Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
From now until Christmas, Cult of Mac will be putting together holiday gift guys full of ideas for the special ones in your life, no matter what their interests or your budget. Today, we’re looking at gifts that cost less than $100, for people you like quite a lot, but not that much.
The Braven 570 is currently under the $100 mark, by just four cents. It’s a smart-looking, plastic coated Bluetooth speaker with a battery that will power it for ten hours or charge your cellphone — you decide. Add in a mic for phone calls, a play/pause button and Braven’s trademark big, clear sound and you have a multi-colored bargain of a Christmas gift.
More than just a wireless SD card reader for the iPhone and iPad, the Ratoc Rex works in combo with a companion app to share almost any file you like with your iDevice or computer. It’s ten-hour battery powers the hotspot and lets you beam photos and other files from both SD cards or connected USB drives. It costs more than Apple’s camera connection kit, sure, but it’s also a lot more useful.
This keyboard packs in everything you could want. Connect it to up to three Apple devices simultaneously (Mac, iPhone, iPad) and switch between them with the three dedicated keys. It’s rechargeable, has an auto-dimming, proximity-sensing backlight and a proper on-off switch. Sure, a keyboard is usually a pretty dull gift, but this one will probably get you laid. Maybe.
The perfect gift for the hurricane-panicked East-coaster in your life. They’ll probably never use this hand-cranked charger in their fancy, European-sized cities, but the Eton will at least give them the illusion that they are as self sufficient as you, their Wild-Western cousin.
This gift is great if you want to cheap out and buy one thing for a whole family. The scale can work with up to 16 different users, and will send reading to their smartphones. From there, they can tweet their weight, calculate their BMI and generally over analyze and over-share their personal info.
Better still, one gift for the whole family is guaranteed to cause fights to break out on Christmas Morn, which is what the holiday season is all about.
Best. Bag. Ever. I keep banging on about the Zero Messenger (here seen in its stylish and hardwearing Performance Tweed incarnation), but it’ll make a great gift. Light, completely customizable (they’re actually built individually to order) and both practical and comfortable, it is the bag I keep coming back to. And if you can choose the right colors, your lucky giftee will love it just as much.
Solar power. Free, green and — in the right location — plentiful. The Goal Zero recharger will sup the Sun’s power and store it for later use in a cylindrical cell. Good for one recharge of an iPhone, and almost useless for the iPad 3, this version even comes with a handy little LED lamp.
This gift will either be a huge hit or a huge miss. But if your gift target actually wants a keyboard case for their iPad 2/3/4 then this is a great choice. It’s ultra-light (404 grams), tough, and has a great keyboard with a well though-out layout.
And if you want to throw another $30 on top, there’s a backlit version, too.
Pyle. The name says it all. If you have an uncle who works at a desk with a blotter pad, a paperweight and a wax sealing kit, then this is the perfect gift for him — a hideous, faux-antique rotary-dial dock for the iPhone, complete with handset.
Alternatively, pick the relation you hate the most and buy them this ugly piece of junk.
The Don’t Panic case is a felt-and-leather easy-chair for your iPad. Its magnet-tipped tail lets you wrap it round your leg or palm, or convert it into a stand, or use it like a book, or, or… In short, if it makes holding the iPad easy and more comfortable, the Don’t Panic case can do it.
The secret to looking like you’re serious about fitness is to use a heart-rate strap. These bondage-light devices help keep track of your exertion level and also let you track your calorie burn.
Usually they pair with fancy fitness computers, but Wahoo’s strap will talk to pretty much any fitness app on your iPhone 4S or better (or iPad, if you really want to carry that while you run or ride), whilst sipping power thanks to its Bluetooth 4 radio.
The Olloclip keeps popping up in these guides as it is the perfect gift for just bout anyone with an iPhone. It’s an accessory lens which clips over the corner of the iPhone 4/S or 5 (there are two models — make sure you order the right one) and adds either a fisheye lens, a wide angle lens or a closeup macro lens to the camera. It works great in cramped quarters, and means that you can shoot video indoors.
If your giftee owns a car, then the best gift is a pack of sugar (added to the gas tank) and a new bike. Failing that, you might buy him/her this Bluetooth adapter which slots into the cigarette-lighter socket, hooks up to the car stereo and turns it into an AirPlay destination for an iPhone, iPod or iPad.