Twingle Invites & RSVP- Easy Event Invites from your Phone -Review



 

What we love..

Quick and easy to create and manage invites from mobile devices. Fun animated themes, integrated with Apple & Google calendars and Maps. Ability to add potlucks, polls and event schedules.

What we’d love to see…

Even more fun invite choices, ability to add notes when signing up for potluck dish

Summary

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

Our Rating

Twingle Invites & RSVP is a free app and service that allows you to easily create and manage event invites from your smart phone.  If you wish to create or manage your invites on your computer you can do so by visiting Twingle.com from your internet browser, but you don’t need to, as you can access all features from your phone.

To start creating an event you first need to download the free Twingle app on your phone or tablet. Then in the app you can create a free Twingle account and you can start creating events. The service is free to use and is integrated with the contacts on your phone so that you can easily sent it via text or email to anyone on your contact list, you can also manually add anyone not in your contacts. Recipients of your invites can open them in a browser without a Twingle account of their own, or can view them in the Twingle app if they create their own free account. Whenever you open the app it takes you to the home page where you can toggle between future and past events or create a new event.

Creating an Event

 

From the home page press the big + sign and you will be prompted to pick a theme for your event. The theme page displays invitations according to 6 categories : “featured”, Birthdays, Occasions, Weddings, Seasonal Holidays, and Social Events. You can scroll through the invites in each category or enter a search term e.g. “Cinco de Mayo”, “Christmas” or “Engagement to pull up invites more specific to the theme you want. There is also an option to create your own theme- which allows you to upload your own photo for a personalized invite.

To select a theme simply tap on the invite and you will see a sample invitation. Some of them have accompanying music or are animated, others are straightforward invitations. If you like what you see them you can enter your event details. This is really simple to do and involves much fewer steps than entering your event details in the Evite app. Instead of having to tap on every part of the invite to edit it you simply tap “enter details” and a screen comes up where you can enter all the event details in one place. You add an event title, start date and time and can optionally add an end date and time (great for invitations for a weekend gathering or a trip.) For entering the date it shows you a calendar so you don’t have to remember for instance if the last friday of the month is the 29th or 30th.

The event location is integrated with Apple and Google maps, which has dual advantages- the guests can see the location easily on a map plus it makes it easy for you to check a venue’s address. If you don’t know the event venue’s address you can enter the venue name e.g. “Pump It Up” and it will give you a choice if places with that name, when you pick one it will show on the map so you can check it is the correct location.

Your name (as host) and email address are automatically entered, but you can edit them if you wish.

Optional Extras

 

There are several other options you can activate if you wish, these include:

  • Allowing attendees to bring guests (and you can limit how many)
  • Sending a message to guests
  • Adding an RSVP by date
  • Requesting no boxed gifts
  • Hiding Guest list

Once you have entered your details you can see what the finished invite will look like. If you don’t like it it is easy to change the theme without starting over. Simply tap “change theme”, select a new theme and all the details will be transferred to the new invite. You can do this as often as you like until you are happy with the invite. Once you have settled on a final theme tap “create” and your invite will be saved.

Inviting Guests

Twingle accesses your contacts making it easy to find contact information for your guests and you can send invitations via email or via text messages to people in your contact list. You can also manually enter names and email addresses if you wish to invite someone not in your contacts. It is also simple to add a co-host to the event you can invite them from the same page that you invite guests from.

 

iPhone Screenshot 3Additional Features

Twingle also has several extra features you can use if it suits your event

  • Potluck sign up
  • Event schedule
  • Polls
  • Chat

 

Potluck

If you enable the potluck feature you can add a potluck sign up to the event. To add dishes you simply type them in  and they appear in a list with a sign up box. When a guest (or host) has signed up for a dish it is marked as taken and the name of the person supplying the dish is noted. Guests can also add their own dishes. I would like to see an option for guests to add a note when they sign up for a dish, e.g. if the host has “dessert” as an option the guest could write in what dessert they plan to bring to avoid duplication.

 

Event Schedule

This is a feature that I haven’t seen in other invite apps and I really like. It is especially useful for multi-day events or events that involve many distinct parts, so your guests know what to expect and when.

Within your event tap on “activities” and it will pull up the scheduler. Here you can create as many events within your main event as you wish. For each part you are prompted to enter a start and end time, title, description and notes. If its a multi-day event you can also pick which date it will be on. For each segment you can also upload a photo to represent that event.

 

iPhone Screenshot 5Polls

If you need help from your guests in deciding event details the polls section is where you can get it. Maybe you are having a pizza party and want to know whether your guests prefer cheese, Hawaiian, pepperoni or meat lovers ? Or perhaps you are arranging a friends get together and are undecided on which restaurant to go to – let your guests vote between your top picks. You can easily create polls with multiple questions and give a choice of acceptable answers.

 

Chat

The chat feature allows the hosts and guests to talk about details of the event before and after the event and also lets them upload photos of the event to share with other guests. As well as sending typed messages the chat lets you send a wide variety of gifs too.

 

Shareable Event Link

If you have an event, such as a popup boutique, craft fair or open house, that you want to invite the public or a wide range of friends and to you can opt to make the event public and Twingle will create a custom event link you can then choose to share this via email or Social Media directly from the Twingle app.

 

iPhone Screenshot 2Managing Your Event

Twingle also makes it easy to manage your events. On the homepage of the app you can see past and future events. Tapping on any event brings you to its’ dashboard where you can keep track of RSVPs, see the event details and edit them if needed. You can also easily invite additional guests, add potlucks, polls, activity schedules and check the event chat from here.

Twingle will send your guests automatic event reminders and as host you can easily send out custom messages or reminders too. If you have an important message or update for your guests you can send it out to everyone using the Announcement feature.

If you want to plan a similar event to a past event you can simply duplicate it with the touch of a button, you just need to enter the new date and time. You can keep the same invitation theme or switch it out for a fresh look, it also gives the option to duplicate the guest list or invite new guests.

 

Summary

 

Twingle is an app that is designed to make it easy to create and manage invitations from your smartphone or tablet. It is totally free, with no subscriptions and has no annoying adverts. I love how easy it is to create invites, the fun animated themes and how easily you can duplicate an event or change a theme without having to re-enter details. The integration with Maps and Calendars on both the mobile device and desktop makes it easy for both hosts and guests.

I love that is is very flexible for different types of events- not only does it have standard themes such as birthdays, weddings and Christmas parties, but it also has more causal events such as a guys night out, hang out, date night and soccer game, you can even upload your own image for a personalized invite.

The potlucks, polls, ability to create an event schedule and chat are nice additional features.

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

iTunes Link: Twingle Invites & RSVP – BitCompute

Twingle Invites & RSVP Twingle Invites & RSVP by BitCompute

Price: $FREE

Life is complicated, planning an event shouldn’t be.  Whether planning a large wedding, a surprise birthday party or a simple date night, Twingle is a fun and easy app to help you organize your social.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

19 Top Tech Gifts – The iMums Holiday Gift Guide 2017

19 Top Tech Gifts - The iMums Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Stanley Stand by Distil Union

The Stanley Stand by Distil Union is a leather device that bends to hold your device and accessories while cooking, serving as a portable charging station, holding your tablet and more.  Stanley Stand is made of leather, merino wool felt and heavy steel.  

Kwilt Shoebox

Kwilt Shoebox is a novel solution for storing and accessing your mobile photos.

iFrogz Impulse Duo - Dual Driver Bluetooth Earbuds

The iFrogz Impulse Duo are wireless Bluetooth earbuds with dual drivers. Each earbud has two 6mm neodymium drivers.

EYEQUE Personal Vision Tracker

The Personal Vision Tracker from EYEQUE is a device that works with a smartphone to check and track your vision in between trips to the eye doctor.

Stud Satchel

Stud Satchel is a great ‘man bag’ perfect for carrying a tablet, camera, book, wallet and all his other everyday essentials.

SnapPower Safe Light

SnapPower Safe Light is an easy to install wall replacement switch that not only childproofs but adds lights so you don’t need to take up one of the outlets with a nightlight.

Buff Quick Cloth by Microfiber Wholesale

Buff™ Quick Cloth by Microfiber Wholesale is a ultra fine microfiber cloth that will  not only remove smudges, dirt, dust and debris – it will  also clean and polish your device. 

iXpand Base from SanDisk

Xpand Base from SanDisk is the perfect gift for fast easy foolproof back up of the photos, videos and contacts from an iPhone or iPad

iFrogz Impulse Wireless Headphones

iFrogz Impulse Wireless headphones have a well padded headband and AeroFoam padding earpads for comfort and passive noise resistance.

Blink Wireless Home Security

Blink Wireless Home security from Blink is a wireless home security camera that sends alerts to your smartphone or tablet via motion-activation or HD video. 

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame brings photo frames into the 21st Century.  It is a touchscreen device that acts as both a photo frame and smart digital photo album.

myCharge Portable Power Outlet

Portable Power Outlet from myCharge is a portable power bank in class of it’s own. It has both a charging hub and an inverter so it can provide both AC and DC power.

Smarter iKettle Wi-Fi Connected Electric Kettle

iKettle from Smarter is the intelligent way to heat water, whether it is for brewing the perfect cup of tea or heating a baby’s bottle.  

invisaWear jewelry for personal security

Invisawear is a wearable jewelry that includes an integrated battery that allows you to press a button which utilizes your smartphone to contact emergency services in an instant. 

MyCloud Home

My Cloud Home from Western Digital provides a secure place in your own home to store and access all your digital files so you no longer need to use 3rd party cloud services.

Touchjet Wave

Touchjet Wave turns a flat screen TV or monitor into a giant tablet. It can be used with any monitor or flat screen TV from 20-65″.

Arlo Pro 2 Wirefree Security Camera System

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD- giving high quality images, the cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions.

PicoBrew Pico Model C Beer Home Brewing Machine

Pico Model C from PicoBrew is the perfect gift for the Craft Beer affectionado.

Apple Watch

The brand new Apple Watch 3.0 is a perfect companion to your smartphone. You can listen to music, use apps, view and respond to text messages and make phone calls all from your wrist.  

The Holidays are almost here, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales looming, Christmas shopping season will soon be in full swing. The iMums have been publishing gift guides with our favorite gift ideas since 2011, and are we are proud to present our 2017 18 Top Tech Gifts. Amongst this year’s picks we have included new tech that can turn your TV into a giant touchscreen tablet, a smart Kettle that can help you brew the perfect cup of tea, the latest in wireless home security systems, a power pack that can power a TV, some great solutions for backing up and organizing your digital media and many more. Many of these items will be on special sales for Black Friday or Cyber Monday so make sure you don’t miss out! Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Shopping! When shopping for kids please also check out our latest Kids Gift Guide and other gift guides.

Gifts Under $50

Stanley Stand by Distil Union

Stanley StandThe Stanley Stand by Distil Union is a leather device that bends to hold your device and accessories while cooking, serving as a portable charging station, holding your tablet and more.  Stanley Stand is made of leather, merino wool felt and heavy steel.  The Stanley Stand is covered on the outside by leather in your choice of color (black, brown, gray, lime, aqua, red) and on the inside is Merino wool felt.  They cover up a piece of steel inside which bends to make the Stanley stand usable in so many situations.  Each stand has light grey Merino wool felt which has white stitching, and the darker stand (black) has darker grey felt with black stitching.  The stand features a small hole in the back designed to feed your cables through so they are not in the way of your device.  Read our full review. 

Available from Distil Union Amazon and other retailers for $49.99

Kwilt Shoebox

Kwilt Shoebox is a novel solution for storing and accessing your mobile photos. It is a small device that acts as a bridge between your smartphone and whatever storage device you attach to it. To use the Kwilt Shoebox you download the Kwilt app on to your phone, plug in the Kwilt Shoebox and connect it to your home WiFi. It has no storage of its own but acts as a bridge to whatever storage you attach to it- whether that is a 16GB USB stick or a 2TB hard drive. Any photos, videos or files that are on the attached storage device can be accessed and viewed from the Kwilt app on your phone, without using any of your smartphone’s storage.  Within the app you can view photos by location, date or album. You can access Kwilt where ever you are, as long as you have an internet connection. If you find your Smartphone storage is full you can download all your photos and videos via Kwilt at the tap of a button. Your photo and video storage is in the safety of your own home and there are no subscription fees to pay. If you run out of storage you can just add another hard drive (multiple storage devices can be accessed at once if you use a USB hub.

Available from kwiltshoebox.com for US$49.99

 

 

 

 

 

iFrogz Impulse Duo – Dual Driver Bluetooth Earbuds

The iFrogz Impulse Duo are wireless Bluetooth earbuds with dual drivers. Each earbud has two 6mm neodymium drivers. This gives a larger dynamic range and richer sound quality than single drivers. The wireless controller is nicely designed acting as controller, shirt clip and cable management system. The controller has 3 clearly demarcated zones that each have dual function. A press is used for volume up, play/ pause and volume down; whilst a long press is used to switch the earbuds on/off and go forward or back a track. The controller has a soft flexible magnetic clip that can both be used to clip the controller to clothing and to organize the earbud cable when not in use. The Impulse Duo Earbuds come with 3 sets of soft earbud tips so you can get the best fit. They are rated IPX-2 (sweat-resistant) to keep them working through your workout. With Apple discontinuing the earphone jack from iPhone 7 onward, these Bluetooth headphones are a great alternative to Apple’s Lightning EarPods or wireless AirPods. 

Available from Zagg.com or Amazon for US$44.99

 

 

 

 

 

EYEQUE Personal Vision Tracker

The Personal Vision Tracker from EYEQUE is a device that works with a smartphone to check and track your vision in between trips to the eye doctor. It consists of a miniscope, a safety strap and an iPhone or Android app. To use the Personal Vision Tracker: download the app, create an account and connect the scope to a smartphone using the included strap. The user then takes 3 full eye tests, these consist of of overlapping a red and green line perfectly to make a yellow line at 9 measurements of each eye. The EyeQue cloud technology processes the results providing EyeGlass Numbers. EyeGlass Numbers are spherical, cylindrical, axis, and astigmatism information  which is the same information in your eyeglass prescription. The Personal Vision Tracker is a quick and easy way to check your vision in between your annual vision tests with an eye doctor – so you can see if there are any vision changes occurring and to provide you with up to date vision information for ordering eye glasses online. The Personal Vision Tracker does require an annual subscription ($4.99) for each user, fIrst year is included free for the first user. Available from EYEQUE.com for US$29.99 

 

 

 

 

 

Stud Satchel

It can be hard to find an men’s shoulder bag that is suitable for carrying all his tech, a comfortable size to carry and masculine enough that it doesn’t look like a ladies purse. The Stud Satchel is a great ‘man bag’ perfect for carrying a tablet, camera, book, wallet and all his other everyday essentials. Crafted from waxed canvas and leather the stud satchel is equally at home in the office or on the go. It is available in olive or navy and can be personalized with up to 8 letters at no additional charge. At 15” L. x 4” W. x 13.25” H it is big enough to fit a laptop, but small enough to be carried as an everyday bag. It comes with both a handle and an adjustable shoulder carrying strap. There are enough compartments to keep all his tech organized with two snap closure front pockets, a zippered back pocket, two open inside pockets, one zippered inside pocket,  and a magnetic snap closure flap.

Available from GroovyGroomsMenGifts.com for US$49.99 

SnapPower Safe Light

SnapPower Safe Light by SnapPower is an easy to install wall replacement switch that not only childproofs but adds lights so you don’t need to take up one of the outlets with a nightlight.  As a mom of a toddler, I increasingly found myself telling my son “no” when it came to power outlets.  I remember childproofing with my first involved cumbersome outlet covers or the little white outlet covers you would remove just so you could vacuum and then stick back in.  I knew that there had to be a better solution.  At our house, in addition to needing to childproof, many of our outlets had nightlights plugged into at least one of the outlets.  We have some pretty dark corners, especially at the bottom of the stairs.  Other products in the lineup include switch plate covers for light switches  Read the full review.

Available from Amazon or SnapPower RRP $17.00 USD for a single or 10 for $140 USD

Buff Quick Cloth by Microfiber Wholesale

Buff™ Quick Cloth by Microfiber Wholesale is a ultra fine microfiber cloth that will  not only remove smudges, dirt, dust and debris – it was also clean and polish your device.  This double sided cloth also cleans and polishes glasses, tablets, and lenses.  Included in each package are two 5″ by 7″ cloths which are stored inside a handy case.  There are four different designs and can be washed when they get dirty.

Available from Amazon or Microfiber Wholesale RRP $5.98 USD.

 

Gifts $50- $100

iXpand Base from SanDisk

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is the perfect gift for fast easy foolproof back up of the photos, videos and contacts from an iPhone or iPad. It is a charging station and backup solution in one. Set up takes just a few minutes and after the first time whenever you plug your phone in to the iXpand Base it will start charging and simultaneously scan your phone. It will then automatically back up any new items it finds. The iXpand Base can be used to back up multiple iPhones/ iPads and you can then choose which back up to restore from- making it easy to transfer contacts, photos and videos to a new iPhone. It has a removable SD card which you can then use to transfer your photos and videos to a computer.The iXpand Base is available in 64GB, 128 GB or 256 GB.

Read our full review.

Available from AmazonSanDisk.com or other retailers from US$69.99

 

 

 

 

 

iFrogz Impulse Wireless Headphones

The Impulse Wireless Headphones from iFrogz are an over the ear Bluetooth headphone that won’t break the bank. The Impulse Wireless headphones have a well padded headband and AeroFoam padding earpads for comfort and passive noise resistance. The headphones fold up for travel, have on-ear controls and a built-in microphone on the earpiece. They boast an impressive 12 hour battery life and recharge via the included micro-USB charging cable. When you do run out of charge unexpectedly you can plug in the included cord to convert them to wired headphones (this is great as an emergency back up but I wouldn’t recommend for regular use as it it very thin and lightweight.) The headphones have 40 mm drivers and deliver good sound quality for the price. Overall, the iFrogz Impulse Wireless Headphones are a great value for over the ear Bluetooth headphones that offer good sound quality, comfortable padding and portability at an affordable price. Available in black with red accents or white with tan accents.

 Available from Zagg.com or Amazon for US$59.99

 

 

 

 

Blink Wireless Indoor Security

Blink Wireless Home security from Blink is a wireless home security camera that sends alerts to your smartphone or tablet via motion-activation or HD video.  The product utilizes a hub and cameras powered by lithium batteries to secure your home.  The batteries can last up to two years.  When utilizing Blink to check on your home, a LED light comes on to indicate the camera is recording.  An alert is sent after motion is detected to your smartphone and you can play back the video.  You are able to arm the motion alerts via your phone.  Blink also offers an XT camera which can be used outside.  It is quick and easy to set up.  After setting up the cameras, you take a photo using Blink of the room it will be placed in – you then can access the camera using your smartphone or tablet to view the room at any time.  Blink integrates with Amazon Alexa as part of your smarthome and can be operated using voice commands.

Available from Blink for US$99.  You can save 15% and get free shipping by using code. EARLYTHX 

 

 

 

 

Gifts $100- $200

 

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame brings photo frames into the 21st Century.  It is a touchscreen device that acts as both a photo frame and smart digital photo album. You can link each PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame to one or more SmartPhones, tablets or computers. From the PhotoSpring app you can choose photos to send to the Smart Frame or you can set it up to automatically send every new picture you take. You can connect multiple frames to your app allowing you to send  the same or different photos to different frames. You can also connect multiple accounts to one frame, so lots of different family members can all send pictures to the same frame.

The PhotoSpring makes it really easy to enjoy and share family photos. The auto-update feature makes it effortless to constantly update the frame with new pictures. It brings photos off your SmartPhone and into your living room with minimal effort on your behalf. It makes a great gift for moms and dads as an easy way to view family photos at home or in the office. It is also is a great gift idea for grandparents, as many different family members can connect to their PhotoSpring and easily keep them updated with family pictures even if they live a long way away or even in a different country.

Available from PhotoSpring.com  or Amazon with 16, 32 or 80GB storage from $149. Read our full review .

 

 

 

 

 

myCharge Portable Power Outlet

myCharge Portable Power Outlet Laptop chargingThe Portable Power Outlet from myCharge is a portable power bank in class of it’s own. It has both a charging hub and an inverter so it can provide both AC and DC power. It is a great on-the-go power solution for camping, tailgating  and travel. It is also a very useful addition to a home emergency preparedness pack, as an emergency power source during power cuts. The Portable Power Outlet has a capacity of 20,800 mAh and features an AC charging port as well as 3 USB charging ports  (2x USB-A 1X USB-C.) This provides enough energy to power a 32″ TV or a laptop computer. Although it has a large capacity it is relatively small and light weighing only 1.5 lbs and measuring 5″ by 5″ by 1″.

When you switch it on a small LCD screen shows the battery level (in 8 increments.) There are also USB and AC plug icons with ON or OFF showing to indicate if they are in use. The maximum power output is 65W, if the output between the USB and AC ports exceeds this the USB ports automatically turn off. If the AC output exceeds 65W the AC port will switch off. The Portable Power Outlet has a built-in fan to prevent overheating when in use. I have charged my MacBook Pro and iPhone 7 at the same time and it is capable of charging them together. The 20,800 mAh capacity is enough to charge the average smartphone 10+ x, Tablet 2x, Laptop 1.5x or run a 32″ TV for 4 hours.

Available from myCharge.com or Best Buy for US$179.99. Currently on sale at Best Buy for $89.99 ! Check myCharge.com for Black Friday sale.

 

 

 

 

 

Smarter iKettle Wi-Fi Connected Electric Kettle

iKettle from Smarter is the intelligent way to heat water, whether it is for brewing the perfect cup of tea or heating a baby’s bottle.  Different varieties of tea have different ideal brewing temperatures and the iKettle allows the user to select the temperature they want to heat the water to for the prefect brew. You can control the iKettle from anywhere.  iKettle can be set to heat on a schedule to switch on before you get up or to be ready when you come home. Once heated it will maintain the desired temperature up to 40 minutes. IFTT allows integration with other smart home appliances so you can switch it on via Amazon Alexa or Google Home or program it to be triggered by movement on a Nest Baby Cam. 

Available from Best Buy for US$149.99

 

 

 

 

 

invisaWear jewelry for personal security

Invisawear is a wearable jewelry that includes an integrated battery that allows you to press a button which utilizes your smartphone to contact emergency services in an instant.  The jewelry uses an integrated app where you can push the button for emergency services even when you are away from your phone.  You can also dial using your smartphone and the app which will provide locations services to help the police more easily find you.  You can also configure an emergency contact list – where a text is sent with your location to your contacts.
Available from Invisawear for US$129 starting in January 2018 via Indegogo. Recommended for teens through adult.

 

 

 

 

 

MyCloud Home

My Cloud Home from Western Digital provides a secure place in your own home to store and access all your digital files so you no longer need to use 3rd party cloud services. My Cloud Home is connected to your home router and is simple to set up using your smartphone. With the My Cloud mobile and desktop apps you can access your photos, videos, music and files from anywhere you have an internet connection. You can set up your smartphone to automatically back up to My Cloud Home, making it easy to free up space on your devices. You can also have all the family computers backing up to it. Every member of the family can have their own private space on the family My Cloud Home, they can manage, access and share their content how they wish. A USB port makes it easy to download and transfer files to and from external storage devices. It is available in a variety of sizes to suit your family’s storage needs- single drive from 2-8TB and dual drive (mirror backup) up to 16TB.

Available exclusively from Best Buy from $159.99

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts Over $200

Touchjet Wave

Touchjet Wave turns a flat screen TV or monitor into a giant tablet. It can be used with any monitor or flat screen TV from 20-65″. It allows you to stream music & movies, play your favorite mobile games, create interactive presentations and collaborate on a huge digital whiteboard all using the biggest screen in your home. TouchJet Wave has Android built-in so you can download apps onto the Wave and play them on your TV. To use it you clamp the Wave to the top of your TV, plug it in to a HDML port, calibrate and you are ready to go. You can use your finger on the touchscreen, or use any soft touch stylus and when you want to sit back and relax you can also use your SmartPhone as a remote control. Wave uses a projector and infrared technology to track finger movements and taps translating them into Android commands. It is great for home and office – both work presentations and collaborations and your favorite mobile gaming apps can be played on the big screen. You can have a 65″ virtual tablet with Touchjet Wave without breaking the bank!  

Available from Touchjet.com or Amazon for US$299.99

 

 

 

 

 

Arlo Pro 2 Wirefree Security Camera System

 

 

 

Arlo Pro 2 weatherproof

 

The Arlo Pro 2 security system from NETGEAR is the latest high definition wireless camera system in the Arlo range. We reviewed the original Arlo in March 2015, it was a great system then, and has had lots of upgrades and improvements since. Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD- giving high quality images, the cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions. They come with rechargeable batteries and can be used totally wire free or can be plugged in.  The Arlo magnetic mounting system makes installation very easy and moving cameras is a breeze. The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are rugged and designed to withstand the elements with an iP65 weather certification. They have 2-way audio, sound and motion detection.  A siren is built-in to the base station, and can be triggered remotely if you see any suspicious activity.

A rolling 7 days of motion and audio triggered recordings are stored for free on the Arlo server, paid plans are available if you want more storage. You can also store videos locally by attaching a USB to the base station. ARLO PRO 2 system has lots of optional accessories available including a solar charger, dual battery charger, security mounts, skins and extra rechargeable batteries.

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible WiFi HD security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home.

 Available from Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and Costco. RRP for starter set of base station and 2 cameras US$479.99 . Look out for great Black Friday Deals at Costco and Best Buy !

 

 

 

 

 

PicoBrew Pico Model C Beer Home Brewing Machine

The Pico Model C from PicoBrew is the perfect gift for the Craft Beer affectionado. The Pico Model C is a countertop home brewing machine that makes it easy to brew craft beers in the comfort of your own home. There are over 100 different “PicoPaks” available from a wide range of variety of craft breweries, there are Kombucha PicoPaks available too.

Each PicoPak is created to order and delivered to your door, so that the ingredients are at their freshest. Each PicoPak allows you to brew 5 litres of craft beer, and is packaged in a compostable container. The brewing process takes about 2 hours and then the beer is pumped into a keg to be fermented and carbonated. It is ready to drink in 6-14 days. Once the beer has been pumped into the keg the Pico C can be used to brew another batch of beer or Kombucha and can even be used as a Sous Vide cooker too. 

Available from Picobrew.com, Best Buy, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, Amazon for US$549

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Watch Series 3

The brand new Apple Watch 3.0 is a perfect companion to your smartphone. You can listen to music, use apps, view and respond to text messages and make phone calls all from your wrist.  Available from Apple.com, Target , Verizon Wireless and other retailers from US$329

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, if you click on these The iMums may receive a small commission which helps to pay to run this site. Thank you for supporting us by using these links. Some items on this list have been received free of charge for review purposes.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Ebates Holiday Survey: Top Gifts of the Season



Survey reveals that age matters when it comes to smartphone preferences

SAN FRANCISCONovember 8, 2017—In the battle between Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy, American teens and adults are split on which one they want as a holiday gift. Over a third (35 percent) of teens said they either want the pricey iPhone X or the Apple iPhone 8. Only 20 percent of adults want the iPhone X, with a slightly higher percentage (22 percent) wanting the iPhone 8. Overall, adults said the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the smartphone they’d prefer to unwrap (38 percent). The national survey was fielded among 1,034 adults and 507 teens by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates, a leader and pioneer in cash back shopping and subsidiary of the global internet services company Rakuten.
 
Which smartphone would you most like to receive?
Percent of adults who said this
Percent of teens who said this
1.      Samsung Galaxy S8
38 percent
28 percent
2.      Apple iPhone 8 Plus
23 percent
25 percent
3.      Apple iPhone 8
22 percent
35 percent
4.      Apple iPhone X
20 percent
35 percent
 
 
The Trendy Teen Gifts Are…
If you’re planning to buy your teen a pair of Beats wireless earbuds, as 28 percent of American parents are, you’re in luck—at 44 percent, it’s the number one trendy teen gift that teens most want to receive.
 
Teen boys also want a drone (47 percent), while girls want a Polaroid camera (52 percent). Other trendy teen gifts for both teen boys and girls are:
 
Which of the following popular gifts is at the top of your wish list?
Percent of teen boys who said this
Percent of teen girls who said this
5.      Beats wireless earbuds
38 percent
49 percent
6.      Nintendo Switch
38 percent
30 percent
7.      Bose portable speaker
28 percent
25 percent
8.      Amazon Echo
26 percent
24 percent
 
However, while 27 percent of parents think that fidget spinners are still a hot gift for teens, only 15 percent of teens put this on their wish lists.
 
Non-Electronic Gifts Are Popular, Too
When asked which non-electronic gift Americans most want to receive, the most popular choice was a gift card—for both adults and teens (both 77 percent). Adults also put clothing (49 percent), shoes (35 percent) and accessories (31 percent) at the top of their list. Teens agreed and also listed clothing (63 percent), shoes (55 percent) and accessories (44 percent) as their most desired gifts.
 
Getaways were also a popular choice for Americans (32 percent). In fact, almost three- quarters—72 percent—would forego a gift in exchange for a holiday getaway.
 
When it comes to which type of gift card Americans would most like to receive, money in the form of a Visa, Amex or Mastercard (72 percent) was the top choice. This is followed by a gift card to a restaurant (59 percent), a retailer (51 percent) or for travel.
 
And men should take note: one-third of women also selected a gift card for a spa treatment (35 percent).
 
One-in-five Americans also plan to spend between $250-$500 on holiday gifts this year, and almost as many will spend more than $1,000 (18 percent) or $750-$1,000 (17 percent).
 
“Our holiday survey found that, when it comes to holiday gifts, you can’t go wrong with a gift card—although a laptop or earbuds are also safe choices,” said Amit Patel, CEO of Ebates. “At Ebates, we want to make it as easy as possible to purchase all your gifts and save money while doing it. From gift cards to fidget spinners, our retailers have you covered.”
 
From now through Christmas, shoppers can receive up to double cash back on select retailers via Ebates. For more details on specific retailers participating in the special offer, visit Ebates.com. Shoppers can also download the free Ebates.com app at Google Play and the AppStore.
Check out The iMums Gift Guides for more ideas on holiday shopping
Download the free Ebates App here: Ebates: Cash Back & Shopping – Ebates

Ebates: Cash Back & Shopping Ebates: Cash Back & Shopping by Ebates

Price: $FREE

Shop gifts at your favorite retail stores this holiday season for amazing Cash Back rewards at 2,500+ stores! Save money at eBay, Amazon, Sephora & more.

Buy online AND get Cash Back? Yes! Ebates.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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