Gadget Mom – Happy Mother’s Day Gift Giving Guide
My wife long ago trained me that any important gift for her should not be the kind you plug in. I try to adhere to that edict, but with the wonderful plethora of technology, I have been successful in giving her a couple items with power cords. Indeed, smartphones, e-readers and flat-screen TVs are topping the list of the hottest Mother’s Day gifts this year. In a sign that the economy is improving, 13% of consumers plan to buy electronics for Mom this year, up from 9% last year, and gadget gift sales are forecast to total about $1.5 billion, according to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation. With that in mind, I have been testing a few items that should appeal to Moms, regardless of their proclivity for gadgets.
For any Mom who hates power cords, and the inevitable spaghetti tangles when power cords gather together, this is just the gift. Unlike the usual power sticks, the PowerSquid allows for a more organized array. With each flexible outlet designed with staggered arm lengths, no outlet gets wasted; even those boxy transformer plugs won’t block another outlet. A 15 amp circuit breaker and a recessed LED power indicator are built in. Although the PowerSquid does not provide surge protection, the benefits of design are remarkable.
3′ cord with 5 arms with black case and yellow plugs – $18. / 12′ cord with 5 arms with green case and green plugs – $30.
You might want to give this to your grandmother. It is a clever wireless earpiece that connects easily to your television and allows for better (or isolated) listening. The transmitter plugs into the headphone jack of the television and the lightweight earbuds rest in a charger. If your Mom enjoys exercising at home while watching TV, the noise of the elliptical or stationery bike often requires ear-piercing volumes from the TV. This unit avoids that hassle, and provides far better audio. And as Gramps gets older, you can gently encourage him to use TV●EARS as well. That way, he can watch TV through this unit with the rest of the room watching TV at far gentler volumes. I have been able to replace the soft eartips after getting them overly gummy from frequent at home workouts. The unit covers about 600 square feet, and the only caveat is the transmitter should be placed in line of sight to the user. $70.
Jawbone ERA Bluetooth Headset
Certainly one of the safest items you could give your favorite Mom is a Bluetooth headset. With the growing evidence of mobile phone distraction while driving, coupled with the increase in police clampdowns, a wireless headset is a good investment. I have tried various units, and the Jawbone design is a great blend of style, function and size. The newest generation includes NoiseAssasin® 3.0, the latest version of Jawbone’s patented noise and wind canceling technology. Apparently this science was developed for use by tank commanders and helicopter pilots, and indeed it works well for suburban commandos as well. Inbound call volume is adjusted automatically and despite its tiny size, the unit delivers HD quality sound. I can’t listen to music on it, having been weaned on stereo, although ‘back to mono’ folks like Brian Wilson might enjoy it. Podcasts and books on tape are far more viable. The built-in accelerometer is used to pair the unit to the mobile phone. Additional embedded technology allows for upgrades and applications like language options and programs to send emails and text messages using your voice. A nice feature is the gentle voice that whispers battery life, which exceeds 5 hours in my tests. This is a lot of technology, built into a stylish and compact form factor. $129.
If it is fine stereo sound your Mom seeks, coupled with access to phone calls on your mobile phone, this is an elegant solution. The steel alloy construction delivers deep, clean bass and the Neodymium drivers provide extended range (10 Hz-20kHz / [email protected]). But it is the elegant triangular design that will appeal to your Mom, as well as the integrated microphone. I have roadtested this unit with Pandora radio, and incoming phone calls can be easily answered without repositioning the earphones. Multiple ear tips are provided to ensure an optimal fit. $80.
Tanita Body Composition Monitor
For the Mom who doesn’t realize she needs a sophisticated health monitoring unit, the BC-1000 is just the ticket. This is not your grandmother’s bathroom scale. In addition to weight, body fat percentage, and hydration levels, this unit provides measurements on muscle mass, overall physique rating, daily caloric intake, metabolic age rating, bone mass and visceral fat. I found the set up relatively easy, but the amount of data pushed the edge of my envelope. Although the unit has no visible display, the data is transmitted wirelessly into your computer for tracking immediately after stepping onto the glass platform. This would allow your Mom to track her progress privately, which is probably the most clever feature of this unit. $280.