The clock is ticking, time has almost run out on your Christmas shopping, but not just yet. The big online retailers, most notably Amazon, still give their word you’ll pull off looking like a hero again in the eleventh hour, and as long as you put your orders in by Sunday, you should be totally safe.
Since it’s decision time, and every second counts, you need clear eyes, full hearts and a clear mind to pick the absolute best gadgets for the wife, kids, parents and that uncle you only catch up with every Turkey Day and X-mas.
Sticking to a budget is another major concern, but instead of you worrying about everything, we’ll take over and vouch for ten sweet Android contraptions sure to get you out of trouble, and earn you a new one-year pass for… anything. Play your cards right now, and you could afford to stay out past midnight with the guys, or even forget her birthday. Here we go:
- $0.01 with AT&T contracts in metallic black and silk white; $0.01 on Sprint; $0.01 on Verizon in black and blaze red; $416 factory unlocked in black; $415 unlocked gold
The good: Exquisite display, large and high-res, virtually no bezels, premium build materials, plenty of muscle to drive your gaming, browsing and multimedia needs, and incredibly cheap… considering.
The bad: Um… it doesn’t cook dinner? It’s all we can think of right now, but if you give us a moment, we’ll come up with a flaw or two. There has to be something.
Perfect for: Wives, girlfriends, sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, fathers, mothers, cousins, uncles, best friends, co-workers and pretty much any living, breathing, tech-savvy being with good taste.
The good: Large and decently punchy for the money, running up-to-date stock Android for hardcore purists, and touting a far superior rear camera to the one on the first-gen.
The bad: Lackluster design, less than stellar battery life, no CDMA compatibility for Verizon and Sprint activations, no subsidy option for people looking to save even more money.
Perfect for: First-time smartphone users, students, kids in general, and perhaps even your hip, Candy Crush-addicted aunt.
The good: Stylish and fashionable (available in black and blue hues), it doesn’t require a contract yet it’s extremely cheap, beefed-up by a massive 2,100 mAh battery.
The bad: Cringe worthy 4.7-inch 854 x 480 pix res screen, mediocre 5 MP rear camera, sub-par VGA front snapper.
Perfect for: Independent youngsters that don’t like to be tied up to a carrier agreement… and have something else to cover their selfie needs.
The good: One-of-a-kind design, best screen to body size ratio courtesy of an innovative edge-to-edge aesthetical approach, decently well-equipped for the price range, with quad-core Snapdragon 400 power, 1.5 GB RAM and 2,040 mAh battery, plus Harman Kardon sound and Clari-Fi audio improving technology.
The bad: It’s manufactured by a no-name company as far as most Americans are concerned, so you might be skeptical about the build quality.
Perfect for: Rebels, audiophiles, hipsters (the good kind), and those who like to always feel young and unique.
The good: Everything.
The bad: Nothing.
Perfect for: Everyone. Anyone. Anyone that doesn’t think the tablet world starts and ends with iPads, that is, and is ready to admit the large-screen Android ecosystem, while not ideal, is continuously evolving.
Amazon Fire HD 6
- $79 with 8 GB internal storage; $99 in 32 GB flavor (limited-time deals)
The good: Probably the cheapest tab built by a “household” name in the business, yet quad-core-packing, unlimited cloud storage-offering, and equipped with dual cameras, as well as a not-so-horrible 1,280 x 800 pix res display.
The bad: Too dependent on the Amazon Appstore and Amazon services in general, running an Android fork with no Google Play access, and offering no cellular connectivity despite the small footprint.
Perfect for: Kindle e-reader veterans seeking extra productivity.
The good: Compact, fairly slim, pocketable and affordable, running Android 4.4 KitKat with 5.0 Lollipop on the way, and sold with $300 worth of free content and services, Dropbox storage and SiriusXM subscription included.
The bad: It’s probably not the sturdiest tablet in the world, and it’s surely not the fastest, courtesy of a middling quad-core Marvell PXA1088 processor.
Perfect for: Bargain hunters, budget-restricted Samsung fans, and those who can’t afford the Nexus 9 but feel the Fire HD 6 is too small or just not productive enough.
The good: It doesn’t run Android, but Chrome OS is like Android for laptops; it offers a degree of productivity no tablet can be capable of, no matter how cool their external keyboard accessories; it’s Full HD, quad-core Tegra K1-powered, and rated at 11 hours of battery life on a single charge.
The bad: Chrome OS is definitely on the rise, but it’s still no genuine Windows threat; network connectivity isn’t a commodity, it’s a necessity.
Perfect for: Hip students always connected to the web and preoccupied with doing homework at least as much as blowing up evil green beings in “Alien: Isolation”.
The good: Again, this doesn’t technically run Android, but it’s Android-compatible, and as we already explained, it’s one of the best all-around fitness trackers. Probably the best in its price range, and the unusual design certainly helps the Up 24 stand out from the large crowd of low-cost, basic wearable devices. The battery life is exceptional, the number of sensors packed… respectable, and the color selection should cover its most playful and serious prospective customers.
The bad: It’s not as fancy as other activity trackers, doesn’t sport a screen or any sort of information displaying system.
Perfect for: Amateur athletes, fashionistas, people looking to lose weight or just stay in shape.
The good: It’s hands down the best Android smartwatch around, it can be elegant or playful, depending on the band choice, it runs the newest iteration of Android Wear, and it’s as productive and knowledgeable as smartwatches get these days.
The bad: The processor is slightly outdated, and battery life is somewhat patchy, albeit not as bad as back in the day.
Perfect for: Early wearable adopters who deserve all the best the fledgling technology can offer.
That’s a wrap, boys and girls, and, in the name of the entire Droid Guy team, I’d like to wish you a fun last-minute Christmas shopping experience, and happy holidays. May whatever you end up gifting those close to you come from the heart.