Stumped for tech gifts as the shopping season winds down? We’ve got you – Boston Herald


If you’re stumped for tech gifts as the holiday season winds down, I’ve got a few suggestions for your final gadget-shopping push.

I’ve tried all of the following, and I like them enough to recommend them — though I’ve noted where I see potential issues.

Amazon has most of these products and will get them to you before Christmas Eve — but you will have to pay for delivery, in most cases, unless you are a Prime subscriber.

With a couple of products, you’ll need to order directly from the manufacturer.

What gadgets are you giving or hoping to receive this Christmas? Email me at the address above.

Safety-focused earbuds

Rockin’ your tunes with traditional earbuds that lodge in your ear canals is great … except when you’re running, jogging or driving, and you need to keep your wits about you.

JVC’s HA-NP50T Nearphones solve this problem because they are positioned just above and outside your ear canals, not inside them. This means you can hear your podcasts and music clearly without blocking out ambient sounds.

This is a bit of a compromise with audio that won’t blow you away, but it’s legit tech. The JVC buds are stylish in how they wrap around your ears, too, but they’re a little awkward if you wear glasses. They’re affordable at $109.95. (Amazon link)

A wallet you can find

Apple’s AirTags help you keep track of your stuff, but the gumdrop-like devices don’t fit easily into a wallet.

ESR’s $39.09 Geo Wallet Stand is the answer. The leather wallet, which magnetically adheres to your iPhone via MagSafe, incorporates Apple’s Find My tech just like AirTags do. This means can find your wallet on a map if it’s lost — even if it’s across town or halfway around the world.

The wallet pocket accommodates only about four cards with no added room for paper currency. The Geo’s stand mode lets you watch movies on your airplane tray table (I loved this on a recent trip to visit my folks). A leather finger loop makes holding your iPhone comfier in a quasi-PopSocket style.

The wallet needs to be charged periodically; take care not to lose the nonstandard power cord (I’m shocked I haven’t misplaced mine). (Amazon link)

Audio-port transmitter

There are still 3.5mm audio ports everywhere: in air cabins, older cars, on tablets and headphones, on exercise gear, and on the backs of those classy old speakers gathering dust in your attic.

AirFly to the rescue. The TwelveSouth gizmo plugs into such ports and creates a Bluetooth connection with your AirPods or your iPhone.

This opens up possibilities. Watch airline videos in comfort. Use the AirFly as a car audio adapter to crank tunes on the auto speakers. Plug it into your kids’ old iPad to shut ’em up. Listen to what’s on the gym TVs. Bring the speakers out of retirement.

An AirFly even lets two people watch a movie together, each with their own set of earbuds or headphones.

Which AirFly to get? It’s a little confusing; versions range from $34.99 to $54.99. Sort it all out here. (Amazon link).

Phone and tablet stands

Tablets and phones are great, but propping them up can be a pain. Stump Stand has this issue licked with a couple of its clever device stands.

The hockey puck-like Stump Stand has a slot to hold up a tablet or phone on a table, desk or tray table at various angles. Keep one of the $24.95 accessories in the kitchen to use while munching on Cheerios, and another in your home office for video calls.

The big, soft Super Stump ($39.95) is a glorious lap stand for watching videos or reading ebooks in bed, on the couch or in the car. There’s a slot at the top for a tablet so you can watch videos at more of a distance, too.

The Stump Stand is sold on Amazon, but the Super Stump is not available there. Order directly from the manufacturer — you will get it by Christmas if you order by Tuesday.

A more-centered webcam

Video calls are weird in one respect: You can’t decide whether to look at the screen or directly at the camera lens. Either way, you’ve entered the uncanny valley.

Center Cam solves this problem with a webcam that is built onto the end of a bend-able gooseneck stalk. When you clip the $119.97 apparatus to the top edge of your computer display, the camera lens drops down so it’s in front of your screen.

Just position the video window on your display so it’s directly behind the lens. Now you’ll have video calls that look and feel natural (though the quality could be better). Read an excellent review here. (Amazon link)

Foldable wireless keyboard

Sometimes you want to get some work done on the go, but you don’t want to lug a laptop.

Consider ObVus Solutions’ Minder Portable Folding Bluetooth Keyboard, a mouthful of a name that says it all.

This is a full-size keyboard when unfolded for use with your phone or tablet, and even has a small but decent trackpad (which works fine with iPads).

The $49.99 Minder isn’t a high-end peripheral, but you’re not going to write a novel on it. Deploy it to bang out a memo or finish up a spreadsheet, and then tuck it away. It’s plenty comfy for that. (Amazon link)

Tiny charge/transfer cable

You don’t need a super long cable for device charging and data transfers. Nomad’s ChargeKey does the trick and, as its name suggests, hangs on your keychain when it’s not in use.

I used the company’s $25 USB-C to USB-C ChargeKey on my trip to charge my iPhone 15 Pro Max using one of my MacBook Air’s ports. As this occurred, I transferred the day’s photos and video to the computer.

The ChargeKey looks elegant and feels rugged (no surprise for a Nomad product).

The company also has a $35 USB-C to Lightning version of the ChargeKey.

I couldn’t find either ChargeKey on Amazon, but you can order directly from the manufacturer with an express-shipping option to receive your parcel in plenty of time.

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