Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Gifts Under $500

If you have a bigger budget this holiday season, there are several tech gifts under $500 that you should consider. Here is my top 5 under $500:

Apple iPod Touch, 5th Generation, 64 GB

Price: $399

While the iPod Nano is great for making your music portable, the iPod Touch brings so much more than that. This device not only allows the music lover on your holiday shopping list to load up a ton of music but also download apps, watch video, and access social networking sites. The iPod Touch can connect to WiFi and stream wirelessly to Apple TV (see my Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Gifts Under $200).

This device comes in three different capacities—16GB, 32GB, and 64GB—but I recommend the 64 GB version, as apps, music and video tend to take up a lot of space. The 5th Generation touch is lighter and thinner than ever and features a retina display. It’s definitely worth the investment! Oh yes, and it comes in some pretty fun colours: silver, white, grey, pink, yellow, and blue.

Samsung Chromebook Laptop

Price: $269.96

If you’re not familiar with Chromebooks, you should do some research before you run out and pick one up as a gift. A good place to start is this blog post I wrote in the summer. Basically, a Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s own operating system and is stripped down to just the browser. Chromebooks use web-based apps such as Google Docs as opposed to software such as Microsoft Office. It’s a great device for those who do most of their work online and are looking for an ultra portable laptop.

Apple iPad Mini with Retina

Price: $419

The new iPad Mini with Retina makes for a great Christmas gift for pretty much anyone! This device has an amazing high-resolution display with a better price tag than the new iPad Air. It’s also much faster than the previous generation of Mini with its A7 processor and has much longer battery life. Basically, it’s a slam-dunk as far as holiday gifts are concerned!

Nikon D3100 Digital SLR

Price: $399.95

Christmas gifts are a great way to get your loved ones started with new hobbies or interests they’ve wanted to try. If someone on your list is interested in photography, the Nikon D3100 Digital SLR is a great entry-level dSLR. The photo quality this camera delivers is excellent for this price tag. It also features a guide mode that will teach users which settings to use in different shooting situations. For the beginner, this is an invaluable tool that will help your budding photographer become an expert in no time.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Digital Camera

Price: $289.75

For those on your list who aren’t aspiring photographers but simply need a good quality point and shoot, the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS is a great choice. This camera has a variety of shooting modes and a 20 times optical zoom, making it a fantastic choice for both beginner and advanced photographers. It’s also lightweight, making it a great little camera to take on trips and family outings.

Honourable Mention

These gaming devices didn’t make my list because they’re quite tricky to get if you weren’t prepared enough to get on a waiting list or wait in line for hours on end on launch day. That being said, it wouldn’t be a 2013 holiday gift guide without at least a mention of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So here it is:

PlayStation 4 Console

Price: $399.99

For the gamer on your shopping list, this is one of two perfect gifts this holiday season. The last iteration of the PlayStation, the PS3, was released in 2006, making this new console a coveted item. This device boasts impressive graphics, a simplified interface, and a great new controller design. Basically, this is definitely worth checking out if you have a video game lover on your shopping list.

Xbox One Console

Price: $499.99

This is the other gift that the gamer on your holiday shopping list would love to receive. Especially since this console has been in the making even longer than the PS4, arriving 8 years after it’s predecessor, the Xbox 360. Although the Xbox One is pricier, it boasts some fantastic features. For starters, it comes with the Kinect 2.0 camera, which was an optional purchase with the 360. The One can also be set up to control your entire entertainment system, including your live TV and online media streaming.

Much like the PS4, the Xbox One boasts improved graphics. What separates the One from the PS4 is that it has a better selection of games at this early stage. As we get further into the consoles’ lifecycles, this gap will likely close but if variety is important, the Xbox One might be a better choice.

By Mike Agerbo

December 17, 2013