Ahh…the joys of the giving season. The thrills, the excitement, the scraped knees from battling for the last bottle of Destructoid Anti Perspirant Perfume. Luckily there’s always the more sedate alternative…
the flight to Morocco… sorry… the online shopping route. So, to save you any more headaches, here’s our list of the coolest geek gifts for under $50. [image via shutterstock]
1. Dr Who Dalek R/C Watch – $34.99
Who could resist the lure of piloting their very own agent of mass extermination around the living room floor on Christmas Day? And from a wrist watch too. Bliss. This keychain toy may not qualify as the perfect gift for a Gucci loving partner, but for any geek worth their salt it’s got to be the coolest thing in town. Buy.
2. Bluetooth Smartphone Voice And Call Recorder – $45.07
Set this puppy to auto-record and it’ll automatically capture tons of calls from friends, relatives and parole officers. The device comes with 8 GB of on-board storage plus a microSD slot for expansion, which should be enough for even the weirdest recording needs of the merely desperate. Buy.
3. Smartphone Time-Lapse Turntable – $32.69
Slot a phone into the cradle and this doozy will instantly capture picture perfect 360 panoramic images and demonstrate just how cool photo technology really is. The resulting photos are apparently permissible as court evidence, which is handy, as is the fact that the thing can double up as an egg timer. Allegedly. Buy.
4. Smart Warmer – $39.99
Have you noticed how everything is smart nowadays? We’ll be getting smart toilet paper soon (don’t ask) and that’s when we’ll know the end is near. For now we’ll stick with this Smart Warmer which does double action as a cosy hand warmer and – ta-da – an emergency backup charger for your phone. Brilliant eh? Just remember, toasty hands, dead handset. Buy.
5. Bicycle Tail Light With Lane Lasers – $24.99
This bicycle tail light is not only shaped like a skull for some reason, but also features some very cool laser beam lane markings to help vehicles in the area stay well clear. The six foot long lines may not be too visible in well lit areas, but it’s the dark alleys and country lanes where they’ll really come into their own. Buy.
6. Portable WiFi Signal Booster – $49.95
Word has it that the U.N. is about to declare 2014 as The Year of Better WiFi Signals, which makes this a particularly apt gift for all geeks. The little unit does very little apart from boosting the signal from your WiFi router in a part of the premises which is too far away to cope with the demands of X-Factor streaming. Buy isn’t that a blessing? Buy.
7. Standscan Portable Phone Scanner Dock – $29.95
The cameras on phones are now very good at capturing much more than just Aunt Mabel doing the splits on New Year’s Eve, so why not make the most of it? This clever collapsible scanner dock turns a phone into a professional document scanner in seconds, great for capturing fake passport details and the like. Works with any phone and also doubles up as a light box. Buy.
8. World’s Smallest Nightvision Camera & Webcam – $49.00
Nowadays not only do we need eyes in the back of our head, but they also have to cope with pitch black conditions. Just ask someone who’s been hit by a flying banana on a midnight ski run. Well now there’s a solution to sun-less insecurity, with a device that not only comes with its own night vision LEDs, but also sports 12 megapixels and video recording. Take that banana! Buy.
9. Liquid Armor Nano Screen Protection – $24.99
This weather resistant, anti static formula contains ‘nano’ particles which will provide scratch resistance to sensitive touchscreens, while maintaining the vividness of the image and your romantic relationships. Or did we mis-read that? Anyhoo, we’ve tried it, and it seems to work as advertised, so we can do no more than happily recommend it here. Buy.
10. Wonderbag Portable Slow Cooker – $50.00
This could also be called the ultimate slow cooker, because all it does is hold your already boiled pan in an insulated container to allow the cooking process to continue without additional heat and energy. They call it eco-friendly, we call it sloooow. But hey, we’re happy that they’re donating a 1 for 1 bag to Africa though, so we’ll just shut up and eat the yummy chow. Pass the spoon! Buy.
11. Wallet Ninja 16-In-1 Tool – $14.69
Sometimes all that’s needed is a tiny flat gadget which will help you save the day, grab the girl and escape the forest just before the wolves descend on the cabin. This is not that tool. But it will open cans, bottles and letters, as well as act as a phone stand and a ruler. Oh and a screwdriver. We think that’s plenty enough for any geek’s pocket. Buy.
12. Smart Mass Kinetic Sand – $9.99
Back in the day the only thing we could use sand for was burying annoying uncles and filling in cat trays, but apparently modern times bring modern tactics. This stuff is billed as magical, which means it’s something of a cross between Blu-Tack and dirt, which boggles the mind a little. Anyway it’s made in Sweden and… um… hates water. Go figure! Buy.
13. Handheld To-Do List Recorder – $49.95
Keeping tabs on stuff can be tricky, especially when this stuff multiplies like little gremlins, running through the mind like depraved little devils, tricking us into forgetting and distracting… er where were we? Ah right, so any tool that helps keep track of chores and family names is a bonus in this household. 2 GB of memory should be enough to hold next week’s grocery list, right? Buy.
14. Upside Down Flying Helicopter – $49.99
What do you get the geek who literally has everything? Well it’s obvious isn’t it. Something which does something so unbelievably weird that no-one in their right mind would think of building it, let alone selling it. No we’re not talking about a pet rock, but a helicopter which flies upside down. No we don’t know why or who or even when. In fact we’re trying not to think about it too much at all. Buy.
15. Space Food – $9.79
Definitely an oldie but goodie, and updated for the modern age with ICE CREAM! These freeze dried treats, which were of course originally designed to help astronauts survive the deadly trip from the canteen to their launching pad, come in three delicious (it says here) flavors, including mint choc chip. Frankly they had us at ‘ice cream’. Buy.
16. Wagan Self Charge Auto Jumper – $39.99
There are few things worse than getting into the car on a cold frosty morning and hearing the dreaded wiririririririririririr…. of a battery failing to start your motor. Actually a worse thing is having this happen on the way to a maternity event, but we digress. This little gizmo is basically a portable battery pack for your car. Plug it into the cigar socket and you should hear wonderful things happen when you turn the key. If you also hear a baby crying, you may be a tad too late. Buy.
17. Intelligent USB Multi Battery Charger – $16.00
Apparently the intelligent battery charger is now a commodity, although what caught our eye on this one was the fact that you can deploy little knurled wheels to accept different battery sizes. It’s not high tech, but it’s definitely useful. This means you can charge different voltage cells, AA and AAA as well as some other sizes we’ve never heard of. Marvels. Buy.
18. Sugru Magnet Kit – $16.00
Fixing stuff yourself is so satisfying we can’t understand why everyone isn’t doing it. Luckily there’s a growing army of DIY nutz and one of the materials they’re excited about is Sugru. This silicone putty sets hard but flexible, and also acts like a glue, which means you can stick things together, make them waterproof and do all sorts of clever hacks. Now the developers have gone and added magnets, which is awesome. You can pre-order for Jan delivery (geeks can wait, right?) now. Buy.
19. SOI Automatic Handbag Light – $42.49 (£26)
This is billed as the world’s first automatic handbag light because it only lights up when a hand is close to the lamp (or it gets a gentle tap). From what we’ve heard it’s not always a good thing to know what’s lurking in the depths of a lady’s bag, but if illumination is what’s needed, this little LED lamp should do the trick. Buy.
20. Six Deck Card Shuffler – $29.99
Who wants to waste time shuffling when there’s cards to be a-playing? Automating life is what it’s all about, and the faster the better. Just load the cards into one side, press the happy button and bingo, within seconds out pop a bunch of fully shuffled cards with no jam smeared on them or corner crinkles from sweaty hand movements. Perfect! Buy.
21. ProteX HD Car Dashcam With Nightvision – $45.10
Apparently almost every Russian car has one of these dashcam recorders on-board, which definitely says something about their love of video, birdwatching or something similar. Right? This puppy will record video in glorious HD and has IR to deliver night vision video too, so you can keep tabs on your fellow drivers even as you weave your way back through the icy steppes of Croydon. Marvelous. Buy.
22. One Year Smartphone Backup Battery – $49.95
It’s a sad fact of life that batteries run out of power sooner or later… and so too do backup batteries. Which can be a real pain in the dead phone zone. This handy gizmo, however, is designed to retain its emergency charge for months and months and months, which should keep you stress free and handset happy. It charges both iPhone and Android and is smaller than a pack of gum. Buy.
23. Heider Superpower Torch – $49.90
Sometimes a basic household flashlight just won’t cut it, which is when most hard-core folk turn to a more geeky solution. This usually involves copious amounts of forestry, a box of matches and some silver birch tinder. Or failing that a better flashlight. This model comes with more lumens than a lumen factory, and the ability to light up a cathedral at 300 miles. Or something. Buy.
24. Smile Name Badge Sports HD DVR – $35.00
Cameras come in all shapes and sizes nowadays, but we would guess that few are so brilliantly able to generate a grin as a smiley face badge right? Who can resist cracking a smile when faced with this icon of happiness, which should make all the video and images captured by this new HD hidden camera even more interesting. USB rechargeable, 29 fps and with microSD card storage up to 4GB. Buy.
25. Predict-A-Pen – $8.19
It’s a sad reflection of our times that some of the most popular boy toys around reflect our inability to make decisions. The Mystic 8 Ball springs to mind immediately, but there are others. Joining the ranks is this push button decision engine which will guide you towards your destiny, while also providing some handy ball point pen functionality. Should you buy it? Why not ask the… never mind. Buy.
26. Computer EcoButton – $21.23 (£12.99)
There are few things more stupid in life than an off button. After all what does it do? Nothing, except stop things. Pathetic. Only in some cases this can actually be a good thing. Like if you’re trying to save energy, the planet, your Uncle Herbert and so on. This button thingy is aiming to help save around 700,000 tonnes of carbon a year. But not on its own obviously. It will also clearly need some help from our Uncle Herbert. Buy.
27. Bicycle LED Lamp and Head Lamp – $37.09
Also known as ‘strap a lighthouse to your bike’, this 2800 lumens monster will probably blind bus drivers in Bangkok as you scurry happily along your local commuter route in Yonkers. The thing comes with a 150 meter range and the very cool bit is it can also be attached to your head with the included strap, which should give you some sort of Marvel Hero super power. Buy.
28. Aaron Portable Vertical Egg Grill – $30.99
Last time we looked this was called a Rollie Egg Thing, but times move on, and maybe Mr Rollie wanted his name back. Anyhoo, if you’re fed up with horizontal eggs starting your day, why not live a little and verticalize them with extreme prejudice? This thing cooks ’em, pops them up and then plays the Star Spangled Banner on the spoons as you consume your tubes of yolky whitey goodness with glee. Yum! Buy.
29. Warming Foot Massager – $39.99
You know what’s great at the end of a long hard day slogging at work? Yep, a cup of tea and a foot rub from a devoted Arabian Genie recently arrived from inside an ancient lamp. Failing that, this foot massager might fit the bill in a pinch. It may not say ‘yes master’ with abject adoration, but the warm fuzzy vibrations round your ankles should make up for that, right? Buy.
30. Cute USB Bear MP3 Player II – $36.00
Aw c’mon, it’s a teddy bear. It’s cute. Forget what it does, who’s not going to love this? It could poop radishes and speak Russian Mafia patois and we’d still go ahh… Well it doesn’t. Instead it features a built in MP3 player, integrated speaker, USB port and microSD slot, and can accept external flash drives. And it’s cute. Did we say that already? Buy.
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I have that Heider flashlight – it works phenomenally well.
Thanks for the feedback.