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Gifts to grab.





Your favorite phone of yesteryear is battling to return to your pocket. BlackBerry has resurrected its iconic device with a touch screen and reinforced stainless-steel frame. And while it still has a physical keyboard, there's no finicky trackball. The Passport Silver Edition ($549) looks like, well, a passport, with a 4.5-inch-square screen covered in rugged Gorilla Glass and framed in sophisticated metal. The keyboard is now touch-sensitive, giving it all the features of that antiquated trackball--just run your thumb across the keys to scroll through webpages or move the cursor. The Passport is big enough to perform well as an e-reader and hold a battery nearly too times the size of the one for an iPhone 6.



Few tech accidents are more devastating than plunging into the pool with a phone in your pocket. But if you have Motorola's Moto G ($150) in your swim trunks, you can dry it off and go on with your day. This Android phone can survive being submerged for half an hour, a trick that few smartphones can match. The Gorilla Glass-covered phone is also highly customizable: You can choose the colors of the handset's front, back and accent panels and engrave your name on the back shell. So if someone finds it in the pool, they'll know where to return it.



Perhaps the most impressive attributes of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 ($696) are its accessories: the pen stylus you've come to love and a new kind of case that includes a physical keyboard. Pop the stylus out of its slot to jot notes on your screen (even when the phone is locked), annotate PDFs, or screen-grab and mark up Web pages. The keyboard case snaps onto the bottom of the phone's display, and the 5.7-inch tall screen recognizes the typing--you don't even have to connect the devices via Bluetooth. The keyboard can then be snapped onto the back of the phone for storage. And unlike other phablet-size phones, the Note5's body is curved, making it easier to handle.



Tablets are handy in airplanes, but not so much when you're skydiving out of one. Enter Dell's Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet ($1,999). This device is designed to withstand a beating. Its 11.6-inch high-definition screen is reflection-proof Gorilla Glass that protects it from water and dust; you can even use the touch screen when you're wearing thick gloves. Battling extreme temps in the Sahara or Antarctica? Or just want to feel as if you could? No problem. The tablet's fourth-generation QuadCool thermal management system keeps the device running regardless of the conditions. The Latitude 12 also contains a GPS unit, a Wi-Fi beacon and encryption software so you can daydream about falling off the grid even if you're never close to the edge.



Smartphone cameras grow more professional with each hardware upgrade, but none compare to the highly sensitive digital single-lens reflex cameras, DSLR for short. The DxO One ($599) aims to change that. This pocket-sized DSLR--at 1 inch, the world's smallest sensor camera--connects to your iOS device's Lightning port (the slot for your charger) and turns your phone or tablet into a giant viewfinder. You can then use an app to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, exposure and more. The camera's aluminum case swivels, so you can set your phone on a tripod for long-exposure shots. And because the camera connects to your phone via the Lightning port as opposed to Wi-Fi, you don't need an Internet connection. Bonus points: The DxO One contains its own battery and memory card, so it won't drain your iPhone battery or monopolize memory.



Bike rearview mirrors reveal only so much when a car sneaks up from behind. Garmin's new Varia Rearview Bike Radar ($200), which wirelessly attaches to your handlebars, can detect multiple vehicles from up to 150 yards away. When a car approaches, a display of yellow bulbs lights up. The device simultaneously makes the bike's headlights and tail lights grow brighter, warning the driver that he or she is approaching a cyclist. When the car has passed, the display turns green. Also nifty: As you pedal faster, the smart headlight projects its focus point farther down the road, illuminating more of your route.



The popular plastic Pebble smartwatch has received getting a brawny, grown-up upgrade. Pebble Time, the company's second-generation timepiece, is now available in an ergonomic all-metal version. Pebble Time Steel ($250) comes with two bands, one stainless and one leather. The watch syncs with your iPhone or Android device to deliver all of the notifications you could ever want (calendar events, breaking news or incoming calls, for example), and the always-on color display stays charged for 10 days. From Pebble's own store you can download watch faces or more than 8,000 apps from brands such as Uber and ESPN. In the future, the company's interchangeable bands may come with features such as heart-rate monitors or embedded batteries to ensure your watch is the smartest in the room.



The Arduino DIY electronics platform certainly sounds fun. With it, you can build anything from an interactive alarm clock to a tree-climbing robot. But if you don't know anything about transistors, capacitors or resistors, shopping for the individual project components can be intimidating. (No idea what any of those things do? You are not alone.) The Arduino Basic Kit ($84) takes the guesswork out of assembling your startup materials. The package contains more than 150 components, including wires, sensors, motors; instructions for 15 projects, and a wooden case to store it all in. You'll be building Arduino-powered graphing calculators in no time.



To travel lighter when backpacking, carry double-duty gadgets. The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro ($80) ups the ante: it's a three-in-one wireless Bluetooth speaker, LED flashlight and battery bank for charging other devices. The rugged, water-resistant tool has four light settings--torch, lantern, strobe and dim lantern--and can juice up your phone on a single charge. The Buckshot Pro also works great on bicycle handlebars, simultaneously lighting your path, playing your tunes and charging your camera, so you're ready for whatever pops out of the woods.



Want to show your puppy some love even when you're on the road? Toss him a bone from the Petzi Treat Cam ($170). This remote dispenser includes a camera and loudspeaker so you can watch your pooch from afar and say comforting things to him--or just confuse him. Mount the dispenser to your wall at puppy level or Velcro it to your couch, and when you like what you see, instruct the Petzi to launch a treat into your living room. The camera's night-vision capabilities mean you never miss a chance to reward your furry friend for not chewing on the coffee table.



If you have thousands of photos on your phone and none on your refrigerator, the pocket-sized Polaroid Zip Instant ($130) is here to help. Send your digital image to this mobile printer via Bluetooth, and 60 seconds later it spits out a smudge-proof, physical print. Remember those? Polaroid Zip uses a specialty paper that doesn't require ink, so you never have to deal with refilling cartridges. Each full-color print is 2-by-3-inches, and the back can be peeled off to reveal an adhesive for affixing it around your home or office. If you want to be clever, you could even stick one on your phone case.



Imagine being able to live-stream aerial footage of your child's graduation for family members who aren't able to attend. Or take overhead photos of an entire wedding procession. DJI's Phantom 3 Advanced drone ($999) is an easy-to-use tool for experimental pros and everyday novices. Whichever you are, DJI's app includes a flight simulator so you don't crash it while it's getting warmed up. The Phantom 3 can fly as high as 1,640 feet and stay there for 23 minutes. Its integrated camera rotates on all three axes, staying stable in any conditions and letting you record film or take photos straight down. The drone is integrated with YouTube, so you can stream live video directly to the site and save your footage.



If you're a cyclist, you know how obnoxious it is to be that guy who rides his bike to a party and then walks around the whole time wearing cleats. But carrying extra shoes is a drag, and trying to ride clipless pedals (the kind you use with cleats) with party shoes is nearly impossible. Not anymore. Fly Pedals universal adaptors ($45) snap onto your bike's clipless pedals and have a flush top, instantly turning them into platform pedals (the flat kind you use with sneakers). The adaptors are light, snap in and out easily, and come with pegs to grip your soles in case you're challenged to a road race while garbed in off-duty footwear.



Computer code is the foreign language of the future. Sphero's SPRK Edition robot ($130) turns coding into a fun, educational game for kids and adults. Using simple commands on a tablet, you can instruct the Bluetooth-enabled ball to roll, flip, spin and change colors. The spherical robot's shell is made of clear polycarbonate so you can watch the engine glow as you command it to roll across the floor and through obstacle courses. As you improve your programming fluency, the commands become more complex. And when you're ready to break from learning, you can drive it like an old-school remote-controlled vehicle at up to 4.5 mph.



If gaming on your cellphone gives you hand cramps, it's time to upgrade to the Razer Serval Android Gamepad ($80). This full-size video game controller--which has the same buttons, pads, sticks and triggers as an Xbox controller--has an adjustable clip to cradle your Android device and makes mobile gaming much easier. The gamepad runs on AA batteries and connects to your phone via Bluetooth so you can play games without touching your screen. You can even use the controller in conj unction with a tablet, PC or TV, and turn your mobile phone into a second screen for playing back your best clips.
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Author:Sheppard, Alyson
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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