If you’re a regular Lifehacker reader, there’s a strong chance that you and many of your friends are on the “techy” side. With that in mind, here are six gift ideas that programmers and technology addicts will love tinkering with on Christmas morning.
Pi Zero [$24.99]
The latest version of this popular DIY computing platform is roughly the same size as a stick of chewing gum. Packed inside the 65mm x 30mm board are a BCM2835 chip up-clocked to 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, a Micro-SD card slot, a Mini-HDMI port, an unpopulated 40-pin GPIO connector and Micro-USB for data/power. The possibilities presented by this tiny kit are practically endless: you can even slot one into an Xbox controller for on-demand game emulation.
In addition to the Pi Zero board, the kit includes one Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter and a Micro USB “On the Go” adapter. You might also want to consider the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, which can be purchased from Pi Australia for $59.
Teenage Engineering Rhythm Pocket Operators [$83.34]
These curious gizmos are a great gift idea for techie musos. It’s essentially a miniature synthesizer that lets you program sequences of sounds into bespoke Freezepop-style ditties. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket and powered by two AA batteries.
There are three models to choose from — the PO-12 is for constructing beats, PO-14 is for bass lines and PO-16 is for melodies. Each have a sequencer and their own set of sounds and effects to tweak and they can also be synced together.
Philips Hue Starter Kit [$249]
The Philips Hue Starter Kit is a versatile lighting system that allows the user to minutely control the lights in their home via a tablet or smartphone. You can display various hues of white light for different moods, set alarms to adjust lighting over time and program lights to turn on or off when you’re away from home. The system allows up to 50 light bulbs to be connected at any one time.
The start kit includes three Hue Edison Screw light bulbs, a Hue bridge, power supply and LAN cable. You can get it from Kogan for $249.
Arduino Starter Kit [$49.95]
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform for DIY programmers and tinkerers. The boards sense and interact with the environment by receiving inputs from a variety of sensors and controlling actuators such as lights and motors. The platform has its own programming language and can be used to create everything from toy robots to complex scientific instruments.
The KT003 Arduino UNO Starter Kit comes with a comprehensive range of components including a bread plate, remote control, buzzer components and myriad sensors/LED lights. It also comes with a Projects Book with instructions for 15 creations. You can get it from AusElectronicsDirect for $49.95.
Nexus 5X [from $659]
The Nexus 5X was made in close conjunction with Google to ensure the hardware fits Android 6.0 Marshmallow like a glove. It’s a pure, bare-bones Android device which makes it particularly well suited to tech-heads — it’s fast, highly customisable and guaranteed to get future OS updates before any other phone. More importantly, there are no obtrusive third-party skins or gimicky software tools to get in the way. Hurrah!
The Nexus 5X retails in Australia for $659 (16GB version.) You should be able to snap it up cheaper by hunting around online.
Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset Kit [$19.95]
Virtual-reality is set to explode over the next few years, with everyone from PlayStation to Facebook prepping new headsets. If you have a geeky pal who is keen to wet his toes in this emerging technology, get him the Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset Kit. As its name implies, it’s a build-you-own headset made primarily from cardboard that will fit a variety of Android and Apple smartphones. Okay, so it’s not as cool as a fancy developer kit but at least they will be able to discover what the fuss is all about.
Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset Kit can be Gadgets4Geeks for $19.95. There are a range of different sizes available for specific handset models — make sure you get the right one!