All I Want For Christmas/Kwanza Is Tech

Here are all the things I want to find under the tree if anyone's asking.
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Publish date:
December 14, 2014
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gift guides, holidays, gift guide, gift giving, weekend, Tech Gifts

I'm a tech journalist, so I spend every week of the year covering, reviewing, and writing about tons of awesome gadgets, devices, and accessories. Despite what you might think, I don't get to keep most of the stuff I review. And even though a new thing is always on the horizon, there are some gadgets I would love to have for my very own. And since it's holiday time that means it's wish list time. Here are all the things I want to find under the tree if anyone's asking.

Lenovo Carbon X1 ($1124)

Hands down, if I could only pick one gift to receive this year it would be this laptop. I'm always looking for a computer that balances power and portability since I have to carry the thing around with me all the time. I need light, but I also need something that can encode a video in minutes vs hours, handle dozens of tabs open at once, and has a screen and resolution large enough that I can have two windows open side-by-side.

This 2.8 pound marvel fits my needs exactly. And since it's a ThinkPad, it can handle accidental drops, less than careful handling, spills, and other mishaps. Plus, I can customize it to fit my needs, meaning a Core i7 processor and Windows 7 (death to Windows 8). All that and it's beautiful. Want.

Samsung NX30 ($650)

Aside from a laptop, the other gadget I'm always on the lookout for is a good camera. The NX30 is not too bulky and not too heavy, but that's not why I love it best. I can take great pictures with very little effort or know-how. It focuses quickly (and the auto focus isn't fidgety or constantly re-adjusting), balances light at a tap, and is just as good for video as still images. I also love that the screen swivels out and all the way around so I can take selfies and so I can keep myself in frame when recording video.

On top of that, it connects wirelessly to my phone so I can transfer and then share images right away. It's not as simple as the Android-ified Galaxy Camera 2, but I find that the extra step isn't tedious at all.

V-Moda XS Headphones ($180)

You may remember these from my roundup of fashionable headphones. I still love them best out of all the models I've tried this year (though the larger Crossfade M-100's are a very close second and what I wear when winter hits) because of the amazing audio quality, the sturdy metal construction, and the compact, folding design.

Sony Hi Res Walkman (NWZA17SLV) ($300)

Several years ago I got a Sony Walkman X and fell in love with the audio quality. There were other aspects of the device I didn't like, but the quality and the fact that I could play my rented Xbox Music tracks on it meant that it was my constant companion up until my latest Android phone. But now I'm tempted back to the separate MP3 player world by this beauty. The audio quality is so much better than any smartphone and it can play hi-res and lossless formats, something that makes my audiophile heart flutter.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 ($200)

So y'all know how I love big phones, right? Well, this is the newest generation of the big phone I like best. It's not so much of an upgrade over the Note 3 that I ran out to buy it, but I would not object to switching at all. Beautiful, high resolution screen? Check. Handy digital pen? Check. Fast internal hardware? Check. Can't fit into my pocket? Check.

This is why I have a fancy purse for it.

Karma Go ($150)

This little Wi-Fi hotspot is very handy for when I'm traveling or can't get a decent signal at a cafe. Yes, I have mobile hotspot capability on my phone, but it's way too easy to go over my mobile allotment that way and the charges are ridiculous. With Karma you pay $14 for 1GB of data and that data doesn't expire. Score one.

The other awesome aspect is that you can earn free data. Whenever you turn on the hotspot it generates an open Wi-Fi network others can connect to. They won't have access to your devices -- everything is separated, firewalled, siloed -- but will be able to get onto the Internet. Whenever someone new signs into your hotspot, you get 250MB of free data (and so do they). The Karma Go, out very soon, uses Sprint's 4G and 4G LTE networks.

Nvidia Shield Tablet ($300)

I'm not a hard core gamer, and even though this tablet was made for gamers I still want it -- because it's the best 8-inch tablet I've come across all year. It's light, slim, looks really good, and has an amazing display. It also comes with a pen that is almost as good as the one on the Galaxy Note. I use my tablet for taking notes as well as reading, so all of this stuff is important. If I happen to grab the wireless controller and start driving over pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto, well, that's just a bonus, isn't it?

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard ($50)

Between my tablet, my phone, and my laptop, I am constantly switching between devices both at home and while I'm out or traveling. I have a Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with any one of these devices that makes getting work done while mobile much easier. But every time I have to switch I need to re-connect and sometimes re-pair the keyboard and device. Doing that all the time gets aggravating. This Logitech keyboard can be paired to three things simultaneously and switches between them with the turn of the dial -- no fuss. That's enough to make me want it, but the fact that it's a great keyboard means I really need it.

Logitech will have me tell you that this isn't meant to be a portable keyboard and, no, it's not the thinnest or the lightest. I personally don't care -- I'd carry it with me everywhere.

Fujifilm instax SHARE Smartphone Printer SP-1 ($150)

Did you know that instant film is making a comeback? Oh yes. There are now several different cameras that take old school Polaroid-style instant pictures, including this fancy one from Lomo. While I like the idea of such cameras, I would miss all the nice options my smartphone camera offers (not to mention the NX30 up there). This portable printer splits the difference. It prints photos from your smartphone or other Bluetooth connected camera using the same instant film. Just connect up, open the app, choose your pictures (and crop them), then in a few minutes you have a physical, shareable photo. I really want this for family reunions and cons.

Stromer ST1 Platinum ($4,250)

I like to bike but with my knees it's not always easy to deal with the hills in my neighborhood. Thus my desire for an electric bike. It's capable of zooming along at up to 30 MPH and assisting me with hills on days when my knees go I CAN'T.

How many of these gadgets do you want for the holidays?