Do you love karaoke and dream of being a pop star, adore taking photos of your family, hate cleaning your home but love the look of a clean house, all while drinking a delicious cup of coffee? Don’t we all! This week my friend, tech expert and Today show contributor, Mario Armstrong joined me for an interview to dish on the latest splurge-worthy technology gifts for the coffee aficionado, the music lover, photographer, techie and more this holiday season!
Candace Rose: How is Microsoft rising to the holiday season gift-giving challenge?
Mario Armstrong: “Well, Candace, Microsoft is really stepping up the game this year with their Xbox One console. They have a lot of different bundles that are happening right now. It’s a good time because there are a lot of price savings that you can get. For example if you buy between now and January 3rd, you’ll get $50 off on the Xbox One of your choice which is really good. They even have special edition bundles that come with two free games and more.
It’s not just for gaming, but I use Xbox One for home entertainment stuff, access to Netflix and online programming as well. It’s a really cool system for all of that.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything special out there for people who love to take photos?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, especially for those of you that love to take photos from your smartphone but would love to get a better picture out of it. I have a great attachment for you that will work just fine. This attaches to your existing smartphone. It’s made by Kodak, it’s the PIXPRO Smart Lens. It takes high quality pictures up to 10 times the optical zoom. It attaches simply to your smartphone and then you can get the photos right off of that very, very easily. This is a great gift giving idea, especially for someone that uses that smartphone a lot for pictures, but can use better quality because they like to print them out or put them on cool designs. This is available at RadioShack.”
Candace Rose: What’s new in portable entertainment?
Mario Armstrong: “Something that I use all the time (and I absolutely use all these devices) is Slingbox, personally because I don’t like to miss any of my favorite shows or any of my live sports programs when I’m traveling on the road. This is the Slingbox M1 (please see video above for details) and the way the Slingbox M1 works in general is that you connect this to your cable or satellite television systems at home – three steps and then you’re done.
You can access your at-home channels and your DVR from your phone, your tablet or your computer from anywhere. If I want to catch my favorite Ravens, my Baltimore Ravens playing football live on TV, but I’m here in New York and I can’t see that game, I can just tap into my Slingbox at home and be able to pull that channel up and watch it live on my screens. It’s $149 and there is no monthly fee.”
Candace Rose: Is there any way to make housekeeping less painful?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes. You could hire a maid or you can save some money and get your own iRobot from Roomba. This is the 800 Series (please see video above for details) it’s a vacuum cleaner that does it all for you. It automatically cleans hardwood floors as well as carpets. It’s maintenance free and it also has a brushless extractors. That means it’s going to eliminate all those hair tangles and jams that brushes can bring into the vacuum cleaner. You basically charge this up – I have a dog who runs around the house (always shedding), I love my little dog, but he’s always shedding! You charge it up, push the button once, let it roam around the house and keeps the whole floors clean.”
Candace Rose: What’s new for the coffee lover?
Mario Armstrong: “Coffee lovers – I’ve got all you people that love a good cup of joe or hot chocolate for that matter covered with the Keurig 2.0. I love Keurig and this looks phenomenally gorgeous in my kitchen, but not only that, it tastes perfect because they have awesome technology that gives you the perfect brew every single time. There are over 400 varieties of different flavors that you can get from over 60 plus different brands that you’re familiar with like Folgers, Maxwell House, Starbucks and more. Tons of great flavors from the best companies that make awesome coffee, but you can also do other beverages like hot chocolate as well. It’s single touch, just touch the button once and you can make a single cup or you can make a four cup carafe if you have friends over.”
Candace Rose: Do you have anything for people who are into karaoke?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes! This is actually better than karaoke. Slide over karaoke, make room for your own music video. I have an app for you, this is a free app for you to download and it’s called Hook’d Video Music. It’s a video music app that basically uses the camera on your phone. You turn the camera on to you and you start singing to your favorite artists and their songs. You basically pull up the song and start singing. You get into a jam mode, you start recording yourself and next thing you know you’re making your own music video. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing that good because they have some special effects on there that can give you a little bit of a way to sound just a little better than maybe what you would normally sound. People are having a lot of fun, they’re doing Christmas carols, holiday songs, but also your favorite pop songs on the app. If you want to do any of the upgrades it is $3.99 for those upgrades.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great gift ideas, Mario. Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “Thank you, Candace! I know that we have a lot that we covered here, all of our stuff and descriptions are all up on our website and that’s at ThunkNews.com/HolidaySplurge.”