So, your teen is about to cross the platform, accept their diploma, and head out into either the working world or college. Choosing the perfect gift for your graduate can be a tricky task. After all, what do you give someone who’s heading off into the world for the first time?
Well, we have a list of seven excellent geeky graduate gifts that are sure to be incredibly useful. Whether your teen is heading off to their first year of college, planning to move out to their first bachelor pad away from home, or simply hanging around the house a bit longer, there are a number of cool gadgets you can reward them with for having survived the madhouse we know as high school.
Apple iPhone 4S: $200 + Contract
All right, so your teen is at the point in their lives where they’re not going to get in trouble for having a smartphone with them during the day. Some high schools across the country have actually banned these in the spirit of reducing distractions and avoiding embarrassing videos. Well, that’s what I believe the reasons to be, anyway.
Either way, while your teen may be heading out, it’s a good idea to keep them in touch. An iPhone is both stylish and socially acceptable among the younger folks. It’s sure to be one of those gifts that pays for itself the first time they call home from the dorm, or surprise you with their conservative usage habits. OK, so I’m wishfully thinking on that one.
LiveScribe Echo Smartpen: $120-250
This gift might be more handy for the college student, but it’s still a pretty cool gift to get, anyway. The LiveScribe Echo Smartpen allows you to convert analog writing to digital documentation, record audio and sync it with written notes, and even play back audio that was recorded during a specific note from the pen itself.
While the Smartpen might not be the thinnest or most aesthetically awesome pen out there, it is one of the most useful in that it brings the time-honored tradition of note taking to the digital world. You can sync and review notes on your computer, allowing you to get the most from your technology.
After all, isn’t that what college is all about?
Roku 2 XS: $85
The Roku 2 XS can be a perfect addition to any dorm room, bachelor pad, or any other graduate’s media center. This tiny little box pushes out full 1080p video, 300+ channels of content, keeps up with your favorite Web series, and is arguably one of the coolest things to have connected to your television.
The Roku 2 XS is a great gift idea for anyone that grew up in this age of online media we live in today.
Just because the Roku is capable of 1080p video doesn’t mean you have to have a 1080p television to use it, either. It works just fine on virtually any digital television out there. The XS is also the only current offering from Roku with USB and ethernet ports on the back for maximum connectivity.
The new iPad: $400-830
The new iPad may not be a remarkable step up from the iPad 2, but its retina display makes reading text a lot easier. With textbooks and other learning materials moving to digital formats, it’s a good idea to have one of these in your teen’s backpack as they head into college. If anything, it could save you a lot of money on textbooks. Have you seen the prices of those things lately? Bill Gates would even have to check his account balance before picking up a semester’s required reading.
The iPad can also be quite useful during lectures as both an audio recording device and for taking notes. Couple it with a mobile plan, and you have a versatile computer that can travel virtually anywhere with you without weighing you down.
Oh, and it’ll make it a lot easier to FaceTime with them. Even the most adventurous college students get homesick from time to time.
Personal Mini Fridge: $50
Another dorm favorite, this little fridge is a cool thing to have (no pun intended). I had one of these and used it extensively while working in the cubicle jungle known as an office, but having one in a dorm can really come in handy should your dorm room not come equipped with a fridge of its own.
Having to rush down to the community kitchen to retrieve your Red Bull is a hassle, and this is one way to keep your stuff cold (or warm) without having a giant fridge taking up space in an otherwise cramped room.
Oh, and this particular unit also keeps things warm if you need it to. It cools to 32 degrees below room temperature and up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, all without any noisy compressors or CFCs. It runs off of AC or DC, so it could be useful during long car trips.
ASUS Transformer Prime: $500-900
When it comes to tablet versatility, few products out there can compare to the ASUS Transformer Prime.
Running on the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich), the Transformer Prime is an excellent alternative to the iPad, giving your graduate an excellent content creation device that can be taken almost anywhere.
The keyboard and the tablet combine to create what essentially amounts to an Android laptop. Not bad for a tablet.
SeV Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece: $70
I’ve recommended this hoodie in previous top X lists, but this is a great gift idea for graduates. It not only keeps you warm during the cooler months of the year, but it has enough pockets to keep all of your gear at the ready without the need of a bag.
The Personal Area Network (PAN) makes it easy for you to run audio cables through the SeV Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece in a way that isn’t terribly obvious to the world. No one will actually see the cables beyond the couple inches that reach from your hood to your ear. It’s a great way to listen to music while out and about without drawing too much attention to the fact that you have a small laboratory worth of electronics on your person.
I’d also make note here that out of half a dozen hoodies I own, this is by far the most comfortable. It’s crazy soft, and it doesn’t make you so warm that you feel the need to take it off indoors.