With the holidays just around the corner, the time has come to start scrambling for gift ideas. If you have a tech geek on your shopping list, you actually have it easier than most shoppers, for there are many gifts out there that will make a tech geek’s eyes light up. To help you find something at different price points, here are 11 gift ideas, ranging in price from under $3 to just under $400 at the time of this writing. How about we make this a collaborative post? I’m always searching for gift ideas, so when you’re done checking out the list, give us your gift suggestions in the comments. That way, we can all help one another during this holiday season.
Photo by alancleaver_2000.
If you’re like me, you carry a USB flash drive with you at all times. But where do you keep it to have it easily accessible? I use the Lucky Line Pull-Apart Key Ring, which allows me to keep my keys on one end of the ring, and the flash drive on the other end. When I’m ready to use the flash drive, I can quickly and easily detach the half of the ring with the flash drive. For $2.42 (the price at the time of this writing), you can’t go wrong.
A tech geek can always think of something to do with a USB flash drive, such as booting to the new Google Chrome OS. The thumb drive that I keep with me at all times, on my key chain, is the Sandisk 4GB Cruzer Titanium USB Flash Drive. It is sturdy, and has stood up to the abuse I’ve thrown at it in the 6 months that I’ve used it. I’ve dropped it, bumped it, and clanged it into other objects, and it still works. While it isn’t microscopic in size, it is small enough that it doesn’t annoy me in my pocket. $15.25 at the time of writing.
3. Gift cards
Tech geeks can always find something to buy if they have the money, so you can’t go wrong with a gift card. Consider a gift card from Amazon.com (for use on almost any product imaginable), Newegg.com (for computer hardware and software), or iTunes (for music or video for iPods or iPhones, and apps for the iPhone).
I’ve previously written about two iPhone cases that I like, the Clarifi and the Elan, by Griffin. If your gift recipient uses Evernote on the iPhone, then consider the Clarifi, as it includes a lens that slides over the iPhone camera lens, and helps you take clearer photos of text. Otherwise, I like the Elan, as it has a sturdy feel, and is easy to grip. Check out our earlier review for an in-depth discussion of each. $22.30 (Clarifi) and $14.99 (Elan) at the time of writing.
When traveling with my wife, I hate finding that our hotel room has one wired internet connection, meaning that we both can’t get on the internet at the same time unless we perform some Windows magic. That aggravation is a thing of the past. I now have a D-Link DWL-G730AP Wireless Pocket Router, which works just like the wireless router in your home, but comes in a much smaller package. MUCH smaller. This router is about 2/3 the size of my iPhone, so it is easy to take with me on trips. My wife and I spent a week in the Outer Banks this summer, and were able to use this router to get internet throughout the house. Please note that the router is wireless only, so don’t expect to hook up multiple computers to it with ethernet cables. But if your computers have wifi capabilities, than this router is an essential part of any tech geek’s travel toolkit. $46.98 at the time of writing.
We’ve previously talked about Acronis True Image as one of the four steps for a comprehensive backup solution. True Image allows you to make an image of your hard drive, for easy restoration later. I’ve been a happy user of True Image for several years, going back to long before this blog existed. The above True Image links are affiliate links, which are links that we only use in such situations (i.e. where we have tried a product and can put our names behind it). It also means that we get a small percentage of any sale, and that we can offer a coupon code, NDJATIH2010, which will get you 10% off your purchase through January 15, 2010. $44.99 at the time of writing, with coupon code.
Tech geeks can never have too much digital storage space. One type of storage that is especially handy is portable storage, such as that offered by the Seagate FreeAgent Go 500 GB Portable External Hard Drive with Docking Station (you can also save some money and get the drive without the docking station). I’ve been using this drive ever since I won it in a contest over at Technologizer. The drive is thin enough to fit into my laptop bag, which keeps my wife happy when I have it out on my desk. The docking station has two USB plugs to power the drive, so you don’t need an electrical outlet for power. $126.99 at the time of writing.
If you use Skype or another form of videoconferencing, than a quality webcam is a must. If you don’t use Skype, then you should consider it, as it is an easy (and free) way to keep in touch with family and friends using live video. Bobby and I recently tried out videoconferencing with Tinychat, and Bobby noticed that the video of me was even clearer than his own video of himself, despite the fact that my video was being sent to him over the internet. The secret? I was using the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, which uses a Carl Zeiss lens to capture HD video (the video that is actually transmitted over the internet depends on your connection). The audio is very good as well, as the camera uses noise-cancelling technology to filter out background nose. $66.99 at the time of writing (I believe this is a special deal that expires soon, as the webcam usually sells for closer to $100).
This is one you may want to double-check on. First, your geek must be using either Windows XP or Windows Vista to qualify for the upgrade (if not, he or she might still be able to use the full version of Windows 7 Home Premium ). Your geek will also want to make sure that his or her hardware is compatible with Windows 7 (if he’s using Vista, than it almost certainly is). Finally, you may want to find out if your geek is even interested in Windows 7 (there are several compelling reasons that he or she should be) . If it fits the bill, a Windows 7 upgrade would be a great gift. It is now our operating system of choice here at 40Tech. $109.49 at the time of writing.
Is your tech geek an Evernote lover like we are? If so, he or she needs a trusty and quick scanner to get important documents into Evernote. A scanner that receives nothing but glowing reviews, including by the Evernote developers themselves, is the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. I have been using it for a few months, and love it. It’s fast and small, produces clear scans, and instantly creates searchable PDF files. It also can be set to interface directly with Evernote, so that getting you documents into Evernote is a one step process – press the "Scan" button, and you can feed up to 10 pages at a time directly into Evernote. If your tech geek uses a Mac, make sure that you get the Mac version, the ScanSnap S300M. The S300 is $242.99 at the time of writing.
Netbooks are all the rage right now. I previously expressed my love of the Toshiba Mini NB205-N311 netbook, finding that it had a more solid and professional feel than all of the other netbooks I tried. Please note that there are different versions of the NB205. The NB205-N311 is the version with a slightly faster processor, and the improved "chicklets" keyboard. For more information, read our complete review. $369.99 at the time of writing (reduced from $399.99).
We hope that this list will give you some gift ideas. The Amazon links above are affiliate links, which means that we get a very small percentage of any purchase. As always, we only use affiliate links for products that we’ve tried, and in which we believe. All of these products are items that I’ve used myself in my daily life.
Let’s help each other out in our gift list brainstorming – are there any great gift ideas that you can suggest?