Tech They'll Actually Use

The Best Everyday Gadget Gifts They’ll Love to Use

December 15, 2019 Buying Guides By

Tech is ubiquitous. We use it to wake us up and make our coffee, to turn on our lights and deliver us the news, to entertain us and, of course, to help us do our job — and that’s just scratching the surface. Smartphones, laptops and headphones are some of the most common things to come to mind, but there’s also so much more than that we use every day. We’ve rounded up a number of additional gadgets and accessories, that will become a crucial part of your giftee’s daily life.

1. Vanja Type C Card Reader

Price: $8

This handy little accessory is especially great for photographers. It’s an SD card and microSD card reader that has male USB-C and USB ports, meaning you can easily load your photos to a computer, tablet or smartphone. (For iPhone users, you can grab a $29 Lightning to SD Card dongle instead.)

2. Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 Cable

Price: $18

This charging cable has three interchangeable connectors, so it can basically charge anything. Top off your camera via micro-USB, your wireless headphones or laptop via USB-C, and your iPhone via Lightning. Three birds, one stone.

3. Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C

Price: $26

Anker makes some of our favorite charging accessories. This little guy is a 30-watt wall charger that’s easily capable of charging your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and it’s way more travel-friendly than the brick that comes with Apple’s computers.

4. Qisan Mechanical Keyboard

Price: $40

This cheap mechanical keyboard punches well above its weight. It’s great for gaming, but generally offers an escape for MacBook owners who just can’t stand their computer’s current keyboard situation.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

5. Lutron Aurora Smart Dimmer

Price: $40

The two great things about this smart bulb dimmer are that it’s completely wireless and that it doesn’t require any hard installation. It goes on top of your current light switch, locking it in an “on” position, and from there you can control your smart light by hand just like you would with any traditional dimmer.

6. Twelve South AirFly

Price: $27

In-flight entertainment systems don’t have Bluetooth, making it impossible to listen to a movie or show on an airplane with your AirPods (or AirPods Pro). This little Bluetooth dongle solves this problem. It is also great for Nintendo Switch owners who want to game and use their Bluetooth buds, giving it extra day-to-day value.

7. Echo Dot with Clock

Price: $35

The Echo Dot has been a great entry-level smart speaker for years. Now Amazon has released a new model that costs $10 extra but also has an LED display to display the time, making the Echo Dot with Clock an excellent bedside alarm clock. And yes, you can turn the display off if you like — just ask Alexa.

8. Peak Design Tech Pouch

Price: $60

While not strictly tech, this pouch plays the crucial role of helping you carry all the gadgets you already have. It has orgami pockets and dedicated sleeves for everything from charging cables to AirPods, portable batteries and your smartphone.

9. RAVPower RP-PB058 Portable Battery

Price: $60

This is one of our favority backup batteries because not only is it affordable, but because it is also super versatile. It can charge all your devices, including your MacBook, and its 26800mAh capacity means that it can go a long time between charges if you’re charging smaller devices.

10. Mophie Powerstation Plus w/ Lightning Connector

Price: $80

This is the perfect portable battery for anybody with an iPhone. Not only is it great-looking, but it also has an attached Lightning cable — no need to remember your own.

11. Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

Price: $84

One in ten people who work at a computer experience some level of uncomfortable pronation, or stressful twisting, in their wrist when they use a traditional mouse. It’s uncomfortable and distracting, but this ergonomic mouse can make long hours at the office much less painful.

12. Osmo Mobile 3

Price: $109

DJI’s latest smartphone gimbal is also its greatest. Thanks to a foldable design, a new trigger button and a host of other new features, it’s never been easier for photographers to take better photos better and videographers to take stabilized videos with their smartphone.

13. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Price: $100

The Paperwhite is a standard of Amazon’s Kindle line and it’s perfect for most people. It’s waterproof, so it’s a perfectly acceptable beach or poolside companion, and it’s just as bright as Amazon’s high-end Kindle Oasis ($250), meaning it’s an e-reader that you can easily use inside or outside.

14. Ultimate Ears Blast

Price: $180

This is UE’s first Bluetooth speaker that has Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa built-in. When connected to Wi-Fi, the Blast can be used as a smart speaker (i.e: voice commands). When not connected to Wi-Fi, it’s still one of the best-sounding portable rugged Bluetooth speakers out there.

15. Nintendo Switch Lite

Price: $200

Unlike Nintendo’s original Switch, the Switch Lite is a handheld-only console — it can’t be hooked up to your TV. That said, it can still be used to play all of Nintendo’s best offereings, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. On top of that, it is cheaper and more durable than its older brother, making it terrific for kids.

16. AirPods Pro

Price: $249

Apple’s newest AirPods Pro are its best yet. Not only do they have an all-new fit and active noise cancelation, but they’re also completely sweat- and water-resistant, meaning you can actually wear them while running or working out.

17. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Price: $279

These aren’t the Headphones 700, Bose’s latest and great noise-canceling headphones, but Bose’s now two-year-old headphones are still a great gift: they’re lighter and more comfortable than every other noise-canceling headphone we’ve tested.

Audioengine 512 Portable Speaker

Price: $169

The Audioengine 512 is a powerful portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers high quality sound at a range of 100 feet. Offering impressive depth and voice for a small speaker, the 512 is a great way to fill an apartment or workspace with your favorite tunes, streamed directly from your device, or via the convenient aux input port.

The 17 Best Smart Home Gifts of 2019

We’ve rounded up the best entry-level smart home gadgets to gift somebody this holiday season. Read the Story

Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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