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From tablets to TVs and tons of other media devices and connected services, everything you need to please your tech geeks and nerds (manaemedia/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
From tablets to TVs and tons of other media devices and connected services, everything you need to please your tech geeks and nerds (manaemedia/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Technology Gift Guide

10 can't-miss last-minute tech gifts Add to ...

Tablet: iPad mini

Not just a small iPad, the 7.9-inch form factor of the mini makes it a completely different device than anything else on the market. It’s bigger than the seven-inch displays used by many competitors, but still small enough to be held comfortably in one hand. Thin and light, the devices sport an aluminum and glass design similar to that used by Apple on the new iPhones and are available in either black with slate trim or white with silver trim. It’s not the cheapest small-size tablet – WiFi only is $329 (16 GB), $429 (32 GB), $529 (64 GB); WiFi and cellular goes for $459 (16 GB), $559 (32 GB), $659 (64 GB) – but the benefit to getting an iPad mini is that it runs the thousands of apps that have been designed for the iPad. (Limited quantities at the Apple store, so call ahead!) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

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Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung’s top-selling handset is the most popular Android smartphone on the planet, and with good reason. Its giant 4.8-inch, high-definition screen is bliss to view, it has a terrific eight-megapixel camera that may occasionally convince you to leave your dedicated picture popper at home, and its speedy 1.5 GHz Snapdragon processor seems custom made to deliver a silky smooth Android experience. Plus, word has it Samsung will be rolling out an operating system update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for Canadian customers before the end of the year, ensuring this device keeps its place as one of the most coveted available. ($600, or starting at about $150 with a contract; samsung.com/ca, available at phone and electronics retailers) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Windows 8 laptop: HP Spectre One

An elegant all-in-one Windows 8 desktop PC, the Spectre One measures 0.45-inch thick with a curved back and a 23.6-inch 1080p (1920x1080) display. It runs on the latest Intel Core processors, a one gigabyte (GB) Nvidia graphics card and optional solid state drive (SSD). HP’s TouchZone near field communication (NFC) technology lets you tap a smartphone or NFC tags on the computer’s base to log in or instantly transfer content. You also get two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) input and Beats Audio. The included trackpad is designed for navigating Windows 8 as if it were a touchscreen, complete with special gestures for specific tasks. (starting at $1,299; hp.com/canada, available everywhere computers are sold) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Camera: Canon Rebel T4i

Canon’s latest consumer single-lens reflex (SLR) is a satisfyingly full-featured camera with all the functions and features most amateur shutterbugs are likely to need, and then some. Its 18-megapixel image sensor paired with Canon’s stock 18- to 55-millimetre EF-S IS II lens work together to capture gorgeous stills and stunning full high-definition video. Advanced perks – such as high-dynamic range (HDR) backlight control, which snaps multiple shots with different settings then stitches them together for a professional-grade image – make snapping the perfect shot easier than ever. Plus, its large and clear four-inch, variable-angle touchscreen can be manipulated to suit any situation, from self portraits to overhead shots in crowds. ($899.99; canon.ca, still available at Future Shop) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

TV: Samsung 55-inch 8000 series

If you are like most people, the TV remote is always getting misplaced. No matter, because this “smart” TV can be controlled with voice commands and gestures. Need to change the channel? Simply stand up and wave your hand. A built-in camera at the top of the screen means your TV can recognize you and allows for Skype video calls from your living room. ($2,500; samsung.ca, available at most chain electronics retailers) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Audio: Sonos wireless hi-fi

These simple and flexible devices are speakers and more. They connect to your wireless network, allowing you to place them nearly anywhere you’ve got a power outlet. They allow you to stream your entire music library from your computer. You can also access radio stations and other music services. The Play:3 ($329) can be oriented horizontally or vertically and the Play:5 ($449) includes a line-in. A wireless sub-woofer ($749) is also available. You can control the speakers independently, playing music in the bedroom while having talk radio on in the kitchen, for example. Best of all, you can manage the devices with your smartphone. These and more components available at Best Buy. (sonos.com) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Blu-Ray/DVD player: Panasonic 3D Blu-ray Player

If you’re going to get something that plays discs, the slimline BDT320 also has built-in WiFi and can connect to your home network to access music, photos and video from your computer. It will also play 3D discs and can convert standard definition videos so they look more like HD. With an optional camera, the machine also delivers Skype functionality on your television. And you can control the device with an app on your iPhone. ($250; panasonic.ca, and available at Best Buy) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Video game console: NintendoWii U

With a new Playstation and Xbox likely to arrive in the next year, don’t buy those old systems, go with the latest: Nintendo’s game system (launched this fall) comes in two configurations: The basic system ($300) comes in white with eight GB of hard-drive space, and a deluxe edition ($350) is black and has a 32 GB hard drive (go for the deluxe, it is much more bang for your buck). The Wii U includes a new tablet-like controller called the GamePad, which allows for new gaming experiences. In Batman: Arkham City (Warner Bros.), for example, the GamePad gives players a display of what’s in Batman’s utility belt. While playing ZombiU (Ubisoft), gamers look through the GamePad to aim weapons and scan the area for zombies. (nintendo.ca) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Online services: Netflix

Netflix has been maligned since the service came to Canada, but the library of content available has steadily improved. You might not get the latest releases quickly, but the catalogue of films, TV shows and documentaries is still substantial and makes for a nice gift. You can opt to give a loved one a gift subscription from as low as $7.99 for one month or $95.88 for full year. Make sure they know they can watch on a smart TV, most smartphones, most tablets, all laptops, certain Blu-ray players, Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Box, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii (including the new Wii U). (Netflix.ca) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

Accessories: Logitech wireless headset H800

An indispensable headset that can just as easily work with Skype as it does your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Take calls, make calls or listen to music while you work. Use it with dictation apps, roam around away from the computer or smartphone during a call and then recharge the battery when needed. Works with both Windows and Mac software. ($119.99; logitech.com, available at most electronics retailers) (Click here for more ideas like this.)

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