Tech Savvy Gift Guide: From Small to Large, There Are Many Options For Tech Giveaways This Holiday Season

These can be the smallest items that are part of everyday use, lending themselves to greater convenience. See how much of Alexa is part of everyday life, whether it’s turning lights on and off with a voice command or a smartphone app, to getting weather news and updates. , set timers and alarms or play music.

So what’s the next technological gadget or gadget that will either become something you would use every day or something that will really add to your entertainment? There are a lot of options.

While making a list, I asked others to contribute their favorite tech items this year or what they would like to see under the tree, and received a few items from GE Lighting’s Cync line – a take smart outdoor and smart home indoor camera.

Cync comes from a long line of GE Lighting innovations, the history of which of course goes back to Thomas Edison’s General Electric Co. and literally to the light bulb, which itself is part of a short list of technologies. that changed life as everyone knew it.

GE Lighting launched its smart lighting products in 2015 and now operates this line under the name Cync, which offers products for a smart home experience, from smart bulbs to light strips, switches and remotes, cameras, thermostats, sensors. and the Cync app. These devices can be paired for voice operation with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The outlets are protected by waterproof covers.  The smart plug allows each plug to be named and used individually or packaged together.  Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The outlets are protected by waterproof covers. The smart plug allows each plug to be named and used individually or packaged together. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The Cync outdoor smart plug joins the handy list of options for running holiday lights, whether from a warm spot next to the indoor fireplace or while relaxing in a beach chair while on your Hawaii vacation. The Cync smart plug comes with two outlets. A bonus with the Cync socket is being able to name each socket so that it can be operated separately – Christmas lights on a tree can be on one while a string light can be on the other. Both can have their own name and be operated independently or grouped and operated in one motion, such as naming garden lights grouped together and then turning on both at the same time. The smart plug can also be configured on a schedule to turn holiday lights on and off at a designated time. The indoor smart plug can be used to turn on the slow cooker or turn on indoor lights on demand, all by voice or with the flick of a switch on the smartphone app.

The smart plug was easy to set up, although pairing it with Alexa took a little longer than it should and may require clearer instructions in the booklet to make this a bit more transparent. I installed several outlets in my garage outlet to manage the exterior lights. The garage setting, for some reason, allowed the light sensor sockets to adjust.

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Over the years, I have used a number of sockets based on timers, light sensors, or remote controls. Even the one with the remote control is often random for the possibility of turning it on from the house to the detached garage, which are quite close to each other. The Cync smart plug responded immediately to app control on the phone or via a voice command with the added benefit of being able to turn those lights on even from miles away. For those without a protected outlet in the garage, the company reports that it is designed for outdoor elements with a sealing outlet cover and durability for outdoor conditions. It worked well. Cost: $ 29.99.

Feit is another option for smart plugs with two plugs, voice control with shortcuts Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. The outdoor model can be configured to operate holiday or landscape lights, outdoor devices from heaters, fans and lamps. Amazon reviews gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars with 1,234 ratings. Like Cync, Feit also has smart Wi-Fi outlets inside. Cost: $ 15.98 for the outdoor smart plug recently from Menards and $ 12.99 for the indoor smart plug on Amazon.

The Anker Nebula Capsule, which the company dubbed a soda can-sized pocket projector, offers a way to enjoy the home theater experience with a power-packed mini projector. The projector can stream movies and TV shows on a screen up to 100 inches. Considering copyrighted material, shows from Hulu or Netflix or other streaming services should be operated through an application downloaded through the projector. On Amazon, the Anker Nebula has 4.5 out of 5 stars with almost 5,000 ratings and high marks for portability, material quality, and image quality. It has a 360 degree speaker system. When the good weather returns, it’s also a way to bring this cinematic experience to life on the terrace, the backyard or on the campsite. It works with Bluetooth or HDMI and has a tripod mount and a table top mount with a video playback time of four hours.

Cost: $ 299.99 with a newer version of the Anker Nebula Max capsule listed for $ 375.00 on Amazon.

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Nordic track vault fitness mirror The iFIT connected home gym has a 61.5 inch mirror for workouts with tidy storage behind the mirror for workout accessories – dumbbells, kettlebells, weight training, yoga blocks, bands, rugs and more to make the most of the space. Workouts include strength, high intensity interval training, and yoga with trainers. It uses an interactive touchscreen that lets you see yourself and the trainer to stay in shape. Nordic Track presents the Vault as a way to turn any room into a full home gym while also fitting into the home decor. Cost: $ 2,499 for the complete safe with training equipment or $ 57 per month for 48 months or $ 1,899 for the safe without equipment or $ 44 per month for 48 months.

Peeps eyeglass cleaners let you forget about tiny towels and cleanser bottles for molecular carbon technology to clean the glasses – so Carbon Klean’s Peeps uses a carbon microfiber pad that sandwiches the glasses and cleans both sides. Cost: $ 11.99.

Bril The toothbrush sterilizer uses ultraviolet light to get rid of bacteria clinging to these bristles. The Bril cleaner fits over the head of the toothbrush. The color options are there to make it easier for family members to get multiple Brils and keep them straight. Cost: $ 39.99 with discounts for multiple units.

Ember Smart temperature control mug. This item had 4.5 out of 5 stars on a Best Buy list for tech giveaways. The mug allows users to adjust the temperature of a hot drink. So, those coffee drinkers can keep that coffee at the precise temperature. It works on battery and has a charging coaster. The cups are available in a 10 ounce or 14 ounce size. By pairing the mug with the app, users can adjust the temperature with their phone.

“Our smart cup lets you set an exact drinking temperature, so your coffee is never too hot or too cold,” Ember says on its website. “Ember then maintains the selected temperature for up to 1.5 hours with the 10 oz Ember Mug² and up to 80 minutes with the 14 oz Ember Mug² – to keep your hot drink perfect.” Cost: $ 99.95.

Cyc camera is another offering from GE Lighting. This was pretty easy to set up and connect to Wi-Fi and phone, using the Cync app. Another reporter used the camera to keep an eye on their two cats as they left town for two nights and provided this review:

“I checked them a few hours after starting my trip and everything was fine. They were sleeping peacefully on the sofa. The motion sensor had detected activity shortly before I left, with each cat taking turns approaching the camera and sniffing it well. Unfortunately when I went to check in later my phone told me the camera was offline. I figured my cats got overly curious and knocked it over or maybe even chewed on the cord. But when I got home I saw the camera was still on, and when I checked my phone the camera was working.

“During the week that I set up the camera, she regularly told me that the camera was offline, so I’m not sure if the problem is with the camera or my Wi-Fi, but I didn’t. usually have no internet connection problems at home.

“I love that the camera has a motion sensor and captures video clips when someone – or a cat – walks by. I don’t know how close to the sensor should be, however. When I set it up in the friends room with the cats food and water, I was hoping to check their eating habits while I was away, as I suspect my adult cat has an affinity for her kitten food. little sister. on his. But I think the shelf I put the camera on must have been too far from the floor because it didn’t record any video clips from the night or the next day even though I know the cats ate.

“Another feature that I like is the vocal mechanism. I can talk to my cats through my phone when I’m not around. It’s fun to call them up and see their confused little faces appear, wondering where my voice is coming from.

The app also allows me to take a real-time video or photo from my phone while watching the stream.

“Overall this camera looks solid, but I think I should do a little more investigation on the internet connection part to try to figure out why it doesn’t always send the stream to my phone and explore the range of. motion sensor, too.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Editor-in-Chief, can be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at