Best tech gifts for grads
JBL Charge wireless speaker
Completing a long course of study is a truly praiseworthy accomplishment in a young person's life. Help your grad celebrate this milestone with gifts from the heart that also create quite a buzz. — Shannon McCarthy
Big sound, small size, no wires: JBL pumps up the volume, and adds a cool design besides, in its Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker, which weighs just over 1 pound. Its rechargeable lithium battery not only delivers around 12 hours of juice, but the speaker’s USB port recharges other devices, too.
Roku 3 streaming video player
The latest arrival in the popular line of Roku video-streaming players upgrades the tech, interface and content offerings to a must-have degree. The processor got a speed boost, so the 750-plus channels on offer are instantly accessible. A headphone jack on the remote lets viewers enjoy and roomies sleep.
Razer Edge Pro gaming tablet
The Razer Edge Pro tablet is a portable powerhouse that’s pricey, but for the gamer grad, it makes a spectacular gift. Nvidia GeForce powers the graphics on the Windows 8 system, and options, including the snap-on Game Pad Controller, make this the tablet computer to score for the hard core.
Brother MFC-J825DW multifunction printer
Not the flashiest gift, but likely the one that’ll take care of the most practical tasks. This multifunction -- print, scan, copy, fax -- wireless, Web-connected inkjet printer is an essential workhorse for grads setting up new digs. Throw in extra ink cartridges and a box of printing paper and they’re set.
SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player
Apple MP3 players garner the buzz, but this SanDisk is a cult fave and popular alternative for a reason: the price. The Sansa Clip Zip packs twice the storage space (4G) as an iPod Shuffle at about the same price, and offers a full-color screen and workout-friendly clip.
Contour ROAM2 waterproof video camera
While your favorite grad may indeed be able to shoot video with his smartphone, nobody will want to risk a dunk in the briny at the beach or a muddy scrum at an outdoor music fest. Amateur videographers will appreciate the gift of a rugged, waterproof – and hands-free – shooter.
Samsung E450 series TV
Bing: Samsung E450 series TV
For hundreds – not thousands – of dollars you can give a lucky grad a sizable plasma TV that performs well beyond its pay grade. Cnet.com sums it up: “You won’t find another TV that performs this well for this low a price.” A 43-inch screen and sleek black bezel make this a truly impressive gift idea.
LG HBS-700 Bluetooth wireless headphones
Whether working out or kicking back, no wires mean tangle-free tunes. Bluetooth technology makes the wireless part happen, while LG’s audio know-how gets the sound quality just right. Earbuds are comfy, both music playback and call quality are solid, and battery life is lauded, too.
Logitech UE Smart Radio
Bing: Logitech UE Smart Radio
Know a Pandora, Spotify or Rhapsody fan? Logitech’s UE streaming audio device bundles those services -- and thousands of other listening options -- into this compact Wi-Fi wonder. In addition to all that Internet radio goodness, it can also play personal music from computers and be controlled via a smartphone app.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Bing: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Part laptop, part tablet, part ultrabook, the IdeaPad Yoga 13 from Lenovo is just plain cool. Ideal for grads as they make their way into the workforce, this Windows 8 machine features a 360-degree touch screen, four positions for true convertible versatility, and a fast and durable solid-state hard drive.