Bail Yourself Out With Last-Minute Tech Gift Ideas


Keyportcamo copy

If you're still scrambling for some last-minute gifts, we've got a few tech ideas that might help save Christmas at your house.

1. The Keyport Slide 2.0 replaces a conventional keychain with individual blades that slide in and out of the case. You can get key blades (including ones with transponder chips), a flashlight, USB drives in several sizes starting at 4GB, bottle opener and even a ballpoint pen.

We reviewed these back in April but the company has now released a camo edition that benefits Homes For Our Troops. The case starts at $29, but a fully kitted-out version with inserts is going to run $60-$100. If the idea appeals to you, eight months of everyday use has proved just how useful one of these things can be. This makes a great gift. You have to order direct from Keyport and they can still ship for delivery before Christmas. Or just get a gift card. The recipient will thank you.


2. The Jingle Balls Wireless Ornament Bluetooth Speaker is exactly what its name promises: a speaker in a gold, red or silver globe ornament. They come with a USB charging cable and can be useful in scaring the cat when it's skulking around the tree. It's not going to when any audio awards, but they cost around $18 and they're available at Lowe's.


3. The Spree Headband and Smartcap is a fitness monitor designed for people who aren't comfortable with wearing a fitness monitor. The device can measure body temperature, heart rate and tracks distance, speed and time. Spree has its own iOS app that takes in all of this data simultaneously, but the device also works with a wide array of iOS and Android fitness apps that are listed at the bottom of the page here. No word yet on when Spree will integrate with the iOS Health app, but this post on their page makes that integration seem likely.

If you aren't self-conscious, you can wear the Spree as a headband, but the hat is going to work better for most people. You can still get these with white or black caps for $199 at Amazon, so you've got a couple of days to order and get free shipping if you've got Prime.


4. The Booqpad for iPad Air 1 is a well-made nubuck gray case for folks who aren't quite ready to completely abandon pen and paper. There's a pad of paper attached to the cover that closes over the screen and a magnetic flap to keep everything closed. It's easy to snap your iPad into the case and easy to remove it when you're done with the case. They're on sale now for $50 and you probably want to pick up some extra pads of paper with your order. You can only order direct and last-minute shipping is kind of expensive, but it's a higher-quality case than you'll find down at the Big Lots.


5. Don't let the name of the iLuv Selfy Case put you off. It's a phone case (available for iPhone 5/5s/6/6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Mini and Galaxy S5) with a removable Bluetooth remote camera shutter. Phone cases retail for $40, iPad Air for $80 and the iPad Mini for $70. There are a wide array of available accessories: car mount, bike mount, helmet mount, GoPro mount and tripod.

It's a solid piece of gear: the case offers good protection and the remote's performance is solid. The iPhone 5/5s and Galaxy versions are in stock at Amazon, so you can still get them before Christmas.


6. G-Project makes really high-quality wireless Bluetooth speakers and the G-Drop is their new waterproof offering. That's really waterproof, as in fully-submersible, drop-in-the-lake/pool/ocean waterproof. It only gives about 6 hours of playing time on a full charge, but the retail on this speaker is $5o, a lot less than other good waterproof speakers. It sounds great for the price. You can't order one online, but these are both supposed to be in stock at Walmart and Target stores. You can't search online (you get the "in store only" message on both websites), but you're probably going to Walmart or Target last minute anyway and this is a great gift of the outdoors kids in your family.


7. We're reaching a point where phone backup batteries are becoming a generic commodity: you're probably going to see a Chinese-made lipstick battery at the Dollar Tree sometime next year. Still, there's a real difference between the good ones and the bad ones and the Juno Power Hue Pro 10000 mAh battery is one of the best we've tried and has enough power to charge a tablet and a smartphone. There's an easy-to-read power level gauge and a built-in LED flashlight that throws off enough light to be worthwhile.

They have a nice brushed-metal finish and they come in a box that looks like you're giving a nice gift. They're in stock for $60 at Amazon and come in silver, gold, blue or black.


8. A more pocket-sized option is the Juno Power Nova Blox 4000 mAh battery. It delivers about half as much charging power as the Hue Pro, comes with four battery-level indicator lights and a small built-in flashlight. The measure 2.87" x 0.83" x 2.01" and you can get them for $15/each at Amazon. That's a great value price for a battery that would make a great stocking stuffer.


9.  The iDevices iShower 2 is the modern wireless Bluetooth update on the shower radio, that old '90s standby gift for dad. It's splashproof and comes with a holder that attaches to your shower wall. The speaker is on the back side so you can get all the acoustic benefits of a tile shower if you've got one. There's also a fold-out stand for use on a counter.

The #1 advantage for old people here is that it takes 3 AA batteries instead of charging via USB. It also remembers up to 5 Bluetooth pairings and sounds pretty good. It's $99.99 from the manufacturer's website with some expensive 2-day shipping if you order it before Monday. It also shows up on Amazon, but currently says the Prime shipping version is out of stock. I could recommend quite a few $100 Bluetooth speakers that sound better than this one, but none of them use AA batteries. Once you set this up for a parent or grandparent and teach them how to use it, there shouldn't be too many emergency long-distance tech support sessions.


10.  Some gifts may not seem very glamorous when you first look at them, but, once you consider all the family arguments they can solve, they start to seem like the best giver ever. The iLuv RockWall 5 USB 5 Port Charger can charge most families' entire array of phones and tablets from a single outlet. Think of the argument you won't have in the airport on the way to DisneyWorld and it starts to seem like the best $30 you'll ever spend.

It'll even handle a couple of iPads without overheating. You still can get one at Amazon.

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