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Top Fun Gifts for Tech Lovers Under $40
Do you have friends who are more into gadgets and technology that it seems like a crazy obsession almost? Are you trying really hard to get something that won't be quickly replaced by the next model,
or the smaller and faster machine? Well, then this guide is for you. Gadgets can make excellent gifts, especially for the tech-savvy. However, a vast majority of them can be extremely deadly to your
budget. So what should you do in these cases? Surprisingly, there are many options available to you today. Before we go into the top gadgets gifts, here are some tips :
Don't go for the older model of something because it's cheaper. If your friend is really tech-savvy, he/she will want to get the newer one anyway.
Make sure that these gadgets are useful or fun and won't be extra work or cost for them. For example, avoid getting something like a car security device that requires long installation time and effort.
If you get something that needs batteries to run, include the batteries in it.
Always try to bundle something with the gift that will increase the effectiveness of the gift or help in some other way. For example, I often recommend bundling theLight
In The Darkness program with many things because it helps remove the financial pressure on someone and is super cheap for what it offers.
If it's a battle between something that's useful and sentimental, always get the pragmatic gift for a guy, and the sentimental/decorative gift for the woman.
Here's a quick look at some of the different options available to you for gift giving this holiday season. All of the following gadgets cost $40 or lower:
Scrolling License Plate Frame :
The scrolling license plate frame is for those who get bored of the meaningless license plate pretty quick and would rather have a message to go with their license plates. The frame displays a scrolling
message on the back of the car. The messages are customizable and you can create your own messages with it. Here's what the Scrolling License Plate Frame offers:
License plate frame features a built-in scrolling message display.
Create up to five custom messages with up to 120 characters each.
Moms Put ParkFX to the Test
There are no government statistics, but some estimate the family car killed as many as 500 children across the country last year. And the accidents happened in their own driveways.
While some may wonder what kind of parent could do that, Rachel Clemens said it could happen to just about anyone.
Two years ago, her daughter Adrianna wandered out of her Garland home.
That’s when Adrianna's father accidentally backed over the child with his SUV.
"He didn't see her," Clemens said. "That was the last day I saw my daughter alive."
So, how could you not see a child behind the family car?
Three Dallas moms agreed to take a safety test with the understanding that they would not know exactly what the tests were about.
While they were distracted filling out a questionnaire, Drivaware and Safe4Kids placed an orange cone about 8-feet behind their vehicles and the drivers were then asked to back up.
All three plowed right over the cone.
"Did I just run over something?" Adrienne Ludlow as said as she backed up.
"Oh, I hit the cone," said Amy Gordon.
"I figured it was a branch or something," said Merideth Manning.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids measured the blind spot behind each of their vehicles. The Honda Pilot had a blind spot over 30 feet, an Infiniti G35 about 18 feet and a Chevy Tahoe more than 35 feet.
The eye-opening experiment had all three women interested in the same thing, which was looking into safety equipment like ParkFX or a rear sensor that beeps faster the closer a driver gets to an object.
Safety cameras mounted on the rear of car are also available. The cameras relay a picture of the blind spot to a screen on the dashboard.
Both technologies are available on new cars with after-market installation costs less than $500.
"I would absolutely buy it, but wouldn't think of it until you came over and showed me how dangerous this could possibly be," Gordon said.
Attorney Windle Turley represents the Clemens family, which sued Nissan, the maker of the family's SUV. They claim the technology should have been standard equipment. The case is still pending.
"Manufacturers take off this needed safety equipment so they can market their vehicle a little bit lower in price than their competitors; and that's really wrong,” Turley said.
The trade group representing automakers says, "the best defense against back-over accidents is to check around the vehicle before you back up."
"That does not work and you're sending the wrong signal,” Clemens said.
Clemens, and several lawmakers in Washington, support legislation that would require automakers to put back-over safety equipment on all new cars.
Experts say it would add up to $200 to the price.
"To me, I think to anybody, any parent, the cost is nothing compared to a child's life," Clemens said.
There are no official numbers, but one safety group estimates that in Texas more than 90 children have been killed in or around parked vehicles in the last 15 years.
Christmas Gift Ideas
For Car Lovers
‘Tis the season, as they say, when we start dreaming up wish lists and dropping hints to our loved ones. For the automotive enthusiast or anyone
on the go, here are some holiday gift ideas to make it a very merry Christmas.
Satellite Radio ($50 and up for radio, subscription $10-15/month)
Becoming more popular all the time, satellite radio is a wonderful gift idea for anyone spending large chunks of time on the road. Portable models can fit onto any vehicle and offer excellent
sound quality through your car’s speakers. With hundreds of channels of listening options, satellite radio is the gift that keeps on giving (provided you keep up with the subscription
fee, of course).
MP3 Player Attachment ($30-99)
For another audio option, consider an MP3 dock. Most plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and transmit an FM signal through the vehicle’s stereo with little to no sacrifice in
sound quality. Some will even recharge your MP3 player during playback. Some models limit the choice of available FM signals, while upscale versions have more options and clearer transmission.
Self-Heating/Cooling Travel Mugs ($15-35)
Does your coffee lose its steam on those long commutes? Is the ice in your soda melting too quickly during the summer? Try a mug that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter to heat or
cool your beverage as necessary. Most have multiple temperature settings and will emit a small beep when the desired level has been reached.
Roadside Emergency Kit ($35-85)
On the more practical side, another gift idea (and something that should be in the trunk of every vehicle) is an emergency kit. These
supply collections typically include necessities such as jumper cables, a flashlight, and work gloves, but many kits with even more to offer. Some will have a heavy-duty tow rope, first aid
equipment, flares, and a tire pump. Most kits are packaged in a convenient carry-all and don’t take up too much space. If you have a younger driver or live in an unforgiving climate a
roadside kit is a gift that can be a lifesaver.
Portable JumpStarter ($50-125)
No one likes getting stranded with a dead car battery, which have a habit of letting you down at the worst possible moment. A portable JumpStarter can prevent that hassle. Typically less than
20 pounds and about the size of a toaster, JumpStarters vary in available battery life and power, and most need an overnight recharge every couple of months. Some include gauges that display
how much charge they have left to offer, or indicate just when recharging is necessary.
Digital Key Chain Tire Gauge ($5-25)
For a handy stocking stuffer, consider a tire gauge that doubles as a key chain. Tires not inflated properly can hinder a vehicle’s handling capability, increase tire wear, and potentially
be a safety hazard. They will also detract from your vehicle’s gas mileage. These keychains connect to your tire’s air nozzle
and show their psi with a digital display. Check your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s recommended pressure and adjust accordingly.
Remote Starter (Key-FOBs $20-70, Installation varies)
During these cold winter months, a remote starter is an enviable amenity. Sitting cozily in your home, you can ignite and warm your engine before venturing out into an early morning blizzard.
You can buy a remote starter at most auto parts stores but you may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic or dealer to have the transmitter installed.
GPS Navigation System ($200-700)
Portable global positioning systems have been out for a couple of years and have improved in reliability and ease of use. Most provide software updates to account for changing traffic patterns
and are very handy when traveling. More upscale models offer a voice-prompted navigation aid and their maps have more detail. Some systems can also self-adjust their screen’s brightness
based on outside weather conditions. For anyone that is “directionally challenged”, a GPS can be the most useful Christmas gift around.
Automotive gifts are both practical and fun, and some can even keep you out of harm’s way. Treat your favorite road warrior (or yourself)
and above all, have a great holiday. AutoExtra.com: We’re all you need.
Gifts With Vroom
Shopping for a passionate car lover this holiday season? Here are ten vroom-worthy car gifts sure to accelerate excitement
Auto advertisements are, without a doubt, at their most unrealistic during the holidays. The clichéd Christmas morning TV spot usually has a gift-receiver quizzically finding a set of keys
in a tiny box, then rushing to the window and—surprise!—discovering a previously overlooked new car waiting in the driveway. Sometimes there's even an oversized bow. Probable? Not really.
Even setting aside the questionable practicality of such a stunt, gifting a new car is more than unlikely. Deciding on options, colors, and financing decisions, not to mention arranging insurance
and title, tends to cull even the strongest inclinations towards holiday whimsy. But car lovers need not despair. The holidays can still be filled with copious auto-related gifts within every budget,
from under $25 to way over $10,000.
Enthusiasts who get a rise out of practical gifts could have a lot to look forward to in particular—the old jokes about ties and sweaters notwithstanding. There's the low-cost Griffin's
iSqueez that just may very well be the easiest and least-expensive automotive retrofit in history. The $9.95 rubber iPod stand molds to fit most cup holders, all without scratching your iPod in
And though in the world of auto gifts floor mats are admittedly conservative, for the right person—especially someone who uses the car for work—water and mud-proof mats may prove the
gift that keeps on giving day to day. Edge-to-edge full-cuts like the ones made by RubberTite means mats protect the maximum amount of surface area.
Other practical gift ideas range widely. There are sophisticated electronics, like the $399 Magellan RoadMate 2000 GPS navigation system and the less expensive $149 PNI Silver Bullet Radar Detector.
Then again, there are equally useful low-tech options, like Yakima's SkyBox Pro 21, which enables travelers to carry an additional 21 cubic feet of stuff wherever they go.
Hardcore brand loyalists have it made too. That's because the world's most luxurious and exclusive auto nameplates—from Aston Martin to Lamborghini—offer branded accessories and companion
products. Such licensed products are often geared toward current owners and niche enthusiasts. They make great gifts whether you're already in the club or still saving up.
Hardcore BMW fans all hail the power-mad "M" signifier. That's because M badged versions of BMW's cars are even sportier and more powerful than the company's regular fare. True enthusiasts
can now carry that badge on their wrists with the Tourneau-made M Power Watch for $250. It features classic BMW looks, especially the precision dials.
But some brand loyalists need more than a wrist-top reminder of what's waiting for them in the garage. Enter the Ferrari & Colnago CF2 high-performance mountain bike. This is one brand extension
that proves adept at its purpose. Like the supercars, the CF2 is made of carbon and light alloys, and it has hydraulic disc brakes. Not to mention a body design worthy of the Ferrari name. Price:
Of course, there are still extravagant options for those not fazed by the dealership experience and determined to pull the ultimate surprise. Real enthusiasts will tell you that the Porsche 911
Carrera is the closest man has yet come to engineering perfection in a sports car. And that's why the 911 makes the best over-the-top, all-out car gift. The only difficulty is finding a big enough
bow. Price: $72,400.
Compare Backup Sensors & Cameras to ParkFX for the Most Reliable Backup Warning Technology
Not all reversing aids are equal. The sensing technology and the indicating method are critical to your driving safety.
How A Park Assist System Alerts You
One option is video, which at first seems like a great choice. But one major flaw with having a video camera affixed to the back of your car with a monitor on your dashboard is
that it also forces you to look forward while backing up. That can disturb your perception, your reaction time, and feel very unnatural. They are also extremely expensive, and you'll pay thousands
of dollars to have a video system attached to your car, whether from the dealer or an aftermarket supplier.
Compare that to other bargain basement devices which actually have LED displays (little red lights) on your dashboard. These are cumbersome -- almost useless -- for much the same
reason as video: when you drive in reverse, you naturally look behind you, and you'll never see the little red lights. They are also hard to read in bright sunlight.
Some other bargain technologies use a tone which beeps more rapidly as you get closer to an obstacle. You can at least hear the relative distance just by listening to the beeps,
but you have to practice a bit to really understand how far you are from danger.
That's why an audible voice sensor is best. It tells you in a spoken voice exactly how far away you are. Not only do you not have to awkwardly
look forward at your dashboard,
you'll know without guessing how much further you can safely back up.
How A Reversing Aid Detects Objects
If you've never seen or used a reversing aid, you might be surprised at how technically advanced they actually can be.
Reversing aids use a variety of technologies to sense an object behind the car. Some units use Doppler radar, and others use infrared sensors, but by far the most accurate method of detection
is the one the U.S. Navy uses on its submarines: sonar.
Sonar can operate in any weather, including direct sunlight or rain. And it doesn't require that the car be moving in order to sense an obstruction.
How To Avoid Car Gadgets & Choose the Right Park Assist Technology for Your Driving Safety
Aftermarket companies offer three types of backup systems: rear-view cameras, sensor systems, and mirror tilt-down. Use Types to
decide which type best suits your needs. For all camera and sensor systems, we recommend professional installation.
No matter what type of system you choose, consider these things when deciding on a specific model:
Know how the device mounts on your vehicle.
Camera and sensor systems that are mounted on the vehicle’s bumper or bodywork may necessitate drilling. They may not be the best choice if you lease your vehicle.
If you have a hitch, you can consider a model that mounts in the trailer-hitch receiver. But you would have to remove the system to use your hitch.
Other camera and sensor models mount on the license-plate frame. But some states prohibit frames because they can obscure the plate.
Within types, features vary. This is especially true with the sensor models we tested. The ultrasonic systems were generally the most sensitive, but their performance was adversely affected
by rain, snow, or other inclement weather.
The microwave-based sensor systems we tested were not affected by weather but are less sensitive as a group. They also don’t warn the driver unless the vehicle or object behind it is moving.
The display quality of the camera-based models is very good, although it doesn’t match that of the larger screens on some carmakers’ systems. Most of the system displays turn on when the
vehicle shifts into reverse, but one, the Audiovox, must be turned off and on manually.