DENVER -- Shopping for your favorite techie isn't always easy. If they're constantly rocking the smartphone, here are a few gadget gift ideas that won't break the bank.
There are a TON of smartphone car mounts. Search ebay or Amazon and you'll find hundreds. Problem is, most of them stink. The suction cup doesn't work well, the clamp doesn't hold your phone securely. The iOttie Easy One Touch 2 stands out from the crowd. It's clear that the people who designed this sat down and said, "how can we make an AWESOME car mount?"
The suction cup that connects to your window or dash also has micro-suction cup technology on it. This acts as an additional adhesive to keep that cup connected. Once you mount it on your window, this thing is not coming off without a little bit of elbow grease. Thank you iOttie! I have used countless car mounts to fall off the window the second the temperature changes.
The arm has multiple adjustments that allow you to put the phone exactly where you want it. Best part is, when you tighten the adjustments down, the arm stays put. You won't feel like your phone is bouncing. This thing is rock solid.
My favorite feature of the Easy One Touch 2 is the actual smartphone clamp. You just push your smartphone up against the flat back and the clips clamp the sides of your phone. You can do it with one hand. The only issue is that depending on where your volume and power buttons are, the clamps may push down on them. When it's time to remove your phone, you can push the two buttons on the side and your phone comes right out.
The iOttie Easy One Touch 2 is the best smartphone car mount I've tested yet. It feels solid, it's easy to use and it instills confidence that the mount and/or your phone will fall out while driving 65 on the I-25. Sure, you can find a mount for half the price but you'll regret it. The iOttie Easy One Touch 2 is $30.
In the world of smartphone cases there are a gazillion options. Seriously! Among those there are a few companies that stand out. Incipio is one of them. If you know someone who is getting a new smartphone for the holidays, a new case is an easy, relatively inexpensive gift.
The NGP Flexible Impact Resistant Case from Incipio is a good middle ground between protection and keeping things sleek. It uses a flexible plastic that is thin but also provides a decent amount of protection. The case has a lip around the front so the screen won't scratch if you place it face down on a table. Depending on the smartphone, the NGP case is available in various colors. I tested out the "frost" option on a Moto X.
At $20 the price is right and it provides just enough protection without adding too much bulk to the phone. Adventure seekers may want something with a bit more bulk and protection but for the rest of us, this is a perfect fit.
We live in Colorado, it gets frigid at times! If you spend a good amount of time outside, the 1 Voice Bluetooth Ear Warmers could be the perfect addition to your arsenal of cold weather gear. They're essentially ear warmers with bluetooth headphones built-in.
There is a USB port that you use to charge the headphones up. Hold down the power button on the outside to turn them on. You can skip tracks and adjust the volume with the buttons on the side.
In my testing it was easy to pair the 1 Voice to my Android phone. Music was loud enough but didn't sound amazing. Also, there was a slight hum when I tested them out. I tried a different phone and moving to a different area but it wouldn't go away. It wasn't noticeable when playing music but it was definitely annoying otherwise.
Also, you can't take calls with the 1 Voice. So if someone calls you'll have to remove your phone from your pocket or purse and remove the ear warmers to take a call. This seemed odd to me. It's almost a no-brainer to allow the ear warmers to receive phone calls.
With those few technical gripes aside, the ear warmers look nice, feel comfortable and do a decent job of rocking out the tunes while keeping your ears warm. They're available online for $59.