Photo (cc) by The Pug Father
In an era when we all seem to live on our smartphones, tech gifts today are more for the masses than the techies.
So we’ve rounded some stand-out options to help you round out your holiday shopping no matter who you’ve yet to cross off your list.
We’ve included retail prices for reference, but note that some of these products can be found for less.
1. Custom smartphone or tablet case, price varies
A case customized with a great photo makes a perfect gift for a loved one. CVS (Blackberry, HTC, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Samsung), Shutterfly (iPhone), and Target (Blackberry, iPhone, Samsung) offer great options. If you’re into Instagram, also check out Casetagram (iPad, iPhone, iPod, Samsung).
2. Logitech’s Washable Keyboard K310, $39.99
This keyboard is designed to be dunked in the sink, held under running water, or washed off with soap and water. That means it also can’t be ruined by an accidental drink spill. So the K310 is perfect for neat-freaks and slobs alike, as well as the accident-prone and anyone who tends to eat or drink at their computer. To see it in action, click the link to Logitech’s video.
One downside: Despite the wireless image on the product Web page, it’s a wired keyboard. And remember it’s just a keyboard – no mouse included.
3. Belkin’s WeMo Switch, $49.99
The Switch is the 21st-century equivalent of The Clapper. It allows you to remotely control a corded electrical device with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – even when you’re not home. So it’s a great option for gift recipients who worry about whether they turned off the curling iron before leaving home or who just want to be able to turn on a light without getting up. Just make sure the recipient has an iOS device and a home Wi-Fi network, which all WeMo products require.
Related products include the WeMo Baby ($89.99) and the WeMo Switch and WeMo Motion Kit ($99.99). The Baby turns your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a baby monitor. The Motion has a sensor that wirelessly tells the Switch to turn a device on when it detects motion within 10 feet.
4. Roku, $49.99 to $99.99
For anyone who’s recently ditched cable or satellite TV or would like to, Money Talks News tech guru Dan Schointuch recommends a Roku. The device streams Web content like Netflix, Hulu, and much more to your TV.
5. Nike’s Nike+ FuelBand, $149
Ideal for someone who’s active or wants to be more active, the FuelBand is a watch that tracks your daily activity – including running, walking, dancing, and basketball – and counts calories burned and steps taken. You can view your progress and set daily goals once you download the Nike+ Connect software to your computer or the FuelBand app to your iPhone.
Some critics say the FuelBand is a glorified pedometer. But while reliable pedometers can be found for well under $50, they don’t generally come with nifty Nike software and apps. For cheaper tech-friendly options, consider the Nike+ SportBand ($59), which is also iPhone-compatible, and the Nike+ Running app ($0) for iPhone and Android.
6. Tablet computer, price varies
From the iPad mini (from $329) to Google’s Nexus 7 (from $199), tablets have made headlines throughout 2012 – and are perhaps the most desired tech product of the year. No matter who you’re shopping for, you can’t go wrong with the right tablet.
7. 3D printing, price varies
“3D printing is pretty neat tech anybody can enjoy, especially if you can show them how it works,” says Money Talks News tech writer Brandon Ballenger. “I’ve been looking at trying something like Shapeways, where you can submit your own design and get things 3D printed.” Shapeways also sells ready-made creations, including options for less than $25.