Dashboard Camera – If you are nervous about what your new grad will be doing out on the roads this summer, here’s a way of keeping tabs and protecting your grad as well. The Cobra CDR 900 Drive Dashcam with WiFi is a small unit with a 2” LCD screen that continuously records the ride. It has sensors so that if there’s a sudden acceleration or deceleration, that footage will be protected and won’t be recorded over. The device can send the video to a smartphone and can also be controlled by a smartphone app. It records in 1296P Super HD or 1080P Full HD video. It’s Wi-Fi Enabled and communicates with the Drive HD companion app for iOS or Android devices to view and share videos And it has a wide 160° viewing angle to film the entire road and peripherals without edge distortion. Price is $200.
Computers – If your grad is going on to pursue higher education, we have a couple of suggestions. The Lenovo Yoga 3 is an ultra-portable convertible touchscreen laptop that can be used as a traditional laptop, as a Windows 8.1 tablet, as a tent or as a display stand for presentations. It comes in both 11” and 14” models. The 11” Yoga 3 starts at $679. While the 14” Yoga 3 starts at $799 .
If your grad is heading to an institution where WiFi is pretty much ubiquitous you might consider a Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook 15 . With its big 15” screen your youngster could use this as a desktop replacement, but it’s still light enough to take to class. It has large speakers on both sides of its full keyboard so it’s great for watching videos or listening to music. There are a variety of models beginning at $250.00
Bluetooth Speakers – Braven 805 HD Bluetooth Speaker – Braven promotes this as an HD speaker with a premium sound, and after listening to it, we think it certainly lives up to its billing. This attractive unit is available in a variety of colors, and will look good on a desktop or bookshelf while it delivers sparkling room-filling sound with a deep bass and clear treble. It offers up to 18 hours of play time on a single charge, and has a USB outlet so it can charge your smartphone or tablet, even while you’re playing music. Price is $200.
Smartphone – Lumia 830 – This Windows Phone from Microsoft/Nokia has a 5” display, and a 10MP camera with Zeiss optics and Optical Image Stabilization, great for grabbing quick pictures on the run. Your son or daughter can customize the Windows Phone home screen with a set of favorite apps that get the most use. We’ve seen it priced for $50 with a two year contract at AT&T, and as low as $242 for an unlocked version at Amazon.
Wireless Charger – Nokia DT-903 Wireless Charging Plate – To accessorize that Lumia 830 you might consider adding this $59 wireless charger. Using Low Energy Bluietooth and NFC, the wireless plate knows when the phone’s battery is running low. It will also let your youngster know about missed calls and notifications. It uses the Qi wireless charging system, making it compatible with other devices.
Desk Lamp – NewerTech NuGreen LED Lamp – If your high school grad is heading off the college at the end of the summer, you can outfit your grad with a desk lamp that will be easy on the eyes and easy on the environment. The NuGreen lamp with its flexible neck adds focused energy efficient cool white light to the desktop workspace. Featuring 50 Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), NuGreen produces light similar to natural daylight, making it perfect for dorm rooms, apartments, and bedrooms. Using only 3.6 watts total power, the NuGreen saves both money and the environment. The LEDs last up to 45,000 use hours…up to 22 times longer than tradition bulbs…and can be recycled because they contain no mercury. The LED lights don’t emit any heat and the lamp turns on with a finger tip touch to the red ring power indicator. Available for $49 through Other World Computing..
Hi Tech Outdoor Gear – If your youngster enjoys the great outdoors, we have three gifts that bring new technology to camping or other outdoor activities.
Cobra 6000 mAh Solar USB Charger – Even if the great outdoors it’s nice to have those creature comforts like a smartphone, camera, or tablet for watching movies by the firelight. This compact solar charger has a 2.1 Amp output capable of charging tablets, and has two USB ports and a micro USB port. It will fully charge in about ten to twelve hours of sunlight, significantly more quickly from an AC travel charger (not included) or from a laptop’s USB port. Price is $80.
Bracketron SmartLantern – The SmartLantern is a great lighting and charging solution for outdoor recreational use or for in-car & home emergency preparedness kits. The product features a rechargeable, compact high-output LED lantern & flashlight. Lantern globe slides down easily for flashlight use for more focused lighting. Built-in 2.1A USB port supports a fast charging solution anywhere, anytime for mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and MP3 players. High-capacity 7800mAh rechargeable back-up battery offers 48 hours of flashlight or lantern illumination or up to five full charges to your mobile device. Price is $80
NiteIze Gear Tie Technology – Sometimes in the great outdoors it’s really the little things that count. NiteIze makes a variety of gear ties, tent tie downs and other helpful paraphernalia that can make the camping experience less of a hassle. The gear ties also come in handy around the house or the dorm room, wrapping up wires, hoses, ropes, or any of dozens of items. You can get a package of assorted gear ties starting at about $13.50.
Fitness Tracker – Garmin Vivofit 2 – If your grad is interested in staying fit, this is an easy and affordable way to keep track of steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, activity level, and sleep. It doesn’t need to be recharged, using a battery that will run for more than a year before it needs replacing. Your grad can set daily goals. The device has a backlit display and it’s smart enough to let the user know if there’s been no movement for an hour, prodding him or her to get up and start moving. Price is $80.
Mini Drone – Parrot Mini Drone – Rolling Spider – Your grad has worked hard. Now it’s time for a little play. This mini-drone is really two toys in one. Configured as the Rolling Spider it can walk across the floor, up walls, and across the ceiling. It has a built-in camera to record spectacular aerial views. All the functions can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. Price is $80,