by Paul Mah

12 holiday tech gifts your loved ones will use for years

Nov 25, 2016
Computers and PeripheralsConsumer ElectronicsGadgets

If you're searching for the perfect tech gadget for the geek who has it all, look no further. These docks, charging stations, headphones, monitors, peripherals and more, are sure to please even the most jaded technophiles.

geeky gifts for the holidays primary
Credit: Thinkstock

These presents for techies are guaranteed re-gift-proof

Nobody likes giving or receiving impractical presents that no one will ever use. But we’ve all sent or received (at least) one such sorry gift. These top-notch gadgets are useful and practical, and some have been updated and released multiple times due to popular demand.

So quit scratching your head for holiday gift ideas, and check out our list of 13 gadgets or tech upgrades that’ll be coveted for years to come.

TwelveSouth HiRise 2 and HiRise 2 Deluxe

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Image by Twelve South

The TwelveSouth HiRise 2Remove product link and HiRise 2 DeluxeRemove product link ($40 and $60, respectively) for iPhone and iPad are great-looking stands that work with the majority of smartphones and smaller-size tablets available today. The stands’ adjustable rear support can also be configured to accommodate most protective cases.

Despite its name, the HiRise 2 will charge non-Apple smartphones with micro-USB ports, in addition to Apple peripherals, including the Magic Mouse 2 and Apple Pencil. However, you’ll need the more expensive Deluxe edition, which comes bundled with micro-USB and Apple-certified Lightning cables.

Griffin PowerDock Pro

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Image by Griffin

The Griffin PowerDock Pro  ($130) is an the improved version of the popular, original PowerDock. The new design has a contoured charging bay that’s better-looking, and it charges and holds Android and iOS smartphones and tablets equipped with protective cases. The upgraded PowerDock Pro delivers 12 watts of charging via each of its five charging ports, and a built-in cable storage mechanism helps eliminate cord chaos.

Logitech M720 Triathlon mouse

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Image by Logitech

Logitech’s M720 Triathlon  is a wireless mouse that incorporates the company’s hyper-fast scrolling tech for its scroll wheel. It has dual Bluetooth and wireless-dongle support and can toggle between three preconfigured devices, with an illuminated number that specifies which device is connected. As its name suggests, the M720 Triathlon is a high-endurance device that runs up to 24 months on a single AA battery, according to Logitech, and its buttons supposedly last up to 10 million clicks.

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

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Image by Microsoft

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic KeyboardRemove product link ($81) sets a new standard for wrist support and comfort for people who are constantly at a keyboard. The split layout and arc shape of the wireless keyboard helps users keep their hands and arms in a relaxed position, to reduce repetitive stress injuries. A numeric keypad is available as a separate device. Microsoft’s Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard has been available since 2013, a testament to its quality.

(For more, similar devices, read “11 ergonomic gadgets your body will love.”)

Wacom Bamboo Slate

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Image by Wacom

The Wacom Bamboo SlateRemove product link ($130 to $150) is for people who want to digitize handwritten notes and doodles but don’t want to use a stylus. It’s composed of a “smartpad” and ballpoint pen that work together to detect pen strokes on paper notepads. Any standard notepad up to 8mm thick, or about 80 pages, will work. And the smartpad sends the input text to Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth. The Wacom Bamboo Slate is available in two sizes: the larger “Letter” or “A4” version, and the smaller “Half-Letter” or “A5” model.

Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones

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Image by Bose

The king of noise-cancelling headphones recently updated its flagship product, the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphonesRemove product link ($350), the wireless counterpart to the wired QuietComfort 25 headset it released last year. Though slightly heavier, the QuietComfort 35 ditches the wires but still has stellar noise cancellation to take the edge off a long flight or train commute. And it comes with a cable and airplane adapter for the times when you run out of juice or want to plug into an in-flight system.

(For more similar devices, read “7 great headphones for work and play.”)

Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition

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Image by Jabra

Jabra’s Sport Pulse Special EditionRemove product link is a set of wireless earphones with great sound and built-in heart-rate monitoring technology. The Special Edition is designed to offer a better fit, thanks to its assortment of in-ear wings and tips, and it adds automatic VO2 max tracking, an advanced fitness metric. The Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition also comes with a new three-year warranty (registration required), so you can expect to use it for years.

Waterfield Bolt Backpack

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Image by WaterField Designs

The Waterfield Bolt Backpack ($329) is a versatile, multi-use backpack for road warriors and office workers alike. Internal padded compartments and side pockets accommodate a laptop, tablet and other knick-knacks, and its durable canvas and leather exterior serves as added protection. A rear slot lets you slide the bag over the handles of a rolling suitcase, and a useful handle makes it easier to lift.


Crucial MX300 solid state drive

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Image by Micron Technology

The Crucial MX300 solid state driveRemove product link ($120 for 525GB, $170 for 750GB, $250 for 1TB and $550 for 2TB) offers speedy SSD storage at a price you can afford. The MX300 uses new 3D NAND flash technology to deliver higher storage density at a competitive price. It offers quick read and write speeds of 530 MBps and 510 MBps, respectively, during normal use. The MX300 SSD is available with both SATA and M.2 data specifications.

August Smart Lock

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Image by August Home

The August Smart LockRemove product link ($199) converts your standard home deadbolt into a smart door lock, which means you can leave home without physical keys. It hitches onto the deadbolt mechanism on the inside of the door, so the exterior appearance remains the same. You can use virtual keys to unlock or buy the optional August Smart KeypadRemove product link ($79) to use a unique entry passcode. Standard AA batteries power the device.

(For more on the getting started with a smart home, read “9 must-have ‘smart’ gadgets for your connected office.”)

Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm

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Image by Ergotron

Monitor arms hook up to the mount interfaces of compatible monitors, offering far greater versatility in how monitors can be positioned. Ergotron’s LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor ArmRemove product link (white) works with monitors up to 32 inches. Its matte white powder coating gives the arm a sleek look and is stain resistant.

LG 34-inch Thunderbolt Curved LED Monitor

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Image by LG

The $1,200 LG 34-inch Thunderbolt Curved LED monitor (34UC98)Remove product link is the most pricey item in our gift guide. The top-notch, 34-inch monitor offers an impressive resolution of 3440×1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9, which is perfect for both work and play. It also has FreeSync support for gaming when used with PC with compatible AMD graphics cards. The 34UC98 model also works with Ergotron’s LX Desk Mount monitor arm.

(If one monitor just isn’t enough for you, read “How to build a modern multi-monitor workstation.”)