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Jason Ogaard: Gift ideas for the technologically inclined

Another Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and if you’re like me, you still haven’t purchased a single gift for the holidays.

Here are a few ideas for the technologically inclined person in your life:

E Tablet – right now I’m writing this column on an iPad 2 (with the use of an external keyboard). iPads are always a great gift but they are rather expensive. Good news, this year there are good options for less expensive tablets. If the person you’re looking for doesn’t own a tablet yet an iPad mini would be a good way to introduce them to the tablet world. The introductory iPad mini price is $329 and goes up if you want to purchase more storage or one with cellular network connectivity. An iPad mini is a great compliment to someone that already has an iPhone or other iOS devices. Their Apple account will sync across all their devices and pull in pictures, contacts, and other data seamlessly.

If the recipient isn’t a slave to the iOS ecosystem then I would strongly consider getting them a Google Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet running Google’s Android mobile operating system.

I recently had the opportunity to use a Nexus 7 and it is a fantastic tablet. The build quality is excellent and the tablet is fast. The speech recognition is better than Siri on my iPhone. If I wasn’t tied so tightly to the Apple ecosystem I would probably own a Nexus phone and tablet. The best part is the price. The Nexus 7 starts at $199 and only goes up $50 to double your storage. For $249 you could have a 7-inch tablet running the latest version of Android with the same amount of storage as an iPad mini that would cost you $429.

E E-reader: If the person you’re looking for likes to read books there are a couple of great options for e-readers. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have entered the low end e-reader market with the Kindle Paper White and the Nook Simple Touch. Priced at $119 and $99, respectively, both devices sport dozens and dozens of hours of battery life and integrated lights to make reading at night a breeze. Don’t mistake these for their more expensive counterparts sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Paper White and Simple Touch are primarily e-readers and won’t do much else well. They are not what I would consider a fully fledged tablet device.

E Accessories: For the person that already owns a device. For the owner of an iPad, a bluetooth keyboard is a great accessory. I bought one of the first from Logitech for $99 two years ago and the look, feel and layout of the keyboard has improved dramatically since I bought it back then. If they have an iPod nano, you can get them something that’ll attach the iPod to their arm. I have last year’s nano (this year’s nano is different and won’t work with the watchband) and received a watchband accessory for it and I love it. I use it every time I go to work out. The new Apple headphones are fantastic even though they’re called ‘ear pods.’ You can buy them for $29.


JASON OGAARD was born in Bemidji and is a software engineer for FICO, a Minneapolis-based public company providing analytics and decision-making services, including credit scoring credit bureaus.