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Top Gifts for Bay Area Techies

For the tech lover, getting a sweater for a present doesn’t cut it anymore. Nor do socks, hand-me-downs and anything that's close to a coupon for a free hug. Instead, our interests lie in the hundreds of new gadgets stocking the shelves this holiday season. And we're not alone.

Today, more than 34 percent of millennials prefer online video to television, 50 percent report that they watch at least one online video per day and a staggering 84 percent of us check our smartphones before we do anything else in the morning. That’s why we’ve put together a holiday gift guide for the generation that’s in-the-know.

Best Speakers: Mini Jambox

The Jawbone Mini Jambox is pound-for-pound the best in wireless speaker performance. Not only is it half the size of its original iteration, but its beautifully designed and packs a crisp audio punch for the person on the go. You can buy the Mini Jambox in a handful of different colors. 

Price: $180

Best Laptop: MacBook Air 13"

I could rave on and on about Apple’s latest line of iPhones and iPads, but nothing beats its universal, fully-functional laptop. 

While little of its physical appearance has changed from previous iterations, the fourth-generation MacBook Pro has a boosted battery life. In fact, Apple claims that its 13-inch model runs for up to 12 hours on one charge. That’s perfect for the traveler. 

Price: $1099

Best Tablet: Kindle Fire HDX

If you’re gifting tablets, nothing gives you more bang for your buck than the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX. Not only is it cheaper than other large premium tablets (the iPad for example), but it boasts a sharp display, a deep content ecosystem with its Amazon premium members and offers up its new Mayday feature, a real-time customer service call-in video screen

Price: $380

Best Smartphone: Nexus 5

There aren’t many top-of-the-line smart phones you can buy priced under $350 without a contract. But the Nexus 5 definitely has a beat on it. Google’s sleek new second-generation smartphone features a terrific scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 display, a noticeably light feel and a powerful Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. In other words, its got the perfect balance of design and power. 

Price: $349

Best Streaming Device: TiVo Roamio Pro

For those seeking the best-in-class DVR experience, there’s no better bet than the TiVo Roamio Pro. With 450 hours of HD storage, a built-in WiFi, the capability of recording six shows at once, and a deep selection of streaming photo, music and video services, its got everything for the big family that doesn't share the same interests.

The biggest and most impressive feature lies in its search tool, where you can get your search results cross-referenced from a number of different platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus. This allows you to compile and watch your favorite TV shows episode-by-episode without missing a beat. 

Price: $600

Best Cover: Durables Sleeve

The Durables Sleeve is just as much a protective case for your iPad as it is a statement on fashion. With its waxy canvas exterior and felt-lined interior, its a perfect accessory for us hipsters. I mean, there’s just something about its slick, old-fashioned design that makes me want to relive a Levis commercial.

Price: $70

Best Accessories: iDock-it iPad Workstation w/ Keyboard on Storenvy

Think outside the box for your holiday shopping and browse Storenvy, a San Francisco-based shopping and retail startup that offers up some exceptionally creative accessories for all your gadgets. On our wish list is the iPad workstation keyboard, which features a natural wood finish and a charming, late-1800s design. 

Price: $200

Best Educational Tool: Leap Motion

I’d like to introduce you to the Leap Motion, the future of learning. 

What is it exactly? The Leap Motion is a computer-connected device that works as a 3-D motion controller, capturing your natural hand and finger movements as you float them in front of your computer screen giving you a truly immersive experience. And the software comes compatible with dozens of educational programs related to astronomy, biology, anatomy, chemistry and geography to keep your children busy throughout the school year. 

Price: $80

Follow @NickTrenchard to learn more about the latest in Bay Area tech