The list of high-end technology devices set to fly off the shelves this holiday season is vast and mostly predictable. But there’s another, more specialized category of items that your geek giftees are hoping for: low-tech solutions for their distinctly high-tech leanings.
We’ve collected some of the best ideas to fill that unique niche as you hunt for the perfect treats for your finicky techie friends.
Some apparel companies cater strictly to the tech sector and have long offered clothing with pouches and pockets to carry your devices. But nowadays, being strapped with an array of mobile tech is no longer the sole domain of tech enthusiasts it’s mainstream behavior.
To meet that need, Under Armour, one of the most tech-forward athletic apparel and sneaker companies around, has launched the UA Speedpocket. In short, it offers a built-in, device-carrying pouch in your workout gear, allowing you to keep your smartphone close without having to strap it on via a separate case. One thousand percent better than a fanny pack, and without the “look at my device” issues of strap-on cases, Under Armour’s clever body sleeve ($44.99) could become as popular as the compression shirts that propelled the company to its current status.
Zojirushi Stainless Mug
The lifeblood of many technology professionals is coffee, that bittersweet elixir that keeps us going from early morning, into the night and back through the morning again. But transporting the brown nectar can be tricky when tossing a normal thermos into a backpack or briefcase holding your pricey laptop.
The Zojirushi Stainless Mug eliminates that problem by combing a slim, minimalist design with a locking mechanism that makes accidental, in-bag spillage a very unlikely occurrence.
The travel mug comes in three sizes: 12-ounces, 16-ounces and 20-ounces (models SM-SA36/48/60). Additionally, the mug’s vacuum insulation ensures that your liquid stays hot or cold for most of the day, without any condensation on its exterior. Offered in red, pink, gold and black, the Zojirushi (starting at $36.99 on Amazon) is the no-nonsense, easy-to-transport travel mug that won’t fail you when you need a sip of your precious liquid of choice.
Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses with SCT-Orange Lens
The benefits of blocking blue light from your computer and mobile devices before sleep are, for many, hard to deny. But the software solutions that deliver the blue blocking effect are varied and inconsistent across various desktop and mobile platforms. Yes, software makers are catching up to this blue-blocking trend, but if you’re someone who works with multiple screens, both mobile and desktop, you’re bound to come across a display without the night mode software you need. Enter the Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses with SCT-Orange Lens. Yes, there are other, similar glasses on the market, but according to a Consumer Reports test, the Uvex Skyper is among the very best.
Over the years, some have used awkward looking, and now iconic (thanks to Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover) blue blocker glasses with orange lenses to achieve the effect, but if you’re not interested in looking like a Venice Beach slacker from the ’90s, the slightly more contemporary frame and lens shape of the Uvex Skyper ($11.17 on Amazon) might be the answer for the late night tech worker in your life.
ProTech Webcam Covers
You may have seen webcam hacks in TV shows like Mr. Robot and movies like Snowden, and rightfully so: Webcams can indeed be hacked, exposing your private life to the world when you least expect it. Even if you don’t know your way around security software, you can easily add a bit more protection to your life by slapping one of these covers onto your devices.
The tiny plastic covers from ProTech easily open when you want to use your camera, shut tight when you’re done and work for laptops, tablets and smartphones. The covers come in black, white, yellow, pink and orange, so they’ll blend in with whatever device you put them on (there are also black metal and silver versions). Yes, these physical protectors should come built in from the device manufacturers. But until that happens, this is the next best solution. A five pack costs just $24.99.
Victorinox Midnite Manager@Work pocket knife
Everyone knows what you’re talking about when you mention a “Swiss army knife”: They’re referring to a tool, service and sometimes even a person that does almost everything. But in the digital era, the meaning of the term has changed, so it only makes sense that the literal Swiss army knife should change, too.
The Victorinox Midnite Manager@Work pocket knife mixes the traditional array of metal tools you’d find in a Swiss army knife and adds a 32GB USB stick and an LED flashlight, all in a fold-up form you can stash in your pocket. In addition to the tech accouterments, the device also has a wire stripper, scissors, a Phillips screwdriver, a nail file, a bottle opener and, of course, a blade.
It’s a bit pricey at nearly $70, but putting the 21st century version of the ultimate mobile toolkit in someone’s pocket is worth it.