Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers Part 3, Great Gifts This Christmas

by Mira

2019 useful and fun travel gadgets and geeky gizmos, great Christmas presents this year, many of them bargains at $45 or less, for the inner geek and traveler in many of us.

In the past few years Amazon has made great strides towards smart homes with their Echo product line -- which has turned into a smart home hub with Echo Dot (third-generation smart speaker with Alexa) -- and devices that work with Alexa voice control, such as the August Smart Lock Pro or the Furbo Dog Camera which you can also control via an app in order to monitor and calm down your dog when it barks or is otherwise active (also if it lolls about the camera) and dispense treats. It also introduces eufyCam, Kickstarter’s best-funded smart home gadget. So this will be a bit about smart homes and home-based devices, such as the Auto Tech’s Completely Waterproof Bluetooth Shower Speaker, and the LBell Sunrise Alarm Clock, which helps you fall asleep and wake up more naturally, as well as other gadgets, such as the Smart Dimmable Light Bulbs from Philips LED or the BenQ TK800 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector, which creates amazing 4K movie experiences, and will then move to various gadgets that come in super handy if you’re not only a geek but also a traveler. Among the latter gizmos (electronic or not) is the Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer which uses zero ink technology and allows you to edit the photos via a Polaroid app before printing.

If you’re a hiker or traveler, you may appreciate the GravityLight Self-Powered LED Lamp; the Esky Emergency Radio, Solar Power Bank, Flashlight and Alarm; PhoneSoap 3, which sanitizes your phone using ultraviolet light; and Comyan Shoes UV and Ozone Sterilizer, and other inventions you may find you need, or, if not, your geeky self may be happy to know they exist.

What this will not be about is the latest, trendiest smartphones, tablets, notebooks and laptops, since this info is more visible in everyone’s daily tech environment.

Prices are current as of October 18, 2020.

Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers 2019
Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers 2019
© Mira at Wizzley

I’ll start with a few very practical home gadgets, most of which easily turn our residences into smart homes.

Sunrise Alarm Clock from LBell

This Amazon ChoiceTM wake-up light alarm clock wakes you up with light gradually becoming brighter as well as radio or one of 5 nature sounds (birds singing, ocean waves, streams, beep, windbell), or soft music and piano music. Light also comes in seven different colors, and if you want to use the alarm feature, you have two sounds available. It’s also a sleep aid simulating sunset with dimming light, and allowing you to fall asleep to the sound of music for the length of time that you set the clock to. It’s a wonderful product that would also make a great Christmas gift this holiday season. Now at $38.88.

Wake-Up Light and Radio Alarm Clock, at $39.99

Wake- Up Light, LBell Alarm Clock 8 C...

Shower Speaker with FM Radio from DuoTen

Moving on towards smart-home gadgets, here’s DuoTen's Waterproof Bluetooth Shower Speaker with FM Radio and Beat-Driven Light Show, a bargain at only $32.99. Its bluetooth range is 66 ft. It has a suction cap on the back which allows you to easily attach it to your bathroom wall, pool, etc.

DuoTen Bluetooth Shower Radio Speaker with LED Display, only $32.99

Bluetooth Speakers, DuoTen IPX7 Water...

Whitelotous Colorful LED Shower Head

Now that you have music in the shower, why not have more color too? Introducing Whitelotous Colorful LED Handheld Shower Head! A fun Amazon’s ChoiceTM bargain at $11.99, this is a durable shower head which may be especially appealing to kids and geeky teenagers. It would make a nice, fun Christmas gift too!

Whitelotous Colorful LED Handheld Shower Head, at $15.99

Whitelotous Colorful Led Handheld Sho...

Echo Dot with Amazon's Alexa Voice Control

Amazon’s third-generation smart speaker with Alexa, Echo Dot, sells now at only $29.99. You can voice control your music, your radio, have Alexa answer questions, call hands-free, connect to other speakers in your home over Bluetooth, and connect to various other smart devices such as lights, locks, etc.

Echo Dot, 3rd Gen Smart Speaker with Alexa, at only $29.99

Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker wi...

Smart White and Color Ambiance with Smart LED Bulbs from Philips

Philip Hue White and Color Ambiance LED Smart Bulbs, 60W equivalent, from Philips, a 4-pack with an included hub, sell for $199.95 and last a lifetime (25,000 hours). They work with "any Voice or Smart Home Assistant," such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant.

4-Pack White and Color Ambiance 60W-Equivalent LED lights from Philips, $199.95

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance ...

Treat-Tossing Fubo Dog Camera, Works with Alexa

A really fun gadget is the Treat-Tossing Furbo Dog Camera, also compatible with Alexa. You can dispense treats to your dog via an app, and also talk to your talk via the same app if Furbo detects barking or the camera detects that your dog spends too much time mopping by. You also get alerts if the camera detects too much dog motion, and at the end of the day you get a 60-second diary of your dog’s activity. An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $198.69.

Furbo Dog Treat-Tossing Camera, with 2-Way Audio, at $198.69

Furbo Dog Camera: Treat Tossing, Full HD Wifi Pet Camera and 2-Way ...

August Smart Lock Pro

Moving now to home security gadgets, here’s the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, 3rd generation, compatible with Alexa, at $200.68. It’s a wonderful product for people who rent rooms or who need someone to walk their dog, etc. Now you can offer them keyless entry by unlocking and locking your door whenever you want from a distance, and you can check if the door is closed and locked with August’s DoorSense technology. You can easily install it yourself with a screwdriver in ten minutes. Works with Alexa, Siri, and Google Home.

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, 3rd Gen, Works with Alexa, $200.68

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, 3rd gen technology - Dark Gray, wo...

eufyCam from Anker, Most-Funded Smart Home Product on Kickstarter

Another home security gadget I’d like to showcase is eufy EverCam, a.k.a. eufyCam, from Anker, the most-funded smart home product in history on Kickstarter, with 8,803 pledges totalling $3,139,558. This camera offers full HD video, two-way talk, night vision, and live streaming, and is waterproof and weatherproof like its competitors, but unlike them it gives you bank-grade encryption, and comes with batteries that last a full year! The camera also rotates up to 100 degrees on a ball-shaped mount which and you can install with a single screw or attach magnetically to metal surfaces. It detects body heat and body shapes, and recognizes faces so you don’t have to waste time on false alerts. And you don’t need a cloud subscription, as it has an SD card that can store up to 60 days’ worth of footage. 

BenQ TK800 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector

While we’re still on the topic of homes, here’s a more expensive item, released on March 14, 2018: BenQ TK800 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector, 8.3 Million Pixels. It’s costly, yes, but at $1,412 it beats buying a 4K TV, and it also gives you a larger screen (one Amazon customer filled up a 150” screen). It has about the same specs as BenQ T2550 (released on December 1, 2017), but it’s much brighter (3000 lumens vs. 2200). There are some images on Amazon if you want to see it shine in an actual home theater. So yeah, why buy a 4K TV when you can buy a cheaper larger-screen 4K projector?

BenQ TK800 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector, 8.3 Million Pixels, 3000 Lumens, 3D, $1,412

BenQ TK800 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector, 8.3 Million Pixels, 3000 Lumens, 3D, Keystone, HDMI

Display Projection System: DLP Native Resolution: 3840x2160 (XPR pixel shifting technology)Resolution Support: VGA (640x480) to 4K UHD (3840x2160)Brightness (ANSI lumens): 3000C...

View on Amazon

Compact, Small yet Efficient Travel Pillow and Eye Mask, Kickstarter-Funded

Moving on now to travel products, starting with a travel pillow for those of you who are weary frequent travelers.

This ultra compact and lightweight travel pillow takes less than 50% space than a regular U-shaped one, and what’s even better is that is filled with microbeads which adjust easily to the shape of your body. The fact that half of it can function as an eye mask is another benefit. The exterior is soft plush fabric made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex. Selling now at $21.95.

Voyage Pillow (Kickstarter Authentic), 2-in-1 Travel Pillow and Eye Mask, $21.95

Voyage Pillow (Kickstarter Authentic)...

Envelop Gel Insoles and Dr. Scholl's Comfort Fit Orthotic Inserts

The Envelop Gel Insoles provide full-length cushioned support for your foot for best shock absorbtion, with a honeycomb insert in the heel and lightweight silicone gel for the forefoot. They come in two sizes, men’s 8-13 and women’s 10.5 and under. They can also be easily trimmed. They massage the feet, provide arch support, reduce plantar fasciitis pain, thus relieving stress and fatigue on the feet, legs, and back. Some customers complain that these insoles move around in their shoes, so make sure you get them to fit the entire insole of the shoe. An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $11.99. Happy customers say they’re as good as Dr. Scholl’s insoles.

If you’d rather go with Dr. Scholl’s Comfort Fit Orthotic Inserts, here are some of the best below. Just like the Envelop gel insoles, they help with foot comfort if you have to stand for a long time or if you walk or hike long distances. An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $51.95.

Envelop Gel Insoles, Full Length, $8.99

Envelop Gel Insoles - Shoe Inserts fo...

Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts, CF 440, $69.26

Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inse...

Ambiance Dry Shampoo

Another non-electronic gizmo I recommend for travelers is the Ambiance Dry Shampoo. It works to both absorb oil and cover roots, which is helpful if you’re traveling somewhere where you can’t easily wash or touch up your hair. The versions below are for brunette and blonde hair types.

Ambiance Dry Shampoo, Brunette, $23.95

Ambiance Dry Shampoo (Brunette)–Refreshes, Conceals Roots & Volumiz...

Coconut Oil and Coffee Cleanser Stick

Since we took a detour to cosmetic products, let me just include a cleanser stick as well, since besides being nifty and geeky it actually helps lots of people whose sensitive skin tends to break out with soap or shower gel. It’s the Amazon’s ChoiceTM Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Energizing Coffee 2 in 1 Scrub & Cleanse Stick. It creates a lather when massaged on wet skin; needs you to rinse it with water. An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $9.99.

Coconut Oil and Coffee Cleanser Stick, $9.99

Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Energi...

Five-Gallon Portable Shower from Advanced Elements

Still on traveling gizmos, here is a bargain portable shower from Advanced Elements. It heats the water with small, efficient solar panels and holds 5 gallons. It has a side pocket for soap and shampoo and a water temperature gage, and it’s a steal at $34.99. It takes up no more than the space of a book when packing. It’s also quite sturdy. And you’re all set to take a shower on a campsite, at the beach (to wash off sand before getting in your car), or at your home, if you wish to save energy.

Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower, $34.99

Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Sho...

WolfWise Pop-Up Shower Tent, $58.96

WolfWise Pop-up Shower Tent (Green)

Hotor Car Vacuum Cleaner

Also, when is the last time you picked up a good travel-size vacuum cleaner? Enter Hotor Vacuum Cleaner, with 106W power and LED lighting, and a stainless steel, washable Hepa filter, for which you will get free replacements. It has no power supply but it easily plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter socket and works like a charm in seconds. It comes with 3 nozzles and a complimentary carry bag. Selling now for $27.96

Hotor Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner, $27.96

Car Vacuum Cleaner High Power, HOTOR ...

PhoneSoap 3.0 UV-C Light Sanitizer

Moving on with electronic gadgets, here’s the PhoneSoap version 3 UV-C Light Sanitizer and dual universal cell phone charger. It’s created to sanitize phones (in six minutes) but you can also use it with other items: keys, pacifiers, small travel toothbrushes, smart watches, headphones, etc. You can also use PhoneSoap to charge your phone if you leave it overnight in the sanitizer compartment, and use the extra 2 USB ports to charge other devices at the same time. If you think you can clean your phone with wipes or alcohol, think again. You can’t reach all the little indented spaces with your wipe, and this sanitizer is proven to kill 99,99% of the germs. Now $79.95

PhoneSoap 3.0 UV-C Sanitizer and Phone Charger, $79.95

PhoneSoap 3.0 UV Sanitizer and Universal Phone Charger (Aqua 3.0, S...

Comyan Shoes UV and Ozone Sterilizer

Another very useful UV sanitizing device is the Comyan Shoes UV and Ozone Sterilizer. You put the lamp inside your shoes, sneaker, cleats, etc., and it removes 99,99% of bacteria (and fungus, and stink) in 15 minutes. Very helpful for those prone to athlete’s foot and it’s also really effective at removing offensive smells. According to one Amazon customer, shoes do, indeed, give off an ozone-like smell after using it. An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $46.99.

Comyan Shoes UV Ozone Sterilizer Deodorizer, $46.99

Comyan Shoes Uv Sanitizers Sterilizer...

GravityLight Portable Self-Powered LED Lamp, from Deciwatt through Indiegogo

Update October 18, 2020: This product is currently not available on Amazon.

The GravityLight lamp uses gravity to power to LED lamps of up to 15 lumens. You hang the lamp and fill a provided bag with up to 26 pounds of weight; then you pull a cord and as the bag descends you have 20 minutes of light. The project, from Deciwatt, was funded with Indiegogo. It’s meant to help off-grid, non-electrified homes which otherwise resort to kerosene lamps (which give off harmful fumes and are also prone to explosions), and also help in emergencies or whenever we want a little bit more clean energy. Every purchase of a GravityLight lamp funds The GravityLight Foundation, whose mission is to "eradicate kerosene lighting in the developing world." An Amazon’s ChoiceTM at $59.89.

Esky Emergency Radio, Flashlight, SOS Alarm, and Solar Power Bank

Update October 18, 2020: This product is currently not available on Amazon.

Since I mentioned emergencies and lack of electricity, here’s another useful device, the Esky Emergency Radio, Flashlight, and Solar Power Bank, which can use electricity via USB ports or with 3 AAA batteries, but, failing that, can also be charged using solar energy (has a solar panel on one side) or by hand cranking. As a result, it’s not only a radio and a flashlight, but also a power bank for other electronic devices, like smartphones, in an emergency. It also sends out loud emergency signals. The battery of this model is upgraded at 2000 mAh, and one charge gives 10 hours of light or 8 hours of radio time.

Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer

If you’d rather print from your smartphone, you can try the popular Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer, at $87.99. It works with a Polaroid app and smudge-proof, tear-resistant, and water-resistant 2”x3” zink (zero-ink) prints.It’s ultra portable and it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The app offers crop and rotate options, as well as brightness, color and other adjustments, in addition to collage, filters, frames, fun stickers, and "dazzling doodles." Now $83.55 -- another great Christmas gift and Instagram-friendly gizmo!

Polaroid Zip Mobile Photo Mini Printer, $83.55

Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Photo Mi...

I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection and found a few items that you like. If you think these products could interest other people as well, please consider sharing this page through social media. It would be much appreciated, as I put a lot of work into culling through products and making this page.

All prices current as of the last update of this page.

Updated: 10/18/2020, Mira
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Mira on 08/25/2019

Thank you, Shraddha! I, too, love solar-energy products :)

WriterArtist on 08/24/2019

I would certainly go for the solar Power Bank. Plenty of daylight and sun here.

Mira on 05/24/2019

Yes, those are very useful. I think lights alone are a terrible waste of energy. There are so many street lights, for instance, which could be solar, or partly solar.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/23/2019

Mira, Thank you for the practical information and product lines. The night/schedule lights are particularly persuasive what with their longevity.

Mira on 05/07/2019

Yes, I'm quite a fan of solar power myself, too!

Tolovaj on 05/07/2019

Emergency radio, flash light, power bank and alarm all-in-one is my favorite. You can't beat solar power!

Mira on 05/07/2019

Thank you, BSG! Glad you like them!

blackspanielgallery on 05/07/2019

Some of these I had no idea even existed. Some are quite useful. Others are novelty items, like the colorful shower. Interesting collection.

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