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20 hottest tech toys for the holidays

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Wow, the holidays creeped up on us again. It was only a matter of weeks where we were enjoying our summertime gadgets and trying to work on our farmer’s tan. But yes, the holidays are upon us, and retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online, are screaming out that you need to buy their latest gizmos. But don’t fret – we were able to try a bunch out for the 14th annual Cool Yule Tools holiday gift guide, and we present our favorite 20 devices here.

We have more complete writeups of these devices here, which include reviews of more than 75 devices and offerings for the holidays. In no particular order, here our 20 picks:

Sony Xperia Z smartphone (via T-Mobile)

Buy this for: A Sony fan who wants an Android phone with a very large screen and excellent camera, who also happens to have good coverage from T-Mobile. It also has the amazing ability to survive (and operate while engulfed in) water.

Read our entire list of smartphones.

Griffin PowerDock 5

Buy this for: The family who has more iDevices than power outlets. This unit will centralize the recharging of all your smartphones and tablets, saving you precious power outlet space in your home or office.

Read our entire list of power devices.

Leap Motion Controller

Buy this for: The person on your list who loves the Iron Man movies or Minority Report, and wants to witness the beginnings of the gesture-control computing market. This is a fascinating and inexpensive way to get your hands moving with your computer.

NeatConnect Cloud Scanner

Buy this for: The super-organized, Type A personality who wants to get even more organized, or the person on your list who’s sick and tired of shoeboxes full of receipts and other paperwork. This handy scanner takes receipts, business cards and other documents and puts them into the cloud, making them available to you no matter where you are.

TOSY Robotics DiscoRobo

Buy this for: Younger kids who enjoy dancing and singing along with a robot that has some killer moves. This inexpensive robot moves to the beat of your songs, the more bass the better.

Read our entire list of kid toys.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Seven headphones – Thor: The Dark World Limited Edition

Buy this for: The gamer on your list who loves Marvel’s movies and wants to use them for purposes beyond their video gaming life as well. Removable earplates, great sound for games and movies, and a comfortable fit will have gamers very happy with these comic-book happy headphones.

Check out the entire list of headphones.

Technogel Sleeping Pillows

Buy this if: You have tried a ton of other pillows and are looking for a healthy and more comfortable option. This pillow, made of the coolest gel material ever, will give you the best sleep you’ve had in ages.

KEF M500 Hi-Fi Headphones

Buy this if: You want a high-quality pair of portable headphones that aren’t endorsed by a rapper, with a classic style and extreme comfort.

Velodyne vQuiet noise-canceling headphones

Buy this if: You fly a lot and you want a high-quality noise-cancelling headphones to block out the noise of the engines, but also the person who’s using their electronic devices throughout the entire flight.

Cambridge Audio Minx Go portable speakers

Buy this if: You’re looking for excellent sound in a trim, stylish package. This system will look great in your home, but also when you’re out and about and you want to produce some better music than from your small device.

Escort MediaFlair

Buy this for: The family that needs to keep the media-hungry kids happy during long car trips. This unit can stream movies, music and photos stored on an SD card to multiple devices (phones, tablets and computers) quickly and easily.

Brookstone Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending

Buy this for: Today’s generation of mixologists and amateur bartenders who want to learn how to make more exotic drinks – or those looking for the right way to make a perfect Martini. This system includes a scale and free iPad app that lets you pour drink ingredients perfectly every time.

ThinkGeek’s Shark with Frickin’ Laser Pointer

Buy this for: Friends who give presentations and like to make references to older movies, or just plain goofballs that want to have fun in their presentations.

Toshiba Qosmio X70 laptop series

Buy this for: The gamer or high-performance multimedia professional on your list who might need to take a second look at the whole Windows 8 system again. The 17.3-inch display and latest memory, graphics features and sleek design impressed us, and will impress you as well.

Read our entire list of computers and tablets.

Eton Rugged Rukus solar-powered sound system

Buy this for: The outdoorsy friend who wants to bring their music with them and not have to worry about cables or batteries. This solar-powered, music-blasting wireless sound system will keep you entertained during all of your outside adventures.

Apple iPad Air

Buy this for: The iPad fan who suddenly realizes that their tablet is too heavy, or as a starting tablet for someone who hasn’t yet experienced the joy of Apple’s iPad.

Read our list of tablets for this holiday season.

SmartDevices Projector Tablet U7

Buy this for: An Android tablet fan who sees some good benefit in having a projector built into their tablet for presentations or videos.

Diamond Multimedia GC1000 HD 1080 Game Console Video Capture Device

Buy this if: You are a gamer who likes creating videos of your awesome gameplay to share with the world on YouTube, or just need to capture/digitize some other video content.

Belkin Lego Builder Case for iPhone 5/5S

Buy this for: Anyone who enjoys both the Lego universe and the Apple iPhone universe. Worlds collide, letting you protect your phone while getting creative with plastic colored bricks.

Microsoft Xbox One (available 11/22) and Sony PS4 gaming consoles

Buy this for: Just about any kid, young adult or human being who wants the latest generation of video game consoles. You didn’t think we’d forget about these systems, did you?

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