Just in time for the holiday season, this year’s shopping guide will help you find the right present for everyone on your list. There are also some great products that you can use in your home and office. The prices in this list were compiled in early November, so check for even lower prices at local stores or online.
Gifts for Media Consumption
Apple AirPods Wireless Headphones
Have you ever used wireless headphones? Launched in 2017, Apple’s wireless headphones provide enormous value for the purchase price. Wireless connectivity is especially beneficial while you are working out, listening to music on your phone, or placing a phone call. Instead of having an annoying wire connected from your headphones to your device, you’ll have free range of motion. The package includes two individual wireless headphones (left and right), a charging case, and a cord. Headphones have a battery life of five hours of listening time and can be placed into the charging case to replenish the battery to allow for a total of 24 hours of listening time.
Christopher C. Shattuck, Univ. of La Verne College of Law 2009, M.B.A. U.W.-Oshkosh 2015, is manager of Practice411™, the State Bar’s law practice assistance program. If you have questions about the business aspects of your practice, call (800) 957-4670.
Alternatives: Jabra Elite 65t wireless ear buds are priced slightly higher than the AirPods, at $169.99. These ear buds also feature excellent call and voice quality. This product is a great alternative for individuals who do not use Apple products. If you are looking for noise-cancelling wireless headphones, check out Bose QuietComfort 35 II. At $349.95, these headphones are twice the price, but many consumers are willing to pay the premium for the noise-cancelling features. These headphones share similar features and capabilities with the others mentioned.
JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
If you plan to tailgate, have a backyard bonfire, or camp anytime soon, this waterproof speaker provides all the sound quality you might need. It also features voice-assistant integration, a speakerphone to take calls, and a 7500mAH power bank to allow you to charge smartphones and tablets. The battery can keep the music playing for up to 20 hours. This product, which has excellent reviews, can also support two different devices connected via Bluetooth.
Alternatives: A great alternative for less than half the price of the JBL is the Anker Soundcore Flare, priced at $59.99. Anker provides up to 12 hours of playtime and can also accept calls through its speaker. The speaker features a festive lighting display and is waterproof. Another great alternative is the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Wireless Speaker, priced at $99.99. This speaker is waterproof and drop proof and also floats in water. You can connect two speakers to each other to increase the sound. This product has a 10-hour battery life when fully charged.
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(You Might Even Win a Pair of the Coolest Socks Ever)
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Gifts for the (Practical) Professional
Apple iPad Pro with Retina Display 11”
Announced at an Apple event on Oct. 30, 2018, this redesigned iPad features an “all-screen design.” The new liquid retina display provides for better viewing than with previous iPads. Also, this version of the iPad has the popular face-identification feature that allows users to unlock, log in, or pay with facial gestures. You can use the device for up to 10 hours on a full charge. There are many built-in apps, and the device runs on the iOS 12 operating system.
Alternatives: If you are in the market for a tablet with features similar to the newest version of the iPad, then consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 10.5”, priced at $649.99, or the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 for $899. The Galaxy has a video playback time of up to 16 hours, and the Surface has a playback time of up to 13.5 hours. Either tablet can be used as a second screen for lawyers completing work on the go. The devices can also be helpful during trials, especially when used in combination with other apps.
MAXOAK 50000mAh 5/12/20v Portable Charger
There are many reasons to purchase a portable charger. The first one is security. Using public charging stations or borrowed chargers puts you at risk for juice jacking: all the information can be downloaded from your device without your permission or knowledge when your device is connected to a public charging station or charger that has been modified to steal your data. Another reason is to ensure that you can use your device when no charging outlets are available. The MAXOAK portable charger has a high mAH capacity, which when fully charged can charge an iPhone 6 more than 10 times. The product also contains adapters to charge your laptop as well. Before buying, take a look at all the connectors and make sure the product is compatible with your device.
Portable AC Outlet 27000mAh Battery Pack by ChargeTech
This product has about one-half the battery storage capacity of the MAXOAK. However, this product has a built-in AC outlet, which is useful in case your device does not have the capability to charge without such an outlet. The product is also TSA approved for airline travel.
Alternative: For about one-half the price of the ChargeTech, you can purchase the AC Outlet 27000mAh Power Bank by RAVPower for $125.99. This device has a higher wattage of 100w that helps charge your device faster. The tradeoff is that this device is slightly heavier (5 ounces more) than the ChargeTech.
At this stage of the Apple Watch, the question almost becomes what can’t this watch do? In addition to being able to make calls, play music, respond to text messages, monitor your health statistics, and track steps, this watch can also place phone calls when your phone is not in range (provided you have the GPS + Cellular plan version of the watch). The watch also integrates with countless other apps to help you receive notifications without looking at your phone. This is especially helpful to lawyers who are in court or at depositions and want to receive updates from the outside world. Investing in this watch is something you will not regret.
Alternatives: The Fitbit Versa Smartwatch comes in at about one-half the price of an Apple Watch at $199.95 and is a great alternative. This Versa can receive notifications from phones and apps. You can use it to track workouts, play music, and keep track of health statistics. The Versa does not offer an LTE option or have the same app integrations as the Apple Watch. If you would like a lower-priced smartwatch, consider the Pebble Time Smartwatch, at $79.99. The Pebble does not have all the bells and whistles of the other smartwatches, but it has the basic capabilities of receiving notifications and tracking health statistics to give you a taste of what life is like with a smartwatch.
While You Shop, Help Wisconsin Law Foundation
Most of the products highlighted here are linked to AmazonSmile, which is a simple and automatic way for you to support charitable organizations every time you shop, at no cost to you. You’ll find the exact same low prices and selection as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.
How to help: Simply sign in to smile.amazon.com and select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.” Search for Wisconsin Law Foundation and set it as your charity. Then shop. That's it!
Thank you and happy holidays!
Gifts for the Office
This is by far the most expensive gift idea listed in this guide and for good reason. It is a marquee item for office or home. The massage chair is zero gravity, has several different massaging options, features heat, and has a remote control and an LCD display screen. If you purchase this for your office, you should ask your tax professional whether you can deduct the purchase on your taxes. It’s a great way for your employees to relax during stressful days.
What is the source of energy in your office? I hope it’s a positive work environment and general desire to do good work for your clients. But if you need an extra energy boost, turn to this product, which serves single cups of coffee, latte, and cappuccino. It also comes with a strong-brew option. This Keurig pours four different cup sizes (6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces). The different varieties and options will be appreciated if you and your employees have different coffee-intake requirements.
FlashForge Finder 3D Printer
Put this item in the purely fun, but not practical, category for an office. If you ever wanted to learn about 3D printing or try it out, this is a great option. Let your imagination run wild when coming up with different designs for items that can be created within the 3D space. Although not a necessity, this is another item to help relieve stress. You can even create items to give away to clients.
Dragon Legal Individual 15 Dictation Solution
Price: $499.99 (Download Version)
This is the most practical item on the list for an office. This software is incredible and is designed to pick up common words and phrases used by lawyers. Once the dictation is complete, a transcript can be generated and sent in an email to the transcriptionist. Users can also create custom words and voice commands. Although the software is just shy of $500, the investment will be worth it considering the amount of staff time that otherwise would be spent on transcribing.
This is a great, albeit noisy, healthy addition to the office. The blender comes with two different containers, a recipe guide, and blades, and you can make drinks, smoothies, or other liquid meals. If you purchase the product for your office, you’ll likely end up purchasing a second one for your home.
Home & Security
Google Home Hub Voice Assistant
Have you ever wanted a touchscreen to go along with your voice assistant? Google Home Hub might be the product for you. It became available for purchase on October 22 and does not contain a camera. This product might be helpful for do-it-yourself projects or cooking. Users will also be able to display the weather, calendar, or other helpful reminders. If you have been waiting to open your house to voice assistants, now may be the time to make the purchase.
A frequent item on the holiday gift guide, the Nest Cam is a great product for your home and office. If you were ever wondering what was going on in your home or place of work while you are away, this is a great, reliable product to keep track of the happenings within the camera’s view. The camera tracks motion and then sends alerts to your device if it detects movement. You can upgrade to a subscription plan to store recorded videos for periods of time. You can also choose between indoor and outdoor cameras. In either case, for the price, it’s a great investment for peace of mind.
Gifts Under $50
Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster
Price: $14.99 ebook, $24 hardcover
Invisible is a highly rated, nonfiction book by Stephen L. Carter about his grandmother, Eunice Carter. The book covers Ms. Carter’s career and the challenges she faced as a black woman lawyer prosecutor in the 1930s and discusses her significant role in the trial of “Lucky” Luciano. Avid readers likely will appreciate receiving this powerful book.
Plambag Unisex’s Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote Luggage Bag
This durable canvas bag looks professional enough to take into the courtroom. Two side-zipped pockets allow for storage of your tablets. The bag also features a detachable shoulder strap. It’s an attractive, multipurpose bag. Consider this item for the travelers on your gift-giving list.
Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter
This probably is one of the best adapters available, especially if you were not previously aware of its existence. Essentially, you plug the adapter into your iPhone, iPad, or iPod and then can connect an HDMI cord from the adapter to a device for displaying. Stated differently, you can use the adapter to display what’s on your Apple device to a TV. This is helpful if you need to make a presentation and a projector or laptop is not available.
It’s also useful when you are traveling because most hotel rooms have a TV with an HDMI port. Bring your own HDMI cord, and you can watch, on the hotel TV, your favorite shows that you stream on your device. The adapter also has a charging port to ensure you do not run out of juice while using the device. If you do not have an Apple phone, rest assured, you can find other adapters for your device.