TRV’s Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Gadgets

6. 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen – $99.99

I have no artistic abilities whatsoever. My stick figures are too embarrassed to acknowledge me as father. Therefore,  I have absolutely no use for a 3Doodler 3D pen. That being said, there are people exponentially more creative than me who could likely make this thing sing.

At first glance, the 3Doodler looks like the unholy spawn of a glue gun and a soldering iron. It rapidly melts specialized plastic, which quickly cools and solidifies into whatever objects your heart desires, depending of course on the steadiness of your hands. It’s not for everyone; some talented YouTube artists just couldn’t get the hang of the device, while others were able to quickly recreate items in brightly colored plastic. The recently released version two of the device seems to have ironed out some of the bugs of the original, and seems to be much easier to use, that is, for people with artistic talent.

High ($250-1000)

7. Steam Machine – $499.00 and Up

Long has there been debate as to which video game experience is better, PC or console. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages: PCs are typically more powerful, have a larger library, tend to have better graphics, and have multiple uses, though the cost for a good gaming PC can be a barrier to entry and the constant need to upgrade can suck. Console systems, on the other hand, are cheaper, look almost as good as PCs in the modern era, and are easier to use if you don’t mind controls that are sub-par, a more limited library, and lack of possible expansion.

The Steam Machine is supposed to bridge that gap, by creating relatively affordable gaming PCs that connect to televisions and use controllers rather than being desk bound like so many gaming computers. As I’m someone who used to have a computer connected to a television, I’d say it’s a wicked cool way of playing games. While Steam OS is a relatively new operating system, the Steam platform for purchasing games is tried and true, and having a completely digital library of games is fantastic. While there have been mixed reviews of the new Steam controller, the Steam Machine still supports the good ole fashioned keyboard and mouse.

Another nice feature of the Steam Machine is that they are expandable like a traditional PC, and with many different vendors and price options, getting into PC gaming isn’t such an arduous task anymore. Of course, being limited to games on the Steam platform may be frustrating for some hoping to jump into Azeroth, but for the many looking to make the jump from console to PC, a Steam Machine might just be the ticket.

Insane ($1000+)

8. R2-D2 Robotic Refrigerator – $8220.00

Any Star Wars fan would love a life-sized R2-D2 replica. But let’s take that up a notch…what about a working R2-D2? Still not enough; how about a real, working R2-D2 that has a build in video projector and can eject ice cold beer at your beck and call? Well, if you have a spare eight grand, and wouldn’t mind picking it up in Japan, the R2-D2 Robotic Refrigerator could be yours.

Remote controlled, Artoo can travel at a top speed of one km per hour, and pack an entire six-pack in its rusty innards. If bringing you a chilled Kirin Ichiban wasn’t enough entertainment, the 720p, Android Miracast compatible digital projector built into him will project images of Princess Leia, or Game of Thrones anywhere you like.

Sadly, the R2-D2 Robotic Refrigerator is only available in Japan, and cannot be shipped outside of the country, though nothing says you can’t buy it and arrange its transport home. Frankly speaking, if you have eight large to spend on a robot, you can likely afford the travel expenses to bring him home, though you might have to sell your speeder.

9. Hexo+ – $1349.00

Drones come in all shapes and sizes, from the ones that you can buy at shady shopping mall kiosks, to military-grade, Hellfire missile launching Predators. While the drone market is still in its infancy (I’m still waiting for the Tacocopter to leave private beta), we’re seeing more and more of these flying objects take to the skies, and getting shot down by 12-gauge wielding Kentuckians.

There are limited practical applications for drones at this time, but the ability to perform your own aerial photography is about as compelling as they come, especially when you look at the Hexo+. Able to track you via smart phone, you can command the Hexo+ with a few taps of the touchscreen, instructing it to follow you, or precede you as necessary. Want to film yourself doing something crazy and dangerous? The Hexo+ can track you like an expert camera crew, without endangering anyone but yourself (Go Pro camera not included).

10. MWE Emperor Workstation – $5305 and Up

Like fellow members of geek kind, I spend a good amount of time inactive. Between the day job, writing gigs, gaming, VR and the like, my ass is firmly planted in a chair for longer than I care to admit per day. Sure, I could go full hipster and purchase a workstation that would be more healthy and ergonomically sound, like a standing or treadmill desk, but why make myself more uncomfortable? Instead, my posterior deserves a throne meant for royalty…or an emperor perhaps.

The MWE Emperor Workstation would make Palpatine pine, Joffrey jones, and would likely prevent me from ever standing again. This thing looks like the cockpit of a battlemech or a starfighter. Your computer is stored underneath, with plenty of mount space for multiple monitors of any size. Built in optional speakers or 5.1 digital sound will flood your ear holes, while ample desk space, mood lighting, and a mechanized reclining seat with leg rest will ensure you work, or game in pure comfort. All that’s missing is a build in Keurig, refrigerator, and hibachi grill, and I’m sure for the right price, they can be arranged. Wait…I’ve been a very good boy this year. Perhaps LYT Claus will bring me one AND a R2-D2 fridge!

Previously by Jason Helton

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