12 Unexpected Tech Gifts To Ask For This Year

Now that Halloween is over, Christmas–plus Hanukkah, plus Kwanzaa, plus the winter solstice, etc.– is here. (Really! It really is! There is absolutely nothing else that could be happening in the next month and a half, so do not even ask me about it!) Now, it is always around this time of year that I begin to fall into a minor-grade panic, since various people–parents, cousins, well-meaning grandparents–start asking me what I’d like for the holidays. And I never know!

This is a problem of the proverbial champagne variety, I am aware, but a problem it is nonetheless. And it is one that I am sure a good number of people can relate to–asking for something too small sounds like you’re being fake, while asking for something too big will generally either ensure that you straight-up don’t get it at all or will feel guilty if you actually do get it. If this sounds familiar to you, you might want to look into some tech gifts. This sounds counterintuitive, since the word “tech” generally implies hundred dollar-plus prices, but there are a bunch of tech items of all different prices that are the perfect thing to ask for without seeming like you’re low-balling or being presumptuous. So, check out these cool, unexpected tech gifts to ask for this year if you aren’t quite sure what to ask for:


3D Printing Pen

If you're good at drawing--or, hey, if you're not--you need to look into getting a 3D printing pen. These pens contain a thin, warm type of plastic that hardens upon contact with the air, so you can literally draw whatever you want into thin air.

Buy it at Hammacher Schlemmer for $99.95

Shapeways Jewelry

Speaking of 3D printing, you should tell anyone giving you a gift to look into Shapeways, which is a creative community and marketplace of 3D designers, many of which have created jewelry. I have some jewelry from Shapeways, so I definitely recommend looking into that, but any one of their products would be the perfect thing to ask for this year.

Check out the items here:Shapeways

Bamboo Laptop Case

Your laptop needs a new case, right? Of course it does. I like this bamboo one from Etsy--it's a soothing, aesthetically-pleasing option that will also protect your laptop against any bumps or knocks you subject it to.

Buy it at Etsy for $19.50

Click & Grow Garden

If you are constantly overwhelmed by the presence of technology in your life but still, you know, irrevocably embedded in it, you might want to ask for this Click & Grow "Smart Garden." It's a super easy DIY herb garden that proves you can create something tangible out of technology with very little effort--all you have to do is plug it in, fill its water basin, and wait two to four weeks to get some of your own herbs. Soothing, right?

Buy it at Urban Outfitters for $60

Fujifilm Instax Camera

You probably take a lot of pictures on your phone. This is fine, except, chances are, they probably stay on your phone without ever seeing the light of day. Change this with this Fujifilm instant camera--it's super easy to tote around, and prints pictures out immediately so you actually have something to look at and//or hang on your wall. (Plus, instant photos look great on Instagram.)

Buy it at Urban Outfitters for $70

BUQU Power Bank

There are very few situations in which a power bank doesn't come in handy. I'm particularly obsessed with the BUQU line, which come in a bunch of different themes--the pineapple one you see here, plus a piggy bank, grenade, and rubber duck--that also charge your phone quickly. They're relatively cheap, so it's also a good gift to give out to your friends.

Buy it at BUQU for $19.99

Smartphone Projector

Ever found yourself wanting to show a large group of people a movie or YouTube video and didn't have anywhere to play it without forcing everyone to cluster around you? Ask for this cool, vintage-looking projector that plays anything from your phone on a screen or wall. It's extra cool because the projector itself doesn't actually need batteries or an outlet--it relies on mirrors and lenses, so all you have to do is stick your phone in. Just make sure it's fully charged!

Buy it at Nordstrom for $32

Cricut

Into crafting? If so, you should look into getting a cricut. This is a wireless cutting machine that allows you to upload your own images from any device, design it on the machine, and print it right out. It makes crafting easier, since it eliminates any stuff you have to do manually. This way, you can make anything from party invitations to home decorations to photo frames with minimal effort.

Buy it at Cricut for $179.999

Misfit Ray

If you're into wearables, you should put the Misfit Ray on your wishlist. It does everything you'd expect a wearable to do--tracks your steps, sleep, activity level--but has a minimal, sleek appearance that's a lot more wardrobe friendly than a lot of other wearables, which can get pretty bulky. It also vibrates every time you get a call or text, so you don't have to be glued to your phone all the time.

Buy it at Misfit for $99.99

JayBird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Since Apple's changed the headphone jack, you're going to need a new pair. Try out this option from JayBird--they're designed for activity, so they stay in your ears, and they have a small cord linking the individual earbuds together, so you won't lose one and not the other. Plus, they have a separate battery that you can use to charge them on the go, so won't have to worry about running out of battery halfway through a run.

Buy it at Amaon for $36.99

UE Boom Speaker

Of course, if you're listening to music with more than one person, you're going to want speakers. I really like the UE Boom--it has a long battery life, fun design, and just sounds really, really good. You can also wirelessly connect a bunch of speakers together with your phone, so it's a great thing to bring to a party.

Buy it at Crutchfield for $99.99

Intel Compute Stick

This looks like a USB stick. But it's not! It's actually a stick that you can plug into any TV or display to turn it into a fully-functioning computer. So, if you like gadgets, this is definitely something you should add to your list this year.

Buy it at Staples for $135.49

Are you going to add any of these to your list? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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