So you got that iPad you wanted. You know you'll need a case to protect the expensive gizmo, right? And a keyboard would be nice, too. Here are some of my favorite things that go with the brand new electronics sitting under your tree.
Think about them as last-minute stocking stuffers for the gadgets you already bought (we hope) for Christmas. In the tech world this stuff is called peripherals -- use that word if you want to impress your local Best Buy salesman.
Let’s start with the iPad case. I have two favorites -- and trust me on this one: I’ve tested more than 70 different cases. More often than not I find myself using Apple’s very own black case, simply called the Apple iPad Case; it has a flip-back compartment that gives the case a wedge shape, perfect for typing. I know, I know: It doesn’t sound like an original choice. But there are many imitators and they all fall short of Apple’s slim design.
I’m also one of those people who hate cases, however. So I've searched and searched for a case that almost disappears, and eventually, I found just the one. The company iLuv makes my favorite slim case, something called the Flexi-Clear Case. It wraps around the iPad's back, snug as a bug, and fits much better than some of those other rubber or silicon cases.
In other peripheral news, you’ll need a printer to go with that brand new computer under the tree. Grab the Samsung CLP-315W Wireless Color Laser Printer. It’s a network-ready printer, which means that anyone can print from it over the home Wi-Fi network. I love the design of this particular model, because it isn’t bulky and it takes up very little space. Better yet, the print quality is fantastic for a price that’s hard to beat; I ordered one myself from Office Max for just $149.99 -- with free shipping.
Now that you've got a new smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player, you’ll want a speaker system to listen to some music. I’ve been testing the new travel-friendly, stocking-stuffer-sized Jambox from Jawbone. Turn on the Bluetooth connectivity on your phone and you can easily stream music to this incredibly powerful, room-filling gadget. It’s about the size of a few sticks of butter, but somehow pumps out 85 decibels of sound.
Heading to the beach? Take the Jambox. With eight hours of battery life you’ll have music for a full day of fun in the sun ... just leave the butter at home.
Are you one of those families with a few computers but no home Wi-Fi network? What is this, 2002? What you need is a Wi-Fi router that’s super simple to set up. I’ve tested and filled up a landfill with terrible routers and finally I have one to recommend: the new Valet Plus from Cisco. The software is effortlessly easy to use, and with a few clicks it had me up and running. It also has great range, letting me place a FaceTime video call in my driveway without any dropoffs.
Still using an old computer monitor from the mid 1990s even though you’re running a powerful new PC? It’s time to get a Samsung LED-monitor. The company makes some of my favorite TVs and monitors. The Samsung PX2370 is an affordable monitor that gets the job done. Its controls are easy to use and movies look beautiful on the LED screen.
Clayton Morris is a "Fox and Friends" host and the tech godfather behind the Gadgets and Games show. Follow Clayton's adventures online on Twitter @ClaytonMorris and by reading his daily updates at his blog.