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Best USB Charger: Olens LampChamp at Amazon
"Turns any standard lamp in your home into a USB charging station."
Best for Pet Owners: Furbo Dog Camera at Amazon
"Check up on Fido no matter the time of day."
Best for Fitness Geeks: Yunmai Premium Smart Scale at Amazon
"Transmits data to your smartphone app via Bluetooth to make tracking your progress easy."
Best Fitness Headphones: Jaybird Tarah Pro at Best Buy
"The battery life blows away the competition."
Best Smart Home Device: Nest Learning Thermostat at Amazon
"The smart device programs itself according to your family’s habits."
Best Fitness Tracker: Misfit Vapor 2 at Amazon
"A thinner, sleeker watch."
Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Show at Amazon
"Bigger and smarter than its predecessor."
Best for Photographers: olloclip CORE LENS SET at Amazon
"All three of the lenses take incredible pictures."
Best for Security Geeks: Google Titan at Google
"A similar level of security that is used internally at Google."
These days, we seem to live in constant fear of low battery. Our devices drain faster than ever, yet power outlets are hard to come by. Not so, with the Olens LampChamp, which turns any standard lamp in your home into a USB charging station. To install, simply unscrew the lightbulb, screw in the LampChamp, then screw the lightbulb back in. From there, you’ll be able to charge all phones, tablets, e-readers and all other USB-compatible devices via its two AMP rapid charging port. This is especially handy in bedside lamps so you can charge up your devices while sleeping.
Brought to you by Indiegogo, the Furbo Dog Camera lets you be at home with your pup even when you’re away. Equipped with a full HD camera and night vision, you can stream video using a 160-degree wide-angle view to check up on Fido no matter the time of day. With a mic, speaker and barking sensor, it can detect if your pet is upset, send a push notification to your smartphone and you can talk to calm them down via the app. Your dog’s favorite feature will no doubt be the Treat Tosser, which tosses a pre-loaded snack upon your command. To get set up, simply plug in the Furbo via USB, download the iOS or Android app and connect to your home Wi-Fi. Reviewers warn that the device must be placed close to the Wi-Fi source, which could spell trouble unless you have a booster.
If you didn’t track it, did it even happen? Some fitness geeks get a thrill out of tracking every little analytic, and the Yunmai Premium Smart Scale helps one do just that. Beyond weight, this sleek scale measures body fat, muscle rate, water, bone mass, visceral fat, BMR, BMI, protein and body age. Each time you step on the Yunmai, it transmits data to your smartphone app via Bluetooth to make tracking your progress easy. It looks almost identical to the FitBit Aria, but it costs almost half the price.
The scale also allows for up to 16 different users, and you can connect to your FitBit or Apple Health account to customize your settings, so while you might be shopping for your fitness friend, it’s really a gift for their whole household.
The Tarah Pro is part of the Jaybird Sport line of headphones, meaning that the company has loaded in a bunch of sport-centric features. The battery life blows away the competition — Jaybird claims you’ll get 14 hours of life on a single charge (compared to 8 hours on the Sport X4s), and on top of that, five minutes of charging will give you two hours of playback (as opposed to the Sport X4s’ 10 minutes for one hour of charge). That excellent battery life is great not only for marathon runners, but also for commuting and recreation alike. Of course, there are plenty of fitness features, like a sweatproof and waterproof build (IPX7) and a sturdy braided cable. They’ve given some thought to the fit here, too, with premium soft silicone replacement tips for a snug fit whether you wear them under or over your ears. Pair these with the Jaybird app, and you’ll be able to access pretty powerful EQ settings and some great sound-molding options you don’t get with most headphones, wireless or otherwise.
For homeowners with an environmental conscience – or those who are just on a tight budget – the Nest Learning Thermostat makes a fantastic gift. Simply use it for a week as you normally would, and the smart device programs itself according to your family’s habits. If you like to sleep at 68 degrees, for instance, it quickly learns that you’re regularly in bed by 10 and will automatically drop the temperature at that time.
With the Nest app, you can control settings remotely and even access a daily Energy History report and monthly Home Report. Independent studies show that the Nest saves an average of 10 to 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills, which means it covers its cost in about two years. Best yet, it integrates with Amazon Alexa, so you can use voice controls to adjust the temperature.
The Vapor 2 gives consumers a lot of what they liked about the first generation — standalone music playing, a waterproof build up to 50m, full compatibility with both Android and Apple, and activity tracking — while adding and improving a few features along the way. The heart rate sensor is upgraded to improve accuracy, and you can now pick up the watch in two sizes (41mm or 46mm, as opposed to the Vapor 1’s 44mm). That means you can get a screen that measures up to 1.4 inches. They’ve also shaved more than 2mm off the thickness of the casing to give you a thinner, sleeker watch. They’ve added in NFC so you’ll be able to use your watch with Android Pay, and they’ve even pulled GPS right into the watch, so you no longer need to be connected to a phone to track your location or plan your routes. It doesn’t have quite all the futuristic features of something like the new Apple watch, but it will get you pretty close.
Bigger and smarter than its predecessor, the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Generation is a gadget geek’s dream assistant. Everything centers around the 10-inch HD screen with 720p video. It is perfectly sized for playing back live TV with a Hulu subscription, or for streaming their favorite shows through HBO Go and a whole host of other apps. The display and front-facing camera are also great for making video calls (although it’s worth noting that Skype support is still in the works, so users can only make calls between Echo Show owners for the time being.)
Whether your gadget-loving friend is streaming music from their favorite service or watching videos through the built-in Silk and Firefox web browsers, the audio sounds great coming through the Echo Show’s premium speakers with Dolby processing. Dual two-inch drivers and a passive bass radiator offer crisp vocals and deep bass. And with Alexa voice control, audiophiles can make EQ adjustments from across the room — the device has eight far-field microphones to pick up voice commands even when music is blasting.
As a Zigbee smart device hub, the Echo Show also works as a hub for any compatible home devices like smart locks, thermostats, lightbulbs, and more, making this the ultimate addition to their smart home setup. If your gadget geek friend is also into cooking, they’ll especially love Alexa’s new step-by-step cooking instructions that take them through an entire recipe hands-free.
The photo fiend on your shopping list with adore this iPhone lens kit, which comes complete with fisheye (180-degree field-of-view), wide-angle (120-degree field-of-view) and 15X zoom lenses. All three of the lenses take incredible pictures and allow you to get creative with your photography. The lenses slip over both the front and rear cameras, though unfortunately you’ll have to remove the smartphone from its case to fit the lenses and some reviewers complain that they can scratch the back of the iPhone.
The olloclip lens set also ships with a clip and pendant stand for both the iPhone 7/8 and iPhone 7/8 Plus, plus a lens cap and microfiber cloth.
If you have any geeks in your life that love security, they have probably told you about the wonders of two-factor authentication. Basically, two-factor authentication (or multi-factor authentication) means that you need more than just a password to get into an online service. For example, after you input your password, you might then be sent a text message with a code you need to quickly input. But what if you want to up your security game even more? Say hello to the Google Titan Security Key Bundle. This bundle includes one USB key and one Bluetooth key. The USB key is used to provide physical verification that you are who you say you are after you input your normal password for an online service like Gmail or Twitter. The Bluetooth key acts as a backup to your USB key in case you ever lose it. These keys offer a similar level of security that is used internally at Google, and it would make for a perfect gift for a geek in your life, especially one that cares deeply about security and privacy.
Price - When you’re looking at gadgets and tech, price is always a concern. While there are some splurge-worthy devices out there, you don't have to overspend your budget. There are plenty of geeky gadget gifts you can pick up that aren’t too expensive, like an iPhone lens set or a USB light socket charger.
Lifestyle - Some gadgets really are universal for any tech lover, but it’s still important to think about the person’s individual interests before you choose a gift. Are they big on fitness? Or are they really concerned about recent privacy leaks? These types of questions will help you narrow down a great gift to buy.
Home gifts - There are quite a few gifts on this list that are great for the home. Consider factors like what type of space the person lives in and if they have smart home devices already before deciding what to give.