I know people who give the same kind of Christmas gifts over and over again, year after year. Some of them are useful, but why not infuse more fun into the gift-opening night by getting your family and friends some gadgets that will surprise them and let them know that you personalized their gifts, tailored them to their interests and specific needs. Following are some such cool gadgets that I think pretty much every geek and traveler will be happy to receive this holiday season. They include electronic gizmos like laser-projected keyboards and clipon camera lenses for smartphones, as well as some travel accessories that are needed more and more every day, like power banks, travel chargers with USB ports, and USB hubs.
Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers This Christmas, Many of Them Bargains Under $20
Popular and very useful gadgets that make great Christmas gifts for geeks and frequent travelers (and not only for them) this holiday season of 2018. (Updated article!)
Feeko Retro Phone Handset
There are many phone handsets around, and they’re very popular these days, not only with geeks, but also with people looking to reduce radiation from their mobile phones. You can buy a retro desk phone that docks your smartphone, or just the phone handset. This phone handset is only $9.99.
Feeko Retro Handset / Retro Cell Phone Receiver
These retro handsets have been very popular these past few years, and, according to buyers who ended up buying several, one after the other, there are a lot of fakes around from another company, Native Union. This Feeko handset is an Amazon Choice (TM) product: a nice retro phone made for comfort, great sound, and allowing you to easily work on your iPhone or Android phone if you need to while you talk. I think it will make a great Christmas gift for many people. Better than retro phone that also work as docking stations, because those may not fit all types of smartphones.
Universal Camera Lens for Smartphones (Updated April 25, 2019!)
These camera lenses for smartphones have really taken off ever since they became popular on the market a few years ago. Of all clip-on camera lenses for iPhones and Android phones, the Viewow 4K HD 7 Optical Glasses 15X Macro 0.45X Wide Angle Phone Lens Kit with LED Light is probably the best such clip-on kit on the market in terms of clarity, sharpness, and brightness. The macro lens is 15X, the wide angle is 0.45X, and the lenses are engineered to minimize ghosting, reflections, lens flare, and capture a panorama effect without distortions. It's also very user-friendly, as it includes a LED light and a travel case and lanyard for the kit. A great Christmas gift for anyone who’s into mobile photography, people who don’t care to carry a compact camera along as well and yet want some of the advantages of the latter.
Viewow Camera Lens Kit for Smartphones, with LED light, travel case, and lanyard
Laser-Projected Virtual Keyboard
Another gadget that’s been popular lately, not only with geeks but also with people who travel a lot, is laser projected keyboards. They connect via Bluetooth and allow you to easily write long emails or posts about your trips as you travel light. What’s not to love? This virtual keyboard from AGS sells for $29.99 -- admittedly a little above $20, but not by much.
AGS Wireless Laser-Projected Keyboard
Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
A cheaper novelty keyboard for geeks and travelers is the flexible silicone keyboard, but it fell out of favor with users since some people found that certain keys didn't work properly. So instead of foldable flexible keyboard, savvy users and companies have veered onto very thin foldable plastic keyboards, like the one below from Jelly Comb, which is an Amazon's Choice (TM) at 28.99.
(NB: It's more expensive than $20 but that's what you get for better quality. In the first iteration of this article I had picked a silicone keyboard from Delicol, available for $12.80 from a seller on Amazon as I edit this.)
Jelly Comb Foldable Keyboard
As an Aside: Keyboard Typewriters
For those looking for a bit of retro chic when it comes to keyboards, there are keyboard typewriters, such as the Aviator Keyboard from Datamancer. It comes with a hefty price, $724.95, but other similar keyboards cost even more. The Sojourner Keyboard, for instance, also from Datamancer, costs $999.95. Datamancer, in fact, offers a number of these durable, high-quality, and elegant retro keyboards.
The Aviator Keyboard from Datamancer
Digital Luggage Scale
The market is now flooded with digital luggage scales (no more trying to fit your luggage over your bathroom scales!), but they’re not all made equal. This luggage scale from Tarriss Travel Gear has a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, out of thousands of customer reviews. Some of its plusses are that it’s accurate (even above 30 pounds), weighs up to 110 pounds, has a durable stainless steel design, and the company provides great customer service should you need any. It sells for $12.97 and comes with a lifetime warranty, which makes it a great stocking stuffer for travelers!
Tarriss Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale, Lifetime Warranty
Universal Travel Adapter
This is not a new gadget by any means, nor is it electronic, but I’m including it because travelers have to have such a travel adapter kit. This one from Lewis N. Clark has four adapter plugs, making it work in more than 175 countries. It’s not a converter, so you won’t be able to use things like hair dryers or irons, but you will be able to charge your phones, cameras, etc. Laptops are also generally fine to charge using travel adapters like this one. Available now from $6.95.
Universal Travel Adapter Plug Kit
Belkin SurgePlus Mini Travel Charger with 3 Outlets and 2 USB Ports
This mini charger from Belkin is a great gift for travelers who knew to buy an adapter before they left home but didn’t realize that often hotel rooms come with very few plugs, especially if you travel as a couple and have to charge lots of devices (phone, tablet, Kindle, camera, laptop, etc.), some of them chargeable via USB ports. This Belkin travel charger is also great because it comes with surge protection. It sells for $14.99.
Belkin Surge Protector and Charger, 3 AC Outlets and 2 USB Ports
Cute USB Hubs
For those looking only for more USB ports, there are many fun USB hubs out there. I’m showing two of the more popular ones: a great, fun 4-port USB hub shaped like at airplane, selling for $11.99, and a 3-port mom pig and three piglets USB hub, which goes for $8.95.
4-Port Airplane-Shaped USB Hub
Cute Mom Pig and Piglets 3-Port USB Hub
Yoobao Power Bank / External Battery 8000 mAh
This slim and stylish rose gold power bank can charge an iPhone X twice. It can come in handy if you use WhatsApp or the Internet a lot on your phone, or if you go places with poor reception, which also tend to use up your battery. The solution to this power drain are these portable chargers. This one has a lithium-polymer battery that makes much smaller than a similar charger powered by a lithium battery. At $19.99, it's one must-have gadget for both serious travelers and those of you going away someplace remote for the weekend.
Yoobao Portable Charger / Power Bank / External Battery
Beswill 8000 mAh Portable Solar Charger
This power bank has a solar panel, which allows you to charge your devices via a USB output port using sunlight. A power bank that you can charge at home before leaving on a trip is always great when traveling, and having a solar one that charges on the go is even better. Besides the 3 USB ports, this one has a back side of 21 LED lights which can be used as an emergency flashlight. Great gift for campers and hikers! It's available at $20.88.
Beswill Solar Charger 8000 mAh, 3 USB Ports and 21 LED Lights
Audio Light Bulbs
There are many LED light bulbs with built-in speakers on the market nowadays. This one from TexSens costs $13.99 and it offers not only stereo music (with a nice bass), but also displays of colorful light which can pulse with the audio. It's a nice gadget for late garden parties.
TexSens Music Lamp LED Bulb
Comfortable Sleep Headphones
Headphones are always a great gift for geeks, and these lycra headphones from CozyPhones are designed for extra comfort. They are wonderful for everything from plane travel to sports, meditation, relaxation, and snug drifts to the land of nod. No more aggravating earbuds! A great stocking stuffer, I’d say! Currently priced at $17.97.
CozyPhones Comfortable Sleep Headphones
Have a great holiday season!
Enjoy the holiday season! I hope you will give and receive great gifts!