Here we are again: Holiday shopping season. Christmas is a mere six weeks away, and Chanukah starts unusually early this year — November 27. No pressure, but you must hurry!
Of course, it’s not always easy to find the ultimate gift for your favorite tech-loving spouse, sibling, co-worker, or blogger. (What, you didn’t know it’s customary to tip your blogger this time of year? Oh, yes.)
Have no fear: I’ve rounded up five interesting, unusual, and insanely cool gadget gifts. These aren’t the usual Kindles, Fitbits, and Google Nexuses (Nexi?). Instead, they’re conversation-starters. Problem-solvers. Dare I say…game-changers?
When it comes to productivity, it’s hard to beat a second monitor. The AOC E1659Fwu can go where your laptop goes; it’s a 16-inch LCD screen that’s powered entirely by USB. No VGA, no HDMI, and, best of all, no AC outlet: just plug it into a laptop USB port for instant second-screen action.
The monitor features a fold-out stand, a 1,366 x 768 native resolution, and support for both portrait and landscape viewing. Best of all, it’s kind of a bargain at $129.99.
I’m on record as saying smartwatches aren’t quite there yet, but the Martian Passport is a step in the right direction. For starters, it looks like a classy, rugged man-watch, not some 80s-throwback piece of plastic.
Furthermore, it supports voice commands (via a noise-canceling microphone), meaning you can dictate text messages, Facebook updates, and more, just by talking into the watch, Dick Tracy-style.
At $299, the Passport is on the higher end of the smartwatch spectrum. But if you want a wrist-mate that’s smart without being geeky, look no further.
The problem with most flash drives is the way they stick out, typically an inch or two. That means you can’t leave them plugged in full-time, not without the risk of knocking them loose (and maybe causing some plug damage in the process).
The K’1 purports to be the world’s smallest USB 3.0 flash drive, protruding a mere 5mm once inserted. That’s a potential lifesaver for someone who owns, say, a Chromebook or a laptop with a small SSD. The drive is available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, with list prices of $39.99 and $69.99, respectively.
Is your smartphone or tablet strapped for storage? This slim, portable drive lets it access SD cards, flash drives, and even USB hard drives, all without wires: it’s a Wi-Fi-powered device.
But, wait, there’s more. The FileHub doubles as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot and triples as a mobile charger (thanks to an onboard 3,000mAh battery and a USB port for plugging in any mobile device). Pretty impressive for a gizmo that sells for about $45 on Amazon.
Most Bluetooth speakers: bo-ring! The $69.99 Sound Spot is a slick-looking square available in a variety of decor-assisting color combinations: black/gold, white/gold, wood/blue, wood/yellow, white/pink, and so on.
The speaker can pair with just about any Bluetooth-equipped phone or tablet, but there’s also a line-in jack for plugging in more traditional music players. It can run for up to seven hours between charges and even use its internal battery to recharge your phone. Want true stereo sound? You can daisy-chain a pair of Sound Spots. Features like those are typically reserved for speakers costing considerably more.