GeekWire Gift Guide: 10 Gadgets And Tools You Can Really Get This Holiday Season
This year’s unusual holiday season is all about managing expectations. Most brand new electronic devices are in limited supply due to ongoing international chip shortage. Anything that can be collected has the potential to be automated “Grinchbot” shoppers 30 seconds after the sale goes live.
That’s why we’re excited to launch the first GeekWire Gift Guide to highlight fun and useful tech you can really get your hands on during the holidays.
Our first guide comes out today and focuses on gadgets. Read on for the descriptions of each product and stay tuned for more as we roll out additional guides over the next month.
Samsung Qi Wireless Charger and UV Sanitizer
The pandemic has led to a small but growing market in phone-sized sanitizers that use ultraviolet light to clean away germs without the risk of shorting electronic devices. Samsung’s model combines UV light with Qi wireless charging. Drop your phone in the cleaning solution before bed and in the morning it will be clean, brand new and at 100% battery, just like you would send it in on a spa day. That mental image alone is enough to get a referral. Price: $29.95.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40″ Instant Camera
Modern digital cameras can’t match the exceptional tactile satisfaction of having an actual photo in your hand in seconds. Several camera companies are still in the instant camera business in 2021, including Polaroid, but Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 40 get the nod here. It ditches the odd design choices of some previous Mini models in favor of a classic look with faux leather textures, a 90-second development time, and easy-to-use features. Most importantly, it’s significantly cheaper at even $100 than Polaroid’s 2021 Now +, with slightly cheaper film packages, which helps place it more firmly in “fun toy” territory. Price: $89.95.
reMarkable 2 . handwritten tablet
NS reMarkable 2 is a neat little digital notebook and nothing else. It’s expensive ($399) and you have to pay extra for the pen. Even so, it’s great if you like tech tools that aren’t purposefully smart to let you work without distractions; iPad offers the same convenience, but there are also hundreds of other apps that split your focus. ReMarkable 2 is just Feels like handwriting on paper and taking notes. For the right kind of person, it will be a constant companion. Price: $299.
Bose Sleepbuds II
Bose’s Sleepbuds II designed to reduce the noise in your environment with a playlist of soothing sounds, streamed from a companion mobile app, to help you fall asleep faster and easier. They also come with an alarm, so you can wake up whenever you want. Sleepbuds are a bit expensive and they only one useful for their stated purpose. In addition, they intentionally restrict audio playback from the companion app; they don’t actually stream audio, but play a variety of pre-recorded content into the headphones. Even so, they can be a perfect match for those who want a better night’s sleep. Price: $199.
Nanopresso handheld espresso machine
NS Nanopresso, from Wacaco. Fill with water, pump by hand and decant the resulting beer into the glass. It’s roughly the size of a soda can, so it fits neatly into a pocket or purse, although you’ll also need to have some pre-ground beans and hot water on hand. With the right preparation, however, the Nanopresso allows you to take your espresso out of the bag on demand just like a caffeinated Batman. Price: $69.90.
Nulaxy C1 . Adjustable Laptop Stand
Vacation means traveling and traveling means using your laptop, often under less than ideal circumstances. NS Nulaxy C1 allows you to move your laptop to the right height and distance, even if you were forced to work on your childhood desk. As a useful bonus, you can tilt the laptop forward using the included rubber pads to provide greater airflow to the bottom of the system. If you use a powerful gaming laptop like me, that’s reason enough to own a Nulaxy C1. Price: $36.99.
Smart watch carefully do-it-yourself
NS Alert from SQFMI is a self-made “electronic watch” with 200×200 resolution, extremely low power consumption, and a healthy community of tinkerers that have sprung up around it. Both the hardware and software for the Watchy are open source, giving a lot of variety for what you want the watch to work and look like. There is an entire collection of customer builds on the official Watchy website, some of which are undeniably interesting. I especially like Game Boy Tetris Watchy’s version. Price: $59.
Go Air Pop Wireless Headphones
NS Go Air Pop Headphones gives you a set of earbuds that sound great, are water-resistant, surprisingly durable, that work solidly at home or in the gym. They don’t have the bells and whistles of their more expensive competition, such as companion apps, and they’re not great as a wireless headset for phone calls, but they cost 20 dollars. That might be the best hidden deal in modern audio, especially if you need a pair of headphones that won’t hurt you if they go missing. Price: $20.
Timbuk2 Especial Stash crossbody bag
Now that we’re really out of the house again, you couldn’t do better Timbuk2’s Especial Stash for an everyday handbag. It’s big enough to fit all the craziest laptops, it’s waterproof, has reflective zippers for visibility these days when nightfall at 4:30pm, and lots of extra pockets inserted inside. If you don’t need to ship a large laptop, the smaller Classic messenger bag is an inexpensive alternative with all the durability of the Especial Stash. Price: $199.
7 in 1 multi-tool key ring
This is one of my go-to supplies for tinkerers, crafters, mechanics, and the do-it-yourselfers on my list. NS Key Ring Multi-tools gives you two different screwdrivers, an LED flashlight, a bottle opener, a small knife and an awl, plus somewhere to keep all your keys. Trust me, you won’t know how useful a pocket flashlight can be until you have one on your key ring. Price: $9.95.