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Cover Story: Present Perfect

The season of giving is here, and it can be a real cause of anxiety for some people. If you know nothing about the interests of the person you’re trying to get a gift for, you’re likely going to settle for a pair of reindeer-patterned socks. We’re here to help. If you’re short on ideas and time, read through our little guide, and figure out what it is you can get your homemaker, cinephile, gearhead, or photographer friend. With any luck, these less conventional gifts are items they don’t have yet, or maybe haven’t even considered getting. Have fun, and good hunting!

Next to the traffic, one of the greatest causes of holiday anxiety is gift shopping. If your loved one is into something that you know nothing about, it truly is a daunting task. Fortunately, we at Gadgets are here to give you a hand. If you’re looking for something to give to the gearhead in your life, prepare to take notes. We’ve got you covered.

For two and four wheelers: A battery conditioner

It’s no secret that both cars and motorcycles use batteries. What you may or may not know though, is that the life of those batteries can be extended significantly with the right device. A battery conditioner has immediate and lasting benefits for a vehicle’s battery. Aside from keeping it topped up, these also condition the battery, allowing them to better keep a charge, and extending their lifespan. It also has the added benefit of being an item that the average enthusiast would necessarily have, putting it in perfect Christmas gift territory.

For two-wheelers: Hi-Viz Safety Gear

Bicycles, motorcycles, and as a little bonus, runners, could do a lot to be more visible on the road. Even with tail lights and lamps, all these non-cars need as much help being visible as they can. A reflective vest, battery-powered blinker, or a pack of reflective stickers for helmets are great stocking-stuffers for anyone travelling on anything smaller than a car.

For everyone: A flashlight

It will happen a few times in your life that your vehicle will refuse to cooperate in some form or another, just when darkness has set in. Sure, you can use a smartphone to illuminate what needs illuminating, but that’s really not ideal. A decent light (skip the PHP 88 deals), ideally powered by commonly available AA or AAA cells will be a huge help should your giftee need to change a tire, check a belt, or even just find a phone that has slipped between the seats. While you’re at it, toss in a fresh pack of batteries, and they’ll be ready for the dark. Mostly four-wheelers, but sort of two wheelers too: a battery-powered jump starter.

Mostly four-wheelers, but sort of two wheelers too: A battery-powered jump starter

This one comes with a pretty important caveat that bears saying at the very start: if you’re going to give one of these as a gift, make sure it’s a good brand with a reliable reputation. Cheap specimens run the risk of being a massive fire and electrocution hazard. That being said, a battery-powered jump starter is a huge boon for those who return to their cars to find the battery too flat to start the engine. This is particularly important to cars with automatic transmissions, as you can’t just get it rolling and pop the clutch like a manual or a motorcycle. It’s handy, keeps a charge, and is perfect for packing in an emergency bag when going on long trips where battery delivery places can’t reach. Just to be extra clear, if you’re going to get one as a gift, get a good brand, or it will be more trouble than it’s worth.

For two-wheelers: Armored riding jeans

As much as we hate to admit it, comfort and style usually take a back seat to safety when it comes to motorcycle gear. We’re fine with that though, as safety should always be paramount. Lately though, there have been more and more brands trying to close that gap. A number of manufacturers now make armored riding jeans that look like regular jeans except under closer scrutiny. Practical, comfortable, and discreet, these are the perfect gift for those who ride their motorcycles daily.

Two- and four-wheelers: A tire patch kit

If the person you intend to gift is reasonably handy, this is a nice little thing that you can get for them. These kits come with everything you will need to patch a puncture, from the plug, reamer, pliers, and carbon dioxide cartridges to reinflate the tire. The beauty of this kit is that you just keep it in your vehicle, whether it’s a bike or car, and hope never to need it. Since hoping isn’t a valid strategy, when it finally becomes necessary, they can pull it out of storage, fix the puncture, and be off in half an hour tops. Be sure to let them know it’s not a permanent fix, and they should get the tire checked professionally, but they’ll at least be able to limp to a shop rather than wait for a tow truck.

The season of giving can be stressful, particularly if you don’t share their interests, so we hope this guide has been helpful. Above all though, a heartfelt expression of your appreciation will make any gift worthwhile.

They say that no matter how well you know a person, getting the right list of tech gifts can still be tricky. It’s even harder when you’re the polar opposite of your loved ones, having different interests from them. Everyone probably has a cinephile friend, or maybe one of those people who just enjoy the comfort and safety of indoors while parked firmly on the couch. If you want to take the extra mile and make their Christmas more special, these options should be added on your holiday shopping list.

Subscriptions to streaming platforms

Living as a cinephile means wanting access to digital streaming platforms wherever you go. Whether you’re on the road or on a staycation, having subscriptions to video streaming services provides a lot of options. Viewers can choose from thousands of local and international films from various genres and stream it on differens devices such as gaming consoles, smartphones, and smart TVs simultaneously. These streaming services, however, differ on the type of subscription plan and the content it delivers to the audience. There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV+ for those who seek global and exclusive content, Disney+ for comic geeks and child at heart, HOOQ and VIU Premium for Asian chick flicks and heart-wrenching Korean movies, FOX+ for award-winning titles, and HBO GO for classic and modern films.

Projectors and wireless soundbars

Who says no one can turn their room into a cinema? Turn your walls into screens with projectors, and add wireless soundbars for surround-sound audio. The projector can maximize your mobile or PC screen, giving a more cinematic experience without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, ditching cables on the sound system provides more connectivity options for the users. One of the keys in building a mini home theater at home is investing in the right products that could last a lifetime. Make sure to do your research on the different brands and classes of soundbars that would fit the needs of your loved ones. Tablets are also a good gift idea to those who frequently travel, because it serves as their multimedia and productivity companion.

Comfy sofa bed

Finding yourself in the middle of a binge can lead to extended periods of sitting down, and prolonged sitting can give you back pain. That’s why lying on a comfortable sofa is just as important as everything else on this list. For people flying solo, there are affordable bean bags available should they want a piece of space-saving furniture. If they want a more premium experience, there are soft reclining sofa beds that come with a soft cushion which is good for lounging. To top it off, you can add memory foam pillows and a fleece blanket.

Kitchen tools

Wouldn’t it be nice to munch on some snacks and sip a refreshing beverage during your movie marathon? Make sure to get a quick fix of popcorn and chill your sodas with an electric popcorn maker and a mini-refrigerator that are both compact and handy. Nostalgia products range from popcorn and cotton candy makers to chocolate fondue fountains, ice slush makers, and personal refs—all in a bright red and white retro look.

Streaming devices

When it comes to streaming content, there’s no shortage of devices to choose from. Apart from optimizing the video quality of the digital content users watching on their devices, these also grants access to video streaming apps on older TVs and PCs. This cuts the cost down and at the same time, upgrades the older piece of tech they currently own. The list can go a long way depending on its special features, but these slick smart boxes and sticks provide fast, simple and affordable streaming options. For Apple users, there’s the Apple TV 4K which streams content across Apple devices. Android users also have the Google Chromecast Ultra which offers up to 4K video streaming and boasts voice recognition capabilities when linked with the Google Home ecosystem. If a wide variety of digital content apps is what you’re looking for, then the Roku Streaming Stick+ is a must-have on your shopping list.

Streamlining the Internet connection within the confines of your home should also be a priority if you’re a movie buff. Beat those dead spots with efficient mesh routers to improve network coverage and stay connected. These have the dual benefit of boosting the speed of your home’s Wi-Fi connection and extending its range with a simple device. This allows seamless streaming of your favorite movies from mobile devices to smart TVs.

We all have that one friend who is a photography junkie: someone who lives, breathes, and sleeps everything about imaging. We love our photography geek friends but, let’s be honest, they’re some of the hardest friends to find gifts for. Fret not! I’m here to give you some ideas on what to get your friends this Christmas.

Film

If your friend is a die-hard photo geek then chances are he or she owns an old-school film camera. Giving them rolls of film for Christmas is one way to go up in their friendship ranking.

When film is developed, the photo takes on a distinct tone and color. These quirks are the origin of the different types of photo filters we see in digital cameras and image-sharing platforms. A great tip is to buy different types of film to let them experience on which one they’ll like.

Stylish Camera Bag / Accessory Organizer

While everyone with a camera will already have a camera bag, a good reason you’ll want to get them another one is for a sense of choice. Your friend will thank you when they step outside toting their new bag. I’ve also included accessory organizer here if you’re a bit hesitant giving them a new camera bag. A new accessory organizer or case would let them hoard for more of their favorite camera gears and goodies.

Memory Cards

Ah, memory cards; the digital equivalent of film. Shutterbugs definitely have their own memory cards, they probably have more than a few. The reason why I’m including it in this list is because you just can’t have too many of them. Memory cards are frequently overlooked when buying gifts for your cameraman friend, but memory cards can frequently break or get corrupted. Giving him or her new memory cards, especially ones with a larger storage, will definitely make them extremely happy.

Flash Gels

If your friend has a professional studio, or at least shoots in a professional studio, it would be a great idea to give them some gels for their flash. Flash gels are great artistic tool that will take their photos to the next level. And if they already have some, don’t fret. No sane lighting geek would decline a couple of extra gels for their next shoot.

Film scanner

A film scanner is the perfect gift for lensmen who are starting out to explore films. Chances are they still rely on a shop to digitize their negatives. By giving them a film scanner, especially the portable one, will definitely encourage them to shoot more. Scanning their negatives would also help them since it opens up the possibility of post-processing.

Portable/ Pocket Printer

While everyone likely already has a printer at home, sometimes you just can’t wait long enough to get there for a copy. A pocket printer is not necessarily a replacement for a full-sized desktop printer, but it is a great device to add to a photographer’s arsenal. A pocket printer lets you print photos from your devices usually via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi direct. The prints they produce are also pocket-sized, so it’s perfect for someone who will want to immediately print and keep the memories they shot.

Photography Books

If you’re friend really wants to improve his craft, there’s a great chance he’ll love you when you give new resource materials. Most shutterbugs take inspiration from some of the world’s great photographers to help find their own distinct style and composition. By giving your friend a photography book, you allow them another means to broaden their own horizons.

Fair warning though, they may already have some of the items on this list, so be sure to keep those gift receipts in case they want to switch it for something else.

One of the best things about coming home is you get to relax in a space that has everything you need, picked out by you and for you. Whether you’re into extravagant details, minimalism, or quirky characters, a home lets you build a lifestyle that’s uniquely you.

If you need help in making your space more home-like or one that simply reflects who you are, here are a few appliances worthy of landing a spot in your holiday shopping list.

Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Upright and Handheld Steam Cleaner

Nothing is better than a deep clean. Knowing your home is free of dirt and bacteria can get you in a relaxed mood. This is where you can trust Morphy Richards’ Upright and Handheld Steam Cleaner. This device does a good job at sanitizing with a quick push of a button. It features a 30-second heat-up time and boils immediately to provide a thorough clean for sealed hardwood floors, work surfaces, shower doors, tiles and grouting, ovens and hobs, taps and carpets, upholstery and garments. The steam cleaner can accommodate 400 ml of water,has a 14-minute running time, and various accessories for added convenience. Best of all, it only retails for PHP 7,899.75.

Coocaa 40S5G Smart TV

Who doesn’t want a smart TV in their home? With access to countless apps and pairing support with other devices, getting one in this age of connectivity just makes sense. While it’s nice to have a smart TV, it is not exactly budget-friendly. This is where relatively new player, Coocaa aims to stake its claim. Coming in hot with smart TVs that won’t break the bank, options for your next living room centerpiece abound. One that’s just right is the Coocaa 40S5G. This 40-inch Android 8.0-powered smart TV banners a Full HD display framed by thin bezels, giving you an immersive viewing experience whether it be streaming movies or watching local television. It features wireless connectivity, HDMI support, and USB ports. As it is an Android device, you can download fitness and cooking apps, as well as games to get your stay at home days going. It can even serve as a smart home hub and is available for only PHP 13,990.

LG XBOOM RK7

If you’re into unique-looking design and good music, LG’s XBOOM RK7 might just be the audio solution for you. The RK7 has an industrial-style speaker with its dual tweeters visible through its grilles. Another great thing about the device’s design is whether you position it horizontally or vertically, it will automatically adapt to the orientation to give you a nice sound field. It amplifies the fun with built-in multi-color LED lighting that pulses to the music.

The RK7 creates powerful beats with its 550 watts of power. This enables its tweeters and dual woofers to deliver quality sound for house parties or movie nights. It is aptX HD-enabled, which simply means you’ll get quality audio streaming over wireless, Bluetooth transmission. The RK7 also has an integrated DJ App and Karaoke Star that allows you to sing along with you favorite songs by removing the vocals in them. And if you have more than one RK7, you can link up to 10 of them for ground-shaking music. The XBOOM RK7 is available for PHP 17,990.

Eufy BodySense Smart Scale

Whether you’re into fitness or just looking to live healthy, Eufy’s BodySense Smart Scale can help you do just that. A nifty device to put in your room or the bathroom, this smart scale provides accurate measurements and body insights through four auto-calibrating sensors. It pairs with any iOS 8.0+ or Android 4.3+ device through the EufyLife app where its records and organizes your health data. A quick weigh in can give you a diagnostic on 12 different measurements within seconds as well as detect fluctuations in your weight. Plus, its rounded corners is a thoughtful design detail to prevent accidents. The Eufy BodySense Smart Scale is priced at PHP 2,995.

Mi Mosquito Dispeller

Insect bites, most especially from mosquitoes are not only inconveniently itchy but also life-threatening. Be secure from diseases that mosquitoes may bring into your home with the Mi Mosquito Dispeller. This quaint device can sit atop the coffee table or drawers without taking away from the design of your home. It comes with a refillable mosquito-repelling liquid made of odorless, natural herbal extract that is mild enough to be breathed in by humans but is lethal for mosquitoes. A full container can last about a month and cover up to 15 square meter of space. While its main purpose is to repel mosquitoes, it can also double as a dim night light and has other convenient features such as a 10-hour automatic timer and low noise production. Best of all, it’s available for only PHP 500.

Words by the Gadgets Magazine Team
Artwork by Jezeil Romero
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE December 2019 – January 2020 Issue