Best last-minute electronics gifts

    Attention, last-minute shoppers: Here's a list of electronics gifts that just might save the day

    Published: December 19, 2014 06:30 PM

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    Did you wait until the last minute to finish up your holiday shopping? No worries…we've got you covered with a batch of great electronics gifts that run the gamut from computers to cameras.

    Apple iPad Mini 2

    Apple iPad Mini 2 ($300)

    The Mini 2 offers a great way to get a deal on an Apple tablet. It's largely the same as the newer, pricier Mini 3, except that it lacks fingerprint identification. In fact, it takes the best qualities of the iPad Air and fits them into a smaller package. Performance was excellent, as was the 7.9-inch display, which has colors that were among the most realistic and natural-looking we've seen. Battery life was 12.8 hours.

    Acer Chromebook C720-2848

    Acer Chromebook C720-2848 ($200)

    Featherweight Chromebooks are ideal for folks on the move, and this 11.6-inch model is an excellent option. It provides 10.75 hours of battery life and weighs just 2.7 pounds. And, like most Chromebooks, it's affordable. With these simplified, cloud-friendly laptops, just about everything is done and stored online, via the browser and apps, so frequent access to Wi-Fi is a must. The Chrome operating system doesn't tax the computer the way Windows does, and that helps Chromebooks start up quickly. The solid-state drive that's used instead of a traditional, slower hard drive also helps. The anti-reflective display makes it great for outdoor use.  

    Nikon Coolpix L830

    Nikon Coolpix L830 ($200)

    This superzoom has a very wide-angle lens. It takes very good photos and video. There's also a high-quality swiveling LCD. It's one of the few cameras in its class that accepts AA batteries. However, it's a bit heavy and large for a superzoom. If you can live with that, you'll get great value for the money.

    Kodak PixPro SP1

    Kodak PixPro SP1 ($200)

    This wireless action cam is not just waterproof (to a depth of 33 feet) and rugged (to withstand a 7- foot drop), but it also has two features that aren't common in action cams: a 1.5-inch LCD and image stabilizer. The LCD, which we judged to be good, serves as a viewfinder while you're shooting and lets you play back video and photos as well. The image stabilizer counteracts hand shake, resulting in less jittery videos and sharper still photos. The Kodak earned a score of good for both video and photos. It also has some nice extras, like the ability to capture photos at 10 frames-per-second in burst mode. Plus, it has long battery life.

    KD Interactive Kurio Xtreme

    KD Interactive Kurio Xtreme ($130)

    The KD Interactive Kurio Xtreme comes with plenty of content and parental controls that can scale according to your child's age: For younger kids, for example, you might block shopping websites, and older kids could be approved for social sites. Other controls include the ability to block apps and set time limits on the amount of playtime on the tablet. It has very good portability and excellent durability (and comes with a protective bumper), but its battery life is relatively short at 5.8 hours. Child-oriented curated content can be downloaded from the Kurio App Store, or parents can choose apps from the Google Play Store.

    Samsung Galaxy Portable Battery Pack

    Samsung Galaxy Portable Battery Pack ($100)

    No more fretting about running out of juice for your phone. Samsung's portable battery pack works with a variety of models. It was able to recharge the Galaxy S 4 to 100 percent power in about 1 hour 40 minutes, even while the phone was on and drawing power. And it was able to fully recharge the iPhone to 100 percent—also while the phone was on and drawing power—in about 4 hours 20 minutes.

    --Donna Tapellini


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    Use our interactive Gadget Gift Finder to discover the best electronic gifts for the athletes, movie buffs, music lovers, photographers, and travelers that may be on your holiday shopping list.

    Visit our Holiday Gift Ideas page where you'll find our experts' picks on:

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    - Top tech gift for Mom and Dad

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    - Top tech gifts for $200 or less

    - Top tech gifts for $100 or less

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