Special to The Globe and Mail
(List goes from cheapest to most expensive)
Magpul iPhone cases ($13, $30)
If they’re good enough for William Gibson, they’re good enough for us. The author tweeted about the Magpul cases in October, saying they were the “best-engineered/made”, in his opinion. The Field Case is less expensive, but the newer Bump, for the iPhone 5 models, is designed for “snag-free removal from pockets.” Did we mention that Magpul is better known for its tactical products for firearms, such as grips and sights?
Pivot Power ($30)
There’s nothing worse than needing to plug a large adapter into your power bar and discovering that it won’t fit because you’ve already got other oversized bricks plugged in. The Pivot Power is the solution. Each outlet is on a module that can articulate independently of the others. So each of the six ports can accommodate a large adapter, if need be, and the entire bar can bend around furniture or fit into a corner. And because the Pivot Power is also a surge protector, it will keep your electronics safe, too.
Everyone needs some extra electricity every now and then and you won’t always be near an outlet. Powerocks power sticks are chargers shaped like a lipstick case – also available disguised as a cigar case – perfect if you want to stay undercover and keep your geek status to yourself. Each stick has enough power for two charges of your smartphone and while you’ll have to find that electrical outlet at some point, the Powerocks make sure you’re able to send that text when you need to.
Roccat Apuri USB hub ($40)
Nobody’s got enough USB ports on their computer for all the devices they need to plug in. Cameras, smartphones, tablets, external hard drives, memory sticks, headsets and microphones all connect to our computers with a USB cable. The clever tripod Apuri not only makes four ports out of one, but it’s designed to help manage all those cables that otherwise would be making a spaghetti mess on your desktop.
Belkin Lego Builder case ($40 for iPhone 5, $30 for iPod Touch)
The Lego Builder case from Belkin provides a functional baseplate that can be used with any of the building blocks. If you have to ask why this is so exciting, then this case isn’t for you. But it may be ideal for the Lego nerds in your life or preople who are predisposed to construction, engineering, hacking and playing. Users can rig robotic chassis, modular tripods, personalized smartphone stands and the case comes in the same glorious primary colours you associate with Lego blocks. The Lego Builder case also actually protects your iPhone or iPod Touch from drops and impacts. It has a raised edge to protect the screen and it’s easy to grip. However, it is still Lego and will not protect you from foot pain if you step on it in the dark.
Bluelounge Kii charger-connector ($40)
Not every technophile has a battery backup solution for their mobile devices, so if the geek in your life is looking for an emergency charge, she’ll be overjoyed to find the USB powered Kii in her stocking. It fits right on the key ring and it’ll come in handy when any Lightning connector iPhone is running out of juice. And for those with retro iPads, iPhones, and iPods with the old, 30-pin connector are also available for $20.
Logiix Chattermitts ($50)
Maxwell Smart used his shoe for a phone, but that’s not very practical when you spend winters ankle-deep in the snow. Instead, try these gloves, available this holiday only at London Drugs. They have a speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the pinkie, so you can talk on your mobile phone without having to get your digits cold. Simply hold your hand up to your head as if you were miming a phone call, and talk away. If you do need to get your phone out of your pocket, the index finger and thumb of the gloves are capacitive.
Belkin WeMo home automation ($50-$60)
The multiple devices in Belkin’s growing line of home automation products are perfect for the geek who wants to be able to control all their household electric devices from their smartphone. Other WeMo devices include a wireless light switch that can control multiple household lights and a motion sensor that you can use to have little-used rooms light up when you enter. And you can use the Insight Switch to monitor the amount of electricity an appliance or other electrical device is using. You’ll just have to set some ground rules so your geek doesn’t think that knocking out the lights or turning on the dishwasher when you’re in the middle of preparing dinner is a funny prank.
Asus Vivo mouse ($50 for black, $60 for metallic)
The VivoMouse is actually three devices in one: It’s a mouse, it’s a trackpad and it’s a remote control. The slim and elegantly curved device is wireless and can be picked up and used as a remote control for those who have a PC in the living room. But where it’s really useful is at the computer desk. You can slide it around like a typical mouse controller or you can use your fingertips on the disc-like surface of the trackpad for gestural controls. Some of the coolest features of Windows 8 require that you have a touchscreen; with the Asus Vivo, you can pinch-to-zoom photos on any computer whether it has a multi-touch display or not.
Etón Boost ($80)
This super-slim battery backup fits in the palm of your hand but its heft indicates that the 8,400 mAH lithium battery can keep a charge for a long time. When you do need it to charge your mobile devices, it can take on two smartphones at a time, or one phone and one tablet. If you’re not sure how much power is left in the Boost, just give it a little shake and the LED indicators will let you know.
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