I just have no ideas for ds this year...
Past hits have been Snap Circuits: http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-Snap-Circuits-SC-300-Physics/dp/B00CIXVIRQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1386526904&sr=8-3&keywords=snap+circuits
This Chaos Tower was not a hit. Thankfully we had gotten it from freecycle. I think it was too big and ds has a preference for smaller things: http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-81022-Tower/dp/B000XQ8OHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386526975&sr=8-1&keywords=chaos+tower
He liked these wooden hydraulic kits but he never built the last one: http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinders-Hydraulic-Machines-Platform-Excavator/dp/B00192MFDS/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1386527083&sr=8-7&keywords=hydraulic+wood+toy
He is losing interest in LEGOs but still appreciates the mini kits that come in the bags if they are a cool theme.
He never liked k'nex or erector sets. He doesn't like anything sporty or crafty except, strangely, he liked pixos.
I'm thinking of maybe the elenco 50 in 1 electronic playground: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IUD2/ref=gno_cart_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
And a learning to solder kit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009Z3JJA/ref=gno_cart_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
My son is 11... and still likes to be surprised w/ toys and gifts but it is harder to find things ... that age of growing up and out of toys. But any time we are in a store he gravitates towards the Perplexus globe maze (so I got him that for christmas); Him and his friends also have a rekindled interest in the razor scooter (and he asked for one of these for Christmas); He didnt really ask for much ...
A science kit (like the one in your link) or chemistry set, etc.
Ice skates, street hockey goal and sticks ... or some sport item.
Sled, snowboard (one that can be used on a park hill)
He is really into making the elastic bands and bracelets and loom
A watch or radio / alarm clock for his bedroom; or blue tooth speakers.
An Mp3 player
Is he outdoorsy? My 11 yr old appreciates camping/hiking supplies.
There are 2 or three of the Perplexus mazes, which are a huge hit with all of my kids.
I'm a bit short on ideas for my 11 & 14 yr olds this year, too. Good luck!
Raechel, mom to 3 boys (J-14, K-11, & T-8), car seat tech/instructor, gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free cook, chicken-raising, wannabe gardener living on 5 acres.
He isn't sporty or outdoorsy but I do think he'd like the Perplexus Maze balls:-)
He has an Mp3 player which he hardly uses but he mentioned his headphones weren't working right so I picked him up another set.
It is a tricky age. Still intrigued by certain toys but might not actually use them if gifted with them. But I don't want to rush growing up by discounting the idea of getting toys. The things he'd really like are too expensive, not that he's hoping for them since our gifts are always modest and don't run towards expensive electronics.
Has he asked for anything? I usually go on what my kids like to do and may ask for.
I know we bought our now 14 year old an off brand MP3 player a few years ago and it was difficult to use, and she rarely used it. She saved up for an iPod and now uses it all the time. IMO, the iPod beats the pants off of all other MP3 players. I have a Nano iPod myself and I wouldn't go with anything other than that. That and a few iTunes gift cards may be nice. (I have taught my children, as my husband and I are both musicians, that music is someone's intellectual property and that we pay for it if we want it so my kids aren't' allowed to download pirated music.)
My nephews enjoyed this book and so did my then 11 oe 12 year old daughter. The Dangerous Book for Boys http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Book-Boys-Conn-Iggulden/dp/0062208977/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387395494&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dangerous+book+for+boys.
If you can afford it, a book reader or a tablet might be good.
If all else fails and he doesn't ask for anything, gift cards are good. Then he can pick out what he wants. GCs to Target or Best Buy or wherever he likes to shop would be good.