The Associated Press is producing a series of gift guides covering various technology gadgets and services, including game consoles, e-readers, PCs and accessories. In addition, the AP has expanded its reviews of products during the holiday season to cover mobile devices and other gadgets from Apple, Google, Samsung and other companies. To help with planning, here are some of the stories that may be of interest for holiday-related sections.
Questions on story plans to Anick Jesdanun at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-621-7325. For photos, call 212-621-1900. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact email@example.com or call 877-836-9477.
Here's a look at some of the upcoming gift guides and reviews:
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-SMARTPHONES GIFT GUIDE
NEW YORK — Many people no longer wait until their phone contracts expire to upgrade their smartphones. There are plenty of Apple, Android and Windows phones to choose from, depending on budgets and features desired. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,000 words on Tuesday, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-TABLETS FOR KIDS GIFT GUIDE
NEW YORK — Tablet computers geared toward kids are topping the Christmas lists of many children this year, including very young ones. Products range from traditional Android-based tablets with kid-safe modes to tablets designed purely for children that function more like toys than technology. By Bree Fowler. UPCOMING: 900 words by noon Wednesday, photos.
These gift guides have been sent earlier:
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-WIRELESS AUDIO GIFT GUIDE
LOS ANGELES — Cords to all of our gadgets are entangling our digital existence. Wireless speakers and headphones should keep music lovers happy this holiday season. By Ryan Nakashima. SENT: 1,100 words on Nov. 19, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-CONSOLES GIFT GUIDE
New game consoles from Sony and Microsoft bring cutting-edge computer graphics and plenty of games to choose from. Both hold the promise of delivering state-of-the-art entertainment for years. So which should you buy? By Lou Kesten. SENT: 790 words on Nov. 26, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-GAMES GIFT GUIDE
When you head to the mall, take this list of some of the best games of 2013. Any gamer on your holiday shopping list will be thrilled to see one of them under the tree. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 860 words on Nov. 26, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-BUDGET LAPTOPS GIFT GUIDE
NEW YORK — There's no shortage of laptop computers to pick from this holiday season, even for shoppers on tight budgets. A Chromebook optimized to run Google's Internet services can be bought for as little as $200, while a few hundred dollars more gets you a laptop that's not so dependent on having a continuous online connection. By Bree Fowler. SENT: 1,000 words on Dec. 2, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-HIGH-END LAPTOPS GIFT GUIDE
NEW YORK — Whether you're looking for something thin and light, or want a tablet that performs like a laptop, there's plenty to choose from if you're willing to spend a bit more for a high-end laptop computer. By Bree Fowler. SENT: 1,000 words on Dec. 5, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-FILMMAKING GIFT GUIDE
ATLANTA — Full-bodied cameras known as SLRs have long been able to shoot high-definition video besides still images. But production results vary. Accessories designed to help are now priced enticingly low. Here's a look at some of the best products available to budding filmmakers looking to add polish to their video productions. By Ron Harris. SENT: 1,000 words on Monday, photos.
These product reviews may also be of interest during the holiday shopping season:
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-SHOPPING APPS
NEW YORK — Looking to save a few bucks while you shop for holiday gifts? Bring these five smartphone apps along to find the best coupons and lowest prices. Many retailers, for instance, will match prices you find online. Other apps let you find coupons for the stores you're at. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 980 words on Nov. 27, photo.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-GADGET PROTECTION PLANS
LOS ANGELES — So, you've selected the gadgets to give your loved ones, and you're at the checkout line. Suddenly you're asked if you want an extended warranty or protection plan for a modest sum. Do you opt for it? Even if such a plan is right for you, just say no. Here's why. By Ryan Nakashima. SENT: 700 words on Dec. 6, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-IPAD AIR
SAN FRANCISCO — When Apple came out with a smaller iPad last year, the original version suddenly seemed heavy and bulky. The iPad Mini fit more easily in pockets and bags, and it felt more comfortable in my hands. It was also cheaper than the full-size version. The new iPad Air, along with a price increase for a new Mini model, narrows those distinctions. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,000 on Oct. 29, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-IPAD MINI
NEW YORK — Apple is probably one of the few companies that can pull off a price increase. There are plenty of cheaper choices out there, but none of them match Apple's iPads in app selection, design and cachet. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 910 words on Nov. 12, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-AMAZON KINDLE FIRE
NEW YORK — Amazon has come out with a full-size tablet that weighs even less yet sports a sharper display and a lower price tag. Although Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 hasn't received as much attention as the iPad Air, it is emerging as the strongest challenger yet to Apple's device. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 940 words on Nov. 7, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-MICROSOFT SURFACT TABLETS
NEW YORK — Microsoft's new Surface tablets can be great for working on the go, but they lack the elegance and fun that iPads are known for and many Android-based tablets now offer. People used to the hundreds of thousands of apps on those devices will be disappointed. By Bree Fowler. SENT: 1,150 words on Oct. 21, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-SAMSUNG NOTE TABLET
NEW YORK — Some of the functionality we've long associated with PCs is coming to devices we're just getting to know. With iPads and Android tablets, you're typically limited to displaying one window on the screen at a time. Other apps run in the background, out of sight. Samsung's new Galaxy Note tablet addresses that with a pair of multitasking features. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,150 words on Nov. 9, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-LG TABLET
NEW YORK — For a short time, LG had the distinction of having the rare 8-inch tablet with a high-resolution screen. But then Apple came along and stole the spotlight when it unveiled a new iPad Mini with an even better screen. That doesn't mean you should dismiss the G Pad outright, particularly if you have an Android phone. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 920 words on Nov. 1, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-CHEAP MOTOROLA SMARTPHONE
NEW YORK — You're not getting the best or the latest technology with Motorola's $179 Moto G smartphone, but you're getting a great price for the things you do get. Motorola bills the Moto G as the phone for the rest of us — the ones who can't afford to pay $500 to $700 for a high-end smartphone. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 960 words on Dec. 3, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-GOOGLE NEXUS 5 PHONE
NEW YORK — The $349 Nexus 5 isn't about frills. What you get is an Android phone that's very good at the basics — for an excellent price. The high-resolution screen on the Nexus is among the best, and because it's designed by Google, you don't get clutter or gimmicks that many phone makers add. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 880 words on Nov. 21, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-BIG PHONES
NEW YORK — Big phones can be hard to hold and handle, but many people like them for their bigger images and text. Two new ones from HTC and Nokia are worth considering. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 990 words on Nov. 25, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-LG SMARTPHONE
SEOUL, South Korea — Making an impressive Android device is not enough to stand apart from the crowd, which probably pushed LG Electronics Inc. to make some bold design decisions. For the G2, LG moved the power and volume controls to the back. The G2 is a good choice — if you don't mind re-learning how to use a smartphone. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 660 words on Oct. 17, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-NEW IPHONES
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Security passcodes are a pain. Apple's iPhone 5S addresses that with a feature that lets you use a fingerprint instead. The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the extra $100 you'll pay for the 5S over an iPhone 5C. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,140 words on Sept. 17, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-CAMERA PHONES
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Although most smartphones have megapixel counts similar to what stand-alone cameras offer, they have been inferior in lens quality and manual controls. Images have never been as good ... until now. Three phones stand out: Nokia Corp.'s Lumia 1020, Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy S4 Zoom and the Apple iPhone 5S. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,090 words on Sept. 20, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-CONSOLES BEYOND GAMES
LOS ANGELES — The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 have become multi-function devices that make them more attractive to non-gamers. The Xbox goes further than the PlayStation, mainly because it integrates regular live TV. Slick new operating systems and voice controls on both consoles can make navigating the offerings part of the fun. By Ryan Nakashima. SENT: 1,000 words on Dec. 4, photo.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PC GAMING
ATLANTA — These may be the waning days of PC gaming, as game makers primarily target Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox as the game systems of choice. That hasn't stopped PC gaming specialists from trying their best. As far as technical heft, these days could very well be the best. By Ron Harris. SENT: 1,080 words on Nov. 18, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PC GAMING-ACCESSORIES
ATLANTA — Gaming on a PC is an endeavor that can be tinkered with forever. You can add memory, faster hard drives, liquid cooling-plumbing, chassis fans and much more. Here are a few devices that can help. By Ron Harris. SENT: 690 words on Nov. 18, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PLAYSTATION 4
The PlayStation 4 is a terrific game machine that will feel familiar to PlayStation 3 owners while delivering the flashier eye candy you'd expect from gaming's next generation. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 830 words on Nov. 13, photos
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PLAYSTATION 4-GAMES
From racing to sailing to shooting, a starter library for Sony's PlayStation 4. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 690 words on Nov. 15, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-XBOX ONE
Microsoft wants you to think of Xbox One as more than a game machine. You can use it to watch movies or hook it up to your cable box to watch live TV. Still, if you're considering buying an Xbox One, you probably have one thing in mind: games. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 980 words on Nov. 20, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-XBOX ONE-GAMES
From auto racing to zoo creation, top games for Microsoft's new Xbox One. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 560 words on Nov. 22, photos.
— OTHER GADGETS:
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-APPLE MACBOOK PRO
CUPERTINO, Calif. — The choice was simpler a year ago, when it cost $500 more for a 13-inch Mac laptop with a nicer screen and less weight. It made more sense to put some of that toward a faster processor, more storage and more internal memory instead. In other words, choose power over style. With new models and price cuts, Apple is making it tougher to choose — in a good way. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,000 words on Oct. 31, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-TIVO ROAMIO DVRs
EDISON, N.J. — In many ways, TiVo's digital video recorders have become redundant as cable and satellite TV companies offer their own DVR services. Yet the company that pioneered DVRs 14 years ago keeps churning out new products. The fifth-generation TiVos, called Roamio, continue the company's tradition of giving you much more — but you'll also pay much more for the experience. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,200 words on Aug. 20, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-SAMSUNG SMARTWATCH
NEW YORK — It didn't take long to see how a computerized wristwatch might help manage my digital life — or to see how Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch falls short. SENT: 1,200 words on Oct. 1, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-SONY SMARTWATCH
NEW YORK — Sony's new SmartWatch 2 doesn't get as much attention — and doesn't do as much — as Samsung's Galaxy Gear computerized wristwatch. But for the things it does, Sony's version performs better, for $100 less. That said, neither company has made a compelling case of why people need a smartwatch this holiday season. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 970 words on Nov. 14, photos.