If you are shopping for a tech geek this holiday season, here are 12 great electronic gifts that will light them up.
The myCharge RazorPlatinum portable charger ($99.99) is the perfect companion for the MacBook on the go. It charges a MacBook in 100 minutes via a USB – C port, and it also can charge any compliant USB – C or USB-A device, such as tablet, phones and other devices. It has an anodized aluminum body, and a rapid – recharge power bank and includes a USB – C cable. This heavy-duty battery will add a bit of weight to your load, but the power it packs is worth its weight. To check if the myCharge is topped up, you simply shake it, and it will light up with one to four flashing dots, depending on remaining battery life.
Just in case
For the iPhone aficionado who takes their phone everywhere – who doesn’t – OtterBox makes a hard-core hard case that will protect their prized possession from dings and scratches with the stylish and durable Defender Series. The case can be customized with a variety of colors for the slipcover ($29.95) and shell ($29.95), which is always helpful since so many cases look alike. For added protection, the charger and headphone jack inputs feature rubber covers to keep out dirt and dust, and another huge plus to the Defender Series is the touch surface is incorporated into the shell, so you do not need to apply a separate protection film.
Not your dad’s (or mom’s) smart watch
For parents who would love to get their kids a smart phone to keep track of their whereabouts and call them when needed, but they are afraid the child will lose such an expensive device, Tinitell is the perfect wearable solution. This wristwatch phone has voice calling and smart location features so kids can run and play without having to carry a phone. With the touch of a button, kids can connect with the phone’s directory of contacts, and using the Tinitel app, parents can geo-locate their kids. Tinitell looks cool and comes in a variety of colors, and at the cost of $149 it’s far less expensive than a smart phone.
No jack, no worries
Audiophiles who might have been disappointed in the headphone-jack free iPhone 7 will no longer have to suffer thanks to Wicked Audio Reach Bluetooth Audio Receiver ($19.99). This little device, about the size of a money clip, can connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device to stream music to headphones in a 30 foot range. It also has a built-in microphone for calls. The little magic matchbox device can slip into a pocket or clip on to clothes for people on the go, and it recharges in an hour and a half for five hours of play.
I stream, you stream…
The neat freak geek who loves streaming video but hates the clutter of cords connecting HDMI devices to the TV will go nerd crazy over the Nyrius Aries Pro ($249) wireless HDMI transmitter and receiver. This receiver will send video wirelessly to your TV without any latency or lag time — where audio and video don’t match up. It transmits up to 160 feet, allowing you to show video from your laptop or other device on the TV screen in another room. Because there are no wires, you can free up space around your TV and even place your game controller or other device across the room. The small receiver can also attach to drones or cameras, and up to eight devices total, so you can view video from those sources remotely.
A cord of a different color
Techies can never have enough charging cables for their iOS devices, but cables don’t have to be white and boring. NewerTech makes premium USB 2.0 lightning-fast charge/sync cables ($7.99-$24.99) for Apple iPhone iPod and iPad devices in exciting colors and a variety of lengths ranging from 20 inches to 118 inches, to make plugging in anywhere easy. The multicolored cables feature a woven sheath over them so they are more durable than most cables, and because of their bright colors it’s less likely they will get left behind or mixed up and taken by your friends and family by accident.
Search and protect
The ALLY Plus Whole Home Smart Wi-Fi System by Amped Wireless will connect your entire household to Wi-Fi, up to 15,000 feet, even out to your patio. This two-component rounter and extender system offers high power, buffer-free coverage for streaming HD and 4K games and videos on multiple devices at once, and all your internet needs. Using the app, parents can pause the internet for homework or dinner time and monitor what sites their children visit. For extra protection the system uses AVG software to guard against malware and phishing attacks. $379, www.ampedwireless.com
for the tech geek on your list who is a freak for holiday decorations, give them the ultimate turn on, and I devices outdoor switch. This switch can power up and control all their outdoor electronics such as lights, fans, speakers, fountains and more with the ease of Siri voice control and the I devices connected app. The switch theaters old outlets to control to products simultaneously and comes equipped with mounting hardware and easy instructions to connect the switch to your home Wi-Fi network and control devices with any home to compatible iOS device. $79, Available at Lowe’s Stores, Apple Stores and www.idevicesinc.com
Store it up
Any smartphone-carrying tech aficionado knows it’s hard to choose what videos, photos and music to delete when your hard drive gets too full. The same is true for laptops. With the Seagate 2TB Wireless Mobile Storage Device you can keep it all, safety stored and easily accessible on the wallet-sized external hard drive, which creates its own personal Wi-Fi network and features a 10-hour battery life. Using the Wireless Plus free Seagate Media app for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8/RT, you can carry, manage and stream hundreds of movies or thousands of photos, songs and documents. $179, Amazon or retailers found at www.Seagate.com.
Everyone hates to get up off the sofa to adjust the thermostat when the room gets too hot or cold. With Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat you can regulate the temperature from anywhere – at home or outside the home, using an app or even voice commands with Siri or Alexa in a smart home. Cool off or warm up the house before you get home or set a program to change the indoor climate when you sleep, wake, or are away at work. $199, Home Depot and hardware retailers nationwide.
Cordless vacuums are usually great for fast-and-dirty pick-ups, but with the Dyson V-6 Absolute, the once-over will be the end-all. Its portable size makes it perfect for those quick jobs to clean up the floor, carpet or sofa when guests are coming over and you don’t have time to get out the heavy-duty vacuum, but unlike other mini-vacs, this powerful bagless vacuum has super strong suction that doesn’t quit, with a full charge lasting up to 26 minutes. It also features a variety of attachments and a handy holster to mount on the wall. $599, available at Dyson dealers nationwide found at www.dyson.com
Snap a pic
The old meets the new, with the latest shoot-to-print camera from the first name in instant photography. The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera has an all-new style in a compact pocket-sized camera that can capture photos and print them out in minutes. The camera features six different capture modes, including a vintage-Sepia tone, and a timer mode to snap a quick selfie. Prints use ZINK zero ink print technology, and each print can double as a sticker. $84.99, Amazon
For those who love electronics but hate the tangle of charger cables on their bedstand, Easy-Dok has a solution. The Dök CR33 5-Port Smartphone Charger features a organizer cabinet with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and ports to simultaneously charge up a smartphone, iPad, iPod, tablet, MP3 player and most any device that can be charged with a USB cable, up to five devices simultaneously. The multipurpose dock can display and play one device while charging another all while streaming music streaming and allowing hands-free calls via Bluetooth. To protect devices and persevere batteries, the dock features SCD (Smart Current Detection) Technology to protect your device’s battery from being over charged. $65.67, Amazon or www.easy-doks.com
Editor’s note: Companies featured in this article provided sample products for review, but the opinions expressed belong to the author.
The new FUEL iON Charging Case by mobile accessories manufacturer Patriot offers users an easy way to charge an iPhone 6, iPhone 5/5s, Samsung Galaxy S4/5 and Samsung Note 3 by simply laying the smartphone on a bad, stand or car holder. With an audible “snap” the phone sticks to the surface of the device which is powered by a USB cord.
Because the user does not have to plug and unplug the phone from its charging cable, theoretically the phone will last longer, as will the cord, because of reduced wear and tear. Certainly simply laying the phone on a base is much more convenient than having to plug in, though the argument of cutting the cord is a bit specious because the base still requires a cord, but that cord can stay put, which is handy, especially if the USB adapter block is plugged in somewhere that makes access difficult, such as behind a nightstand.
The magnetic charging pad that I reviewed took about the same time as a regular, corded charge. Besides the convenience of simply placing the phone onto the pad, I liked that it could be oriented in any direction.
The MFi Certified case adds a bit of weight to the phone, and it mostly fits around the back and sides of the phone, so the protection it offers is limited. The case itself is attractive and slim, in a neutral gray. Cut outs offer easy access to buttons and ports, though there are no protective flaps over the ports. The micro USB port at the bottom of the case can be used to connect to a computer or other device for downloading or charging on the fly when away from the base. Of course, you would have to take the charging pad along with you for travel or work, or buy multiple bases to keep at various locations.
The magnetic charge pad will not harm a phone or most electronics, but like all magnets if should not be placed near magnetic striped key cards or credit cards.
Bad news if you have any questions out of the box. The instructions inside the package were generic for the FUEL iON Charging Stand, the FUEL iON Car Charger, and the FUEL iON Charging Pad, and the print was so tiny it was almost unreadable. There is a short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF6U3uacGh0 with an overview of how the case can be used, but mostly it is self-explanatory.
The bottom line, a good case for those who want freedom from the hassle of plugging and unplugging to charge. It is most practical for those who charge in a single location.
For those who don’t have time to recharge their iPhone 4/4S on the go, iWALK’s Chameleon high capacity power case is a convenient solution to extending battery time. The Chameleon utilizes a 2,000mAh lithium polymer high capacity battery that lasts up to 500 full charges. The case features an LED battery level indicator that displays the battery life, an on/off switch to preserve power, and a special design that does not interfere with the iPhone’s photo functions, including a coating around the camera lens designed to eliminate “flashback” while taking pictures.
The Chameleon comes in five different interchangeable face plates in white, black, pink, lime and yellow – hence the name, and it charges with an included micro USB cable. Available at select Sprint stores and select retailers nationwide or at www.iWALKUSA.com for $59.99. For the Galaxy S3, the Chameleon Easy, available for $64.99, provides the same portable power functions and stylings. Both come with a one-year warranty.