Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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eero creates a simple to set-up mesh network that covers everywhere you need it to. The software behind the eero is called TrueMesh, which understands how all the eeros in your home are connected. The system finds the best route for data so that it is the fastest possible connection throughout your home. It’s the first home WiFi system made up of three base units. One unit connects directly to your router and then the other two that are strategically placed in your home, automatically connect to the primary unit. If you have ethernet wired throughout the home, you can choose to plug them directly into the network through a wired connection, but otherwise, the eero units will connect wirelessly.

Eero is impressive because of its performance and its incredibly easy set-up. The system relieves stress by providing a consistent WiFi signal.


Orbi is the first tri-band home WiFi system. It makes sure that you have your home WiFi signal anywhere around your home — inside your home office, outside on your deck, or even in your pool. It’s an advanced system that is specifically designed to work with many devices on the same WiFi network. Orbi provides better coverage through its high power amplifiers and has faster speeds than first generation mesh systems and range extenders. Orbi will reach up to 5000 square feet of space and can press through barriers like walls, stairs, and doors.

In my opinion, the Orbi is a clear winner for ‘best mesh network system’. It has a very quick and easy setup, provides a solid, uninterrupted WiFi signal throughout our home and outdoor property, and it hasn’t faltered once since we installed it.


The 5D3 was designed for lightning fast workflows for creative professionals and small businesses that needed superior performance and high capacity storage. With it’s five drive-bay design and ability to hold up to 64TB of storage, it’s great to use as a central backup system as well as media storage for live video editing. Because it uses Thunderbolt 3, the 5D3 can transfer at speeds up to 800/346 MB/s read/write (with SSD + mSATA). The increased speed and Thunderbolt technology allow for more pixels and clarity on 4K/5K displays for editing purposes. You can also daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt devices together.

The Drobo 5D3 is made with the customer in mind. Drobo product designers and executives really did their research when they went to the drawing board for this impressive storage solution.


The Ring Floodlight Cam is the world’s only motion-activated HD security camera with built-in floodlights, a siren alarm, and two-way talk. The camera provides crystal-clear HD video with a 140-degree field of view, 8X zoom, and a 270-degree field of motion that allows you to detect motion around corners and monitor blind spots easily. The two ultra-bright LED floodlights (1,500-lumen LED bulbs that have a 3,000K color temperature) that are triggered by motion — or manually through the app — make it very easy to keep watch over your property. There are dual sensors with object and facial detection and ultra wide-angle motion sensors that can cover a very large, customizable motion zone.

As a security solution, I don’t think you can get much better than the super user-friendly Ring Floodlight Cam. It’s easy to install, connect to, and operate.


Ring Video Doorbell 2 provides users with a very capable security camera for the front of your house. The camera is a 1080P HD camera. It is an amazing home automation gadget. It allows you to know when the doorbell has been rung from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. I’ve tried a few options when it comes to this style of product and have not been very enthusiastic about the results until now.

I’m very happy to have the Ring Video Doorbell 2 available at my home. Not only does it provide me with the ability to communicate with welcome visitors, it also gives me a warm sense of security from potential threats to our home and family. I can’t recommend this system enough. I feel safer knowing that my home has the watchful eye of our Ring Video Doorbell on it.


Twelve South used full-grain leather inside and out on this case. There is a composite shell that holds the iPhone in place and even it has a leather inlay. The interior iPhone shell does not come apart from the rest of the wallet case. It is carefully stitched into place and very secure. The Journal has two slots for cards and you can comfortably fit 2 cards in each slot. There is a clear window pocket for your ID and a hidden pocket where you can stash cash or other loose cards.

The case comes in two colors — black or cognac. The Journal has a reinforced spine and hardcover that helps protect against drops and dings. Like the RelaxedLeather case, the shell of the Journal provides a nice cover for the iPhone’s camera bump. The iPhone’s camera sits flush with the rest of the camera back and it’s just a really nice touch to the design.


The Cableyoyo is designed to give you a safe place to store your wired earbuds. It’s a cord spool with a magnetic center that keeps your earbud wires wrapped up and tangle-free. The spool coils your earbuds so that they are ready for action the next time you want to use them. The unique feature of this device is the magnet in the center. The magnet pulls the earpieces toward the center so that they don’t twist and tangle when in transit from place to place.

The Cableyoyo is another daily companion of mine. Even though I tend to use my Apple Airpods quite a bit these days, I still have my yo-yo stowed away in my laptop bag with my wired earbuds in case the Airpods run out of battery power. It’s a tough little device and it’s a very welcome accessory to my laptop’s entourage.


The Cablebox is a very innovative device that provides users a sleek place to store their cables beneath their desk. Designed to work with power strips and surge protectors, the Cablebox is made from high-density, flame-retardant plastic. It’s very easy to install your existing power strip into the Cablebox. There are cutouts on each side of the box that allows for cables to pass through seamlessly. So you can simply lift your existing power strip or surge protector and lower it down into the Cablebox.

Even though you can use them to hide power strips in plain sight, you can also use them just to keep your cables organized. For example, we have our two Cableboxes stored inside of our networking cabinet. They keep all the power adapters and excess cabling tucked away so that when we have to reconfigure anything or restart our router, we aren’t fighting bundles of cables.


This case really provides a nice layer of protection without taking away from the style of the phone. The case is a burnished leather wallet shell and is made with genuine leather. Because it’s ‘real’ leather and not synthetic, the case will develop a lovely patina naturally with regular use. The inside of the case has a soft microfiber quilted backing to protect the phone’s outer casing from scratches.

Because it’s meant to protect and not just be a fashion accessory, Twelve South designed the RelaxedLeather case with a 1mm raised front edge to protect your phone from drops on its face. One major design change that Twelve South did for this case for the iPhone X launch was to add exterior pockets for IDs or credit cards. You can fit two cards quite easily in these pockets, but it’s recommended that you remove them when you charge wirelessly.


The MW50s are built with form and function in mind. Master & Dynamic created a beautiful, powerful product that provides its user with a rich, full listening experience. M&D uses premium materials to construct these exclusive headphones. Heavy grain premium cowhide is used on the exterior surface of the headband and ear cups while lambskin is used for the inside of the headband. The main frame is constructed with stainless steel and aluminum.

The MW50s are very comfortable to wear. I’ve used them for hours on end and found that my head doesn’t tire of having them on and my ears don’t get overheated like they do with some over-the-ear headphones. The MW50 On-Ear Wireless Headphones are a high-quality spectacular way to experience music and movies. They are comfortable, easy to use and are great for any type of user.


LandingZone has a great solution for the desk space-challenged — the Docking Station for the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. The LandingZone dock has 16 ports incorporated into its design. I have included the details from LandingZone’s website below. I’m very happy to have the use of the SD and Micro SD card slots without needing to plug in a card reader into my laptop. For my purposes, I decided to use the dock as with my laptop in standard mode so that I could continue to have a clean desk space and not overload it with an external monitor.

I think the LandingZone dock is a must-have for any MacBook Pro user with a limited amount of desk space. It makes it easy to connect to various devices without the need of multiple dongles and connectors and it cleans up your desk space.


Anki Overdrive is an advanced racing track that allows you to race against AI-powered supercars. The racing system comes packaged with a multi-configuration racetrack and two self-aware A.I. powered race cars. As a racer, you will control the vehicles wirelessly on a smartphone or tablet. The cool thing about the Fast & the Furious edition is that the characters from the film series apart of the game. You have the option of either racing with or racing against the Toretto crew from the movies. Each character has their own set of moves and it can make the game very interesting.

Anki Overdrive is sort of a cross between a video game and a Hot Wheels playset. I think that anyone of any age would have fun with this kit. It’s really enjoyable and it gives you that kid-on-Christmas-morning type feeling.


This device gives users the peace of mind that their vital signs are being monitored at a moment’s notice. MOCAheart measures your pulse wave velocity using its EKG and PPG sensors, and gives you an easy understanding of whether your PWV is in a healthy range using the Blood Velocity Index (MOCA Index). Combined with heart rate and blood oxygen measurements provided by MOCAheart in just 25 seconds, you’ll receive a holistic view of your heart health and by taking regular measurements, you can track how it improves over time. The MOCAheart app makes it easy to share your heart data with your doctor and loved ones, giving them reassurance and peace of mind.

MOCAheart is very easy to use an for a limited time, its being offered at special discount rates through the holiday season.

Original Price $119 11/20–12/3 $90 12/4–12/10 $99

12/11–1/3 $90


The Groot Bluetooth Speaker features the ‘toddler’ Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which was released earlier this summer in theaters. The device is officially authorized by Marvel so you know the details are precise. The speaker itself is fairly simple, but what makes this truly unique is Groot sitting atop the short, round cylinder. Connecting to the speaker is very easy. You simply flip the power switch and the device will appear as INFOTHINK BSP200 in your Bluetooth device menu. You will hear a tone play when your phone (or another device) successfully connects to the speaker. Probably the best part of this speaker is that it greets you with “I am Groot” every time you switch it on.

The Groot Bluetooth Speaker is definitely a must-have for any GOTG fan. Even if you don’t use it as a speaker, it’s a fabulous conversation starter and it’s just cute! The details that went into the statue part of the speaker are remarkable.


Inspired by New York’s seaside retreat, Sag Harbor, the briefcase has a fresh look with very careful tailoring and rich textures throughout the bag. It provides ample storage for all your daily needs and is perfect for when you have extended needs for travel as well. The bag has a fully padded laptop compartment that will house computers up to 15.6 inches. Just on the outside of the laptop compartment is a tablet pocket. Both sections are secured with a Velcro strap. I will tell you that it has come in handy more than once when I’ve upended the bag by accident. My laptop and iPad Air 2 have stayed safely in place.

When you carry a laptop and accessories to and from work every day, you want something reliable, comfortable to carry, and something large enough to fit all of your items. For me, the Sag Harbor briefcase is that bag.


These watch bands provide a very stylish option for Apple Watch users that is similar to other high-end watches. The band features stainless steel construction and provides high strength and resistance to water and sweat. The band expands up to 5”from its original size. It’s available in several different colors including brushed, black, and silver. The Twist-O-Flex band is great for casual or business wear. There are three sizes available — S/M, M/L, and L/XL and the bands are available for only the 42mm Apple Watch.

The Twist-O-Flex band is a great gift for Apple Watch users. It’s tough and installs really easily on the Apple Watch body. I’ve been using the band now for about a week and it’s comfortable, but will pull arm hair just a bit. I really love this band because it reminds me of the same type of band that my grandfather used to have. It’s a classic style and very durable.


If you are looking for a home or office security system that works, I would strongly consider the Arlo camera system. It’s a battery-powered video camera system that is 100% wireless. The system is built to withstand all weather conditions and it can be used indoors or outdoors. The cameras are easy to install. They are magnetic and can be placed anywhere that there is metal. The cameras offer full 720P HD video and they record using H.264. The Arlo cameras have full motion detection capabilities and send you automatic email alerts and push notifications. The night vision is impeccable and illuminates up to 25 feet. A cameras field of view is approximately 110º.

Even though the Arlo system is a bit more costly than its competitors, it is really a nice, well-thought out system that works extremely well.


I’ve been a fan of Bose products for many years because they have a reputation for designing great, high-end audio gear. I’m happy to say that the QuietComfort 35 II’s don’t disappoint and they really live up to the Bose quality name. The QuietComfort 35 II headphones are a follow-up/update to the headphones with the same name that were released in 2016. Both models have the same form factor, but the series 2 version has a few additional new functions. These headphones boast a 20-hour battery life and can be paired through Bluetooth or NFC. The headphones are built to last using impact-resistant materials, glass-filled nylon, and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.

I think the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the best wireless headphones on the market right now. I’ve officially made the switch over to them as my primary listening companions.


The HiRise Duet is made from metal but has napa leather at the base for the watch to rest on. The stand includes both the Lightning connector and Apple Watch charging disk so that you don’t have to sacrifice your own cables to the stand gods. The Duet has an adjustable back support for the iPhone so that it will work with a variety of iPhone sizes with or without cases. I typically use my phone sans case but having the ability to make that choice and not have to switch charging docks is wonderful.

The HiRise Duet really is the ideal charging companion for Apple users. I’ve used it to charge my iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, and even my iPad Pro. It’s a quality product and it provides a useful purpose as an accessory. The HiRise Duet is a powerful investment for your charging needs.


The Curve is an aluminum stand shaped to complement the MacBook Pro. It comes in one color — matte black — and it has a flowing ergonomic design. The Curve elevates the screen of your laptop 6.5-inches and keeps 70% of the base exposed. This promotes airflow to the laptop and prevents overheating of your MacBook Pro. The stand also has a small lip on the end of the arms that allows users to open and close the lid with ease. Twelve South actually refers to it as ‘one-handed’ lifting. The Curve actually has a unique history. It’s a redesign of the very first MacBook stand in the world.

The Curve laptop stand is the upgrade that any laptop owner should consider. It’s beautiful, smooth, and lyrical. Its shape suggests movement and my MacBook Pro sit prominently on top of it.


The ATH-DSR7BT headphones look and feel great. They have a nice build to them and the ear cups feel good for hours at a time on my head. They have a 15-hour battery (with regular talk and music listening time) and 1,000 hours of standby time. I like knowing that I can use them for four or five hours without them dying and then pick them back up the next day and blast my favorite tunes for five more hours without having to think about charging them. This is definitely a winning feature for me. The sound quality is excellent and audio technica did a superb job of designing headphones that produce a clear sound while still having a decent amount of bass.

When it comes to headphones, I know audio technica puts real quality effort into designing the most excellent audio experience possible for their users.


The Piggy Hub with Card Reader is a 3-port USB-A hub with one SD card slot and one TF (Micro SD) card slot. The USB slots are USB 3.0 and the hub is designed to provide protection against over current, over voltage, short circuits, and electric leakage. The hub is available in four colors — pink, blue, green, and gray. The hub is powered by USB interface and a blue indicator light will illuminate when it’s connected to power.

I didn’t notice that the hub got overheated even when transferring data. I have actually found recently that many hubs do start to radiate heat when transferring data or power, but I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case with the Piggy Hub. This is a delightful little device and it seems to be quite functional in addition to being cute.


I feel that this is the iPhone that people have wanted for several years. It’s a true next-generation device and the future direction of the device. It’s a full-screen, no-home button phone that feels perfect in your hands. The overall design of the iPhone is stunning and even though it’s glass on the front and back, it doesn’t feel fragile to me. It’s a solid, stylish mobile phone with extremely advanced features.

All in all, it’s a wonderful, but expensive upgrade. In addition to the retail price, Apple Care is $199 for the iPhone X. The upgrade is worth it depending on your circumstances. If you live on your phone like I do, it makes sense to make the move to the iPhone X, but if you just need it for texting and playing games, I would suggest only upgrading to the iPhone 8.

The Apple AirPods are truly a revolutionary, innovative product that has grossly been overshadowed by other products within Apple and outside Apple. I’ve tested dozens and dozens of wireless earphones in the past couple of years and one thing remains true — the connection is key. With most wireless headphones, you have to set the device into pairing mode and then fumble through your phone’s Bluetooth menu to select the correct Bluetooth connection. On top of that, you have to worry about competing for wireless signals between devices.

No matter what your decision is for wanting the AirPods — a status symbol or great wireless earbuds — you won’t be disappointed. Despite any issues, I found the with the AirPods, I am thrilled to have them and find myself using them as my primary listening devices now. With them being so hard to find, the Apple AirPods are a runaway hit for sure.

Originally published at on November 17, 2017.



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