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10 Gadgets You Want to Unwrap This Year

 by Ruth Schneider   Posted on November 10 2013

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The holiday season is on us. Chanukah comes extra early this year, with the first night the day before Thanksgiving. Then there's Black Friday and a few short weeks later, it's Christmas. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the best gadgets that we all want to find wrapped up with our nametag on it.

1. Google Chromecast

The Chromecast is a dongle (tech speak for "thingee") that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV and plays videos from services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube. Basically, you plug the Chromecast into the TV, hook up the Wi-Fi and watch videos. There's no remote: You control all the content with your devices, which you already know how to use. Of course, the catch, primarily, is that you have to be a customer of those other services to access their content.

Price tag: $35 (not including streaming services)

2. Pebble Smartwatch

The Pebble brings your smartphone to your wrist, giving you notifications about texts or scheduled appointments. It also can control your music, even while you are driving, without touching your phone -- which keeps you ahead of most hands-free driving laws. Oh, and it tells time.

Price tag: $150

3. Apple iPhone 5S

The new iPhone 5S, with its fingerprint scanner, is alluring. The gold-tone model reminds me of the gold cell phone Al Pacino's character fawns over in Ocean's Thirteen-- it definitely has the bling factor nailed.

Price tag: $199-$399

4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet

This is Kindle's newest tablet, masquerading as an ereader. The HDX touts an HD display and access to hundreds of thousands of Android apps. Reviews say the sound quality and battery life are both improved from previous iterations. Plus, of course, it has access to the massive vault of Amazon's ebooks, videos and music. Price varies based on storage capacity and whether you are willing to put up with Amazon's "special offers" to shave off a few dollars.

Price tag: $229-$424

5. KitchenAid Mixer

This is basically the ultimate gift for any chef or baker you love. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer does it all -- basic mixing, obviously -- but it also has a handful of nifty attachments that help you make everything from cut pasta ($250) to make ice cream ($100).

Price tag: $370+

6. Sony Play Station 4

The PS4 is Sony's new game console offering -- and the device will likely give the Xbox One competition by offering a starting price that's $100 lower. The PS4 is all about the social aspect of gaming, giving users ways to upload their triumphs -- the ultimate way to gloat.

Price tag: $399

7. Apple iPad Air

The iPad Air is the newest tablet from Apple. It's the thinnest, lightest tablet from Apple yet, weighing in at just a pound. It's also incredibly fast and has access to the largest App Store on the planet. It comes with iMovie and iPhoto pre-loaded, which makes editing images and video a snap.

Price tag: $499-$799

8. Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft's new gaming platform hits the market this month and it looks like it's going to make a splash. Finally, Microsoft is offering a game console that plays Blu-ray discs. The new console also comes with an upgraded Kinect sensor, for more hands-free gaming options.

Price tag: $499

9. Google Glass

These are the elusive new devices introduced about a year ago that offers access to social media, email and even maps. (But don't go out driving in these -- at least one woman already has been ticketed.) If you know someone who has a pair of Google Glass, you might want to ask them for an invite to get a pair. But they still cost $1,500 plus the cost of tethering a device, which can cost up to $40 per month, depending on the carrier.

Price tag: $1,500

10. Samsung OLED TV

This is the TV you want to have in the living room come February while hosting your annual Super Bowl party. We're talking top-of-the-line, newest, awesomest, blow-you-away screen. With the curved screen, the screen looks like it floats in its frame. Best. Picture. Ever. If you don't see that, go check your prescription.

Price tag: $9,000

Happy shopping. And don't forget the CostHelper blogger on your list.

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