Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Artsy Gadgets for Creative Souls
Art and technology are often separated into distinct categories, but they go together wonderfully -- mobile gadgets create beautiful images, sounds and movies every day. With that in mind, this guide will help creative loved ones stay ahead of the curve with a high-tech holiday treat.
Best Phones for Creative Types
It's hard to make art on a tiny screen, so bigger is better when you're looking for the right phone. The HTC Droid DNA provides a lovely canvas with its sharp 5-inch screen, and breathtakingly detailed and vibrant picture quality make ideal for someone working with visuals. You can't beat the pixel density, which is great for people who want to see things as clearly as possible. And the screen looks sharp from a variety of angles, so you can hold it however you want while creating a digital masterpiece.
And that's not the only perk: the 8-megapixel camera is a photographer's friend, and its f.2/0 lens captures crisp, precise details. The editing options will swell a fledgling photographer's heart with joy, and there's a dedicated camera button, which is awesome for impromptu shoots.
The Galaxy Note 2 is another wonderful pick, since the expansive 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen provides a generous space to conceive interesting art projects. And the unique "S Pen" stylus is a nice alternative to only using your fingers, and one artists dealing in details will adore. You can choose from a variety of nib sizes using the stylus, so artists striving for fine lines will love it.
The Note 2 has a unique feature where you can record things on your screen, creating a moving screenshot, which is a great tool for artists that want to look at or give a demonstration on their process. And the 8-megapixel camera will please photographers because it offers a variety of helpful editing tools, such as top-tier ISO and exposure settings.
Here's an example of what a talented artist can do with the Note 2:
If you're searching for the smartphone with the finest camera on the market, check out the HTC One X+. Its 8-megapixel shooter is superb, inching out the iPhone 5 with its unparalleled set of photo editing options, large aperture for optimal lighting and detailed control over ISO.
In addition to taking vibrant, focused, well-lit and insanely detailed pictures, the X+ shines because it lets you toggle between taking photos and videos, and its wonderful 4.7-inch screen allows you to see your photos in all their glory. And like the Note 2 and DNA, the X+ ships with Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android, so it has smooth and easy-to-use software.
Awesome Art Apps
If your artsy loved one already has a phone, augment their experience by getting them some cool apps. Even though many are inexpensive, they're powerful tools.
For someone tired of Instagram but still into photo filters, get Retrica Pro, which offers 24 filters and a number of other editing tools. Once you're done putting the finishing touches on an image, you can put the Retrica-edited picture on Facebook or even on Instagram, which may make people wonder what you used to make it looks so good.
If you're looking for an app more suited to drawing and sketching, Sketch Time is an excellent option, since it provides a photo-realistic canvas and simulates drawing with high-quality ink. The app shines because it gives you enormous control over your movements, so you actually feel like you're sketching and not finger painting.
Both Retrica Pro and Sketch Time are Apple-only. One app available on a multitude of platforms: the DMD Panorama app, another great option for photography fans. Yes, the iPhone 5, the Nexus 4 and other cutting-edge phones now have beautiful panorama options built into their software. But for loved ones with older phones, the Panorama app provides an unbeatable way to create wide vistas.
If You Want to Spoil Them Rotten
If you want to give the artist in your life a gift they'll never forget and you have the money, the Wacom Clintiq24 HD Touch is by far the best digital tool for artists, designers and other creatives. It's a desktop tablet that lets you use your fingers or use a pen to make art.
If you're going to shell out over $3,000, it's most appropriate for professionals. The dazzling 24-inch display is one of the world's best, specifically designed for creative endeavors, and the HD Touch comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and a number of other cutting-edge software, which may make the price easier to swallow. ♦
Categories: Gadgets & Gear