Why you should care
Because our devices need love too.
The more we procrastinate fighting the crowds of aggressive last-minute shoppers, the worse the experience becomes. Thank the stars for online shopping, but with so many options, what and where is all the good sh*t? Here’s a guide to some of the cool tech and gaming gifts — presents that will make you everyone’s favorite relative (until next year).
Give a Kick-Ass Keyboard and Mouse
Looking to put a massive smile on the face of the computer enthusiast in your life? The Roccat Skeltr keyboard ($159.99) and Roccat AIMO mouse ($79.99) are technically aimed at the “gamer” crowd, but anyone can use them, even those not trying to climb the leaderboards. By connecting the Roccat Skeltr with a smartphone, you can answer text messages and emails and even answer phone calls with a keyboard stroke. The Roccat AIMO adds an ergonomic user experience with five programmable buttons that can replace whatever repetitious series of button mashings you’re fed up with — create new browser tabs, copy and paste text, etc. The RGB lighting options on both devices are tasteful and won’t make you look like a LAN party DJ.
Keep Their Phone From Exploding
With the problems plaguing newer smartphones — like overheating (sometimes exploding) and freezing — climate change has become an enemy of our portable tech. ClimateCase ($28.95), although not much of a looker, makes up for its lack of wow-inducing design with its promise of keeping your cellphone at an optimal temperature no matter the weather. It’s a silicone-filled pouch that you either chill in a freezer or microwave to heat. The company also claims that the ClimateCase will even revive a frozen or overheated smartphone by getting it back to normal temps. Don’t expect any other technological magic, but when you just need your phone to work, none of the extras matter.
Juice Up All Their Devices in an Emergency
This charging device is not only great for travel, but also it can play the role of an emergency backup box … because it can charge multiple devices at once. The ChargeTech PLUG power pack ($399) comes with two AC/DC outlets, two quick-charging USB ports and one USB-C port for the latest smartphone models. And the charging speed using just the USB ports is pretty good — about the same as a wall charger (it took about 30-35 minutes to charge my Samsung S6 from flatline). Not exactly portable, the PLUG weighs about the same as a pre-Air-era MacBook and it’s not pocket-size by any means — good for keeping in the car or at home in case of a power outage. At first glance, the price tag on the PLUG may knock your heartbeat off rhythm, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many chargers in the wild that will let you speed-power five devices at the same time, provide enough juice to run a small fridge or jump-start a car in a pinch.
Domesticate Their Nerdom
For the video gamer who has everything … why not a skin that makes their console look like part of the decor? Toast is a line of video game console skins ($39-$79) in contemporary wood-grain finishes — ditching the cliched vinyl decals typically aimed at teens. With grains like walnut, ash, bamboo and ebony, gamers can choose to match their entertainment center with an adultified motif. The skins are made of real wood too — not that weird, mash-up of wood paste some companies pass off as furniture. Toast’s skins are temporary and aren’t made for multiple use. They also won’t destroy your console’s original finish if you remove them. They’re currently available for Xbox One and PlayStation families and Nintendo Switch.