How time flies. It is only 16 days before Christmas and three weeks before we welcome 2016.
As we prepare for the festive season, it is time to wind down and, yes, start shopping for gifts.
This year has been a great one for technology lovers, and the deluge of new gadgets means there will be no shortage of gifts to get.
Our gadget gift guide this year includes affordable items such as the Asus ZenWatch 2 smartwatch, the quirky Sphero BB-8 drone from the upcoming Star Wars movie and in-car video camera Marbella LX5.
So check out our picks. There is something for everyone.
APPLE 27-INCH IMAC WITH RETINA 5K DISPLAY AND TWO DELL ULTRASHARP UP2715K 5K MONITORS
From $2,688 (Apple 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display) and $2,659 (Dell UltraSharp UP2715K)
I have in my study a 21.5-inch Apple iMac connected to two Dell UltraSharp U2312 full-HD monitors. But this workhorse has been showing signs of slowing down.
With everything going 4K these days, my future-proof dream set-up would be a top-end Apple 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K (5,120 x 2,880 pixels) display.
It will have all the upgrades, including processor, memory, flash storage and the AppleCare protection plan. I would partner it with two Dell UltraSharp UP2715K 5K monitors.
The cost of this? A cool $11,683. Sigh, but one can dream, right?
AUGUST SMART LOCK SUITE
Smart Lock (US$199 or S$280), Door Bell Cam (US$199), Smart Keypad (US$79) and Connect (US$79)
I have been eyeing digital locks that can be incorporated into a home automation system for some time now. The August Smart Lock suite is close to what I'm looking for.
It allows homeowners to track when specific users access the lock, and be notified on their smartphone when the door is opened.
It is sold on the August.com website. The problem so far is with finding the people who can install it.
There are similar digital locks available in shops in Singapore but none as affordable as this system.
Local firm ViewQwest has said it will bring in the August Smart Lock system and install it for its fibre broadband subscribers. I hope it will bring the system in in time for Christmas.
JELLYFISH ART'S 3 JELLY KIT
US$399 (S$560) from www.jellyfishart.com
Think of Jellyfish Art's 3 Jelly Kit as an awesome, living lava lamp.
Instead of boring blobs of wax floating on top of a heated bulb, the tank can be filled with up to five calmly hypnotic and pulsating living moon jellyfish.
Best of all? I love that the tank comes with colour-changing LED lights and a remote control, for a truly mesmerising experience.
DELL XPS 13 (2015)
The latest Dell XPS 13 is top on my wishlist. It may not be as versatile as hybrid devices that can also function as tablets, but this Dell makes up for it with an amazing display and an ultra-thin bezel. It is about the size of a 12-inch laptop, but has a 13-inch display.
The touchscreen is super sharp with a 3,200 x 1,800-pixel resolution. It looks bright and vibrant even from the sides.
US$1,349 from www.hexoplus.com
Drones are cool, especially those that can follow you automatically, like the Hexo+ drone from Squadrone Systems.
It is perfect for a one-man aerial film crew. Simply slap on a GoPro camera (not included), pair it with your phone via Bluetooth, and it will track you as you walk, run or jump around.
Now I can have epic videos of myself hiking and biking.
THE ENTERTAINER 2016 ANDROID AND IOS
This is an app that keeps on giving all year round. Hundreds of merchants have listings on this app, which offers "buy one, get one free" promotions for food, drinks, attractions, spas and hotel stays.
All the offers are valid next year, and each of the listed merchants has three one-for-one vouchers on the app. The deals range from drinks at Smoothie King to a main course at Bedrock Bar & Grill and dinner buffet at Lime at Park Royal on Pickering.
It is estimated that Singaporeans save an average of $642 with the app. I myself have saved $687 so far with this year's version of the app, while dining at places I normally do not visit. I have friends who buy multiple copies of the app to get more than three vouchers per merchant.
This article was first published on December 9, 2015.
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