Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers This Christmas, Many of Them Bargains Under $20

by Mira

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!)

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.

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 3-in-1 Camera Lens for Smartphones

At $9.49 (was $19.99 in the past), this is not a high-end camera lens, but it offers a lot for the money: you get fisheye, macro, and wide-angle lenses and a universal lens clip that you can use with many smartphones. Of all clip-on camera lenses for iPhones and Android phones, this is one of the most popular. These camera lenses for smartphones have really taken off ever since they became popular on the market a few years ago, and given that they offer so much for under $10, I’m not surprised. Again, 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.

CamKix Universal 3-in-1 Camera Lens Kit for Smartphones

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
Sojourner Keyboard

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

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!

Updated: 08/31/2018, Mira
 
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Mira on 02/20/2018

Thank you, Sandy and kimbesa! :)

kimbesa on 02/02/2018

These will work for the hard-to-buy-for relatives all year round...thanks!

sandyspider on 02/01/2018

Cool gadgets indeed.

Mira on 06/01/2016

Good question :)

mei on 05/31/2016

does anyone have $20, that i could borrow?

Mira on 01/31/2016

I do too :)

iggy on 01/30/2016

I love cool new gadgets

Mira on 07/26/2015

I would get those two too :)

CruiseReady on 07/25/2015

I could use a good luggage scale. That's the practical side of me. But the silly side says, "Oh, won't someone please, please get me one of those flexible foldable keyboards?"

Mira on 07/25/2015

Yes, I had fun looking at these gadgets, and I would want some of them for myself too :)


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