We’re well into spring now and for many students that means a big milestone: graduation. Finding a grad gift for a high school senior or college graduate can be a little more challenging than it once was.
Engraved pens are out, high-tech gifts are in. If you’re a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices and the technical mumbo jumbo, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of 10 gifts your technology-loving graduate is sure to love.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3
Music-related accessories are always a win with grads, and portable wireless speakers are high on the list of popular gifts.
When it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, Ultimate Ears is the company to beat. The MEGABOOM 3 is the third generation of a very popular model that offers powerful bass, 360-degree audio and 20 hours of battery life in a tough and waterproof cylinder that floats.
The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is available in a variety of colors with prices that currently start at $169.99 and up.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: DemerBox Portable Speaker
For the music lover who wants a speaker that’s different — but in a good way — there’s the DemerBox.
This is an ultra-rugged Bluetooth speaker that’s housed within in a virtually indestructible, Pelican case. Inside are a pair of 3-inch aluminum cone drivers, an 11W-per-channel Class D amplifier, and a rechargeable battery good for up to 50 hours of play time. There’s also space to seal in some valuables to protect them from water (and prying eyes) when on the beach.
The DemerBox portable speakers come in funky colors and patterns (like the Haast Orange of my review unit), each speaker is hand-built in the USA, and for a limited time they are available for $279 instead of the regular $349 (limited edition models are $399).
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Audeze Mobius 3D Headphones
Finally on the list of audio-related gifts are the Mobius headphones from Audeze.
These CES 2019 award-winning Bluetooth headphones will make the day of any music lovers, with advanced planar magnetic technology. Cinematic 360-degree surround sound support makes them an excellent choice for listening to movies as well. But where the Mobius headphones really shine is in gaming. They feature 3D audio with dynamic sound localization and head tracking, taking video games to new immersive heights.
The $399 Audeze Mobius headphones are also extremely comfortable, thanks to replaceable, contoured memory foam ear pads.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Alienware m15 Gaming Laptop
Speaking of gaming, if your grad is big into PC gaming, and they could use a new laptop, Dell’s (NYSE:DELL) Alienware division has a compelling choice in the m15 gaming laptop.
It packs plenty of power including an 8th-generation Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core processor and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) graphics card, but the m15’s big claim to fame is being the thinnest and lightest 15-inch gaming laptop the company has ever made — it’s under 5 pounds!
Starting at $1329.99 the Alienware m15 is one of those rare gaming laptops that’s easy enough to carry that it could also pull double duty as an everyday computer for a grad who will be heading to college in the fall. Especially if equipped with the optional 90WHr battery that Dell says is good for up 17 hours of use.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: ASUS ROG Smartphone
Smartphones have become popular gifts for graduates. If your grad is focused on epic mobile gaming, the ultimate smartphone just might be the ASUS ROG phone.
Released by the ASUS Republic of Gamer (ROG) brand, this is a powerhouse of a mobile phone. It’s built around an ultra-powerful octa-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 845 processor and a 6-inch 2160 x 1920 AMOLED display. That display is something special, by the way, with gaming HDR support and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
The ROG Phone is also equipped with front facing stereo speakers driven by a smart amplifier for deeper bass, with support for 7.1 channel virtual surround when used with headphones. It even has a vapor-chamber cooling system (games run hot) and unique “air triggers” and advanced haptics. At $1199, it’s in the same price ballpark as Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone XS Max.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Nanoleaf Canvas Light Panels
For many students, graduation means moving to their own apartment.
Canvas Light Squares from Canadian smart lighting company Nanoleaf make for a great gift. The interlocking panels can be arranged in patterns, and stick to the walls. A mobile app controls colors, patterns and brightness, and they can pulse with the beat of background music. They are compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa and Apple HomeKit, and support IFTTT programming.
The Canvas Light Squares also respond to touch, and can even be configured to play simple games. A $249.99 “Smarter” Kit includes everything needed to get started, including nine light squares.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Netgear Orbi Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi Router
Everyone can appreciate the gift of excellent Wi-Fi, and with the Orbi mesh router system from Netgear (NASDAQ:NTGR), your grad will enjoy fast, reliable, whole-home wireless networking. Orbi routers are easy to set up, blend into home decor and automatically optimize the performance of a home Wi-Fi network.
Orbi systems vary in price depending on the speed and number of satellites included, but you can get an AC2200 mesh router and satellite capable of covering up to 4,000 square feet for under $200.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Vasque Breeze Hikers
Can hiking boots be high-tech?
Vasque’s $169.99 Breeze LT GTX hiking boots (available in men’s and women’s sizes) definitely are. They utilize advanced footwear technology, including GORE-TEX waterproofing and Vibram soles with Megagrip. The result is hiking boots that are as comfortable as running shoes. They’re also waterproof, cool, incredibly light and offer all-day comfort.
If you’re gift-shopping for a grad who’s planning a backpacking trip, the Breeze LT GTX hiking boots are an excellent choice with the traction and support needed for trails while being equally at home in urban environments.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: Goal Zero Sherpa 100ac
Another great gift for a back-backing grad is a portable power bank. Something that will keep all their battery-powered gear including smartphones, tablets and even laptops charged when there are no electrical outlets available.
The $299.95 Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is a top pick. Its 94.7Wh Li-Ion NMC battery can be taken on an airplane, but has the power to recharge a smartphone 10 times. It’s packed with outputs including a pair of 60W USB-C ports, a 100W electrical outlet, 2.4A USB and even a Qi wireless charge pad. With the purchase of an optional solar panel, the power bank itself can be recharged in a day, making it a green power solution.
The Sherpa 100AC is a gift that will offer years of use including travel, commuting and emergency power.
10 High-Tech Grad Gifts: LumiCharge II
The LumiCharge II is described as the “Swiss Army Knife of desklamps” and it’s a high-tech accessory that would be an upgrade for any desktop.
The LED light itself is capable of three different hues of white lightning, with 10 brightness levels. It even has a motion-sensor activated night light… The base is a Qi wireless charge pad for smartphones, while there is also a universal dock that can charge iPhones and most Android smartphones in an upright position so their display can be seen.
There’s even an integrated LED display that shows info like date, time and temperature. The LumiCharge II is an IndieGoGo project that’s currently available starting at $99.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.