Coming up with gift ideas for the baller in your life—which includes yourself—can be a difficult proposition, but we have a few recommendations that will make it easier. See something you think someone would like? Just click the title or image and you’re on your way to another person marked off your list.
Unlike the facial hair that he’s known for, the debut signature shoe for the man known for his beard is pretty clean. The James Harden Vol. 1 sports a white leather toe overlay that sits atop a knitted mesh upper. Like all of adidas’ high-end basketball offerings, Boost is the preferred rise. The Harden Vol. 1 features full-length, low-profile Boost in the midsole that gives a plush—but not to be confused with the pillowy Ultra Boost—ride during runs. Other highlights include the asymmetrical lacing system that locks down the foot and the traction provided by the grippy hexagonal-patterned outsole.
Sony is the first videogame console to dip its toes into the virtual reality arena with the PlayStation VR. An accessory to the PS4, the PSVR is a wired VR headset that connects to your PS4 console via a break out box to take you into immersive gaming. The PlayStation Camera tracks your movement via the sensors on the headset and the PS Move Motion Controllers. As wired VR goes, the PSVR is easy to set up (the mass of wires might be intimidating, but everything is keyed and took less than 15 minutes to get up and running), and the experience pulls you into the gaming world. If you already own a PS4, the PSVR would be the cheapest entry point into VR gaming.
Taking the formula of honoring fighting legends in the ring like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee with their own apparel collection, Roots of Fight has turned its attention to masters of the basketball court, namely Allen Iverson, Julius Erving, Darryl Dawkins, Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Rodman. This collection of vintage-inspired tees, jackets, sweats and hats has a timeless feel and soft hand that befits the icons it is honoring.
$69.95 (Dr. J Sweatpants), $79.95 (Shaq #34 FZ Hoody), $34.95 (Allen Iverson and Julius Erving Snapbacks), $109.99 (Dr. J Stadium Jacket)
The best streaming box just got better with 4K HDR support to go along with the winning features we’ve long touted: ease of use, simple navigation and remote (a push of a button on the unit also helps you locate a misplaced clicker), the democratic content finder (it’ll always help you find the free or cheapest option since it’s not tied to a content store) and the variety of channels that are supported by Roku (including the most important one, NBA).
When it comes to sheer picture size and cost-per-inch, you cannot beat the value of a quality projector vs. any flat panel television. The Pro Cinema 5040UB comes recommended because of its vivid picture (2,500 lumens), which is bright enough to handle some ambient light in the room (think a partially shaded window), making it a good option for a TV replacement. The black level performance is traditionally weak on projectors, but Epson’s “Ultra Black” technology gives excellent contrast that should please finicky cinephiles. Of course, the real draw is the 4K with HDR (High Dynamic Range) that brings a stunning big picture experience (depending on your space constraints, the 5040UB can project up to a 300-inch picture) to your home, making movie nights a short trip to your home theater.
The flight or bomber jacket is a timeless extension of the nylon jacket, with poly fill outerwear that Air Force and Navy pilots would don in cockpits in the 1950s. Alpha Industries recreates the jacket, but with a modern slim fit and that allows for the wearer to personalize it with patches. Alpha Industries has its own patch program, but any Velcro-backed flair would work.
In the primarily two-party system of the mobile world, the V20 stands as one of the strongest independents in the game. It checks off the requisite criteria for a power phone: peppy Snapdragon 820 processor (2.15 GHz), 5.7-inch quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display, and a dual-lens setup for the main rear camera. The camera is a 16 MP wide-angle lens that captures more image even at a close distance and features LG’s Laser Detection auto-focus, which makes for a clearer picture, even when tracking fast action. The front 2 MP camera also has a 120-degree wide-angle lens, getting more subjects into your selfies. The V20 has a secondary display, the 160 x 1,040 Second Screen, that can be used to add customized text (24 characters), alerts and apps. Another highlight to the V20 is the strong audio support. Based on the ES9218 Quad DAC, the V20 is capable of big and distortion-free sound. Yes, a microSD card slot is available to expand memory. It sits behind the removable 3200mAh battery that is housed underneath the rear metal cover. On the software side, the V20 is the first mobile device to run Google’s latest flavor of Android (Nougat).
As good as Apple wants you to believe the camera on the iPhone is, it still lags behind the picture of a dedicated SLR camera. As good as pictures from an SLR may be, lugging a camera around can be a chore. Consider the DxO One a compromise between the two. The add-on camera assembly mates with your iPhone via the Lightning port to join the DxO’s 1-inch, 20 MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture lens to your iPhone (the companion app that runs it turns your iPhone into a viewfinder and camera interface), for a very big boost to your picture-taking.
Generously cut, this long-sleeved top will serve well as a base layer for winter training. The Dri-FIT fabric throughout will keep you dry, but the mesh panel across the shoulders and chest give extra breathability. Reflective details on the “35” and Swoosh keeps you safe when the lights go out from your torrid shooting.
Combat the stagnant cold winter air with the Pure Hot+Cool Link, a multifunctional small room heater and air purifier in one. Utilizing Dyson’s bladeless fan technology, it also combines Dyson’s 360-degree Glass HEPA filter to remove 99.7 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air, while a pair of PTC ceramic plates gently heat up the clean air that gets pushed out.
Load the surfboard and the cooler atop an iconic 1960s era Volkswagen Beetle for a beachside picnic. LEGO captured the look and feel of the classic Beetle in brick form, sparing no details—the replicated rear engine, opening doors and front trunk, real rubber wheels—out of 1,167 pieces.
It’s not a speaker nor a subwoofer, but it does output great audio (more on that later). The Pavilion Wave is a desktop PC that doesn’t have to be relegated to the dusty corner beneath the desk. Shaped like a triangular cylinder, the Pavilion Wave is wrapped in fabric (like a speaker), making for an elegant PC that you’ll want to floss. High-end audio maker Bang & Olufsen gets credit for the speaker inside that emits from the top of the unit (which also serves as a heat exhaust), making the Pavilion Wave a great home theater media PC that won’t look out of place next to the TV.
$549.99 (starting price depending on configuration)
Fully embracing the hybrid position-less trend in the NBA, the Storm Swacket is equal parts your favorite go-to sweatshirt and throw-on jacket. The Storm technology sheds water, but the material is as soft as the lived-in sweatshirt with the paint and pizza stains. Woven overlays insulate the body and the reflective details on arms and trim make it safe to don at night.
As smartphone-based VR headsets go, the Gear VR cannot be beat. Just drop your compatible Samsung smartphone (Galaxy S6 and up) and you can be transported to the fringes of reality. The best is experiencing an NBA game courtside (via the NextVR Samsung Gear VR app, through its partnership with the NBA and Turner Sports). This puts you in the expensive seats with a you’ve-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it 180-degree view of the action on (the players feel inches away) and off the court (people watching , dancers and player interactions).
Anything new will inevitably become old, even New England, at least according to the folks at Exley. Based in New Bedford, Mass., the outerwear company stakes claim to repping the New New England by celebrating American textile manufacturing with hand-cut and sewn outerwear on native soil. This ethos can be seen in its Utility Vest. The sturdy construction comes together with modern sensibilities to make a rugged vest that is equally comfortable on a fishing boat as it is on a night out in town.
Comfort, style and performance all meet in the middle with the Flex Hyper Elite pants. Nike Flex fabric gives the wearer freedom of movement, while the Dri-FIT material wicks away heat and moisture. The relaxed fit tapers down at the ankles for a modern aesthetic.
In the future, portable audio will mean being implanted with sound hardwired directly into our brain via microchip. Until that creepy future, the Gear IconX is the final frontier of minimal wireless audio. The tiny kettleball-shaped earbuds get fitted into your ear like earplugs. Once in, the left and right earbuds of the IconX connect and sync up together. It can then connect via Bluetooth with your phone or be used independently, playing music of its onboard 4 GB memory, making it a perfect solution to a phone-free run or workout. Adding to the fitness angle is the IconX’s built-in activity tracker which monitors heart rate, distance, speed and calories and offloads it back to your phone when finished. The earbuds are operated through the touchpad on the The IconX, which can run for about three hours on a charge—a drawback, but still better than the thought of having an audio chip in your head.
The humble barbershop hair trimmer gets the high design treatment, along with sign-off from hip hop icon Nas (who has a partnership with the company). The Bevel Trimmer has a dodecagon (12 sides for those of you not versed in Dungeons & Dragons) body, giving it an ergonomic grip in hand. The unit features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, giving the trimmer four hours of power; an LED ring at the base indicates the runtime left. The trimmer does run on the loud side, but it cuts precisely, making it an ideal tool for line-ups on the facial hair and hairlines. An internal dial beneath the bale assembly adjusts the blade and a there’s a hidden hook that can be unfurled for hanging.
Nest keeps adding to its portfolio of connected home devices, this time with its outdoor camera, the Cam Outdoor. Fully weatherproof, the Cam Outdoor is a plug-and-play camera that easily connects to a standard electrical outlet, links with your home WiFi and then gives you a wide 130-degree field of vision through the Nest app in pristine 1080p resolution in day or night. Alerts let you know when the camera detects activity (it saves it as a thumbnail event in the timeline), and the two-way audio means you can greet the UPS guy or spook off an intruder.
The dirty little secret about home automation, connected home devices and the “internet of things” is that they can still be complicated. These technologies usually tied to one user and almost always requires micromanaging with the phone. Logitech is looking to streamline it with the POP Home Switch—a literal “easy button” to your connected devices (as of this writing, it supports Philips Hue, LIFX, August, Sonos, Harmony, Lutron, Insteon and Belkin WeMo). The simple three-way control switch (one press, press twice or press-and-hold) gives access to devices through the pluggable POP bridge once it’s added onto the POP app, giving easy and accessible control at a press of a button.
The perfect everyday backpack should be compact, functional, versatile, unobtrusive, yet with enough panache to make a statement. The synthetic leather of the Pop Quiz gives the staid navy backpack a spotlight, but the clean design allows it to be a go-to for work or school. Inside, there is a 15-inch fleece-lined laptop sleeve, sunglasses compartment and mesh organizers for writing instruments and other small goods, all skinned in Herschel’s signature striped fabric.
Out west, Chucks are a four-season shoe, but in the North, the classic shoe gets a hiatus after November due to the cold and snow. The Tekoa boot takes the stylings of the Chuck and wraps it in rubber and Counter Climate technology to keep out the elements. An inner sleeve insulates the foot to ward off the cold.
It doesn’t get more classic than your NBA allegiance knitted into a pom-pom beanie, with the retro team logo embroidered on the cuff.
The Vive is our choice for the best consumer-level virtual reality gaming experience in the marketplace. The setup is more involved than the others, but it’s only because the Vive is the only one that broadens the play space beyond standing in front of a single sensor. The dual sensors of the Vive means your virtual world can be the size of a small room, making for a more immersive experience. The headset displays at 2160 x 1200 resolution, and you can interact with the VR games or experiences through the two included handheld controllers. Games are run through the Steam network, and keep in mind, you will need a pretty beefy computer (our recommendation on page 117) to power the Vive.
Made with the outdoor training or hooping enthusiast in mind (remember, basketball never stops), the KD Hyper Elite Hoodie FZ is constructed with Therma fabric to insulate and wick away sweat. The stretch material and the ergonomic seams offers range of motion. The hoodie also features a multi-paneled hood and deep kangaroo pockets that can house a small water bottle, your biggest smartphone and all the dimes you plan on dropping.
Microsoft is taking a page from customizable sneakers by letting users dream up their own updated Xbox One S wireless controller (Microsoft added textured grips, Bluetooth connection and increased range). There are seven points of customization and 15 color choices, resulting in 8 million color possibilities. For an additional $9.99, you can add in a gamer tag or other text on the controller. Not a bad start to a personalized controller. Hopefully, Microsoft adds in the ability to print graphics in the future.
Raumfeld (going by the name Teufel) has been developing audio products in Germany since 1979, but is just breaking into the U.S. market. One of its offerings is a six-speaker Soundbar housed in a solidly built cabinet that, because of its size, looks best underneath a 60-inch and up display. The unit’s size is only matched by the sound output. Movies come to life as the Soundbar creates an excellent soundstage. Adjustable modes can enhance the type of movie: Arena and Theatre modes will add depth to action sequences by activating the side speakers while dialogue-driven films will benefit with the emphasis of the center channel. The included wireless subwoofer adds extra kick to the lows, and with its slim and long design (eschewing the typical cube paradigm), it can slide underneath a sofa or stand up vertically, making for cleaner placement.
This base layer serves as a foundation piece for additional layering with its stretch fabric for range of movement. When things heat up, the Elite Hybrid Tank can stand on its own with its Dri-FIT material to keep moisture at bay.
If you’re looking to easily retrofit home automation into your abode, Belkin’s WeMo range of products makes it dead simple. The Switch is a pluggable bridge that turns one standard electric outlet into a connected device via your home’s WiFi router and the WeMo app on your phone. The Lightswitch requires more DIY skills, but replaces a “dumb” light switch into a smart one, allowing you control of the switch through your smartphone, from your own couch or a couch on the other side of the world.
Collaborations make the most sense when the relationship is symbiotic. Take, for example, the tried and true Klettersack silhouette of Topo Designs merged with the classic woolen fabrics of Woolrich. Both companies take pride in American craftsmanship (the bag is handmade in Colorado), and the crossing of DNA results in a pack that epitomizes the open countryside, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and the autumn/winter season.
One look at the deep black finish, the ominous red lighting, the faux carbon-fiber front panel and the exposed interior lighting from the window panel and there’s no confusing the Y900 with your standard PC tower. The subtle touches—tool-less entry into the case, thoughtfully routed cabling, removeable dust filters and rubber fastners to dampen operating noise—and configurable high-end components—Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB graphics card and Intel Core i7 processor—combine to make this a premium gaming beast that can run any game at full frame rates, including VR games on the HTC Vive (on page 111). The optional Y27g curved gaming monitor mimics the design DNA of the Y900 with its devil-like scheme, but the real draw is the Nvidia G-Sync technology that synchronizes with the graphics processor for optimal performance, and the curved screen for an immersive experience.
$1,299-2,299 (depending on configuration)
$599 (Y27g Curved Gaming Monitor)
Pop the tags and you instantly have a broken-in sweatshirt with a throwback vibe. The 100-percent cotton pique sweatshirt’s speckled melange design is inspired by the “white noise” static of pre-HDTV era. Adding to the retro appeal are the extra-long sleeves and the relaxed drop shoulders.
The Xbox One S is a svelte redesign of the original, making it 40 percent smaller while upping the storage to 2TB and losing the external power brick for an internal one. It also adds 4K streaming and Blu-ray playback, HDR (High Dynamic Range) support and upscales 1080p games to 4K. Included is the updated Xbox One S controller (see above). The GOW4 edition skins the console and controller in Crimson Omen, but goes the extra mile with the laser etched battle damage.
To go along with the updated console is a new generation of Gears. Taking place 25 years after GOW3, the fourth installment follows the same bloodlines (JD Fenix, son of Marcus Fenix) as the Coalition faces a new protagonist, the Swarm.
A good layering piece underneath a T-shirt, the Dry Elite will keep you dry and comfortable with its Dri-FIT material. A mesh back panel exhausts heat in the rear, while body-mapping seams ensure the shooting shirt moves with the body.
The genius of LEGO is the infinite possibilities the brick building system affords, including a drone. The heart of the Flybrix Drone is the micro-circuitry (open-source Arduino compatible), motors and propellers, but everything else is venerable and flexible LEGO parts, turning the unavoidable crashes of drone-flying into opportunities for imaginative rebuilds. You’ll likely lose a few parts along the way, but everyone has some LEGO bricks somewhere around the house. The eight-propellered drone can be controlled via the included remote (only on the Deluxe kit) or Flybrix app (iOS and Android).
HTC didn’t veer far from its flagship HTC 10 for its top-of-the-line, Sprint network-exclusive phone. HTC retains the all-metal unibody that has garnered it many fans, but it does bring a few new upgrades from its older brother, namely the larger form factor (5.5 inches), IP57 water resistence (one meter of water submersion for 30 minutes) and taking a cue from the iPhone’s playbook, the removal of the audio jack. Replacing it is a USB Type-C jack which supports Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 fast charging. The included USB Type-C ear buds are well built, and through the included HTC software, can also tune music to the specifics of your ear canal.
Whether you’re into performance socks that the pros wear underneath their shoes, or prefer to pay homage to a legend like The Answer, Stance has your feet covered. The Logo Crew for both the Knicks and Lakers feature each city’s famous initials and all the performance benefits—ankle pads, moisture-wicking fibers and anatomical cushioning—that will up your game. The Answer sock features a print of one of longtime A.I. photographer Gary Land’s rare Iverson photos, with Land’s signature at the toe.
Part of what made Hall of Famer Allen Iverson so captivating (besides his electric crossover and scoring exploits that belied his sub-6-foot frame) was the imagery that added to his iconic status. Like Tupac, Iverson’s photos gave the viewer intimate access into his soul and essence. And no one captured Bubba Chuck in still frame better than Gary Land. Land first met Iverson 20 years ago, and over time developed a rapport that many photographers and subjects establish. The 272-page tome documents the journey with many famous and some never before seen photos, along with anecdotes over two decades.
Adidas weaves— or should we say knits—its Primeknit upper into one of its modern classics, the Tubular (which was adapted from the adidas Forum). The result is a street-ready shoe with the chunky tire-tube-imagined sole and a refined comfortable upper.
There will be no slip up this winter. Be it snow, ice or the combination slush stuff, the UAS Fat Tire Boot will keep your feet to the ground with its Michelin-developed outsole that draws inspiration from Fat Tire bikes. The Wild Gripper treads sit below UA’s Charged cushioning midsole and are wrapped in premium aniline leather to stave off the elements.
It’s not his signature shoe, but the Crazy Explosive is a good match for the young Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins. This PE edition features stained glass graphics that pay homage to Wiggins’ Toronto roots and his second home in Minnesota. The Crazy Explosive got high grades from us (peep the performance review), with its foot-conforming Primeknit upper and reactive Boost cushioning.