This holiday season, the anticipation is palpable for the newest phones, accessories, gadgets, and consoles to both give to and receive from those we love most. Innovative and convenient technologies are in high demand these days and forming a wish list can prove a daunting task for the conscientious consumer. Stores and online shopping sites are teeming with gizmos, and while some may not be all they’re cracked up to be, others may be hidden gems. Luckily, I’ve put together a list of new and exciting devices that have appeared on the market this year.

1. 180s Bluetooth Gen 3 Ear Warmers. Who said a device can’t be original, practical, and fashionable? Perfect for the cold months ahead, this set of ear warmers also functions as headphones that link up to your phone through Bluetooth wireless technology, so you can take calls and listen to music. The Gen 3 Ear Warmers are now enabled with Siri and Google Now giving you the convenience of hands-free, voice-activated messaging.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note5. Crisp and elegant, the 5.7-inch display on this phone is definitely one of its most appealing features. The Note5 also allows for easy multi-tasking by enabling you to have two apps open side by side and to resize the windows individually. A feature called “SideSync” lets you drag and drop photos and documents between your phone and computer and even respond to calls and texts right from your laptop. The phone also has a long battery life and short recharge time, which only sweetens the deal.

3. PlayStation 4. Earlier in November the folks at Sony Computer Entertainment unveiled the fourth edition of their popular gaming console, which enables various means of intercommunication with other devices and services. The emphasis of this model is on social gameplay, and the new controller sports a unique “share” button to take screenshots and record videos. Consumers can stream video game content with ease through a cloud-based subscription service carried over from the previous PlayStation installment called PlayStation Now.

4. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband. For the athletic and goal-oriented type, the Fitbit wristband is the perfect gift. This device has automatic, continuous heart rate and activity tracking and even monitors your sleep habits to give you a more complete analysis of your personal health. Plus it notifies you when people call, gives you daily health statistics and the time, and syncs wirelessly with your computer and smartphone.

5. Amazon Echo. This nifty, cylindrical device connects to a Siri-like entity called Alexa, which is a cloud-based voice service that provides information, answers questions, plays music, reads you the news and weather, checks sports scores, makes shopping lists, and more—all of it instantly wherever in your home the device is located. You can even ask Alexa to turn on the lights or fan in your home and shut them off again, all without lifting a finger. Moreover, Alexa’s voice is admittedly less abrupt and more pleasing to the ear than Siri’s.

6. PYRUS Stereo Levitating Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. If you’re looking for something to get for the music-lover on your list, look no further than the cutting-edge design of the PYRUS stereo. Bluetooth speakers are ideal devices for parties and get-togethers, but add in this speaker’s unique and visually arresting levitation feature and it only gets better. Through your smartphone or tablet, you can connect via Bluetooth from up to 33 feet away.

Creating the perfect wish list can be challenging, especially inundated as you are with so many advertisements this time of year. With luck you’ve sorted through this holiday season’s jumble of tech and gotten some ideas about which gadgets to surprise your loved ones with (and which ones you intend to drop obvious hints about to your parents and relatives.)

Photos by psmedia.playstation.com and wikipedia.org

The Elm

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