Now that Christmas is under one month away, it’s time to start bringing your gift shopping to a close. If you’re anything like me, the people last on your list are often the ones that can be the hardest to shop for. Whether your interests differ widely or the person in mind simply buys everything they want when they see it, this gift guide is focused on banishing tech clutter in our lives.
These days, nearly every single one of us are inundated with tech gear. Just a decade or two ago, people typically shared a computer and if they deemed it necessary, they might have had their own cell phone. While it is easy think about how awful that would be now, it is not too hard to think about how much simpler it was to manage the technology.
The computer may or may not have been a desktop that never needed charged and the cell phone was anything but smart, so it could go days (sometimes weeks) without needing to be juiced up. Things have changed considering that nowadays many of us have a MacBook or Windows laptop, an iPad, an iPhone or Samsung smartphone, and a wearable of some sort whether it be an Apple Watch or Fitbit.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg too. We have plenty of TVs, smart home devices, game consoles, and so much more. Many of these products need their own accessories too, creating an unwieldy spiderweb of gadgets to keep track of and have on-hand at the right time. The following gift ideas are items that I own or wish to own soon that many people will consider to be helpful in managing the ever-growing amount of tech in their lives.
Cocoon GRID-IT backpacks
Bearing in mind that many of us travel for the holidays, Cocoon’s GRID-IT backpacks are a gift that most would like to receive early. If you’re unfamiliar with Cocoon’s GRID-IT gear, the company describes it as ‘a unique weave of rubberized elastic bands made specifically to hold personal objects firmly in place’.
I own both the Slim and Urban Adventure Convertible Carry-On backpacks and cannot begin to describe how much simpler it is to travel with dedicated GRID-IT compartments in each bag. I bought the Slim backpack around 5 years ago and was so impressed that when I traveled to Thailand last year I knew that I needed to grab the Urban Adventure Convertible Carry-On for my trip. No matter which option you go with, the person receiving it is sure to be delighted.
Heloideo 10000mAh Power Bank
When you spend a day away from home and realize you forgot a charger, it is abundantly clear how useful battery packs can be. Before you think, “most people own one of these” and move on, does it have integrated charging cables? Can it plug directly into the wall? The simple answer for most is no. That’s why I bought the Heloideo 10000mAh Power Bank for $39.
While it may be lacking in the review department, I jumped at buying this a year ago when I got tired of never having the right charging cable on-hand. This battery pack built-in charging cables for Lightning, USB-C, and microUSB. When all the power has been depleted, its dead simple to charge back up thanks to the integrated AC wall adapter. This frees up quite a bit of space in a bag since you no longer need to carry a bunch of cables and power bricks.
Twelve South’s AirFly
This is one of the products that falls into my ‘wish to own’ category. Ever since I embraced going all wireless by pickup up a pair of AirPods, I have been constantly reminded that there are a lot of products out there that do not support wireless headphones.
Products I deem worth shaming include my PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Neither of these support standard Bluetooth, forcing me to pull out wired headphones or pony up extra money to buy proprietary wireless ones. By spending $40 on AirFly, users are able to plug it directly into a standard headphone port and stream wirelessly to AirPods. A route which allows folks to get rid of wired headphones and cut down on excess clutter.
Spigen iPhone & AirPods Charging Station
If you’re on the lookout for a low cost option for someone in the Apple ecosystem, have a look at Spigen’s iPhone and AirPod Charging Station for $8. I’ll be the first to admit that I was hesitant to buy based on light reviews with low ratings, but I was willing to give it a shot since it was a low-cost option to put on my desk.
While this is definitely a step back from wireless charging, it is still a great low-cost way to keep an iPhone and pair of AirPods juiced up and propped up on a desk. Bear in mind that you’ll need to use original Apple charging cables with this dock (part of the reason why it received a bad review or two). This cost-effective gift idea is a solid way to keep a nightstand or desk free of cables.
Logitech Harmony Universal Remote
With an Apple TV, Roku Ultra, and several game consoles hooked up to my television, having a universal remote is a way I like to cut down on the clutter in my living room. There are lots of models to pick from, but I’m leaning towards a lower cost option until I know that I’d benefit by upgrading.
I am currently eyeing the Harmony 650 at $40, but can’t help but fall in love with the design of the Harmony Elite for $250. The price difference is significant here, but an obvious benefit of the higher-end model would be the ability to control everything from a smartphone. No matter which route is taken, both remotes support at least 8 devices, helping rid coffee tables of 7 remotes or more.
Be sure to keep it locked to 9to5Toys over the coming weeks as we roll out more gift guides from our staff of authors.