Practical Gadgets for Christmas

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

It’s Christmas time and what better way to cover it from my perspective than with a group of gadgets that can be placed under the tree for family and friends.

Most websites would work on compiling a list of top devices of the year, but I am about practicality…so here’s some things that will get a use from those around you if they are gifted.

GoPro Hero
Leaders in the action camera game GoPro recently released their new product offerings for 2014, which included the 4k quality GoPro Hero 4 and a new younger brother of the range

Image Credit: GoPro

Image Credit: GoPro

simply called Hero.

Hero provides a group of standard features that the cameras are famous for which include the waterproof and shockproof housing, a wide range of mounting options for all sorts of filming and the added bonus of coming in at less than $200.

With the price reductions, there are some limitations…you will not be able to remove the camera from the housing like traditional models, the battery for the camera is inbuilt, there is no wifi or 4k video or the ability to add a screen.

For those who are new to GoPro’s or even someone who is looking to use several cameras to put together some action shots for online use they are a great little unit.

You can find them online or in all good camera/electronics retailers around the country.

Image Credit: Parrot

Image Credit: Parrot

Parrot Flower Power
Looking at the device for the first time un-boxed, you would think it’s a rather boring looking imitation twig but it’s actually a bit of Bluetooth tech for the green thumbs of your family from the famous mini drone maker Parrot.

Flower Power is designed to provide ease with maintaining plants in your garden by being able to monitor things such as light/humidity and temperatures as well as the health of the soil which your plant is contained in, allowing alerts when upkeep is needed and the ability to track the plants progress in an application designed for both iPhone and Android.

The device runs on a standard AA battery and the mobile application is available for free download on the appropriate app stores.

It will set you back $80 and is available online and in some gardening stores across the country.


Image Credit: CottonOn Australia

Image Credit: CottonOn Australia

Selfie Stick with Remote

With the uptake of smartphone’s across the world came the desire for people to capture themselves in a photo almost anywhere in this wonderful world of ours.

In some cases it is not at all practical for someone to take a photo for you and not all of us have long arms and getting the perfect selfie can be a bit of a mess so some bright spark has come up with the concept of the selfie stick.

The selfie stick is a telescopic pole with a holder for your common mobile phone models and the version I have previewed even comes with a Bluetooth remote so you can control the shutter like a pro.

The sticks themselves come in multiple colours, will set you back around $20 and can be purchased online/in store at Cotton On Stores.

Kmart also has a similar style selfie stick, without the Bluetooth remote for around $10 less.


Image Credit: FitBit

Image Credit: FitBit

Fitbit Charge
I don’t know about your friends and colleagues but in my group the trend for fitness tracking has been there.

Traditionally we did it with step counters and other gadgets that we could strap to ourselves during fitness…then somehow collate all that information to keep track of it all in some sort of manual form or type it all up into a computer for storing….ugh too much work.

These days we have fitness tracking bands from all sorts of manufacturers capable of logging a variety of data in our phones and online.

My personal favourite is Fitbit and they have released the Charge model in time for Christmas.

Charge is a single piece wearable tracker that you can pair to your mobile phone using Bluetooth and keep track of all your stats using the Fitbit app available for iPhone/Android mobiles.

The band will track steps, KM walked, active minutes and calories burned and in addition to older models it now provides automatic sleep tracking.

Charge features an inbuilt OLED screen for statistics and with the pairing of your mobile device via Bluetooth, a caller id for your mobile phone.

There is even alarm functions for those who like the idea of a soft wake up…because let’s face it…no one likes a screeching alarm.

Average battery life for users of the Charge is around  7 days (battery life may be reduced with the alarm features).

You can pick one up from good electronics retailers around the country for just under $150.

Comsol Power Bank USB Charging Pack
I don’t know if you have noticed, but most of us carry around some variant of smartphone across our average day and find multiple uses for them…which means battery life is a challenge.

Rather than trying to squeeze the maximum out of your phone and hope for the best, why not look at a USB Charging Pack.


Image Credit: Comsol

Comsol produces a range of these charging packs that start from 2200mAh (micro amp hours) and work right the way up to 8800mAh.
The difference in the each of the models is the charging ability…the lower end models will provide a little top up to get you though and the higher end are all the more capable of filling your battery completely.

Power Bank’s feature a USB port so you can plug your phone or any other USB powered device in to get that all important charge.

I do recommend with these USB chargers that you grab something with at least 4000mAh, so you can actually make an impact when you are low on the juice.

You can find them on Officeworks online or in stores across the country.

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