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With holiday gift-giving top of mind, I’ll be devoting this space for the next several weeks to different technology themes. Let’s lead off with one shopping season’s hottest gifts — new cellphones and accessories.
It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone or Android phone, there are good handsets to be had in all price ranges. And this year, I’m not choosing the highest-priced phones.
I’ll also take a look at charging cables and accessories to keep your phones, tablets and computers charged up faster than you thought possible.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
What is it? This is the smaller, cheaper version of the S21 5G. It has a 6.2-inch screen, 120Hz screen refresh and three cameras on the back, including ultrawide. The 4,000 mAh battery can last all day and it comes with 128gb or 256gb of internal storage.
Who is it for? Android phone users who don’t want to spend $1,000 or more on their phone. It has top end features in a slightly smaller package.
What does it cost? There are lots of trade-in offers and Black Friday deals, so you might find it cheaper than the retail price of $799.99.
Where can you buy it? Samsung.com; Best Buy, Amazon or any of the major phone carriers.
Apple iPhone 13 mini
What is it? This might be the last year for the mini version of Apple’s flagship line of iPhones. The 5.4-inch screen is tiny compared with Apple’s larger phones, but it shares the same A15 Bionic processor. It has dual 12-megapixel cameras and up to 512-gigabytes of storage. Despite the small size, it still has FaceID and MagSafe wireless charging.
Who is it for? iPhone users who want a smaller handset but don’t want to compromise on features.
What does it cost? Starting at $699 for 128gb.
Where can you buy it? Apple stores or Apple.com, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, all phone carriers.
Google Pixel 6
What is it? Since Google makes the Android operating system, the company’s phones are very good.
This year’s Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen and is running a new Google processor called Tensor, which is 80% faster than the Pixel 5. It has 8gb of RAM and 128gb or 256gb of storage.
The rear cameras feature a 50MP wide-angle and a 12MP ultrawide camera.
Who is it for? Android users who like a phone without a lot of pre-loaded apps they don’t want.
What does it cost? Starting at $599
Where can you buy it? Google.com or from major cell carriers.
Amazon Basics Charging Cables
What is it? A charging cable for your Android or iOS device. You can buy these cables in different lengths and for every kind of port you’d need.
You can buy cheaper cables and you can certainly buy more expensive cables, but I find these Amazon Basics cables are just right — and they won’t break the bank. FYI, I find buying a bit longer cable is usually the right choice.
Who is it for? Everyone on your shopping list can use another charging cable.
What does it cost? Varying prices depending on length and type of cable.
Where can you buy it? Amazon.com
Anker Nano II 30W Fast Charger
What is it? This is a small but powerful charger for your phone, tablet or computer. It has one USB-C port and provides 30 watts of power. If you have a smartphone or tablet that can quick charge, you’ll need a charger that can provide more power. This one will power up your iPhone or Android phone as fast as it can charge.
There are also versions of this charger that provide 45 or 60 watts.
Who is it for? Anyone who needs to charge a phone, tablet or computer as fast as possible.
What does it cost? $33.99 for 30w; $39.95 for 45w; $59.99 for 65w.
Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Earbuds
What is it? These have been called the best wireless earbuds you can buy. The 75t’s are available in black or gray and they have a battery life of 5.5 hours. Their battery case can provide another 18.5 hours of playback time.
They are comfortable and sound great.
Who is it for? For anyone who talks on the phone or likes to listen to music while they work out.
What does it cost? $149 is the list price, but holiday sales will drop the price if you shop around.
Where can you buy it? Amazon.com, Best Buy, Target, Walmart.