Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a hassle. If you’ve got tech lovers in your life, we’ve put together a little list of stocking stuffers that pretty much anyone would love. Take a look at our suggestions for this holiday season and share your own ideas in the comments!
Although there are plenty benefits to owning a big smartphone, it’s not all fun and games. More than often you lose the ability to use the phone (confidently) with one hand. Since big phones are often so unwieldy, they tend to be more prone to accidental spills and dropping.
The PopSocket is the perfect inexpensive gift that tackles this problem with flying colors. Simply attach it to the back of your phone, and pull it to pop it out. After sliding your fingers underneath, you’ll have a 100% secure grip on your $700 smartphone and peace of mind that can’t be beat. The best part is you don’t even have to waste your money on smartphone cases (although you can use it in conjunction with those as well).
Priced at around $10, PopSockets are the perfect gift for the clumsy smartphone user, whether that happens to be you or someone you love.
Google Cardboard VR headset
VR headsets are all the rage these days and if you think you need to spend an arm and leg to experience 360-degree videos and more — that’s simply not the case. At least not when it comes to Google Cardboard viewers.
These are inexpensive, easy to assemble cardboard headsets that allow smartphone users to experience the Google Cardboard content available in the Play Store. We found arguably the best Cardboard viewer on Amazon and it comes complete with an elastic strap, suction cup pad to hold your phone in place, and its only $10.
Yeah, this is practically an instant buy for anyone looking to get their feet wet in the world of virtual reality. Some assembly required.
Selfie light ring
In case you missed the memo, selfies are all the rage these days. This the method of taking photos using your phones front facing camera, to place the user and the subject into the same shot. Often times others will join in on the photo, making it a group a affair (but not always).
The problem with selfies is more they use a smartphone’s front facing camera, a far more sub par shooter than the regular rear camera hardware. Because of this, selfies in lower lighting conditions tend to be a bit more challenging, resulting in dark, noisy, and generally lower quality photos in anything but the brightest of lighting conditions.
To combat this, an accessory called the Ring Light uses 36 LED lights in the form of a clip that attaches on the top of your smartphone (around the front facing camera). These ensures there are no harsh shadows on the face and drastically improves lighting. Whether you’re in a dimly lit restaurant, or trying to take a selfie with a gorgeous sunset, the Ring Light makes sure you’re always well-lit and well exposed.
We chose a specific model (one of the only ones we could find) that comes with an integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery. Just use a standard micro USB cable (included) to charge it up, without having to worry about buying AA batteries from the store. At $15, you’d be hard pressed to find a better accessory for the selfie addicts.
Pet Selfie Ball
Dog lovers know the difficulty (and frustration) that comes with trying to take a decent photo of their pets. All the squirming and wiggling around, usually their attention is anywhere but on your smartphone’s camera. That’s where the Pet Selfie Ball comes in.
The Pet Selfie Ball is a simple accessory that allows you to clip a tennis ball to the top of your smartphone, ensuring you have your dog’s 100% undivided attention for the perfect photo. The ball itself isn’t permanent, so it can be removed and thrown as a reward. If you lose it, any regular tennis replacement can be used its stead. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Master Bluetooth Padlock
One of the more convenient advancements in our modern age are smart locks. You no longer have to fumble around with keys or remembering those codes on spinning locks — let your smartphone do it for you. Smart locks connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and allow you to unlock them completely wirelessly.
There are plenty of smart locks on the market, but few that work as well as the Master Bluetooth Padlock. Convenient for use on your locker, garage door, bike, or whatever else you feel like securing, the Master Bluetooth Padlock is priced at $40 and has a solid rating on Amazon. This could be the perfect gift for the absent minded student.
Shoulderpod S1 smartphone tripod mount and video grip
It’s no secret that most modern smartphones are receiving better and better camera hardware. With smartphones now replacing most point-and-shoot cameras, it’s time we started treating our phone like an actual camera.
We came across this accessory bundle on Amazon which allows you to mount your smartphone onto any regular tripod screw that doubles as a stand when placed on your desk. When you’re ready to start shooting some handheld video, the hand grip provides you with more stable (and secure) shooting.
It’s really the perfect gift for the budding videographer in your life, or just anyone looking to take their smartphone photography to the next level. You can find the Shoulderpod S1 tripod mount and video grip on Amazon for around $35.
Bottle cap tripod mount
Whether you purchased the tripod mount bundle we told you about above, or opt for something a little less expensive (like this universal smartphone tripod mount for $6), sometimes the hardest part about taking a group photo or picture or start a live stream is figuring out where you’re going to mount your smartphone. Because lugging a tripod around with you isn’t always practical, you may want to consider something a lot more portable.
The bottle cap tripod mount attaches to any standard water bottle and — when used in conjunction with a universal smartphone tripod mount — ensures you never have to worry about lugging around extra hardware. Just slip it into your backpack, bag, or purse and you’ll always be ready for a impromptu family portrait or live stream.
Everybody misplaces their keys from time to time. For some, this can be a daily occurrence (guilty) and not too a big a problem until you find yourself late for work or other important event. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a little help. That’s where Tile comes in. These guys have been around for awhile now and have refined their accessory with the latest iteration: the Tile Mate.
It’s tiny enough that you can attach to your keys, drop inside a purse, or lock it onto your pet’s collar. After connecting to your smartphone, you’ll be able to beep the tile, or press the button on the Tile to beep your smartphone for lightning quick discovery. Should you forget your keys at a bar or another location, the app keeps track of the last known location so you know exactly where they were (for the most part). It also works great if you just leave it in the car to remember where you parked.
The Tile Mate is only $25, or you can buy a 4-pack for $70, bringing the price down to $17.50 a piece, an even better deal if you have multiple stockings to stuff.
Multiport USB wall charger
There’s probably no better way to express your love to a friend or family member than by buying them a good, reliable charger this holiday season. We know, you can find them for 99 cents a pop in your grocer’s checkout line, but you’d be better off not wasting your money on that junk. Not only are cheap chargers potentially unsafe, but they tend to charge your devices extremely slowly, making them all but useless. There’s a much better way, and you don’t even have to spend that much more.
AUKEY has a fantastic charger that comes with dual ports to charger two devices at once. This particular model is also compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 devices, but even if they’re not, they’ll still reach their peak charging speeds. At $20, it may sound a lot for a charger, but it’s hard to beat this kind of quality or convenience.
Wireless charging receiver (Type C)
Wireless charging is one of those conveniences we got to enjoy a few years ago, but lately has been shunned by most manufacturers in their smartphones (Samsung being the notable exception). Even if we didn’t use wireless charging all of the time (it’s far slower than current USB powered fast charging methods), there’s no denying the convenience of being able to place your phone down on a table and have it charging.
Even if your phone doesn’t feature wireless charging, there’s an affordable accessory you can buy to discretely add this functionality to just about any smartphone. The wireless charging receiver is about as thin as a sticker, and when connected to your phone’s charging port, allows you to place your device down on a wireless charger to begin charging. Simple as that. The receiver is thin enough that you can slip it in between a case, so it’s out of sight and will still charge fine.
Priced at around $12, there’s a few different models depending on your smartphone’s port type (either USB C, micro USB, or even Lightning) and orientation, just don’t forget — you’ll need a wireless charging pad as well to charger your device using this method. Which brings us to our next gift idea (see down below)…
Fast wireless charging dock
Whether you have the latest (or recent) Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, or you’re using the accessory we told you about above, you’re going to need a good wireless charger to take full advantage of your new freedom. There are plenty of wireless charging pads on the market, but few that work well or even fast.
Seeing as how he Galaxy S6 and S7 feature a little something called fast wireless charging, we found the perfect solution to not only charge it wirelessly — but do it fast. The best part is that the charger is also dock, keeping your phone propped up at just the right angle so you can see incoming notifications without having to pick up your phone. Put it next to your bedside, desk, or anywhere else.
Priced at $22, it’s the perfect gift for Galaxy users or anyone who hates fiddling around with USB cables in the dark. With a solid rating on Amazon and 3-coil design, it’s one of the best option to help cut all the cords out of your life.
JOBY MPod Mini stand (gorilla stand)
It’s not as compact as the bottle cap mount, but definitely much more stable. The JOBY MPod Mini stand is similar to those Gorilla Pods you may have seen before, but at a fraction of the price. The stand has a smartphone dock to hold your phone and flexible legs that can bend to keep your phone angled correctly on just about any surface, no matter how uneven.
It’s actually pretty rugged and light enough that it wont weigh down your backpack or purse. The only downside is you can’t put your phone in portrait mode, but we found another accessory made especially for that purpose…
Kenu Stance smartphone tripod
The Kenu Stance tripod is different from most in that it attaches to your smartphone’s charging port and keeps your phone completely upright. This can be useful for hands-free video chatting, Snapchat viewing, or just browsing the morning news over breakfast. Should you decide to watch a video full screen, it can also hold your phone in landscape mode at the perfect angle for video watching.
There’s multiple versions of the Kenu Stance, with a version to plug into micro USB devices, USB Type-C, or even Lightning (iPhone). It’s to small, it’s easy to carry around in your bag or pocket and comes with a loop if you want to keep it locked to a carabiner or with your keys.
Touch Screen Gloves
Winter is coming and whether you’re out battling a horde of the undead (i.e., Black Friday shoppers), or just waiting for your car to warm up, you’re going to want to do anything you can to keep warm. The problem in wearing gloves, is most of the time they don’t work too well with your smartphone. That’s where capacitive gloves come in.
Capacitive touch gloves are your best bet at, not only staying warm, but will still allow you to pass the time watching YouTube or browsing Reddit on your smartphone. Although you wont be using your fingerprint to unlock your device, you can still activate your secondary lock screen method, so there’s nothing to worry about. You can find these well-reviewed gloves on Amazon in various colors (black, blue, or grey) for only $13.