2020 Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway: Staying at Home During the Pandemic Edition

This Holiday Season will be unlike any we have previously experienced, and gift-giving will be too. After all, people feel the financial pinch and, many of us are spending more time in our homes than ever. Here are some of the items that might make meaningful and practical gifts this year. You might see something for you, too! Be sure to check out our giveaway at the end — you’ll be glad that you did!

Arlo

Many of us are currently working from home. That means our houses and apartments aren’t sitting empty nearly as much as they normally would. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t have a security system to keep you and your loved ones safe. Arlo is offering some great security ideas that can help create an affordable way to keep everyone safe.

Arlo Essential Spotlight

 

At $129.99, the newly available Arlo Essential Spotlight is a great start. It doesn’t require a tase station, features an integrated spotlight, 2-way audio, a built-in siren, and color night vision. It is easy to install and can be used inside or out.

Arlo Video Doorbell

There are many video doorbells on the market, but the $149.99 Arlo Video Doorbell is a great choice if you are starting to build your security system. Unlike my video doorbell, which comes from a different company that only lets you see the person’s face, the Arlo Video Doorbell offers industry-leading vertical field-of-view for a head-to-toe view of the front porch. Being able to see more of who is at the door can make a huge difference in your family’s sense of security. The video doorbell also features a 1:1 aspect ratio, motion detection and alerts, video calls, and color night vision. Combined with the Arlo Essential Spotlight and you have a clear, lighted video of your door and its surroundings.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

Once you build out your basic system from “perimeter security, you might want to splurge on the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight that Judie reviewed earlier this year and is an integral part of her home security system. At $249.99, it isn’t inexpensive, but it delivers quite a lot for the price and is the “first 100% wire-free spotlight security camera on the market.” Other features include 2K HDR video, a 160-degree field of view, two-way audio, and color night vision.

Accell Power Cutie

With many of us working from home and our kids learning at home, powering our electronics has never been more needed! Accell has a great solution with its $35.99 Power Cutie. Accell’s Power Cutie is a mini desktop surge protector with plenty of USB and AC charging ports to cover your daily power needs.  It features advanced X3 MOV technology that provides the safest surge protection by detecting surge conditions and reacts by directing excess energy away from equipment through the electrical grounding system.  This advanced X3 MOV technology fully protects connected equipment from hazard during an abnormal or catastrophic surge event and provides a longer protection lifespan than regular MOV. 

Kannaco CBD

This year has been stressful, to put it mildly. That’s why you’re going to see us mentioning CDB products in this gift guide more than once. The brands that we’ll feature make reputable, lab-tested products that give excellent results when used. The first company we want you to consider is Kannaco CBD. Whether sleep is eluding you, or you’re having aches & pain, or you’re simply all stressed out by this terrible year, Kannaco has what you need to find relief and relax. Kannaco CBD products are crafted with the company’s own organically farmed hemp. They are made in food-grade, FDA approved, cGMP certified, GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) certified facilities, and they are put through an extensive 3rd party testing process. Kannaco sells its CBD as oils, creams, and soft gels. If you’re not sure where to start, or if you want to try a bit of everything, then you might want to order one of their $199.99 Bundle Boxes that each come with an Aches and Pains CBD cream stick, a bottle of Snooze CBD soft-gels, and a bottle of Immune, Peppermint, Orange Cream, or Guava Strawberry flavored CBD oil. You can also buy single CBD oils (in all flavors, including several craft blends) starting at $69.99; Sleep soft gels sell for $79.95, and Aches & Pains CBD and CBD Body Cream sticks sell for $44.95.

Brookstone PhotoShare Smart Digital Photo Frame

Brookstone PhotoShare Smart Digital Photo Frames used to be available in only an 8″ model, but they’ve recently also added 10.1″ and 14″ frames to their lineup! These digital photo frames feature vibrant high definition touchscreen displays. They are easy to connect to your WiFi network so that they can accept up to 50 images at once sent from family and friend’s smartphones via the iOS and Android PhotoShare Frame app. Photos can also be sent directly to the frame by email, through the PhotoShare website, or from a connected Facebook or Google Photos account. Brookstone PhotoShare Smart Digital Photo Frames can be set to show a single photo or a slideshow of photos, and they include features such as an on-screen clock, calendar, built-in music, and video players; they also have a USB port and an SD card slot for quick and easy photo transfer. The frames come with 8GB onboard memory and can hold up to 5,000 photos. The frames are made of wood, and they come in an espresso or black finish; they include black and white mattes so you can match your decor. These digital photo frames can also be set to auto-dim on a specific schedule, and the frame supports photos in both portrait and landscape modes. PhotoShare technology has a growing network of more than 500,000 customers, and part of the reason it’s so popular is that PhotoShare technology doesn’t require a subscription. Your family and friends can send you photos for free — they can even add messages to accompany the photos. The 8″ Brookstone PhotoShare Smart Digital Photo Frame 8″ retails for $119.99; the 10.1″ frame retails for $199.99, and the 14″ frame retails for $229.99, but there are good deals to be had if you shop around online. You can find the frames at AmazonWalmart, CostcoBest BuyBed Bath & BeyondLowe’sMacy’s 

Kinsa Thermometers

Our preschool is currently running in-person classes outside. Each teacher and student’s temperature is checked before they can begin the school day. Thermometers that are both easy to use and accurate are key to our being able to continue the program. Temperature checks are, of course, one of the ways we can help slow the spread of the virus. So, even though a thermometer might be the last gift you would have considered giving previously, it is something people will use. Kinsa has two great options, and both are on sale.

Kinsa Quick Care Thermometer

The Kinsa Quick Care Thermometer usually sells for $24.99, but it will be available from November 22nd to December 6th for just $19.99. With an ergonomic one-button design, it can check your temperature in eight seconds. The thermometer connects a free Kinsa app (iOS & Android) and offers “personalized guidance based on age, fever, and symptoms; includes COVID-19 symptom and diagnosis support.” It even keeps a log that can be referred to later or shared with a doctor.

Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer

The Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer is a bit more expensive. Usually priced at $39.99, from November 22nd through December 6th, it will be just $31.99. The Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer can check your temperature in a second. Like the Quick Care Thermometer, it works with a free app to help track your readings and make self-care suggestions.

TROVA GO

Ideal for holiday gift-giving, the aluminum alloy TROVA Go is a discreet portable biometric safe designed for daily use while maintaining your privacy. This physical storage device measures just 6.1” long by 3″ wide by 1.2” thick, and it prevents inappropriate audiences from accessing valuable, personal, recreational, or otherwise private objects. Perfect for pockets, handbags, or athletic gear, Trova Go is designed to be overlooked, mimicking a hard drive or battery. TROVA is wirelessly connected via Bluetooth and accessible through biometric scanning, offering an app that allows only paired users to unlock. The “never lost” feature taps the GPS on a user’s phone to mark a last known location; in-app notifications provide the length of time left open, protecting TROVA – and its contents from falling into inappropriate hands. Available in four colors, the TROVA GO sells for $199. The TROVA product line also includes the $219 TROVA Go Plus+, the $549 TROVA Home, and the $39.99 TROVA GO Sleeve.

Follow

 

So many of us have to rely on Zoom for our meetings anymore, but there are other things we are trying to capture on video, too — like shooting things for YouTube or creating the next viral TikTok. Shooting content solo is tough, though. Finding the right light and staying in frame can be nearly impossible. Not everyone can hire a cameraperson, and “Instagram husbands” can’t always be roped in to do all the work. Follow is a mount that uses an embedded AI chip and facial recognition to keep users in frame when filming or streaming. Unlike most competitors who require at least 50cm to track, Follow can track movement from 10 cm to 4 meters’ distance. To use Follow, you mount your phone or small to mid-sized camera, shoot as normal, and Follow will automatically follow you to make sure you stay in frame while creating content or video calling. It even includes a high-quality LED ring light with adjustable lighting – making it an all-in-one camera person. Follow sells for $42.99, but they have a launch special going on until December 15th for $29.99; the light ring is $10.99.

Ballsy Jolly Jewels Sack Pack & Boxers Gift Set

Just because he doesn’t leave the house that often doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be practicing basic hygiene and self-care, and he’ll have everything he needs with the $55 Ballsy Jolly Jewels Sack Pack & Boxers Gift Set. Included products in the set are Ballsy’s Ballwash (for nuts, buts, and body), Nut Rub Solid Cologne, and odor neutralizing Sack Spray, a pair of Holiday Boxers, and a “Santa’s Most Prized Package” scratch-off which includes a chance at a $1,000 vacation and other Ballsy prizes. Don’t worry, this isn’t some one-size-fits-all pair of boxers, either; they come in sizes small through XXL, and they are soft, wedgy-free, and will give his family jewels room to breathe. Men’s grooming products for men’s parts? We approve!

Lockly Vision

The $399.99 Lockly Vision is the latest addition to Lockly’s award-winning smart lock lineup; it combines all of the best features of its industry-leading smart locks with an HD video doorbell that includes live two-way audio to provide a single-installation solution. Vision is packed with the brand’s patented features such as offline access codes, PIN Genie randomized digital keypad, and first-in-class biometric fingerprint reader. Along with a beautifully styled video smart lock, Lockly Vision includes a revamped WiFi hub that provides local micro-SD storage (cloud storage coming soon), as well as a tamper notification feature that will alarm homeowners if an unwanted guest is trying to gain access. In all, Lockly Vision is security redefined.

Lockly Vision features:

  • VIDEO SMART LOCK: A combined highly secure smart lock (multiple levels of data encryption and two-step authentication) with a built-in HD video doorbell that streams live to a mobile device. Store data locally via Micro-SD or via cloud storage (cloud storage coming soon).

  • CRYSTAL CLEAR AUDIO: Instant, live two-way audio provides crystal clear real-time conversations with anyone who approaches their door.

  • NO HARDWIRING: Unlike many video doorbells or cameras, there is no hardwiring for Lockly Vision. Enjoy 10-12 months of lock and video doorbell operation from 8 AA batteries.

  • PEEK-PROOF DIGITAL KEYPAD: Lockly’s patented PIN Genie touchscreen shuffles number locations on the secure, backlit digital keypad every time the door is approached, making it nearly impossible to replicate access codes.

  • VIRTUAL ASSISTANT ENABLED: Compatible with major virtual assistants and smart home devices to offer homeowners the ultimate convenience, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant.

  • REAL-TIME DOOR MONITORING: Included door sensors allow users to not only monitor if the door is locked or unlocked but also if it is open or closed, all in real-time.

  • OFFLINE ACCESS CODES (OAC): No Wi-Fi available? No problem! Lockly’s smart locks can generate multiple access codes without an internet connection through the use of Lockly’s patented technology. Set codes for one-time use, one hour, one day, or any duration imaginable. The receiver can also accept a code via text; no app needed!

  • FIVE WAYS TO ACCESS: Access your home, office, or rental property using voice, the Lockly mobile app, capacitive 3D biometric fingerprint scanner, online and offline access code, or physical key.

Hornitos Tequila x Bespoke Post Limited-Edition Shot Taker Box


Judie is a member and a huge fan of the Bespoke Post monthly subscription boxes; instead of paying some huge amount of money upfront, she instead gets a monthly email showing her the latest curated subscription box offers. If she chooses one or more of the boxes, they are discounted to $45 each, or she can opt to skip a month at any time. But there are other perks to membership like access to discounts on their unique and cool products from smaller companies and the occasional very special Bespoke Post box (which doesn’t require membership) — which brings us to the Hornitos Tequila x Bespoke Post Limited-Edition Shot Taker Box that will be available for purchase beginning on Monday, Dec. 7 for $65.

Small business owners and artisans nationwide are among the groups hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19, and while many have poured their hearts into getting their business off the ground, the current situation has caused them to take a step back and think of innovative ways to rebuild. That’s why Hornitos Tequila and Bespoke Post, two brands that know what it means to take a shot in life to explore your passions, partnered to launch the Hornitos Tequila x Bespoke Post Limited-Edition Shot Taker Box that exclusively features products from visionary small business owners and artisans and is great for those looking to support small this holiday season.

In this special edition box you’ll find all of the following:

• A Bradley Mountain Utility Roll, which is a waxed canvas and leather tool caddy that conveniently fits into your pocket or backpack and can be used to carry barware accessories on your next outdoor adventure (it’s a $39.99 value)

• A bottle of Hoff & Pepper Mean Green Hot Sauce which is a handmade and additive-free jalapeño hot sauce meant to provide the kick needed to spice up any meal or Hornitos Tequila spicy margarita (it’s a $10 value).

• A bottle of Krio River No. 2 Face Oil, which is a lightweight and refreshing men’s face oil that provides fresh-looking skin all holiday season long (it’s a $38 value).

• A Revel Gear Trail Hound 30′ Camping Light that provides a way to keep the night going after the sun goes down. You can bring it on your next camping trip (even if it’s just in the backyard); plug it in, light it up, and continue your outdoor fun under twinkle lights (it’s a $24.99 value).

• And a Wax Buffalo Blood Orange Candle, which is made to help you amplify your senses and switch into relaxation mode after a long day. Pour a glass of Hornitos Tequila over ice, squeeze in a dash of fresh blood orange and light up this candle with a drink in hand (it’s a $22 value).

SureCall Cellular Signal Boosters

Whether you regularly drive through poor cellular signal areas or you happen to live in one, SureCall Cellular Signal Boosters can help!

FlareDB+ 

The 239.00 FlareDB+ cell phone booster is perfect for the home office or for someone working from home that needs reliable cell service as it boosts the existing cell signal for multiple rooms. The Flare DB+ reduces dropped calls, improves battery life, and improves data speeds for up to 3500 sq ft. Flare DB+ works for Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile phones.

N-Range 2.0 

The $199.99 N-Range 2.0 is a plug-and-play cell phone signal booster for vehicles. The N-Range 2.0 reduces dropped calls and boosts data speeds for a single device inside any car, truck or SUV. The N-Range is ideal for the person who wants to ensure they have reliable cell coverage wherever they travel to. The easy-to-install N-Range is easy to move from vehicle to vehicle, and it works with all North American carriers.

Bloom Farms CBD Tinctures

Bloom Farms CBD products are made with high-quality, uncut, organically grown hemp. Their tincture line comes in three strengths that are natural, non-intoxicating, and alcohol-free. The company rigorously tests its CBD products, and they have a longstanding 1:1 program in place to address food insecurity.  Through a network of food banks, Bloom Farms provides one meal to a person in need for each of its products sold; they have provided over 2.5 million meals to date. Testing on their CBD products is “performed multiple times throughout cultivation, extraction, and production. Every time there is a change to its form, or it passes from one phase of the process to another, the hemp used in [their] products is tested to ensure the same standards of quality, purity, and compliance are maintained—from seed to finished product.” All of Bloom Farms’ products are tested by third-party accredited labs with some of the industry’s most stringent standards. Each of these tinctures includes 120 1/4 ml servings per bottle; the line includes:

  • Balance 300mg CBD oil tincture: If you are new to CBD tinctures, this $35 bottle will help you start your daily regimen with a less concentrated product, which will help you make smaller, more precise adjustments to find your ideal amount.
  • Relieve 600mg CBD oil tincture: Once you’ve figured out your ideal CBD amount, this $55 bottle will help you efficiently maintain your daily wellness regimen.
  • Recover High Potency 1200mg CBD tincture: This $95 bottle is for experienced CBD users who know their ideal amount and wish to use fewer servings at a higher concentration.
  • Comfort 1200mg 1:1 CBD and CBG tincture: This $95 bottle is formulated with organic olive oil for those with sensitive digestion; it features full-spectrum CBG-rich whole-plant hemp extract, which is said to support gut health alongside mind-body balance and an overall sense of wellness.
  • Dream 1200mg 5:1 CBD and CBN tincture: This $95 bottle combines potent, hemp-derived CBN (cannabinol) that has been combined with an organically grown full-spectrum whole-plant hemp tincture for boosted evening relaxation and sedative effects. It’s non-intoxicating and for evening use only. Judie has terrible insomnia, and she has used this one several nights in a row. She’s a believer; it helps!

MEATER

MEATER makes fantastic, connected & smart meat thermometers that make sure the food you cook — whether outside on the grill or inside the oven — comes out perfectly. MEATER has put together some impressive holiday bundles that your favorite BBQ aficionado would likely love. If you aren’t familiar with their MEATER Plus thermometer, you should know that it is 100% wire-free, it has a built-in Bluetooth repeater in the charger that extends the wireless range up to 165′, it has two built-in temperature sensors so you can monitor the meat’s internal temperature as well as the ambient temperature in your cooking device, and it uses a guided cook system through the MEATER app that walks you through every step of the cooking process to guarantee perfect and consistent results. It takes advantage of their advanced estimator algorithm to estimate how long to cook and rest your food to help plan your meal and manage your time, and with the app, you can monitor your cook from a phone or tablet over Bluetooth. You can even extend your wireless range using MEATER Link WiFi and the MEATER Cloud.

The $149 MEATER Plus Holiday Bundle includes their best selling MEATER Plus Brown Sugar edition, along with select MEATER accessories including their MEATER Mitts and Bar blade, the Smokin’ with Myron Mixon recipe book by Kelly Alexander and Myron Mixon, and a Kinder’s Butcher’s Grilling Pack that includes their Woodfired Garlic Rub, The Blend – salt, pepper, garlic rub, and a Mild BBQ rub.

The $369 Ultimate MEATER Block Bundle includes their MEATER Plus Block Brown Sugar edition, an exclusive MEATER Apron designed by Hedley & Bennett, a pair of MEATER Mitts and a Bar blade, the Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto recipe book by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, and a Kinder’s Butcher’s Grilling Pack that includes their Woodfired Garlic Rub, The Blend – salt, pepper, garlic rub, and a Mild BBQ rub.

And the $129 MEATER Accessory Holiday Bundle, which is perfect for those who already have a MEATER Plus thermometer. It includes the exclusive MEATER Apron designed by Hedley & Bennett, a pair of MEATER Mitts and a Bar blade, the Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto recipe book by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, and a Kinder’s Butcher’s Grilling Pack that includes their Woodfired Garlic Rub, The Blend – salt, pepper, garlic rub, and a Mild BBQ rub.

Carta by Plott

Carta by Plott is the world’s first real-time digital mapping and measuring wheel that will save DIY’ers time, money, and resources no matter what outdoor project they need to complete. The $199.99 Carta’s familiar measuring wheel form factor, coupled with Plott’s award-winning AR technology using a smartphone, allows for the perfect combination of old and new school tools to get the job done as efficiently as possible. Thanks to the LetsPlott app, users have a digital workspace to add notes, images, videos, and more to ensure no scribbling needs to be deciphered.  Once all of your materials are purchased, and you need to get back to your measurements’ specific points, the Carta will guide you directly to where you need to be.

Carta by Plott features:

  • DIGITAL MAPPING MADE EASY: Carta makes outdoor project mapping easy by measuring and mapping any path you walk in real-time and sending directly to a mobile device through the LetsPlott app. It’s the bridge that brings your digital idea to life in the real world.

  • NO MORE MANUAL MATH: Whether it’s the entire perimeter of a project, building, driveway, yard, or any space, the LetsPlott platform will automatically calculate any dimensions instantly using the data captured by Carta.

  • REAL-WORLD SURROUNDINGS: Use photos from your mobile device or overhead satellite images to capture real-world surroundings to assist in mapping and planning any projects.

  • GOODBYE CHICKEN SCRATCH: Annotate projects in real-time using photos, videos, or text to create digital notes that can be referenced at a later date.

Canvia

Just because you don’t have the budget to hang an original Klee or Kandinsky doesn’t mean you have to frame a cheap poster and call it good. Instead, you could hang a Canvia Digital Art Frame on the wall and enjoy a selection of more than 10,000 artworks from leading contemporary artists, award-winning photographers, and classics from some of the best galleries in the world. The $549 Canvia uses ArtSense technology to make real-time dynamic adjustments on your Canvia display based on current visual conditions to maintain a realistic painting or print appearance. Your frame will adjust to the lighting conditions and realistically display your art selection beautifully no matter what time of day. Able to be hung either vertically or horizontally, the 27″ tall by 18″ wide by 1.6″ deep Canvia can even be set to sleep and wake at specific times if you prefer not to have a lighted display in a bedroom, for instance. If you prefer to use it to display your own photos mixed in with the artwork, you can customize that, too; Canvia has 16GB internal storage and can store up to 10,000 images. Use the code canviabgrspecial to get $140 off your Canvia Digital Art Frame.

BenQ GS2 Wireless Portable Projector

Built for both accessibility and endless entertainment, the $599 BenQ GS2 Wireless Portable Projector is perfect for entertaining inside or outdoors. The GS2 weighs less than three pounds; it measures 5.5″ long by 5.5″ wide by 5.5″ deep, so it won’t take up much space if you pack it. The GS2 has a compact yet rugged design that will work anywhere; it comes with an internal battery that can last around four hours and a carry bag with dividers and space for the projector, the included magnetic charger, remote control, wireless dongle, and room for other small things you might like to keep with it. Able to project images at up to 100″ with 720p resolution and 500 ANSI lumens of brightness, this portable projector produces clean and vibrant colors; it has autofocus, auto vertical keystone, and 15° height adjustability. The BenQ GS2 is IP X2 splash and 1.6′  drop-resistant, so it’s perfect for hosting an outdoor movie night in the backyard or on a camping trip. It’s also perfect for enjoying your favorite holiday movies from the comfort of your home — whether that home might be a tiny dorm room, a smaller apartment, or a bigger house with a large wall just begging for movie night. The GS2 can stream content via WiFi, HDMI, and USB Type-C, and it has a built-in 4W Bluetooth speaker if you don’t want to take advantage of the audio-out port or Bluetooth streaming using a second speaker. The GS2 happens to be selling like hotcakes right now. While you can pay a bit more and get them from a source other than the official BenQ site now, BenQ expects more inventory at the end of November — so sign up for notifications on their site, and they will keep you in the loop!

The Edge Desk

Since the pandemic started, I am at my desk much more than usual. After all, my meetings all take place on Zoom right now, when during normal times, most would have happened in my office or over coffee or a meal. With so much time in front of my computer, I am finding my standing desk key for avoiding serious lower back pain. Standing is only one of several “alternative positions” one might consider when working in front of a computer for hours on end. That’s where the $399 Edge Desk System comes in.

As the company explains, “Unlike standing desks and chairs that require more space than available, the Edge Desk is the ONLY all-in-one kneeling desk and chair system that provides a more ergonomic, productive and portable desk solution for everyone.”

That’s right, the Edge Desk takes the concept of a standing desk and reimagines it for an even more ergonomic experience. At just under $400, the Edge Desk isn’t inexpensive, but it is a solid piece of kit that can be easily stored when not in use and then set up in seconds when you need it. This video will give you a better sense of what this desk is all about.

I just received one for review. While I have not had a chance to spend much time with, it I’m already impressed.

Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons is a high-flying entry in the Star Wars video game universe.  For the first time, you get a first-person view from the cockpit of legendary Star Wars ships, including Rebel X Wings, Imperial TIE fighters, and many more, including support ships, bombers, etc.  While there is a single-player campaign, the big focus in this game is on the multiplayer experience.  You can partake in live 5v5 dogfights, Rebels vs. the Empire, which are a ton of fun.  There’s also an epic multiplayer mode called Fleet Battles, which is a multi-phase, objective-based game where the final goal is to destroy your enemy’s massive flagship.  The game can be played in immersive VR, allowing you to truly feel like you’re flying in the Star Wars universe.  Perry tried playing using my HTC Vive, and while the experience wasn’t great due to my aging PC, he could feel how immersive the game would be with better PC performance.  Star Wars: Squadrons is available on multiple platforms, including Xbox, PS4, PC, and is compatible with the following VR systems: Oculus Rift, PSVR, HTC Vive, and SteamVR. It sells for $29.99.

Lenovo Legion 7i 15” Gaming Laptop

If you’re feeling extra generous this year, why not treat your favorite gamer to a laptop that won’t ever let them down? The Lenovo Legion 7i 15” Gaming Laptop line features up to 10th generation Intel Core i9 HK-Series processors, up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphics, lightning-fast high-refresh panels, Lenovo’s revolutionary TrueStrike keyboard, and a precision-crafted chassis jacketed in high-grade aluminum. Your favorite gamer will be able to play and stream the latest PC games on their Legion 7i with Intel Smart Cache, Intel Thermal Velocity Boost, Intel Dynamic Tuning, and Intel Wi-Fi 6.

What makes a Legion 7i gaming laptop so magnificent? To start, they feature “up to an integrated 2mm Vapor Chamber and an updated 6-point thermal sensor array, keeping your gaming laptop cool, quiet, and allowing it to go thinner than ever before. A dual-fan system of 73 liquid-crystal polymer fan blades enhances four dedicated thermal channels to cycle air at top speeds for best-in-class efficiency while staying whisper quiet outside of full-tilt action. And with Lenovo Q Control 3.0, you can take the driver’s seat with manual control of system fan speeds and voltage for full-throttle framerates or extended battery life and mobility. Further, every Legion Laptop features Dual Burn Support, pushing the CPU & GPU together for max performance in-game.” Lenovo Legion 7i gaming laptops “combine FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution with rich color contrast and saturation with 100% Adobe sRGB Color Gamut & VESA DisplayHDR 400 for deeper blacks and brighter whites via Dolby Vision, transporting you to new gaming worlds in ways you’ve never experienced. You’ll be able to get fully immersed in pristine, ultra-smooth in-game framerates with up to 240hz refresh rates at under 1ms response times via OverDrive and NVIDIA G-Sync technology, all with zero screen tearing or stuttering.”

Lenovo Legion 7i 15″ gaming laptops start at $1229.99. As Lenovo says, they are “finely calibrated to deliver devastation,” … and we’ve got one that’s been loaded-out to give away at the end of this gift guide; it has a retail value of $3199.99 before any discounts!

KONKA Televisions

KONKA Q7 Pro Series

The pandemic has meant all of us are staying at home more than usual; it also means that a lot of us have spent more time watching television that usual. Whether you’ve considered upgrading your home theater to a QLED 75-inch 4K TV or you just need an extra TV for the kitchen, one of your kid’s bedrooms, or the playroom, KONKA, a long-established brand but new in the US, is a smart and affordable brand to consider. KONKA has recently debuted three series of Android TVs which set new benchmarks for price and performance — meaning that those who purchase them get more for their money. Every KONKA TV comes with best-in-class features, like the stunning KONKA ZeroBezel design that offers a virtually edge-to-edge screen and a Free Voice Control Remote.

There are three series of KONKA television series to choose from:

• The H3 Series, which starts at $139.99

Unlike many other TVs in their price class, the KONKA H3 Series TVs incorporate the stunning KONKA ZeroBezel design and includes a Free Voice Control Remote. Combined with the powerfully smart Android TV system, the KONKA H3 Series gives consumers more for their money. KONKA H3 Series TVs are available in 32” 720p HD and 40” 1080p Full HD models.

• The U5 Series, which starts at $239.99

The KONKA U5 Series is designed to be noticeably better than the competition.  In addition to the KONKA XC3 Ultra HD Engine, they include AccuMotion enhanced motion rate for a smoother viewing experience. The U5 Series also includes superior LED panel technology with ColorWave wide color gamut, dramatically increasing the number of colors the TV can display, and HiBright Pro LED Backlight offers 25% more brightness so you can still enjoy the stunning picture even in brightly lit rooms. Additionally, KONKA XC3 Quad Core+ Ultra HD Engine features their CrystalView Multi-Function Clarity Enhancer for crystal clear images, the DeepBlack Dynamic Contrast Enhancer so you won’t miss any detail in darker looking scenes, and their PurePalette Wide Color Enhancer, which makes the images on your screen look absolutely incredible. The U5 Series also has an enhanced Jack Pack with 4 HDMI Digital Inputs, 3 USB Inputs, and much more. KONKA U5 Series TVs are available in 43”, 50”, 55”, 65” and 75” 4K Ultra HD models.

• And the top of the line Q7 Pro Series, which starts at $369.99                  

Designed for discriminating home theater fans, the Q7 Pro Series steps up to advanced QLED – Quantum Dot Technology and ColorWave WPro wide color gamut for 25% more color to create picture quality that’s amazingly rich and shockingly lifelike. Because premium picture quality deserves a premium cosmetic design, the Q7 Pro Series also incorporates the KONKA ZeroBezel Pro metal design for the ultimate TV styling. KONKA Q7 Pro Series TVs are available in 50”, 55”, 65” and 75” models.

KONKA televisions are available at Amazon.com, Conn’s HomePlus, Electronic Express, Nebraska Furniture Mart, RC Willey, and Video Only.

360 Security Camera AC1C

The $59.99 360 Security Camera AC1C is a cloud-based 24-hour indoor security device with powerful AI capability. The camera comes with a 130° supersight viewing angle and advanced image and motion recognition. Unlike other security cameras in its class, the AC1C offers advanced facial recognition and enhanced color night vision rather than traditional black and white. The AC1C can also listen for and notify owners of suspicious sounds like breaking glass while providing two-way audio that allows users to communicate with anyone in the camera range. And if you miss an alert, you can review activity photos or videos from the 360 Security App. A cloud-based 24-hour indoor security device with powerful AI capability, the camera comes with a 130° supersight viewing angle and advanced image and motion recognition.  Unlike other security cameras in its class, the AC1C offers advanced facial recognition and enhanced color night vision rather than traditional black and white. The AC1C can also listen for and notify owners of suspicious sounds like breaking glass while providing two-way audio that allows users to communicate with anyone in the camera range. And if you miss an alert, you can review activity photos or videos from the 360 Security App.

Bobo Home

Staying fit is a challenge during a pandemic. Some gyms have reopened, but many of us aren’t comfortable going there and won’t be until there is a vaccine. That leaves us having to figure out new ways to stay fit at home. One option is the BoBo Home. BoBo Home is “the perfect solution for anyone looking to enhance their balance training or simply to find a fun way to get fit.”
The balance-based fitness device combines a smart balance board, a wobble cushion, and an integrated app. As the company explains,

The app gives the user multiple fitness games that sync with the product, while measuring real-time performance and progress. With BoBo Home, there is no need for a personal trainer, since you’ll already have one at the click of a button. The challenging core workouts BoBo Home provides lead to better posture, increased balance, reduced risk of injury, and improved performance in your fitness routines.

BoBo even lets you change the length and the difficulty of a workout so it can be customized to whoever in your home is currently using it. Here’s a video of it in action:

Care by Design Hemp

Care By Design, California’s #1 CBD brand, known for its signature ratio products, has launched its new hemp line nationwide. You can get Care By Design Hemp products in both sublingual drop and gel capsule form; either form sells for $65 each. Judie and Kev have been trying them out, and he likes them better than the brand he was using. Kev appreciates that each effect-based option is specifically made for the exact form of help he is seeking when taking it. His favorites are Rest and Relief; Judie’s favorites are Uplift and Calm, and she’ll be ordering Balance to try next. Care by Design has five effect-based options:

  • Relief – formulated to relieve aches and pains
  • Rest – formulated to help you get to sleep, stay asleep, and wake refreshed
  • Calm – formulated to soothe stress and calm fears
  • Balance – formulated to balance your mood and improve your sense of well-being
  • Uplift – formulated to boost your mood and spirits

OnePlus

OnePlus is offering $100 off its 2020 flagship devices – the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, both of which Judie reviewed here, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday week November 18th through November 30th. They’re calling it the “best premium and ultra-premium smartphone deal of the entire year,” and if you’ve been putting off getting one, this is the time. Their latest OnePlus 8T is also available (Judie’s review will be coming soon), and although it doesn’t have any special deals running at this time, it has an excellent price.

  • The OnePlus 8 Pro is an ultra-premium flagship phone with all of the premium bells and whistles, including a 6.78″ QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate, water, and dust resistance, a 4,510mAh battery, and OnePlus’s Warp Charge 30T that can take the phone from 1 – 50% charge in about 23 minutes (it also offers reverse wireless charging). It can come with up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB user memory, and it has a 48-megapixel quad-camera system.
  • The OnePlus 8 is a slightly more compact premium smartphone that provides the flagship features users want without compromising pocketability. The OnePlus 8 has a 6.55? Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 4300mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T that can take the phone from 1 to 50% in about 22 minutes; it does not have wireless charging. It can come with up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB user memory, and it has a 48-megapixel triple camera system.
  • The OnePlus 8T is a premium phone with a brilliant 6.55″ FHD+ 2.5D flat display and a 120Hz refresh rate. It has two 2250mAH connected internal batteries for a massive total of 4500mAh and the latest Warp Charge 65 that takes just 39 minutes to complete a full charge under normal usage; it does not have wireless charging. It also has 12GB RAM with 256GB user memory and a 48-megapixel quad-camera system. All three phones have very responsive in-display fingerprint sensors and facial recognition.

All of the 8 series phones have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System. This gives them multi-gigabit 5G connectivity, advanced Wi-Fi 6 performance, and “professional-quality photography at Gigapixel speeds, desktop-level gaming with ultra-realistic graphics, and intuitive AI experiences.” The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro run OnePlus OxygenOS based on Android 10, while the OnePlus 8T runs the latest OxygenOS based on Android 11.

The OnePlus 8 will start at $599 with the discount, the OnePlus 8 Pro will start at $799 with the discount, and the OnePlus 8T will sell for $749 from the OnePlus site.

ZAGG

Working at home means most of us have constant access to our computers. That, in turn, means that, for many of us, there is less need to do serious work on our iPads. Then again, turning the iPad into a serious content creation device is a good thing, and ZAGG has two new products that can help do just that.

ZAGG Pro Keys

ZAGG Pro Keys start at $99.99 for the iPad (8th Gen) version. The Pro Keys wireless keyboard and detachable case employ ZAGG’s Pro Keyframe for ”the best iPad typing experience available.“ Looking somewhat like Apple’s newest keyboard option but at 1/3 the price, ZAGG Pro Keys offers multiple viewing angles and a holder for the ZAGG Pro Stylus or Apple Pencil. You can see the Pro Keys keyboard and detachable case in action here. The ZAGG Pro Keys is available for the 10.2-in. Apple iPad (7th & 8th gen). A version for the 10.9-in. iPad Air (4th gen) will be available in November for $109.99.

 

ZAGG Pro Stylus

At $69.99, the ZAGG Pro Stylus lets you get the most from your iPad without breaking the bank. It features one-touch automatic connecting and is ready for use in a matter of seconds. The Pro Stylus looks like a simple accessory, but it offers some clutch features. For example, it has tilt recognition, which mirrors the effects of tilting a pencil for a broader stroke. It also features palm recognition, which, as a left-handed person, is something I appreciate. It is worth noting that the ZAGG Pro Stylus will work with any iPad that is compatible with either the 1st and 2nd gen Apple Pencil.

Lifted Made 

Even if your state hasn’t legalized cannabis, you can still get many of the antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties of it from Lifted Made Delta-8-THC products. Delta-8-THC products are 100% hemp-derived and are fully legal in the United States under the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill. Delta-8-THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and it has a lower psychotropic potency than the more well-known cannabinoid delta-9-THC. Lifted Made offers Urb gummies and vape cartridges made with Delta-8-THC; their flavored gummies come in Blueberry, Watermelon, Mango, and a flavor variety pack. Each tub contains 10 gummies; each gummy has 10mg of Delta-8-THC, and the tubs sell for $14.99. Their vegan Birthday Cake gummies come in a tub of 10 gummies that each have 25mg of Delta-8-THC for $24.99. If you prefer vaping your medicine, Lifted Made has Urb Delta-9-THC ceramic coil cartridges in six flavors, each of which contains 1 mL of premium Delta 8 THC Distillate and the highest quality terpene profiles with zero additives or fillers; they sell for $39.99.

Klear Cap

Even when we aren’t running around as much as usual, staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy. The $49 Klear Cap is “the first self-cleaning universal UV-C wide-mouth water sanitization system in the world.” The cap is equipped with a 275nm UV-C LED light that can neutralize up to 99.9999% of harmful and odor-causing germs.

Using the Klear Cap is simple. As the company explains, all you need to do is fill any wide-mouth flask with water, screw on the Klear Cap, and press the button on top of the cap. That begins the sanitization process. They also recommend shaking the bottle to make sure the UV-C light reaches all contents of your bottle. One charge provides up to 25 cycles of sanitization, and, when the battery runs down, it can be recharged via a magnetic USB charger.

I loved the idea of Klear Cap when I first saw it but then became an even bigger fan when I learned that a portion of proceeds from sales goes to supplying safe drinking water to communities in parts of the world where it is scarce.

In other words, you can drink clean water and know that you helped others do the same.

Brydge

Brydge makes quality wireless keyboards for iPads and the Microsoft Surface, as well as vertical docks for MacBooks and multiport desktop hubs for macOS and Windows computers. Their products are made with the highest quality materials, and they hold up with long-term use giving great value for the money.

Brydge Stone Pro Thunderbolt 3 Multiport Hub

The Brydge Stone Pro Thunderbolt 3 Multiport Hub works with both macOS and Windows, and it lets you connect two 4K displays at the same time. That is, however, just the beginning. It has 11 different ports and delivers up to Thunderbolt 3 speeds. As I said in my review, “the Stone Pro is an important accessory if you are using one of the port-limited Apple laptops.

My MacBook Pro, for example, only has two USB-C ports. That is rather limiting, especially if you use a laptop as your main computer, so the Stone Pro’s added ports are a potential lifesaver. Using the Mac Mini right now gives me a computer with far more ports, but it still falls short of the number of ports I need for all my peripherals. Thanks to the Stone Pro, I have all the ports I need.” Normally $239.99, you can get it for $199.99 with code BRYSPSAVE.

Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock

The Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock is made with versions to fit the 13″ MacBook Air, 13″ MacBook Pro, 15″ MacBook Pro, and the 16″ MacBook Pro. If you have one sitting on your desktop, you can “simply slide your MacBook into the form-fitting Vertical Dock for seamless integration and instant connection with all of your devices, including dual display capabilities. It features two Thunderbolt 3 connections with 40 Gbps data throughput, and it has “intake and exhaust vents that move additional air to and from the MacBook’s cooling system” for more efficient heat management in clamshell mode “even under the heaviest processing loads.” By decreasing the friction between you and your environment, the Vertical Dock gives you the freedom to focus on the critical tasks that deserve your full attention.” The Vertical Dock sells for $169.99, but Brydge is offering $20 off the 13″ MacBook Pro version with the code BRY13VDSAVE and $20 off the 15″ MacBook Pro version with the code BRY15VDSAVE.

QWIN Delta-8 Products

If CBD isn’t quite strong enough for your pain-relief, anxiety, or reduced nausea needs, you should consider QWIN’s Delta-8 products. Delta-8 is found in cannabis and has a similar molecular structure to THC, but it has a much lower psychotropic potency. As QWIN says, “you’ll feel a pleasant buzz, but you won’t feel stoned.”Delta-8 does share some similarities with THC; users report that it helps stimulate their appetite, it reduces nausea, it helps calm them when they are stressed, and it eases aches and pains. QWIN’s Delta-8 products are made from whole-plant hemp extract (?8 derived from Cannabis Sativa L. lab-tested <0.3% ?9 THC) and botanical terpenes; you can think of them as a more potent CBD. QWIN’s Delta-8 vape cartridges sell for $45 each; they are made to work with 510 threaded batteries, so if you don’t already have one, you’ll also want to pick up a new battery

QWIN Delta-8 flavors include:

Orange Squeeze: A sweet citrus flavor with a creative, upbeat experience. (Sativa)

Fruity Gangster: An earthy, lemon flavor with a happy, uplifting experience. (Sativa-dominant Hybrid)

Lychee-Do: A sweet and earthy citrus and berry flavor with a relieving and uplifting experience.  (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)

Rainbow Kush: A spicy, sweet fruity flavor with a pleasant, creative experience. (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)

Moonies: Our custom strain that has a grape and blueberry flavor with a soothing experience.  (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)QE

Judie’s husband Kev is a regular customer of QWIN’s CBD products. Since giving up nicotine, their CBD vape cartridges have helped keep his stress levels lower and creativity flowing (Kev’s an artist). He was especially eager to give these Delta-8 vape cartridges a try, and they have not disappointed. So far, Rainbow Kush is his favorite.

SanDisk Ixpand

I’m creating more content than ever while self-isolated at home. Much of that content is created on my computer but, at other times, I use my iPhone and iPad. Keeping my phone charged and ensuring enough storage is more important than ever, and SanDisk offers two excellent solutions.

The SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync

The Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync is a wireless charger with an extra little something. It is reliable and efficient as a wireless charger, delivering up to 10W of power to get you topped off and back to work. But this wireless charger also offers automatic local backups. That’s a first for wireless chargers! It includes a high-efficiency power plug with a 6-foot (1.8m) cable. The Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync even supports multiple backup profiles, so more than one household member can use it.

The charger has storage capacities up to 256GB (pricing starts at $99.99 for the 64GB version), and it can automatically back up photos and videos.

Wake up to a fully charged and backed-up2 phone: The 10W Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync supports fast wireless charging for Qi- compatible iPhone, Samsung and other smartphones while automatically backing up2 photos and videos in full resolution right onto the charger. Delivers up to 10W of power.

Features:

  • Backs up every time you charge: You charge your phone every day. Now your photos are backed up too. No new routines or habits. It’s that simple.
  • Free up space on your phone: Need extra space? Delete photos and videos from your phone, knowing they are backed up2 in full resolution on your charger.
  • Comes with a high-efficiency power plug: The included high-efficiency power plug with 6-foot (1.8m) cable gives you fast, convenient charging right out of the box.
  • Personal backups for everyone at home: The charger supports personal backup profiles for each user so you can share it with others in your family.
  • Designed for worry-free charging: Foreign object detection, overcharging protection and adaptive charging help protect your phone battery, keeping it at optimal performance.
  • Phone case-friendly: Charges through most rubber/plastic/TPU cases less than 3mm thick. (Magnetic or metal attachments will prevent charging.)

The Ixpand Wireless Charger 15W

The $29.99 Ixpand Wireless Charger 15W is also able to charge wireless-enabled phones, but it offers up to 15W of power. It comes with a SanDisk AC Adaptor and 4.5ft (1.5m) USB Type-C cable; you’ll just have to supply the AC adapter. Soft rubber ring helps protect phones and other devices from slipping.

Fast charging from a brand you trust: Tired of slow and unreliable wireless chargers? Get a premium experience with the Ixpand 15W charger from SanDisk, a globally trusted brand.

Features:

  • No-slip grip: The base features a soft-rubber ring to protect phones from slipping.
  • Designed for protection: Temperature control, foreign object detection, and adaptive charging help keep your phone battery safe.
  • Phone case-friendly: Charges through most rubber, plastic, and TPU cases less than 5 mm thick. (Note: Magnetic or metal attachments or cards will prevent charging.)
  • Works with Qi-compatible phones and accessories: Compatible with AirPods Pro, iPhone 8 and up, Samsung Galaxy S7 and up, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and up, and any other Qi-compatible phones.

Both the Ixpand Wireless Charger Sync and Ixpand Wireless Charger 15W are compatible with AirPods Pro, iPhone 8 and up, Samsung Galaxy S7 and up, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and up, as well as other Qi-compatible phones,  and through most cases.

Fillit Pocket

If you like to travel as light as possible, but you still need to occasionally lug your power brick along with your laptop, you’re going to love the $14.95 Fillit Pocket. Originally created to conveniently carry external hard drives on their accompanying laptops, this simple expandable pocket has a reusable adhesive back so that it can be stuck to any sealed and flat surface to conveniently carry loose articles. Fillit can be used in many different ways, and it’s easy to get creative, as this stick-on pocket can be placed just about anywhere — as long as it’s a flat, dust-free, lint-free, and seamless surface, like metal, plastic, glass, laminated wood, electronics, computers, tablets, furniture, and the like.

Austere V Series Collection

If an HDTV is on your loved one’s holiday gift wish list, then you might want to help them protect that new gear with the $299.99 Austere V Series Collection. The kit includes a III Series 4K Active HDMI Cable 5.0m, a V Series 6-Outlet Power, a bottle of III Series Clean & Protect, and a generously sized microfiber cleaning cloth. The Austere III Series 4K Active Cable 5.0m sells for $139.99 on its own. Designed with the most advanced specifications possible, Austere’s cables are held to the highest 4K standard to maximize the performance of your investment, including a bandwidth of 18 Gbps and 4K60 frame rates. The Austere V Series 6-Outlet Power sells for $149.99 on its own; you can read my review here). Austere III Series Clean and Protect sells for $29.99 on its own; you can read my review here. Getting all three for $299.99 is a great deal!

Moshi

Moshi makes products that are built to last, stylish, functional, and perfect for everyday use. All of their thoughtfully designed products include an industry-leading 10-year global warranty to underscore their commitment to product quality and reinforce their stance against excessive consumerism. On top of that, Moshi is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment. They carefully select materials from animal-friendly vegan leather to sustainably-sourced packaging printed with soy ink and the use of BPA- and phthalate-free materials, endeavoring to make eco-conscious choices whenever possible.

Moshi IonGo 5K

The $74.95 Moshi IonGo 5K has a 5,000mAh battery with both a 4″ MFi-Certified Lightning cable and a 4″ USB Type-C cable built right in. It measures just 3.5″ long by 2″ wide by 1.1″ thick at its fattest point, and it weighs just 4.2 ounces. It’s small enough that you’ll almost forget you’re carrying it, but it’s powerful enough that you won’t want to forget to carry it; in other words, it is perfect for everyday carry. The Moshi IonGo 5K Duo supports 15W output through USB-C and 12W output through Lightning, which twice as fast as your typical 5W charger can do.

Moshi Muto 

The Moshi Muto is a lightweight three-in-one that can be carried as a backpack, crossbody bag, and briefcase. The exterior is sleek, unisex, and stylish, but it is also practical. Inside, there is a padded 13″ laptop compartment and tech pockets to keep the user’s gear protected and organized. The $149.95 Muto will officially launch in either gray or beige on Nov 26, so keep an eye out for it.

Moshi Tego Slingpack

When a backpack is just too big, the $119.95 Moshi Tego Slingpack is perfect. Fusing futuristic style with compact functionality, the Moshi Tego is fashionable and practical, and it’s large enough to carry your necessities and then some. With an ActiveStrap for added stability when cycling or walking through crowded areas and a 3M Scotchlite reflective strip for safety at night, the Tego is ready for your next commute or weekend adventure. The Moshi Tego Slingpack is available in gorgeous Charcoal Black, Stone Gray, and Olive Green.

Home Depot

Home Depot is extending their Black Friday prices to be available throughout the holiday season. Starting in early November and lasting through December, both in-store and online, you’ll be able to get the best deals without having to stand in long lines or dealing with any of the usual in-person shopping craziness. Whether you are looking for holiday decorations to make your home and yard more festive, the perfect live Christmas tree, things to make your home cozier, home decor, lighting ideas, tools for your favorite handyperson (even if it’s you), or ideas for a DIY project you’ve considered but put off, Home Depot can help make it happen without breaking the bank!

Goal Zero

Winter is coming and, with it, an increased potential for power outages. For many of us, though, being able to continue functioning during this pandemic requires us to be online. Goal Zero offers some great solutions to keep mobile devices going in a power outage.

The Sherpa 100PD

The $199.95 Sherpa 100PD is ideal for charging laptops, tablets, and phones. Sherpa 100PD brings power on the go to both USB and USBC powered devices, such as tablets, phones, and laptops.

 

This lightweight battery has a wireless charging pad and is small enough to throw into a backpack, laptop, or purse.

The Yeti 200X

If you need even more power than what the Sherpa 100PD can offer, the $299.95 Yeti 200X may be the right solution for you or your loved one. Goal Zero describes it as ideal for weekend getaways or emergency backup power. For me, it is the latter use scenario that makes this most compelling.

The Yeti 200X is Goal Zero’s “most lightweight power station to date,” yet it delivers 187 Watt-Hours of lithium power. It also has the latest fast-charging technology. But that’s just the beginning.

 

The Yeti 200X can be recharged with solar power, a 12v car charger, or a wall outlet. It is great if you plan to go off the grid for a day or two or stay put but worry about losing power.

Moleskine Studio

Keeping a record of an unusual time such as this is one way to pass the time and, when the pandemic is finally over, have a history of what this period is like. Moleskin has released a new line of notebooks that look great and let you save your thoughts and experiences in an old-school manner.

The Moleskine Studio Collection features six notebooks. Each was designed bespoke for Moleskine by select international artists. Each is a unique reflection of the artist’s vision. Each notebook retails for $27.95 and includes:

  • Cover artwork from contemporary artists
  • Reusable box as a frame
  • Black notebook, hardcover, Large
  • Customized flyleaves
  • Short interview introducing the artist
  • 100 g/m2 paper
  • Ruled and Plain
  • Card with artwork by the artist
  • Stickers to personalize your notes

OWC

If you or your loved ones are finding the ever-fewer number of ports on your computer to be an issue, OWC has the answer. Whether it is their OWC Thunderbolt Hub or one of their storage expansion options, there’s something for everyone.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub

The $149 OWC Thunderbolt Hub expands the number of Thunderbolt ports available on a Thunderbolt 4 PC. The Hub lets you take a single Thunderbolt 4 port on your computer and connect and charge almost any device with a USB-C or USB-A connector. In addition,

Dual 4K displays or a single 5K/6K/8K display, high-performance storage–including NVMe solutions, A/V mixers, phone or tablet, even desktop accessories like a keyboard or mouse are all fair game. Accessories with past, present, or future USB or Thunderbolt interfaces…all connect to the OWC Thunderbolt Hub.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub features include:

  • All the Thunderbolt you’ve always wanted: For the first time, you can add more full-speed, fully functional Thunderbolt ports to your computer
  • Plug everything in: Same device compatibility and performance, whether plugged into the hub or directly into your machine
  • Manage more devices: Connect storage, two 4K displays or one 5K/6K/8K display, multiple accessories, you name it, you can use it
  • Revolutionary development: New multi-port accessory architecture reinvents the daisy chain and allows more bus-powered devices
  • Adjustable LED: Customize illumination for your unique work setting
  • Built-in security: Kensington Nano Security Slot for anti-theft cabling
  • OWC ClingOn ready: cable stabilizer prevents work session interruption and data loss
  • Independently tested and Intel Thunderbolt-certified for Windows

OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C

If you or a loved one are constantly running out of storage space on your computer, you’ll want to check out the OWC Envoy Pro EX; prices start at $99. This sleek, take-everywhere drive can store photos, videos, music, and more. Its all-aluminum design not only looks amazing, but it also makes this drive tough as nails. As OWC explains,

Inside the finely-crafted shell of the USB-C version sits an OWC NVMe M.2 SSD that pushes USB-C’s bandwidth capabilities to its max — delivering up to 980MB/s of screaming-fast, workflow enhancing, data access without even flinching. The USB 3 version is no performance slouch either, delivering up to 400MB/s of desktop-class, reliably-rugged, OWC SSD performance.

The OWC Envoy Pro EX features include:

  • Supercharged speed up to 980MB/s – perfect for safely storing all files, images, videos, and more
  • Dust and waterproof, highly portable, easy to slip in a backpack or even a coat pocket, on-the-go
  • Available in capacities from 240GB up to 4TB
  • Compatible with Mac & PC including iPads
  • IP67 rating – Water-resistant for up to 30 minutes at < 1 meter

You can also check out the OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 Solid State Drive I’m in the process of reviewing.

It offers speeds up to 2800MB/s and comes in a variety of capacities as well.

The shock-absorbing cover helps ensure the drive is tough enough to take pretty much anything you can throw at it.

AfterShokz OpenComm Open-Ear Headphones

Music can play a huge role in helping us maintain a sense of balance during this challenging time. The problem is that you often need to choose between good sound and the ability to hear your family calling from the other room. The  $159.95 AfterShokz OpenComm Open-Ear Headphones offer an excellent solution so you and your loved ones can have great sound AND remain alert. I reviewed a pair of AfterShokz bone-conducting headphones and use them for swimming in the summer; I’m a huge fan!

AfterShokz explains their new offering this way:

Most headphones completely take over your entire ear canal so you cannot hear anyone or anything else at all in your environment (try yelling at someone with a headphone on). But, now with Aftershokz OpenComm, you can have a unique open-ear headphone set that allows you to clearly hear your meetings and conversations over your smartphone – while also still being able to hear things in your environment that are important to you. Most headphones block out all noises so you have no awareness of kids, other work project alerts, or even sounds of danger in your home. This gift is perfect for the multi-tasking work-at-homer, parent, or for anyone needing to be aware of other work projects while on conference calls.

The AfterShokz OpenComm Open-Ear Headphone feature an open-ear design, so can you maintain situational awareness. They have Bluetooth so you can stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device, offer noise cancellation, and they have a boom microphone that can optimize voice quality and eliminates background noise for clear communication in loud environments. If you want to listen to audio but don’t want to be completely shut out of what is happening around you, these headphones are for you.

Here’s a video of them in action.

Rayz Rally Portable Conference Speaker

At $69.96, the Rayz Rally Portable Conference Speaker is a great way to turn your phone or laptop into a quality conferencing device. The Rayz Rally Portable Conference Speaker is small, light, and easy to use. It plugs right into a mobile phone or laptop and instantly gives you conference quality audio. —and, because it works with your phone, you can take your next Zoom meeting from anywhere.
Here’s a video of it in action.

The Rayz Rally Portable Conference Speaker features include:

  • Small. Portable. Lightweight. Plug and Plays Right Into your Mobile Device or LapTop
  • The clarity of a conference system, right in your pocket. Rally delivers high-quality individual or group calls to everyone
  • Smart-mute to avoid ambient noise from ruining your call

SimpleSENCE

The $49.95 SimpleSENCE is a WiFi-connected, multi-sensor system that instantly detects and alerts the user to water leaks and extreme temperature variations. You can get it as a single unit or in multi-unit packs; it provides 24/7 leak and freeze protection throughout the home it is placed in. With SimpleSENCE, no additional equipment is needed – you just wirelessly connect it to a home’s router, and there are no monthly subscription fees. SimpleSENCE uses easy to replace AAA batteries that can last for up to two years; it’s the perfect gift for people who don’t want an entire smart home — just an easy-to-use, “non-hackable” device to protect against water and freeze damage.

Ring

Raina and I use Ring not only as our alarm system but also for the lights and cameras that help to keep our home safe. I love their products and plan to expand our system in the weeks to come.

Ring Indoor Cam

The $59.99 Ring Indoor Cam is a small but powerful security camera. It features two-way talk, HD-vision, and night vision. The Indoor Cam plugs into an outlet, so there’s never a reason to be concerned the batteries run out and leave you exposed.

Ring Stick Up Cam

The $99.99 Ring Stick Up Cam offers a bit more flexibility than its less expensive sibling. Like the Indoor Cam, it can be used indoors. But the Stick Up Cam can also be used outdoors to create a secure perimeter around the home. The camera installs in minutes and includes motion detection, night vision, two-way talk, and a wide viewing angle. The Stick Up Cam is available with battery, solar, or plug-in power options, so you can use it wherever and however you want.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 or 3 Plus

We have a basic Ring Video Doorbell on our front door. If you want a better version of Ring’s doorbell, you’ll want to check out the $199.99 Ring Video Doorbell 3 or the $229.99 Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. Both give those of us working from home the ability to answer the door from my office in the other room without having to stop working. The Ring Doorbell 3 Plus includes Pre-Roll, Ring’s newest feature. Pre-Roll “helps give you the full picture of what happened outside your door before the motion was detected.”

Of course, if you’re going to invest in the Ring ecosystem, you’ll also want to check out the $199.99 Ring Spotlight Camera and the $249.99 Ring Alarm 8-Piece. We started with the 8-piece alarm system and have been quite happy.

CLEAR2O Personal Water Filter

The $36.99 CLEAR2O Personal Water Filter is an ultralight, backpack- and travel-friendly device that reduces 99.9% of bacteria and microplastics (as well as larger items like sand, sediment, and rust) from water. The CLEAR2O allows you to safely drink directly from streams, lakes, or any freshwater source; you can also use it to fill a container so you’ll have clean water on the go. It’s great for use during any outdoor activities like camping, hiking, scouting, boating, and biking. Plus, in these uncertain times full of insane natural disasters, it’s a great item to include in your emergency preparedness kit.

Master & Dynamic MW07 GO

If you want a pair of true wireless earphones that work are fantastic “all-arounders,” you’ll want to check out the MW07 GO True Wireless Earphones. They deliver fantastic sound in a small, comfortable package that is incredibly comfortable for long listening sessions. No, they don’t have active noise cancellation or some of the other bells and whistles that are now showing up in some true wireless earphones, but for under $200, the MW07 GO can go from a meeting to a workout and then to a relaxing listening session. They come in a variety of colors and sound amazing.

Eero 6 dual-band Wi-Fi system

These days, with so many of us working from home, connectivity is one place you don’t want to skimp. The new eero 6 and eero Pro 6 offer super-speedy mesh wifi. The eero 6 starts at $129 and offers dual-band WiFi 6 with up to 500 Mbps connectivity. The eero Pro 6 starts at $229 and offers tri-band WiFi 6 for homes that have gigabit internet connections. I just installed an eero 6 system as part of an upcoming review. It’s blazing fast.

Nomad Cables and More

You can never go wrong with a gift from our friends at Nomad. Whether it is one of their 1.5m Kevlar-enhanced Universal Cable for $39.95, their new $79.95 Active Strap Pro for the Apple Watch or their new Base Station Pro wireless charger, Nomad has something for everyone.

We were especially impressed with the Base Station Pro when we reviewed it last month. The charger, which has an MSRP of $229.95, can wirelessly charge three different devices simultaneously and, thanks to brand new technology, you won’t have to worry about whether your device is properly positioned on the charger. It’s a fantastic device that has already received a firmware update to enhance compatibility with the iPhone 12.

The Base Station Pro is just one of the Nomad products we love. Check more of our reviews here.

LinearFlux HyperCharger XX

The 10,000mAh LinearFlux HyperCharger XX utilizes LinearFlux’s award-winning HyperCharger technology featuring a USB-A port with QC3 and a USB-C input/output port, with PD. QC3 and PD charging technologies to charge most current smartphones from 0 to 50% capacity in under 25 minutes. In a pinch, a tablet or laptop can be charged using the USB-C port. Last but certainly not least is the 15 Watt Qi-wireless charging capability. Among the many features that set the HyperCharger XX apart is built-in magnetics to keep smartphones wirelessly charging in place. Included in the package are alignment plates that enable the HyperCharger XX to be mounted to a limitless number of smartphones. No more tangled cables — a truly hassle-free charging experience! In addition, the HyperCharger XX effortlessly mounts to any magnetic desk or car mount. The $59.99 HyperCharger XX is ultra-thin and lightweight — it’s about the size of an iPhone X.

LinearFlux HyperCharger XX features include:

  • Ultra-Black Soft Touch Finish
  • Pass-through charging so that you can charge your phone and the battery pack at the same time
  • 20W PD USB-C HyperCharging Technology
  • 20W QC3 or 15Watt, 3.0Amp, USB HyperCharging Port
  • High contrast digital display
  • Hardware and Firmware Protection Circuitry

Boogie Board Jot and Blackboard Letter and Folio Pack

Boogie boards have come a long way since they first appeared on the scene in 2010.

At 8.5″ by 11″ the boogie board Blackboard Letter and Folio Pack is the same size as a standard piece of paper.

It is under $50, has boogie board’s liquid crystal paper display, and much more.

It comes with four swappable templates, a protective cover, and a stylus that is comfortable to hold and use.

Its battery will last up to five years and, thanks to the free Blackboard app for iOS and Android, you can scan and save what you have written.

The boogie board Jot is the original boogie board. It is small and light; it comes with a flat stowable stylus, and it costs under $30.

They make great stocking stuffers!

Hyper X Alloy Origins Keyboard

Alloy Origins Keyboard: Pairing perfectly with their Puslefire Surge mouse, the $109.99 compact Alloy Origins keyboard features HyperX Red, Aqua, or Blue mechanical switches rated for up to 80 million clicks. This radiant keyboard will bring light to work- or learn-from-home set-ups. Built for performance and longevity, you can customize your gaming or workspace with HyperX’s NGENUITY software. The Alloy Origins keyboard features include:

  • HyperX mechanical switches
  • A full aircraft-grade aluminum body
  • A compact, portable design with detachable USB Type-C cable
  • Dazzling RGB lighting with dynamic effects
  • Advanced customization with HyperX NGENUITY software
  • Three adjustable keyboard angles
  • Onboard memory for three profiles
  • Game Mode, 100% anti-ghosting, and N-key rollover functionalities

•••••

To make your holiday even better, we have a giveaway for you to enter! 

Prizes include:

• One Lenovo Legion 7i 15” Gaming Laptop with a retail value of $3199.99

• One Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus with Amazon Alexa (4GB RAM and 128GB user memory) with a retail value of $279.99

• One Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus with Google Assistant (4GB RAM and 128GB user memory) with a retail value of $269.99

The Rules:

• Please be sure that you have [email protected] whitelisted in your email settings.

• We will give one prize to three separate winners; prizes and winners will be chosen randomly.

• Our giveaway will run from 12:01 am CST on November 15th to Midnight on November 23rd, 2020.

• I will email the winners on November 24th.

• Due to shipping fees, this giveaway is open only to people with a continental USA mailing address; if your address shows as out of the country, we will be forced to pick a new winner.

• If you are chosen as the winner, you will have two weeks to respond to my email. If you do not respond, on the 15th day, we will be forced to pick a new winner.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.