iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
Honorable Mention: Roku 3 Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
Now brighter, faster, and smarter than ever—choose from over 25 apps and launch a whole new world of mobile gameplay. Sphero, our next 2014 Holiday Gift Guide entry, turns your surroundings into a video game with augmented reality and an endless array of ways to play. Powered by induction charging and an internal smart robot, Sphero glows in millions of colors and is pet-proof, waterproof, and ready for any adventure. This is one of the gifts that can be seen as the height of coolness.
You can pick up the Orbotix Sphero 2.0 now from Amazon for $99.99.
Read More | Sphero 2.0
Nintendo's newest, more subdued handheld is next in the Gear Live’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. The Nintendo 2DS is basically a Nintendo 3DS in a candybar form factor (no hinge so it doesn't close) that plays all 3DS games in 2D. At launch it will be available in red and blue hues, and is outfitted with the regular (not 3DS XL) sized dual screens, cameras, mono speaker, headphone port, and a 4 GB SD card. In other words, it's just like a Nintendo 3DS, except there is no 3D, and it doesn't close, and you get it all for $129 - $50 cheaper than the 3DS console. You can pick up the Nintendo 2DS now for $129.99.
Read More | Nintendo 2DS
SOL REPUBLIC Tracks are the first interchangeable on-ear headphones featuring V8 Sound Engine speakers, switchable cables, and "Sound Track" headbands. SOL REPUBLIC engineers developed a proprietary new polymer called FlexTech, which makes them virtually indestructible, and we're recommending them in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. the company actually stands behind that claim, as you get a 1,000 day warranty on each SOL REPUBLIC headband. they just won't break. For total comfort, the team designed the Tracks ear cushions to be large and lightweight. Tracks offer the optimal balance of size, style, sound and comfort and are available in black, white and red. You can pick up a pair on Amazon for $99.
Read More | SOL REPUBLIC Tracks headphones
The next item in Gear Live’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide is the Kindle Paperwhite. Why? well, as great as e-ink readers have been (and they've been pretty stellar,) since the original Amazon Kindle was released, their one tragic flaw has been that they become pretty useless in the dark. You either simply can't read them, or have to use a small light attachment accessory. Enter the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon has designed what we consider to be the best e-ink reader to hit the market. It's flagship feature is the front-lit display, which works great when you're in the dark and want to read your latest ebook purchase without using a backlit tablet that's hard on the eyes, or an awkward clip-on light accessory. It also supports new features like telling you how much reading time you have before you finish your current chapter, and an all-touch display with virtually no lag. Check out our Kindle Paperwhite review, unboxing gallery, and video after the break for more, and head on over to Amazon to pick up the Kindle Paperwhite for $119 for that bookworm in your life.
Honorable mention: Amazon Kindle Voyage
Read More | Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Swingline Cross Cut Shredder is one of our favorite office tools, so we're recommending it in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. Quietly and quickly chews through credit cards, paper clips, staples, and documents, creating a cross-cut confetti that helps protect personal information. Stack up to 60 sheets for automatic shredding. Made to match the infamous red Swingline stapler from Office Space.
You can pick up the Swingline Cross Cut Shredder now from Amazon starting at $118 for the 60-sheet model.
Read More | Swingline Red Cross Cut Shredder
We're music fans here at Gear Live (seriously, check out the Gear Live Rdio channel!) so we wanna make sure to include great music gadgets in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. This year, we're kicking it off with the Sonos PLAY:1. If you're unfamiliar with Sonos, it's basically the best way to get music from just about any location (your computer, your iPhone, the web, the cloud, etc.) to play in any room in your house. It's super intuitive, and even years after using Sonos, the technology still blows us away. The Sonos PLAY:1 is a wireless all-in-one music system that lets you jump right into the Sonos experience. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download the Sonos remote control app, and you can also control the system with a computer using the Sonos Desktop Controller. Here are some other Sonos products that go nicely with the Sonos PLAY:1, which itself you can get for $199 from Sonos, or order from Amazon and get a free Sonos Bridge included with purchase!
You can use a pair of Play:1, Play:3, or Play:5 units to create wide stereo sound as well!
Lighting should be highly personal. Overhead fluorescents most definitely aren't. Hue helps you create just the right ambiance with this ultra-customizable system, our next entry in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. You can tinker with the color and brightness of every HUE LED in your home through a smartphone app, allowing you to set the color to match any part of the rainbox on demand, at any time.
You can pick up the Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack now from Amazon for $180.
Read More | Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack
We covered StoryBundle back when they launched two years ago, and since then they've sold more than 500,000 books in all kinds of genres and continue to be a fantastic way to discover favorite authors you've never heard of. It's good. Good enough that we're kicking off our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide with them. If you're not familiar with StoryBundle, they offer about a bundle a week, and each bundle consists of around 9 full-length novels from all types of authors. Essentially they're like Humble Bundle for ebooks, and feature not only indie authors that are as good and deserving of your reading time as ones you find on the bookshelf, but big names too! They've featured Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher and Clive Barker, just to namedrop a few folks you may already know.
If you've got a book lover in your life, or if or someone you know is getting a Kindle, tablet or smartphone this holiday season, StoryBundle's the perfect complement to that. Just hop on over to their Gift Card page and you can send anybody a gift card for any future bundle. Instead of guessing what your giftee wants to read, the gift card lets them choose their favorite genre at any time. Best of all, the gift cards never expire. Plus, when they redeem their gift card, they can choose to give part of their purchase to a worthy charity. What's more in the holiday spirit than giving?
Read More | StoryBundle gifts
Somehow, 10 years have already passed since the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas--arguably the most innovative game in the series. To coincide with the recent anniversary, Rockstar re-released the game on Xbox 360, replacing the Games on Demand version with a slightly improved version. And while the game itself remains an enjoyable experience, this may not be the best way of revisiting it.
I find myself occasionally in the mood to play one of the classic GTA III-era games (GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas), which are among my all-time favorite games. I typically ignore this compulsion or simply spend a few minutes with the iPhone version of GTA III; I get my small dose of nostalgia but invariably stop playing because, despite Rockstar's best efforts, these are not games that work well on a touchscreen.
An improved re-release of San Andreas was exciting news for me--while a release on Xbox One or PS4 would have been ideal, a cheap Xbox 360 version with improved graphics, better draw distance, and achievements sounds like a great way to revisit the game.
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