Tech devices that make for great last-minute gifts for anyone

Tech devices that make for great last-minute gifts for anyone

Makula Dunbar
Contributor

Makula Dunbar is a writer with Wirecutter.

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter . When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work.
It should be easy to give a gift. But it can be hard trying to choose which gift to give. That’s especially true with technology, where products tend to be more functional than emotional. Here’s what matters most: finding a present that connects to the recipient, creates a sense of enjoyment, and that they’re actually going to use. Here are five tech gifts that will appeal to almost anyone.
Jaybird X3 Wireless Sport Earbuds

The Jaybird X3 earbuds are designed for working out, but their design and great audio makes them perfect for anyone on the go. The X3’s interchangeable tips and fins offer a highly customizable, comfortable fit. Overall sound is high quality out of the box, but we like that the companion Jaybird app allows a tailored listening experience. Eight hours of playback time means you’ll be set throughout multiple workouts or a full work day.
Amazon Echo (2nd generation) Voice-Controlled Speaker
While there’s more than enough buzz surrounding voice-controlled speakers, they’re not yet considered a standard home item. But we think they’re helpful, and we know that a lot of folks find them incredibly useful for ordering food, listening to audiobooks, streaming music, or controlling their appliances and lighting. Our favorite is the Amazon Echo (2nd generation), which does more (and does it better) than any other current model. It supports a huge list of smart-home devices—including thermostats, light bulbs, and vacuums, and it has a set of skills, including offering custom weather, news and calendar alerts. (Note: If you’re giving one of these devices as a gift, make sure the recipient’s preferred music service is supported; Amazon’s devices, for example, work with its own Prime Music service, as well as Spotify, but not with Apple Music.)
Jackery Bolt USB Battery
A convenient device (which at times doubles as a lifesaver) is a gift that anyone would consider a necessity. We researched more than 300 USB power banks and battery packs and tested 40, naming the Jackery Bolt as our top pick. The Jackery Bolt is made out of aluminum and is the perfect size for carrying around in your bag or pocket every day. It has two connector cables (one Lightning and one MicroUSB), and its 6000 mAh battery has enough power to charge a medium-sized smartphone twice.
Nixplay Seed Digital Photo Frame

The Nixplay Seed digital photo frame is perfect way to keep faraway friends and family members in sight. Since it’s Wi-Fi-enabled, you can be anywhere and use social media platforms, cloud storage, or your smartphone to upload pictures. It’s a great gift because new and old moments can be shared anytime, giving viewers more reasons to touch base with you. It has a high-resolution IPS display that can show images in landscape or portrait orientation. The photo frame’s remote and sensor—which turns the device off when no one’s in the room — lets you choose what you want to see at your convenience. Multiple people can create photo playlists through the Nixplay website, or add pictures to be shown by sending them through email. With 8GB of storage it has the capacity to hold roughly 25,000 smartphone photos.
GoPro Hero5 Black Action Camera

The GoPro Hero5 Black is our top pick for action cameras because it can be used for everyday filming, capturing memories during travel adventures, and is great in environments that aren’t suitable for larger, pricier camera equipment. It doesn’t have a clunky case, but it’s still waterproof. For those who usually place tech integration at the top of their gear list, the GoPro Hero5 Black also has a touchscreen interface and voice-control capabilities. During testing we found its footage to be crisp and clear with accurate color in addition to sound quality that’s worth keeping in professional edits.
Garmin Vivosport Fitness Tracker
If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your exercise routine and you haven’t picked up a fitness tracker, now’s the time.  We’ve tested 23 fitness trackers over the past three years and think the Garmin Vivosport is the best option. Its built-in GPS, long-lasting battery life and color display set it apart from others. In addition to monitoring your workouts (including strength-training reps), it helps keep tabs on your sleep and stress levels, and is Bluetooth-enabled for IOS and Android integration with streaming music and notifications.
This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter.
Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

GoPro launches TradeUp program to swap old cameras for discounts

GoPro launches TradeUp program to swap old cameras for discounts
GoPro is willing to take that old digital camera stuffed in your junk drawer even if it’s not a GoPro. Through a program called TradeUp, the camera company will discount the GoPro H6 Black $50 and Fusion $100 when buyers trade-in any digital camera. The company tried this last year for 60 days, but as of right now, GoPro is saying this offer does not expire.
This offer works with any digital camera, including old GoPros. It clearly addresses something we noticed years ago — there’s often little reason to buy a new GoPro because their past products were so good.
GoPro tried this in 2017 for 60 days and says 12,000 customers took advantage of the program.
The service is reminiscent of what wireless carries do to encourage smartphone owners to buy new phones. It’s a clever solution, though other options could net more money. Users could sell their camera on eBay or use other trade-in programs. Best Buy lets buyers trade-in old cameras, too, and currently gives $60 for a GoPro Hero3+ Black and $55 for a HD Hero 960.
GoPro is in a tough position, and this is clearly a plan to spur sales. The company’s stock is trading around an all-time low after a brief upswing following a report that Chinese electronic maker Xiaomi was considering buying the company. The company also recently started licensing its camera technology and trimmed its product line, while introducing a new, $200 camera.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

GoPro to license camera lenses and sensors to third party manufacturers

GoPro to license camera lenses and sensors to third party manufacturers
GoPro is today announcing a multi-year deal with Jabil that aims to put GoPro technology in everything from police body cameras to video conferencing solutions. Through this agreement, Jabil will license GoPro’s design and intellectual property for use in approved third-party devices. This is the first time GoPro is letting other manufacturers build products with GoPro parts. The products will not be branded GoPro at this time.
GoPro has worked with Jabil since the GoPro Hero4, which was released in 2014. Jabil is a United States-based manufacturing firm that operates 90 facilities across 23 countries. Financial terms of this new agreement were not announced.
Irv Stein, Jabil’s vice president of Jabil Optics, said in a released statement that it sees “early market feedback indicating strong demand in the enterprise action camera segment for applications in smart homes, military, fire, police, rescue, and security.” And that’s just the beginning.
GoPro CTO Sandor Barna sees opportunity for GoPro to provide the lens and image sensors for video conferencing solutions, robotics and self-driving cars.
It seems GoPro is ready to expand from the action camera market and leverage its brand in other segments. This agreement allows for licensing a range of GoPro’s products and service including digital imaging and consumer products. At this time, third party action cameras are not allowed as the agreement only covers products that do not compete with GoPro’s products.
GoPro, whose stock is at an all-time low of less than $5.00, is struggling to stay afloat. The company just laid off a good chunk of its drone division and has struggled to find its footing even as the company releases new and improved products. This move could put GoPro on solid ground. Even though GoPro undeniably makes the best action cameras on the market, the company keeps losing value. It’s a smart move to leverage its brand through a partner to brand out into new markets.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Insta360 teases new ‘FlowState’ stabilization tech for 360 cameras

Insta360 teases new ‘FlowState’ stabilization tech for 360 cameras
360-degree camera maker Insta360 just released a video that shows off a new feature it’s calling “FlowState,” which stabilizes a ‘flat,’ traditional HD video frame by extracting it from a 360 capture. This might be a familiar technique if you’ve followed what GoPro and Rylo are doing with their own 360 cameras, but Insta360’s take looks powerful and feature-rich, based on this clip.

As you can see, the stabilization tech not only produces video that looks like it’s shot on a gimbal, even for fast, bumpy action like from a camera mounted on a dog’s back, but also allows for interesting effects like following even very small moving objects (butterflies) and doing dramatic time dilation effects combined with cinematic pans.
Insta360 has noticed that a lot of action camera and smartphone gimbal users are interested in its line of 360-degree cameras, and has been working on user-friendly in which its 360-degree footage can be translated into more interesting traditional clips and movies.
The company’s Insta360 ONE already features automatic framing, free capture for HD resolution flat cropping and six-axis stabilization, so it seems like with FlowState Insta360 is hoping to up its game in these areas by easier to use and more effective. This clip doesn’t mention anything about new hardware, so it’s possible that whatever Insta360 is planning could come to existing devices, including the $299 Insta360 ONE.
We’ll know more on March 20, when the company details its latest feature in full, but it should have GoPro a bit worried if it works as advertised and comes in at a more attractive price point than the expensive GoPro Fusion.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch