video experience.

2 in 1 Laptop Computer 

While Dell has been best known for utilitarian looking machines, of late it’s started making some very attractive and dare we say, sexy looking laptops.  Most recent among them is the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-In-1.  This is a beautiful machine with an all-aluminum case.  It has a touchscreen that flips so you can use it as a tablet or a stand for presentations. With a 15″ screen, it offers plenty of real estate for those of us who might find an 11″ or even 13″ machine just a little too challenging. It comes with the latest Intel core processors and storage that begins with a 256 GB SSD drive and goes up to 2TB. Prices start at just about $880 which we think makes this a pretty good value for a business class machine that’s got this much going for it.

Printer 

On a regular basis there may be few things as frustrating as having your printer run out of ink and not having a set of overpriced replacement cartridges on hand. The EcoTank printers from Epson resolve the issue by using long-lasting ink reservoirs that you refill with a bottle. We’ve been using the Epson WorkForce ET-4750 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer, which is the stylish upgrade to the 4550 we’d been using for about two years and has yet to run out of ink. It will save you about 80% on ink costs. Among the features: enough ink to print up to 11,200 pages, and equivalent to about 30 ink cartridge sets. Plus, it features auto-stop ink bottles with each color uniquely keyed for easy filling of each tank. It has a high-capacity 250-sheet paper tray, fax, 2.4″ color touchscreen, 30-sheet ADF, fast auto 2-sided printing, and convenient wired and wireless networking. Price is just about $500.

Epson WorkForce ET-4750 EcoTank Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier, Fax and Ethernet

Wireless Routers 

It wasn’t that long ago when swapping out a wireless router was a horrible experience. But the current generation of routers are faster, have more range, and are getting to be pretty much plug and play. We have a few routers.

The VELOP Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System from Linksys is a so-called mesh Wi-Fi system. Mesh networks use multiple access points instead of a single point, so data flows to the fastest connection. The process of setting it up was easy and smooth from beginning to end. When you open the box, you are directed to download an app (available on iOS and Android) which walks you through the step by step process. The app asks how your router connects to your modem. Initially, you connect the VELOP to your modem with an Ethernet cord. After that, the app walks you through the set up with naming, setting up a password and getting the devices online using a simple color changing spot on the sleek looking box (they come in black or white). After installing the first box in the office, next to the router, the app then asked if you are going to install a second. It suggests the best place to set up the next box (in range of the first) and begins the process again. Linksys makes the entire system simple to set up right out of the box. And after it was up and running we experienced a significant improvement in speed in watching videos and listening to music. Price on the Linksys website is just about $450.

Netgear Nighthawk X10 Smart WiFi Router 

If you feel the need for speed in your home office, Netgear claims the X10, also known as the AD7200, is the fastest router on the market, moving data at speeds close to 4.6 GB /second at 60GHz.  This router is designed to blast a signal that will cover a large home or even a building. We have used the previous versions very successfully in hard to reach WIFI area of our test homes. This one has four external antennae to get the signal out there.  And if you want to be wired, The Nighthawk X10 comes equipped with 6 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. Alongside the Gigabit Ethernet ports, users can also connect USB compatible peripherals to either of the USB 3.0 ports. Devices such as external storage drives and printers can take advantage of these USB ports making them accessible to users throughout the network. For a better streaming experience, the Nighthawk X10 supports the Plex media player, DLNA streaming, and the ReadyCLOUD app available for iOS and Android devices providing access to content stored on a connected USB hard drive. It’s available on Amazon at $422.08

Need even more reach? Netgear also makes the Nighthawk X6S Tri-Band WiFi Range Extender. This will work with almost any existing router to give you more coverage without losing speed or data throughput. It’s a good solution for multi-story dwellings where one powerful router just isn’t enough. It effectively teams up with your existing router to make a mesh network without having to buy multiple units. Amazon sells it for just about $230.

NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X6S Tri-Band WiFi Range Extender, Seamless Roaming, One WiFi Name, Access Point Mode, Works with any WiFi Router (EX8000)

 

Logitech MX ERGO Advanced Wireless Trackball for Windows PC and Mac

Ergonomic Trackball 

A pointing device for your computer can be a very personal matter.  Some like a mouse, some a touchpad, others still are comfortable tapping directly on a touchscreen. I have found that I really enjoy a well-designed trackball. The MX Ergo from Logitech is comfortable to work with, doesn’t require moving all around your desktop, and offers precision control.  Price from Logitech is just about $100. Yes, it’s a little on the pricey side, but the comfort level may well be worth it. Be careful with the third party mice and trackballs on Amazon as most do not have good battery life or suddenly have known for just stop working after six months or so. Logitech also sells cheaper models to compete with the knockoffs at Target and Walmart.

Standing Desk 

If you’re concerned that you may be spending too much time sitting in front of your computer, you should be. Studies have found that taking a sedentary position for much of the day is really unhealthy. But there’s a way to beat it. There are a number of desks that convert from a sitting desk to a standing desk. You can work either sitting down or standing up. The WorkFit – T from Ergotron will raise your computer and monitor by as much as 15″ making it comfortable to work from a standing position while offering support for your wrists and more comfort in the long run for your back and neck. Price at Amazon is $396.23.

Ergotron WorkFit-T Sit-Stand Desktop Workstation Stand – Black (33-397-085)

 

Super Seniors Special Selections

We’ve always found that the toughest group to shop for is our Super Seniors.  In part, it’s because their interests and tech awareness run the gamut from tech embracers to tech avoiders. So this year, in addition to our own picks we’ve teamed up with Hammacher Schlemmer, perhaps the world’s most famous repository for creative gifts to recommend great products for our special Super Seniors. The products below have been tested and retested.

Multi-Function Cooker – Gourmia GMC700 Supreme 8-in-1 Digital Multi-Function Cooker Many of the Super Seniors we know continue to live very active lives, off to social engagements, group activities, and so on throughout the day. So who has time to linger over a stove? With this they can put their ingredients together, go out for the day, and return home to a hot, delicious meal. The Smart LCD Display offers preprogrammed modes to ease the cooking process. They can watch their next meal boil, grill, fry, steam, fondue, roast, stew, and warm to perfection through the glass cover. Get it for about $69.99 at many etailers.

Senior Tablet – GrandPad – Social isolation can be a major quality of life issue for Super Seniors, especially those living alone. And not everyone is comfortable with Skype or Facetime. The GrandPad Tablet is a technology solution for seniors that connect them with family, friends, and the digital world. It is preconfigured with apps designed for seniors, making the device extremely simple and straightforward to use. There are no passwords, Wi-Fi concerns, wires, or cables to alleviate any potential frustrations. The senior in your life can start their free 30-day trial here.

Reading Glasses – Thinoptics Folding Reading Glasses – Both my wife and I are constantly misplacing our reading glasses.  Her solution is to leave multiple pairs all around the house. My solution is Thinoptics.  These are reading glasses for on-the-go seniors. They are designed to be extremely lightweight and thin eliminating the need for a glasses case. So they need never be without their reading glasses now that they can easily fit in a wallet, handbag, and pocket or they can attach to a cell phone case. They come in several strengths and a variety of cases and colors. The universal pod and two glasses cost $19.95 here.

Tablet Stand – Flipy 5042626 Multi-Angle Soft Stand for Tablets, E-Readers, Smartphones – Reading in bed is something that many of us enjoy, but increasingly traditional books are being replaced by tablets, and sometimes it’s tough to find a comfortable way to read one while lying in bed. The Flipy Multi-Angle Soft Stand is unique in that it is a flexible, yet sturdy tablet pillow compatible with a variety of tablets, e-readers, and smartphones. Available online and instore at many locations for $39.98.

Senior Friendly Remote Control – Flipper Big Button Remote Control – Having multiple remotes with endless buttons can quickly get frustrating for seniors and deter from their overall viewing experience. The Flipper Big Button Remote completely removes all confusion by combining both TV and cable controls into one remote.  Additionally, the Flipper makes the viewing experience easier for those with low vision, blindness, dementia, and other challenges. We have found  a unit like this at several job lot type stores for $10, that might not have all the features but this one is available at Amazon for $29.95

Retro Style Internet Audio System – Como Audio Duette Music System – This is a simple, flexible, and full sounding modern audio system with very retro and vintage feel. The wood veneer exterior will bring your senior right back to the 1960s, yet the sound quality and variety of music sources is current. And yes, it’s also an alarm clock. While it’s easy to operate, your super senior may need some initial help in finding the right mix among the thousands of options out there. This is a great gift for the music lover who wants to keep the music close.  No Sirius-XM or basic Spotify, but audio quality at a very very high level. Get it for $349 from Amazon.

Home Security System – Guardzilla 360 – If you worry about how your super senior is doing, then the Guardzilla security camera takes unobtrusive monitoring to the next level with this 360 view of the room or area they want to watch (we reviewed it in October). It works in tandem with the Guardzilla companion app, so they are in complete control with the push of a button on their smartphone. The PIR motion sensors detect and record any movement, instantly sending a phone alert. And it has two-way audio so you can communicate with your senior in case of a problem. Price is $229 at Walmart

Scale – qardioBase Connected Scale – One big key to not just aging, but enjoying getting older is staying fit. The qardioBase scale offers a variety of weight and body composition measuring health features to provide your super senior a complete health picture. This sleek, circular scale tracks weight, BMI, and body composition (muscle, fat, water, and bone percentages), yet also provides encouraging feedback with smiley faces. Get it for $129.99 from Amazon.

 

Listening System – Sennheiser TV Listening System – Seniors tend to spend a fair bit of time in front of their television sets. But no matter how big the screen or how sharp the picture, it’s often an impaired audio experience that gets in the way. Many of us find it difficult to make out the audio in dialogs or have problems with extraneous noise. The Sennheiser TV Listening System solves the problem. It provides those with hearing challenges with crystal-clear sound without feeling isolated. The Set 880 lets them individualize their listening experience according to their needs.  Price is $299.95 USD and it is available from hearing aid dispensers.

No Worries WiFi – Eero 2 Wireless Router Home Wi-Fi System – Your super senior won’t have to worry about Wi-Fi in the house with this very easy to setup system. The Eero 2 Wireless Router Home Wifi System is a mesh-based system. That means taking a tablet with a movie from room to room without ever missing a beat. The kit includes a base station that hooks to the incoming service and two smaller mesh units that can go almost anywhere in the home. Eero 2 requires minimal management or configuration. Available for $306.12 from Amazon and many other retailers.

Golf Rangefinder – TecTecTec VPRODLX 1K – Many Super Seniors are still avid golfers, often having moved to golf communities in warmer climates just to get on the links every day. But as they age, it gets tougher to judge the distance to the pin. That’s where a good rangefinder comes in handy. The most technologically advanced laser rangefinder from TecTecTec, the VPRODLX 1K can accurately measure distances up to 1,000 yards and is precise within one yard. The premium, multilayered optical lens combined with diopter adjustment and 6x magnification provide an ultra-clear and accurate view. It features three scanning modes for every situation to help players measure distances to the pin, hazards, etc. – Pinseeker Mode, First Target Priority, and Continuous Scan Mode. Available in Standard and “S” editions (which features PinSlope Technology to calculate elevation-adjusted distances to the target), both are lightweight (0.41 lbs), durable and waterproof. Available at selected sporting goods stores and at Amazon starting at $179.99

Senior Friendly Smart Phone – Jitterbug Smart  – The notion that super seniors can’t or won’t use a smartphone is just another urban myth. Many seniors are really happy with the connectivity a smartphone offers, but they may be challenged by the readability of icons on some of the big name brands. The Jitterbug Smart gives them the functionality they want with an easy-to-use design. Its 5.5” screen is large enough and makes the Jitterbug Smart easy to read with the apps presented in a simple list style menu. This is a great way for your senior to connect with family and friends The Jitterbug Smart is on sale right now for about $75 and a basic monthly plan starts at $19.99.

Listen Closely – Soft-Tones personal pillow-top speakers were originally designed by 2breathe Technologies for its 2Breathe sleep-inducing device, which helps people breathe in a way that relaxes their bodies into sleep. (We reviewed it last January.) But the talking program bothered the other person in bed, so was born the pillow speakers. However, they can be used to listen to anything: music, podcasts, books, as you relax in bed, without disturbing a bedmate, and not just the relaxation program. They are covered with a hypoallergenic, washable fabric and no additional power is required. $49.95 direct or several retailers or on Amazon.

Aromatherapy – Relaxation Aromatherapy Orb – Help your senior find a state of relaxation with the combination aromatherapy and music. The Relaxation Aromatherapy Orb diffuses a soothing, fragrant mist while playing calming music of your choice. Treat your senior with the ultimate at-home spa experience that is wirelessly compatible with all smartphones and tablets. The orb is available at Hammacher Schlemmer for $69.95.

 

 

 

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