Back in early October, I wrote about the coin jar my Beloved and I keep, which we cash in at the end of the year to buy ourselves a holiday present. Well, now the end of the year is approaching, and I have the fun task of deciding where to spend my share. He estimates we’ll have $300—$400 each to spend on the gadgets of our choosing.

Here’s what my thoughts are about where to spend mine. (And by the way, I welcome your comments on any of my choices—or suggestions for stuff I haven’t considered. And I’d love to hear what tech you’ll be buying yourselves this holiday season.)

1. Apple iPhone

This is my one ‘for-sure.’ I probably won’t get the latest model, but I’m definitely ready for an upgrade to my clunky BlackBerry. I considered Android phones because they’re cheaper, but ultimately, I decided an iPhone would be worth it to me. I have so many apps already for my other iGizmos, whereas with Android, I’d pretty much be starting from scratch. It’ll also integrate seamlessly with iTunes, meaning I could sell my iPod Touch and put that money back into the kitty for other purchases.

I remember that for years, my sister told me to get an iPod—that it would change my life—but I felt I couldn’t justify the money on such a premium item. So I went through half a dozen cheaper, lesser brands before I finally realized it would have cost less to buy what I truly wanted in the first place. My gut tells me this is the same scenario, and that I’ll regret it if I settle for an Android phone. So, I am going to spring for my heart’s desire and get an Apple iPhone this year.

If I get a contract, I won’t have to pay for the phone … but I’ll have to pay about $100 to settle up my current phone, which hasn’t paid itself off yet. I can probably sell my iPod Touch for at least that much, though. And the cost to break a contract if something better comes along later is still cheaper than buying a premium phone, unlocked.

2. Kobo Glo with Smartcover

I’ve been a Kindle girl for the last few years, but the recent Kindle models seem to be getting chunkier and plainer-looking with every iteration. Kobo, meanwhile, is slimming theirs down and sleeking them up. I was very impressed with the Kobo Glo I recently tested, and I’ve been back to the store to play with it on more than one occasion.

I love the glow light, which will let me read in bed without disturbing my bedmate the way my backlit iPad does. I love the selection of fonts and the precision of control you have over them. I’m not a huge fan of the Kobo store, but as I use Calibre with the, ahem, tools, to manage my books, I don’t anticipate difficulties with loading my current books onto there.

I do think Amazon has the more elegant user interface. Kobo seems to take three steps too many to accomplish basic tasks, and it irks me that I can’t get archived items back without going to my computer. I will also miss the Send to Kindle and sync features.

But lately, I’ve found the sync to be a bit glitchy (it doesn’t always transfer my notes and annotations), so I think I’ll be happy to leave my reference books on my Kindle for iPad app to read between breaks while out, and to load up my snazzy little Kobo Glo with novels to read at home—on the couch, and then to bed with the glow light.

Nintendo 3DS3. Nintendo 3DS

I have a DS and enjoy it, but many of the newest games require the 3DS, so if I want to keep collecting, I’ll have to upgrade anyway. If I have extra money once the iPhone and Kobo are taken care of, now might be the time …

4. Long Shot: iPad mini

This is a definite want, as opposed to a need. If I take care of the other stuff, and get good prices for my iPod Touch and Kindle Touch such that I have money left over, this is a maybe.

But I’m not spending personal money on this when it’s such a frill. If I opt against the mini, I might splurge on a lunchbox I’ve been eyeing that’s a little out of my usual price range. I’m a bit of a lunchbox nerd, and I pack my lunch every day. This gorgeous stainless steel box will be especially handy for me because it has a glass insert that fits inside, which you can use to pack a hot item you intend to microwave.

So, what do you think? Good holiday picks? What do you plan on buying this year?

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  1. Hey, here’re my recommendations –

    I don’t know how big a fan of the Nintendo you are, but I’d recommend against getting the 3DS. I have not used/own/played with one of them, but if there’s a chance that you can get the iPad Mini instead, go for it. There are a lot of benefits to owning that pretty device, one of which is the surge of games on it. For example, He-man came out on iOS recently and made my day… 😛

    As for the iPhone, if you’re sure you’re not going for the latest one, then go for the iPhone 4S, not the 4. It’s a lot better/faster for the price.

    Enjoy the season! 🙂

  2. Definitely yes on the iPhone. A couple of years ago, my daughter inadvertently laundered hers. She also had an Android phone provided by her employer so decided to limp along with that and just keep the kids on her personal contract till it was over. I cannot tell you how thrilled she was when its time was up and she could get another iPhone. A year with Android was not wonderful for her. I do understand that because I had an iPad before the Kindle Fire and have never bonded with the Android system after enjoying iOS, and also found out that I really like the larger screen of the regular iPad.

  3. Instead of upgrading your phone, why not get the latest iPod Touch? I use the Touch because I have wifi at home and at work and I don’t care to spend so much on monthly phone charges. (I use a pay-as-you-go Go Phone which gives me cellular access for $8 a month.)

    The latest Touch has most of the advanced features of the iPhone 5 including retina display not found on the iPad Mini.

  4. I am not the sort of person that waits till the holidays to upgrade my toys. I have an android tablet that is over a year old and is working fine. The same goes for the one year old smartphone. My wife has an Ipad2 and an old smartphone and she is happy with both of them. My 2 year old e-ereader is still doing its main goal so I still have no need to upgrade. My macbook is 4 years old and although it is coughing and wheezing like a 75 year old asthmatic, it is still doing its job. This may need to be replaced but while it is still going I will persevere with it. My poor macbook is suffering. I have had to replace a battery, the cooling fan, the hard drive a power supply and the DVD drive does not work. The audio jack is temperamental and the track pad is there for aesthetic purposes.

    I find that most new gadgets offer small incremental improvements which I don’t really need. I would hate to be the sort of person that gets annoyed with my current devices when new models comes out. I did have a laugh when I heard that the people who bought Ipad3s were upset with Apple when the new Ipad came out last month. They have this amazing new Ipad which does amazing things but it is not enough for them. I guess that they are the sort of people who buy the latest toys just to show off that they have them.

    With either an Apple or Android device, most of the experience comes from the apps, not the devices themselves. Perhaps we could put down what sort of new app we would like to get for our toys.

    This year’s holiday season sees us and our two children going on a one month overseas vacation. I think they will get much more out of this trip than upgrading our toys.

    My next toys will depend on when my current ones expire. The Kobo glow looks really nice as a stand alone ereader. For phones and tablets I prefer the android system, but I don’t need top of the line products. I will look at mid-range products which are more value for money than the new Samsung IIIs or Galaxy Notes. I guess that is the same reason that people recommend the Iphone 4s. It did not come out too long ago so it still has to be a very good device. You still get access to all of Apple’s apps which is what you really need.

    If the macbook does finally give up the ghost, then I will look into a new windows laptop. After they way Acer repaired my son’s laptop with no fuss and nothing but great service, I may need to look into their line of products

  5. I want the iPhone (as opposed to a Touch) because it will amalgamate several gadgets into one: I can get rid of both my aging Blackberry phone (which can’t handle much internet) and my iPod Touch (which I love, but why have two devices when I can have one?)

    As for computers, that may be next year. My Macbook is still going strong, but I only use it as a library for iTunes and Calibre these days. When it goes, I think I can easily replace it with a much cheaper Windows-based laptop. Since I don’t use it as much, I don’t care as much as I can save my money for the mobile devices I use much more often.

    For me, it is about function. I already have a lot of iOS devices, so I am not inclined to start from scratch with Android when I am ready to go with iOS. And I do have a Kindle I love, but I can’t read it in bed, so the Kobo Glo does have a feature which would improve my experience. I don’t want it because it’s new, I want it because it has a feature that will improve my experience 🙂

    One of the ways we budget for the toys in our house is by waiting until Christmas. We stash our coins in the jar all year and then wait for the sales.

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