Techie gift guide

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When it comes to being a tech-savvy shopper and finding a great gift for that hard-to-impress gadget lover on your list, the best rule of thumb is to shop with an eye toward usefulness rather than trendiness. You might spot a nifty novelty item that you think is cool, but if it doesn’t have a certain amount of practicality, its appeal might not be strong enough to free it from its plastic package. Fortunately, the market is brimming with geeky goodies this year that provide a happy mix of fun and functionality.

Say cheese

The MeCam is a small, wearable, hands-free video camera that is barely 2 inches around. Available in five colors, it comes in 4- to 16-GB versions and has built-in LED infared technology, allowing it to be used in still or video modes in low light or daytime conditions. All of the control buttons are on the side, the rechargeable battery is good for about 80 minutes of use and it shoots video at 720p and still images at 5 megapixels. $49.99-$69.99,

Get a grip

A portable, hands-free stand for those ever-essential smartphones and tablets always wins applause. The SmallHands stand from Felix holds smartphones in horizontal or portrait positions, while its larger cousin, TwoHands, puts the clutch on tablets. Cute metallic hands hang on tight, yet slide easily to help you achieve the perfect viewing angle. $14.99-$24.99. Target or Staples.

Plugged in

Powerocks Super Magicstick 2800 is a great portable charging solution. With 2800mAh of power, you can charge just about any portable electronic gadget with a USB connection. Measuring just 3 1/2 inches by 1 inch, the pocket-sized device has an LED indicator to view the status of your charge and remaining battery capacity. It comes in several colors and with its own velvet carrying bag. $39.99,

Hands-free happiness

A nice accent to that coveted iPad Air on the wish list is the Kensington KeyCover with a hard-shell cover and wireless Bluetooth back-lit keyboard. It holds the iPad Air, hands free, in vertical or horizontal positions and the KeyCover Plus, for $20 more, lets you personalize your case in a choice of seven colors. Orders placed before Dec. 31 receive a promotional code for a free SkinIt — a sticker-type covering available in a variety of designs and color combinations. $79,

All aglow

Whether you are a science-lover or not, it’s hard to resist the magnetic charm of ThinkGeeks’s Radioactive Elements glowing coasters. These conversation starters come in a set of four 3 3/4-inch squares in colors that light up whenever drinks are placed on them. You get a green, red, blue and yellow coaster in each set. They are equipped with replaceable batteries good for about 4 1/2 hours of constant use. $19.99,

A matched set

On-the-go flexibility is a hot commodity for technophiles, and the Moshi Revolt Duo USB car charger answers the call with a pair of high-output USB ports and a detachable Apple lightning charge/sync cable compatible with the latest iOS devices. Plugging into any car’s 9V (cigarette lighter) outlet, it provides full-speed charging for smartphones, tablets or any other USB-power-hungry devices. $45, or

No strings attached

Simple, practical and available in traditional black or white, the Minx Go is a sure-to-please wireless desktop speaker that broadcasts audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device. You can connect up to eight devices at once and get 18 hours of music before a charge is needed. $149, Audio Concepts, 11661 Preston Haven Drive, Dallas.

Tough tunes

For the outdoorsy music-lover on your list, it’s hard to beat a rugged 360-degree Soundcast Systems Melody speaker. The wireless, weather-resistant model features four interior full-range speakers that blast sound in any direction and handle soggy, inclement conditions. Weighing in at 9 pounds, the speaker has a carrying handle and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery good for 20 hours of sound before a charge is needed. $449, Best Buy.

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