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Tuesday, May 07, 2013 5:22pm
Electronista's 2013 Mother's Day tech gift guide
Mother's Day is a special sort of day where we get to give back to the woman that gave us life. This special day is right around the corner -- but you knew that already, right? Of course, the reason you haven't gotten a gift yet is because you're looking for just the perfect one. Ah, but what's the thing to get for such a woman? Electronista took a look at the latest and greatest in consumer tech to figure out what you should get good ol' Mom in order to one-up all your siblings -- who went the flowers-and-chocolate route.

If you're looking at tech for a Mother's Day gift, you'll want to put some thought into just what sort of device you're going to buy. For maximum use potential, it's a safe bet that you're going to want to go with something portable. You're in luck, because portable is totally "in" right now, and there's a great lineup of products in many categories that your mom can take with her so she's always reminded of you and just how much you cared.

Music players

Since the rise of the smartphone, appreciation for music players has slipped. We're still of the mindset, though, that listening to tunes is reason enough to buy a device. When it comes to music players, of course, Apple is in a league of its own, as evidenced by the latest iPod nano. This diminutive player packs not only 16GB of storage for Mom's tunes and podcasts, but it comes with a built-in FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and compatibility with Nike+ fitness. That makes it perfect for taking out on a walk, off to the gym, or wherever it is Mom wants to go. If you hurry, you can even get it engraved with a message of love.


It's a scientifically-proven fact: moms like cameras. They help them preserve those amazing moments when their kids are doing... whatever kids do... usually falling down, right? When looking to get Mom a camera, though, you've got multiple options.

You could go point-and-shoot if you think mom just wants something quick to whip out and snap away. For that, you might want to take a look at Samsung's WB30F 16.2MP SMART Camera. Available in sleek black, sizzling red, and a reserved white, the WB30F is just the sort of pocket-sized point-and-shoot that ensures mom's saving moments in style.

It's also simple to operate, with an easily viewable 3-inch LCD viewfinder screen and a big 16.2MP sensor to capture crisp clear images. Its 10X optical zoom makes sure Mom can get close up on the action, both in still pictures and when shooting HD movies at 60fps. Samsung's SMART Camera tech also means that it's easy to share pics to Facebook and other services in just seconds.

If Mom's a more experienced shutterbug, though, you might want to step up to Samsung's Galaxy Camera. This smartphone mixed with a point-and-shoot maintains a level of simplicity, but with the beefy features of more capable cameras. It's got a 4.8-inch 1280x720 touchscreen, and it runs Android 4.1. That latter fact means that when Mom's done snapping pro-quality pictures, she can upload them to your Facebook and tag you incessantly directly from the camera itself!


Of course, if Mom's into touchscreens and, let's be honest: who isn't nowadays? you could earn some serious brownie points by getting her her very own tablet. Since it's Mom, we're going to assume she'll want something she can take with her on the go; something that, say, fits in a purse? Well, you're in luck, because just about everybody's coming out with a mid-size or ultra-thin tablet design that's big on portability.

Apple's iPad mini is the standard bearer in the mid-size tablet segment, so you'd be remiss not to consider it. With its sleek, minimalist aesthetic and premium aluminum build, the iPad mini is an object of envy: the sort of thing Mom can pull out between meetings or at the park and instantly catch the eye of her peers. It's also thin enough and light enough to fit into a purse easily, and iOS has more tablet apps than any other platform, meaning Mom will always be able to find something to tickle her fancy.

Or you could go for Google's Nexus 7, a respectably-capable Android tablet with a smaller form factor, making it even more portable. Android doesn't have as many tablet-centric apps as Apple's iOS, but all the big apps are there in some form or another, so Mom won't miss out on too much. At $200 for a 16GB model, you may be making up for what you miss out on in apps with a lower price.

You've also got the option of going for a Samsung tablet with the Note 8.0. Released just over a month ago, the Note 8.0 is a powerful piece of kit, running a recent version of Android packed with a bunch of Samsung-specific extras. Best of all, it's got the S Pen, a pressure-sensitive stylus that enables way too many features to list here. Suffice to say, your mom will be able to send you handwritten thank you notes and if she's of the artistic bent remarkably rendered pictures.


Then again, maybe it's time for a new computer, no? These days, it's tough to choose between a tablet and a traditional computing form factor, but one thing's for certain: if Mom's main goal is Getting Things Done, she's going to want something with a keyboard. In that case, Windows 8 and Android have got you covered with multiple convertible units that merge the touchscreen fun of a tablet with the productivity enabled by a full, physical keyboard.

On the Windows 8 end, Samsung's ATIV Tab 5 is a good option for the mobile, productive mom. It's a fully-functioning PC with a dual-core 1.8GHz Atom processor from Intel, as well as the same S Pen technology that makes the Note 8.0 so fun.

It runs the full version of Windows 8, so any apps Mom's already got on her older PC will run just as well on her new favorite gift. Toss in the optional full keyboard dock, and the ATIV Tab 5 becomes a great productivity tool, too. To top it off, the whole package is still sleek enough to carry anywhere, and when not docked, it becomes a touchscreen tablet, meaning the best games and apps on Windows 8 are at Mom's disposal.

If Mom's already got a bunch of Android apps, though, you could just as easily go with Asus' Transformer Prime, another convertible tablet that's built to run Google's operating system. It's got a quad-core processor inside, as well as a brilliant 1080p HD screen. It's a little bit bigger, so it's not going to fit into a purse, per se, but it's still super slim and light, and its detachable keyboard works like a charm for editing documents and chatting.

Also popular is the standard-bearer in the portable category, the 11-inch MacBook Air. Its a pricey but solid option, sporting unibody construction, a top-quality screen (no touchscreen, however) and super-fast all-SSD storage. Particularly recommended if mom's mobile devices are running iOS.


If Mom's already got tech in the above categories, or if you're looking for something to complement your awesome gift, you could do worse than to bump up its capabilities or protect it with an accessory. Depending on what Mom likes, there's no end of options to sweeten your Mother's Day gift.

Say your mother's into fitness. That's well and good, because she'll be around for many Mothers Days, and you can encourage her with the BodyMedia FIT LINK Armband.

BodyMedia's offerings pair with iOS and Android devices to track a user's activity levels using accelerometers, skin temperature gauges, and galvanic skin response, among other measures. All that activity gets logged in BodyMedia's app on the mobile device, a home computer, or both for easy fitness tracking.

The company also has a number of partnerships in place with fitness giants such as Jenny Craig and television's The Biggest Loser, which makes for a range of other possibilities. Best of all, BodyMedia knows you're looking out for your mom, and they're running a limited time offer for 20 percent off the armband, just in time for Mother's Day.

Or, if you're more interested in making sure Mom takes good care of the gifts you so thoughtfully picked out for her, you could make it easier with a protective pouch for her Ultrabook, iPad mini, or Nexus 7.

[Cover image via Relationships Scotland Blog]