Technically Speaking…The most geektastic time of year 

By Scott Baughman

It’s that time of year again – our annual tech gift review for the Christmas season! Of course, here in 2021 in a world that is still struggling with the Coronavirus Pandemic the tech landscape looks quite a bit different for this holiday season.

I could regale you with tails of supply chain woes, manufacturing facility shutdowns and job losses due to quarantines. But while those are all critical elements of the current situation, they aren’t THE CRUCIAL part of what might make this holiday’s tech gadget shopping season a test of the patience. The crux of the issue? There’s a worldwide computer chip shortage. If you’ve been looking at automobiles any time recently you are well aware of this as new cars are almost unheard of since the modern cars use many, many microprocessors. Without a refill of those components from the chip makers overseas, American car-makers and their overseas counterparts are scrambling to get replacement parts to keep making new cars. This has also caused the price of used cars to jump up due to increased demand.

But we’re not going to let that curtail our enthusiasm for gadgets for Christmas, so here are my top picks – buy them if you can find them!

Nintendo Switch OLED: The gang over at Nintendo has been putting the “game” back in Video Game for years now ever since they redefined motion-gaming with their amazing Nintendo Wii. Now the Switch hasn’t had the same critical or commercial acclaim as the Wii but it is by far the most accessible and easily enjoyed by all ages amongst the current generation of consoles. With its removable controllers and separate touchscreen that can be handheld like a large tablet or connected to a TV like a traditional console, the Switch is taking it to the next level with a new built-in OLED display. You can grab one for Santa to drop down the chimney for $349

Nothing Ear (1): It may read like a strange name, but this competitor to Apple’s Airpods and Beats Earbuds is a great alternative for audiophiles who want to listen to their tunes on – what else? – their Smartphone. Or tablet. Or laptop. Or Desktop – do people use Desktop computers anymore? I digress. But the Nothing Ear (1) pair of buds is competitively priced, wireless and Bluetooth connected and has active noise cancellation. They’re just $99 a pair.

Theragun Pro: Look, It’s been a tough year. I mean, not 2020 level tough but crazy nonetheless and so we could all use a little stress relief, right? Naturally in THIS column I’ll be suggesting using some hi-tech method of making yourself feel better. Enter, the Theragun Pro. This “percussive therapy device” thumps your muscles at high speeds to simulate a soft-tissue massage at home. It’s a mere $599 but if you’ve got aches and pains, it might be worth it.

Braun Series 9 9390CC Electric Shaver: We’re all still social distancing and way more people than ever before are working from home now. But while it’s up in the air about how long that’s going to last, one thing that has become almost standard is what I affectionately call – the “scruffy nerfheder look” for most men and their beards. But you’ve got to shave some time, right? And why not do it in style and sleek tech goodness with this electric razor from Braun. It has five shaving elements, uses sonic vibrations to glide over your face while slicing more than one hair at a time and even has a wet shave mode with 20 percent more battery life. It’s $250.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch: It wouldn’t be a Christmas list from me here in the new millennium without at least one marquee Apple product, and this is IT! The iPad – like the iPhone – defined a new category of gadget in the tablet world and basically the touchscreen device is now so ubiquitous that it may as well have redefined life as we know it on planet Earth. Ahem…so I may have gotten a LITTLE carried away with the bombastic intro, but seriously the iPad Pro is a powerful device that can edit video (on a touchscreen!) produce amazing images with photo editing software, make an award-winning podcast or simply check your email and do some video chats. Want to get away from the touchscreen? It can utilize a keyboard. Fancy getting all artsy on us? Use the Apple Pencil to treat the iPad Pro just like your old trusty “dead tree format” notebook. And this tablet has the powerful M1 chip just like the MacBook Air laptop. $1,200.

So, there you have it, my recommendations for top tech gadgets – good luck shopping out there and Merry Christmas. Until next time, download complete!

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