HOUSTON – Just in: some last-minute tech stocking stuffer ideas. Most of these are still in stock at Houston-area stores, but I recommend you go to their websites to double check before you make the effort.
(Special thanks to Aio Wireless for letting me borrow some of these toys. Aio sells a lot of cool phones and accessories on its website.)
iFrogz Boost - $35 to $40 - Best Buy or Walmart
This little box boosts the volume of any smartphone – Android or iPhone. It doesn’t need cables, Bluetooth, or any other wireless connection. It taps into the audio coming out of your phone’s speaker, no matter what it is, and then boosts it. It can be powered by USB or three AA batteries. It doesn’t put out much bass, but it’s light and convenient.
Eskuche headphones - $60 - Best Buy
These little headphones have a nice retro look and several colors to choose from. The wire isn’t rubber – instead it feels like cloth. Most importantly, the audio quality is very good (comparable to that of $100+ headphones), and it does a good job of isolating outside noise.
HoodieBuddie - JCPenney or Sears - $20
This looks like a regular hoodie, but the draw strings have ear buds built in! There’s a zipper pouch to plug in and hide your MP3 player or smartphone. Of course it comes in dozens of colors and patterns. Act fast on this one! Only a few stores in Houston have it listed in stock.
Nokia Lumia 1520 - $199 (with 2-yr contract) – AT&T
The Nokia 1520 Windows phone will go nicely with any of the above devices (if you like a big phone)! This is the first Windows Phone with a 6-inch display and full 1080p video. Many call these size phones “phablets” (phone + tablet). The build quality is excellent, and while overall the device is large, it is also very thin. Paired up with AT&T 4G LTE (which PC Magazine says is the fastest in Houston), the Lumia 1520 is blazing fast and the graphics are smooth.