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The holidays are here and if you are still shopping for gifts for the tech pro in your life (or maybe you're making your own Christmas wish list), these products are as practical are they are cool.
Holiday Gifts for your IT Pro
The 2013 Christmas gift buying season is in full swing and the window for holiday shoppers is closing fast. Finding the right gift for the IT professional in your life is always a challenge, but this year it doesn't have to be. These practical gifts that will help your IT pro get the job done in style.
Whether you're buying for your boss, your spouse or yourself there is something for the techno geek in all of us.
Lenovo Enhanced Multimedia Remote with Backlit Keyboard N5902
This keyboard-and-mouse-in-one from Lenovo connects wirelessly via USB using 2.4G wireless. It allows you to remotely control your PC from up to 10 meters away, while doing presentations in the office or while watching movies on the couch at home. The newest version sports backlit keys, a welcomed improvement over its predecessor. There are also hard buttons for media functions like volume control, pause, play and so on.
Kensington International Travel Plug Adapter With USB Charger
Ever try to charge your cell phone or tablet when you're not in the U.S.? Finding an open USB port on your PC isn't always an option, making the Kensington International plug adapter a necessity for the international traveler. The device will convert power in more than 150 countries and this model has a spot to plug in your USB phone/tablet charger. Simply choose the appropriate converter, push the button to slide it into place and plug it in.
Windows 8 Tablet
Inexpensive tablets running full versions of Windows 8.1 are flooding the market. With the new Intel Atom Bay Trail processor they have the power of the PC in the tablet form factor at an impressive price point. That said, those IT pros who lament the limitations of Android and the iPad will be excited to unleash the full power of the Web.
ASUS, Dell, Toshiba and HP are just some of the manufacturers offering sub $500 tablet computers. There are higher-end models like the Surface Pro and Acer Iconia that provide a full-fledged ultrabook experience with all the expected bells and whistles. These won't be for everyone because along with the full power of the PC comes the problems of the PC.
For power on-the-go, the Juicebar SunBar will charge virtually any USB device. What makes this a favorite is its solar charging capability. Your road warrior can simply place it in the sunlight to charge or plug it in via micro USB charging cable. The 2000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery will add up to 9 hours of talk time to your smartphone or tablet and it also comes with a built-in flashlight.
If you're shopping for a gift for the traveling IT executive - one who is looking for more of a media consumption device that is more intuitive and user-friendly than a full-fledged PC tablet -- an iPad or an Android tablet may be what you're looking for.
We are all familiar with the iPad, the one that started the tablet avalanche. If you're willing to pay the price, you can expect great fit and finish, an intuitive user interface and thousands of apps. Prices range depending on storage capacity and generation.
EX5210 XGA 3LCD Projector
Doing presentations on the road can be a challengee; your projector shouldn't make it more so. If you're shopping for someone who's tired of having to use other people's unfamiliar equipment then the EX5210 XGA 3LCD Projector is worth a look. It is a portable (but heavy) travel projector that sports a bright 2800 lumens.
Customer ratings for this unit are solid on Amazon, Staples, and Officemax. The weight on this unit, 5.1 pounds, may be a deal breaker for some but if you've tried to use an underpowered projector in room that's not completely dark then it's a trade-off you might be willing to make.
The aspect ratio is 4:3 and not 16:9 so if that's important, look elsewhere.
On the plane, in the terminal or in any environment where an IT pro is trying to get work amid distractions and noise, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones is a must. There are three types over the ear, on the ear and inserts available from a host of companies.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on what is important to you. However, Consumer Reports recommends each of these:
Victorinox Presentation Master
The Presentation Master is no longer made by Victorinox but it is still available if you do a Google shopping search. This little gadget sports an encrypted 16 or 32 gig (depending on model) thumb drive with biometric fingerprint security, a laser pointer and the typical Swiss army knife fare -- small scissors, file, knife and screwdriver. Prices range depending on size of thumb drive and there is a model still available from Victorinox but it doesn't come equipped with a laser pointer.
BoxWave Bluetooth Keyboard Case for the iPhone
This is a great gift for IT pros who love their iPhone, but miss the physical smartphone keyboards that Blackberry made famous. One of the costlier Bluetooth keyboard cases, the Boxwave could be the thinnest that is made for the iPhone. It comes with backlit keys and an internal battery that, according to the manufacturer, will last for up to two weeks. Charging is done through a standard micro-USB cable.
While the price isn't cheap, normally 99.95, it does go on sale from time to time. At the time of this article they are offering a web only special for $71.95. They also offer keyboard cases that will work with your iPhone 4S, Galaxy S3 and a few other...
Trakdot Luggage Tracking System
Getting where you are going only to find out your luggage is MIA can be an inconvenience at best or a major business disaster at worst. Now, however, you can always know where your luggage is using the Trakdot.
Once activated this little orange and black box transmits its location via GSM. Through the magic of technology and two AA batteries the tracker will send you an SMS upon landing at your destination notifying you of your luggage's location.
The cost for the Trakdot is 59.99. There is also an $8.99 activation fee and a relatively low $12.99 annual service fee. For people who travel frequently it can add a layer of insurance that your bag will arrive and peace of mind.
Sonos Wireless Speakers
Sonos has been around for a while and is considered one of the leaders in the wireless speaker market. If you're not familiar with the company, it creates top-shelf wireless speaker systems that allow you to stream your music library or Internet music services to any room in your home. Sonos systems can run anywhere from $300 to $700. What's different now is that they have a sub-$200 unit that doesn't sacrifice the sound quality that Sonos is known for. You can add additional speakers to your system over time.