Sure we still need Windows, but much of our personal communications and entertainment — and some work — is running on smartphones, tablets, and various other Internet-attached devices.
So it’s only natural that we look for fast and agile tech accessories that suit our evolving lifestyles.
Here, then, is my admittedly diverse but personally vetted gift guide to devices that enhance the enjoyment of video, audio, gaming, and photography — on and off the PC.
Linksys router is powerful, smart, and fast
If your home Wi-Fi network is staggering under the load of laptops, tablets, smartphones, Blu-ray players, and numerous other Internet-connected devices; if you’re addicted streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, you have good reasons to consider purchasing the pricey Linksys WRT1900ACS (site) router. U.S. $230 gets you excellent connection speeds, wide-area coverage, and some innovative advanced features.
This router is brain-dead simple to set up; simply connect it to power and attach the included Ethernet cable to your broadband modem. You’re now ready to connect your Wi-Fi -based devices.
If you want to customize the routers settings, it offers several ways to do so, including apps for iOS and Android devices plus the free website, linksysmartwifi.com. Both options have intuitive configuration menus. Changing router settings over Wi-Fi could be risky, but the WRT1900ACS is one of the first routers to support virtual private networking (VPN), which gives users secure remote connections (if they’re in the same room as the router).
With 802.11AC data rates, this router supports the fastest throughput standards (up to 1.3Gbps) currently available for home Wi-Fi. Of course, many Wi-Fi devices still don’t support AC, so the WRT1900ACS simultaneously handles slower 802.11B/G/N. Linksys also included 512MB of RAM for faster and smoother media streaming. Finally, the router’s four antennas give excellent range.