Emmy award-winning consumer tech journalist Jennifer Jolly is your BFF for advice on all those digital doo-dads, techy tools, and cyber services that are supposed to make your life easier, more organized and just plain better.
Jennifer is a New York Times Wired Well columnist, host of the digital lifestyle series TechNow for USA Today, and contributes consumer technology segments for the Today Show, The Talk, CNN, HLN, Dr. Oz, Yahoo, Time, and many others.
As a journalist, public speaker, and no-geek-speak go-to for your wired world, Jenn is always game to help people get more satisfaction out of their digital day, right now.
Tech The Halls: Best Gadget Gifts for Everyone in the Family
Americans will spend around 97-billion dollars on new gadgets and gear this holiday season. That’s an all-time record – as industryanalysts predict seven out of every 10 adults in American will buy a tech gift this year. What’s hot? VR, Cyber Security, and gadgets that make your life more fun.
Tech-Life Columnist Jennifer Jolly is here with her top picks for all ages:
- Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, $199.99
Awaken your inner Jedi with the Disney/Lenovo’s smartphone‑powered augmented reality Star Wars experience. It comes with a headset and haptic-enabled lightsaber, and works with nearly any smartphone on the market today. It takes less than five minutes to set up and before you know it, you’re perfecting your lightsaber skills by taking on some of the most menacing villains the dark side has to offer, or training your mind in the ultimate game of concentration and strategy – Holochess. Overall, it’s easy to learn, difficult to master, making it both a sign of AR to come – and a box of good clean fun with a brand everyone loves. Ages 10+
- Norton Core Router, ($249 this weekend only) Normally $279.99
This was a big year for Cyber Security snafus – and while this gadget looks like a futuristic disco-ball, it’s really a crazy fast, super-secure Wi-Fi router – with loads of security and parental control features built-in to protect every device in your home. It comes with a free app that lets you view your home’s “security score” and provides protection for all your connected devices – smart TV, baby monitor, home thermostat, plus your laptops and mobile devices. It safeguards against cybercriminals looking to steal your most personal information. Since its release, an average of five network threats have been blocked daily in homes using Norton Core – that’s 35 cybercrimes turned away from your doorstep each week!
- & 4. SanDisk iXpand Base and WD My Cloud Home (but we’ll go through them super fast)
Almost as bad as cybercrime? Losing all your photos, and other treasured digital keepsakes. So
The just launched Western Digital My Cloud Home and this little SanDisk iXpand Base are two must-have accessories that save, store, and backup like a boss!
My Cloud Home is a personal storage device that connects directly to your WiFi router. It lets you back up and sync content wirelessly from various devices (phones, PC, Mac) – and lets you access all of that content from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
The SanDisk iXpand Base is another hassle-free way to backup photos, videos, contacts – all the important stuff – from your iPhone – while it’s charging. Using your Lightning connector, you can simply plug your iPhone into the iXpand Base, set it on your nightstand or desk, and let it automatically back up while it charges - saving your content AND charging your phone while you sleep. One less thing to worry about during a busy holiday season!
WD My Cloud Home – starts at $159.99
SanDisk iXpand Base –starts at $49.99
- HelloTech, starts at $29 (will have new iPhoneX, Sonos One, and other device as props)
Wouldn’t it be great if setting up new tech toys - either yours or those you give other as gifts – came with a tech expert to set it all up for you? Now it can –HelloTech is an on-demand, in-home tech support service available nationwide! This is GENIUS — arrange a time, get a tech expert sent straight to your home to sets up your device and even help coach you on to how get the most out of it. It starts at just $29-bucks – screaming deal. AND - They’ll even come over on Christmas Day!
6.Polaroid Pop Instant Print Digital Camera: $199.99
This is brand new, just released camera that lets you instantly capture, print and share photos all from one device. Bluetooth enabled, the Pop prints photos from your smartphone through the camera, or lets you upload anything you take on the camera to your phone or social. You can even edit pictures before you print with filters, stickers and text. The camera also shoots 1080 HD video and GIFs so it's the perfect for gift for the gadget guru, the wanderluster, millennials and everyone in between.
- Parrot Mambo FPVDrone: ($179.99 – but am seeing it on sale for $149.99)
This is by far the easiest drone to fly in the whole wide world. We can have the anchor on set and it won’t hurt anyone – for real! This tiny drone can fit in the palm of your hand, but make no mistake it packs a punch! With the Parrot Mambo FPV, break all boundaries and enjoy an immersive experience that only cutting-edge technology can bring you. The FPV camera and Parrot Cockpitglasses 2 guarantee to plunge you into the unprecedented world of racing. Take on the other challengers and become a genuine FPV racing pilot.