It’s Wendy again. I am here to write and publish this year’s inaugural Christmas Gift Guide on jordoncooper.com. As is custom around here, this is for all of the men on your holiday check list. So whether you are shopping for a husband, boyfriend (hopefully you aren’t shopping for both), father, kids, or friends, I’ve got gift ideas for all of the men in your life.
Does anyone use CD’s anymore? We don’t. If we do get them, they are immediately ripped and then imported into iTunes to be played on our iPods. From there they are played via Bluetooth. So here is a selection of portable Bluetooth devices that will sound amazing anywhere that you bring them, even if the guy you are shopping for loves to play Bon Jovi.
Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s hands-free and always on. With seven microphones and beam-forming technology, Echo can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.
Echo connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service, to provide information, answer questions, play music, read the news, check sports scores or the weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask. Echo begins working as soon as it detects the wake word. You can pick Alexa or Amazon as your wake word.
Think of it at Siri for your home… or for you Iron Man fans out there, it’s getting close to what Jarvis is.
The SoundLink Bluetooth speakers are among the most popular — if not, the most popular — portable wireless speakers in terms of sales. I have listened to it a couple of times while out and about this year and they sounds amazing while filling a room beautifully. Not only that but if you bring them on the road with your or even just into the backyard, they have a 14 hour battery life.
- Purchase at AmazonHouse of Marley Chant Portable Bluetooth Audio System
Jordon has wanted one of these for a while. This spring he went out and bought one. It is battery powered (charges via a USB cable) and is a constant companion. It is small enough to toss in a bag on a road trip which makes travelling a little more pleasant. If you are buying for a road warrior or just someone who likes to chill outside while listening to music, this is a great gift idea.
- Purchase at AmazonLogitech UE Mini Boom
This is what The Wirecutter says about the Mini Boom
This is the second year in a row that we’ve picked the Mini Boom as our top pick, but it’s the first time I’ve personally heard it. As an audio reviewer with a quarter century of experience, people often ask me what portable speaker they should get. It’s a difficult question to answer because they come in so many styles and sizes, and widely range in price, but the Mini Boom makes it easy.
There’s so much to like about it and so little to dislike. In fact, if all my stuff disappeared tomorrow, the Mini Boom and our home Bluetooth pick would be the first audio products I’d buy. It plays about as loud as a large flat-panel TV set, and because it’s only about the size of half an orange, it’s easy to take almost anywhere. It sounds good enough that you can hear almost every element of a music track, from the cymbals all the way down to the lowest notes on a guitar (although maybe not the lowest notes on a bass).
I have always thought of Logitech in terms of mice and trackballs. Then Jordon went out and got a set of Logitech surround sound speakers for our television and I was surprised at how good they sound. They had a way better sound than our soundbar and in 5.1 Dolby surround sound. This little speaker has won a lot of awards and a lot of acclaim. Logitech may not have the name that Bose does but it is a third the price and the sound quality is worth it.
- Purchase at Amazon
Backed by over 100 years of manufacturing high-quality audio products, Electrohome is pleased to introduce the Archer Turntable Stereo System: a fully automatic turntable with built-in speakers housed in a 60s-style suitcase that blends vintage charm with twenty-first century convenience.
Enjoying the classic style of a retro 60s turntable doesn’t mean you have to miss out on 21st century convenience; play songs from your smartphones, tablets, or USB flash drive using the system’s AUX and USB input. For private listening, simply connect your headphones and drift away into the world of vinyl without disturbing a soul.
It’s also the gift that keeps giving you gift ideas. From speakers to vintage records, there will always something you can keep adding to this gift.
Now on to headphones for those times when you don’t want to listen to what they are listening to.
These amazing headphones are the #1 best selling over the ear headphones from Amazon and for good reason. They are consistently rated as excellent. The Sennheiser HD 202 II are closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones. Good insulation against ambient noise and a deep bass response make them the ideal companion for DJs – or anyone who likes to listen to modern, powerful music without disturbing others. High efficiency drivers for maximum performance. Jordon bought me a pair to replace my other Sennheisers that Marley chewed up. What you notice about them is the sound but also how comfortable they are. You can listen to them for hours.
- Purchase at AmazonIn Ear HeadphonesDon’t let them keep using the Apple earphones that came with their phone. Upgrade their in-ear headphones with Brainwavz Delta Red In Ear Earphones With Remote & Mic.
Never heard of them? Here is what The Wirecutter has to say about them.
If I wanted to buy a cheap pair of earbuds to replace the ones included with my mobile device, I’d get the Brainwavz Delta with Mic. After spending 32 hours researching literally hundreds of in-ear headphones under $40, then seriously considering 179 and testing 68 with our panel of audio experts (40 last time, 28 this round), we came to a decision: The Brainwavz Deltas are the best for the money. Our panel unanimously voted them the best sounding of the entire bunch, plus they fit comfortably in most ears and are a total steal.
- Purchase at AmazonPanasonic RP-TCM125-A In Ear HeadphonesMy next suggestion is ones that we are big fans of around here and that is the Panasonic RPTCM125A Headphones Blue. They were the winner last year on The Wirecutter and are runners up this year. Here is why we love them. The sound is excellent, the price is fantastic but they are so comfortable. We have bought them for Mark and the advantage of getting these over more expensive headphones is that when the dog chews them, they get lost or stolen, it’s not the end of the world. Great quality, comfortable, affordable price.
- Purchase at AmazonComputersWe spend all of these hours in front of our computers and for many people. they are still using the same keyboard and mouse that came out of the box with their desktop or laptop. Upgrade their computer with a new keyboard, mouse, or trackball. It’s a great gift and his hands will thank you for it.
If the guy you are buying for spends a lot of time in front of computer as a writer, photo editor, or coder, get him a keyboard that is better that what came with her computer. Perhaps one of the best ones out there is the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard. It is split in the middle, has a nice touch and feel, and has a built in pad for your wrists. Studies are inconclusive on whether or not they prevent carpal tunnel but they are a lot more comfortable to type on than a desktop or laptop computer keyboard.
- Purchase from AmazonLogitech M570 Wireless Trackball
A trackball is something that so many people I know have loved as soon as they have gone to it yet it isn’t something that many of us are going to go out and get for ourselves. One of these or a Microsoft Sculpt or Arc Touch mouse and the sculpt keyboard would be a great gift for any one who spends some time in front of a screen every day.
- Purchase at AmazonLogitech HD Pro Webcam
Being seperated from family is tough. So whether you are shopping for your husband, boyfriend, or father, treat them with a high definition webcam. You can get one for them so you can benefit or get one and place it on your own computer so they can see you better. Ideally you will both have one so you can have conversations in 1080p High Definition video.
Breathtaking full HD 1080p calls on Skype, with the sharpest video-call picture available. 16:9 widescreen keeps you all in the picture. Easy HD 720p video calls on Yahoo! Messenger, Gmail Voice and Video Chat and most other favorite IM services.
If he is still getting by on a 640×480 screen, upgrading to a Full HD webcam will make a world of difference.
- Purchase at AmazonTabletsSo many of us have tablets now that we have even started to upgrade our older ones. If the person you are shopping for has a tablet that is more than a few years old, it is time to upgrade it. New processor, better battery life, and overall performance makes this upgrade a great gift.
$49.99 for a tablet! Are you kidding me Amazon? Despite the really low price, it has a Quad-core 1.3 GHz, 8 gb of storage (expandable of course), a VGA Front-facing camera + 2 MP rear-facing camera with 720p HD video recording. As for battery life, it offers up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching video, and listening to music
- Purchase at Amazon (where else?)Google Nexus 9” Tablet
If the Kindle Fire is the best Android budget tablet out there, then here is the flagship, the Google Nexus 9.
- 8.9” IPS LCD display with 4:3 aspect ratio constructed from Gorilla Glass 3
- Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound
- 8MP rear camera – 1.6MP front camera
- 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver @ 2.3GHz CPU
- Micro-USB 2.0For the accept no compromises Android user out there, this is the tablet they want.
- Purchase at AmazoniPad Mini 4
- Purchase from Apple
Give the gift of a great book this year.
Upgrade his shoulder bag or backpack with a leather 4 inch double gusset flapover portfolio/ 15.4 inch computer case with pull through handle. Stylish enough to take to work everyday and rugged enough to take with him on the weekends.
If he already has a great looking bag or maybe you are looking for something less expensive, check out the Fossil card wallet. Jordon went to one of these a couple of years ago and he has loved it. Low profile, fits in any pocket and carries enough cards and I.D. to keep you going while forcing you to ditch the other stuff that clutters up a wallet and weighs you down.
The Timex Expedition field watch were inspired by the field watches issued to soldiers during the first half of the 20th century and look great with a wide variety of get-ups. While there are more expensive name-brand versions out there, if you’re looking for a simple, yet handsome-looking watch, this is perfect. You can spend hundreds on a field watch but it’s hard to beat the quality you get from a Timex Expedition for the cost you are paying.
Spend your hard earned money on other things with the money you save on this watch.
A rubber armored carbon fiber body offers lightweight and impact-resistant performance, and the contoured body with textured gripping surfaces provide slip-resistant handling, making the Travelite VI well-suited for sightseeing on vacation and glassing the ball field from the stands. Reviewers in multiple publications have said that these are the perfect balance between power and weight with no compromises either way.
- Purchase from Amazon (another good option is the Pentax 8×21 binoculars which also offer good quality at a lower price)
Jordon started to carry this in his pocket because he wanted something small and functional for work. This fit the bill perfectly. He has one for every day use and then he keeps packed and ready to go in his day bag. He likes this knife because it is big enough to do what he needs it to do most days but small enough to fold up and fit comfortably in his front pocket. It’s also small enough that when he pulls it out at work, no one goes, “HE’S GOT A KNIFE!”. Instead they often go, “cool” and want to take a look at it.
Get back to basics — the very cool basics — with Leatherman’s Skeletool CX. It keeps weight and volume to a minimum while still having the tools he will need.
The thing that stops so many people from camping…the perception that they have to "suffer" out there and can’t enjoy the comforts of home. Instead, Stanley said, "Oh no, nobody goes without good coffee while camping…not on our watch!"
The entire system might look a little bit like overkill, but when you keep in mind the fact that the components are all useful for other purposes this system does far more than just make coffee.
First of all, they thought of everything with this kit. The bottom (outside) layer is the pot to heat your water, complete with latching pre-installed handle. Just give the small button a squeeze to lift it up or put it down. This layer is obviously a great pot for heating up your meals too, especially if you pre-pouched it and just need to reheat with a hot water bath. The next layer is the French press plunger, and yes, if you pour really, really carefully, you can strain other foods with it (like pasta) when you’re not making coffee. The next nested layer is the famous Stanley vacuum bottle, so basically you use your kit to make a whole pot of coffee and then pour it into the bottle to keep it hot. The lid that closes the bottle actually has a small twist off lid the store your coffee grounds, and the exterior lid twists apart to form two cups.
Gourmet coffee. In the woods. He’ll love it.
If he likes to cook and grill, check out these fun books for aspiring chef.
While you are at it, consider upgrading his grill. The Weber Original Kettle Barbecue is the best selling grill on Amazon and is less then $100.
Light and compact enough for backpacking, yet robust enough for backyard luxury, the popular ENO DoubleNest Hammock sets up in seconds and has plenty of room for 2.
- Purchase at AmazonJA Henckels International 15 Piece Knife Set with Knife Block
Set includes a 3 inch paring knife, a 5 inch santoku knife, a 7 inch santoku knife, an 8 inch chef’s knife, an 8 inch bread knife, six 4.5 inch steak knives, a 5 inch serrated utility knife, a sharpening steel, shears, and a hardwood block. This is the perfect gift for someone who likes to cook and doesn’t have decent knives. Even though they are the affordable line of knives from J.A. Henckels, they are still excellent knives and will be a significant upgrade over his current set. Taken care of, they will last a lifetime.
- Purchase at AmazonKenneth Cole Reaction Shaving Kit
Don’t just get him a Dopp Kitt, inside it place some essential shaving products that he will love.
- Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor With Flexball Handle Technology
- Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood: This will last for decades and he’ll think of you every time he uses it.
- Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil: He may not admit how good this feels on his skin but he will appreciate it.
- Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
- Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Eau de Toilette Spray: For when he goes out and wants to smell nice but still let the world know he is still tough enough to conquer it. Moleskine Classic Notebook
Every man needs to keep a journal and this basic, yet classic Large Plain notebook is one that he will want to keep this thoughts and projects in. This reliable travel companion, perfect for sketches, thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history.
This gift hits two big things in your guys life
- It from the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie which if he is like most guys, is dying to see.
- It’s a programmable robot which he wanted since Tomy released the Omnibot.
This is THE toy of the holiday season and is one that the entire family will get a kick out of. If the guy you are shopping for still enjoys a remote controlled car, a drone, or just having fun, make sure you check out this gift and pick up one early, they won’t be around as we get towards Christmas.
- Authentic Movement: Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet
- Listens & Responds: BB-8 recognizes and reacts to your voice
- Holographic Messaging: Record and view virtual holographic videos with BB-8
- Autonomous Behavior: BB-8 has a mind of its own – explore the Star Wars galaxy together
- Adaptive Personality: Your BB-8’s unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact
If he is a creative type and a photographer, get him some software that will fuel that creativity. While the Adobe Creative Cloud is excellent, you have to pay for it monthly. As an alternative Adobe has Photoshop Element and Corel has Paint Shop Pro 18. Both will help him (and you) create your best photographs ever whether you are using a Nikon D810 or a iPhone 4.
If he is a podcaster or musician, check out the Blue Microphone Yet USB microphone. It allows you to record just yourself, a conversation with two people or an entire room of people. Great sound, solid design, and a lot of fun as he takes his first steps towards being an internet sensation.
Another option for the aspiring radio star is this Shure microphone for any iOS device with a Lightning connector. Compact enough to fit in a pocket and be with you anywhere at anytime.
- Apple MFi certified compatible with all iOS devices equipped with a Lightning connector
- Matched cardioid and bi-directional 1 cm cartridges for best-in-class audio
- Mid-side architecture for a phase-perfect, clear stereo image
- 5 DSP preset modes (Speech, Singing, Flat, Acoustic Instrument, Loud)
- Automatically adjusts EQ, compression and limiting for optimal results
- Innovative hinge/rotation design supports multiple recording angles, including video applications
- Free ShurePlus MOTIV recording app featuring 24-bit/48 khz .wav (uncompressed) recording,control over DSP mode selection, microphone gain, stereo width, raw mid-side adjustments, wind reduction, capsule selection, Left-Right Swap, 5-band EQ and compression/limiting
- All-metal construction engineered to withstand the most demanding recording conditions
Since 1932, Zippo has been making the finest and hardiest fire-making machine around. The Zippo is refillable, and nearly every part is replaceable, meaning the engraved metal casing given to your guy that will last just about forever. Even if he doesn’t smoke, he’ll love having one.
This is the knife that MacGuyver (and the Swiss military) made famous –
- 2 Blades, 2 Screwdrivers, Wood Saw and other handy tools
- Corkscrew, Reamer and Key Ring
- Toothpick and Tweezers
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