Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Last-Minute Gift Ideas
It's almost time to exchange gifts, but don't freak out. There's still time. If you're scrambling for a belated gift, there are plenty of options for a wonderful surprise.
Smartphones That Won't Sell Out
There's good news: Apple's hot-ticket items are still in stock for all major carriers, but that may change on the run up to Christmas Day. To make sure you get those gifts delivered on time, you need to order by midnight on December 21. That includes the iPhones, iPads and Macs. If you know the carrier, call the store nearest you and see if they have items in stock. In most cases, they can stock it faster than it takes you to ship. So what should you order? There is, of course, the iPhone 5, one of the most coveted smartphones out there. The sleek design boasts a vibrant 4-inch Retina display perfect for viewing photos, watching movies or browsing the Web. The high pixel count and excellent color saturation give you a high-end viewing experience. And the 8-megapixel camera takes lovely, detailed photos, using a top-tier lens to its advantage. Photos are beautifully lit and vividly colored, and a Panorama mode captures large-scale moments.
Of course, if you prefer Android, head over to Amazon. Hot phones like Google's Nexus 4 are unavailable, but there's still a sizable choice ready for express shipping. If you're willing to shell out extra for one-day service, you can even wait until December 22 to make a move. Amazon lists its order cutoffs on its website, so take a look to see if express shipping is available where you live.
For instance, the HTC Droid DNA is still in stock. It's a top-tier device with all the latest tech. The 5-inch display is the best on the market, producing dazzlingly clear images and vivid colors -- perfect for watching a TV show or video chatting with friends. And you'll see the latest version of Android software, Jelly Bean, too. The DNA has a top-of-the-line 8-megapixel camera with a speedy f/2.0 lens to snap gorgeous, detailed photos, with a dedicated button to quickly capture impromptu moments. It's a bit on the larger side, but the slender body is easy to hold, and its red racing stripes fit right in with brightly colored Christmas decorations.
No Time? There's an App -- or Subscription -- for That
If it's too late to ship a gift, don't fear. The Internet is here! Give an app or subscription. There's no waiting required, and the gift will last a whole year. Netflix is always easy to love. This year, the company has had its ups and downs, but the video streaming service continually offers an outstanding variety of content. There's original programming like "House of Cards," and the library of documentaries is phenomenal. Plus, it works seamlessly with a computer, tablet, smartphone, PS3, Wii or Xbox, so you know you won't have trouble accessing the diverse choice of movies and television shows.
For news junkies, the New York Times remains a trusted name in journalism, and a digital subscription gives you access to world-quality reporting. Their digital-only content is exceptional, and videos like Bill Cunningham's "On the Street" give you exclusive, entertaining and informative content. You can get a subscription to the website alone or for smartphone and tablet apps as well.
If you're on the hunt for people who love little luxury treats, giving a Birchbox subscription will remind them why they love you each month. Pay $10 a month, and they'll gets a box of luxury beauty, health and lifestyle goods in petite sizes. If you fancy a certain product, you can order more from its website. There's a box for men or women, and special holiday deals on their website.
Lastly, for the kid, consider gaming apps. For example, Cats Away is a cute and silly game for people of all ages -- and you won't get bored with it instantly. It's neither violent nor risque -- and if you're on a budget, it's priced at an extremely affordable $1. ♦
Categories: Gadgets & Gear