The holiday season may be coming to a close, but don’t stop thinking about receiving wonderful gifts just yet. Even if your shopping is done (or the holidays have come and gone) consider buying one last gift—for yourself. These exciting year-end gadgets make it hard to resist splurging one more time. Some of the following devices won’t even be available until early in the New Year anyway—which means the gift cards you received can be put to good use.
Tablet: An App Whisperer
Nokia will be releasing its first Android-based tablet early next year in China before expanding to other markets, but U.S. shoppers may want to keep their eye out for it. The Nokia N1 features the Z Launcher, a home screen that allows users to easily find what they want by just scribbling a letter or two. The Z Launcher will even learn a user’s preferences and predict and highlight apps based on time of day or location. The 7.9-inch tablet will also come with the new Android Lollipop operating system.
Bracelet: Smart Style
The fashion retailer Opening Ceremony collaborated with Intel on MICA ($495) to provide a more stylish alternative to the recent onslaught of smart watches and bands. MICA, which stands for “My Intelligent Communication Accessory,” is styled with black or white snakeskin, 18k gold-coated stainless steel and a curved sapphire glass touchscreen. The smart bracelet displays text messages, your upcoming appointments and reminders about when to leave so you won’t be late. You can also access Yelp to find restaurants, stores and other nearby establishments.
Headphones: Beyond Just Listening
Parrot claims their new Zik 2.0 ($400) are the world’s most advanced headphones, and it may be hard to argue. Not only is the sound quality top notch with a Concert Hall Effort that uses DSP (Digital Sound Processor) algorithms to reconstruct the sound to make it seem like it is coming straight from the source, but the Bluetooth headphones also come with a smart touch panel that allows listeners to control their music with gestures. A slide of the finger on the ear piece can change tracks, adjust the volume or stop the music.
Luggage: The Connected Carry-on
The luggage industry is finally seeing some innovation with Bluesmart, a suitcase that can be controlled from a smartphone. Via the app you can lock and unlock the suitcase, check its weight with the built-in scale and track the suitcase anywhere in the world. Bluesmart even contains a built-in battery for recharging your devices and will send a notification if you are leaving the airport without it. It is available on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo for a limited time at a discounted rate before it hits the retail shelves at $450 or higher.
Desktop: A Creativity Station
The Sprout by HP ($1,900) was made for creative types with an immersive user interface that allows people to work with their creations like never before. The Sprout combines a scanner, depth sensor, hi-resolution camera and projector into a single device that can merge physical objects into the digital workspace. The Sprout Illuminator is a projector that scans an object and then provides a digital 3D version. And since the workstation pairs a typical vertical touchscreen with a 20-point capacitive touch mat, you can actually reach out and interact with your creations.