December 5, 2016 | Written by: Jen Clark
Categorized: Top 10
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Some family friends of mine set themselves a yearly Christmas challenge: the 50p present. It’s like Secret Santa on speed and leads to some serious charity shop bargains. Pretty impressive. I wish I could tell you that you’re about to see a list of tech gifts for 50p, but I’m not that resourceful. However, there are some little gadgets that won’t break the bank, and we’ve pulled together our top ten below. Enjoy!
Unofficial Cardboard Virtual Reality headsets, $14.95
The UC 2.0 Virtual Reality headset is a great way to give someone their first taste of virtual reality – without the eye-watering expense. Essentially, it’s a piece of cardboard shaped like a headset that you can use with your smartphone to dive into all sorts of virtual worlds. Take 3D photos, explore the solar system or experience rollercoaster highs and lows – all for just $14.95. If you’re not sure where to begin, this helpful article lists 12 of the best compatible apps to get you off to a flying start.
For something a little more up-market / retro, there’s the View-Master Virtual Reality viewer, at £23. It’s a bit like the headsets kids used to have in the ‘90s (if you’re old enough to remember that far back) – with the little cellophane images stored in a plastic viewer that you could rotate to show different landscapes. Except this version’s a whole lot cooler. You download a View-Master app to your smartphone, slide the smartphone into the viewer and you’ll see a 3D augmented reality menu offering different viewing experiences with 360-degree vision. Pretty cool and suitable for kids 7 and older.
Wireless meat thermometer, £24.99
Prepare to have your sausages sizzled and your carcass cooked. This one’s for the carnivores – a wireless meat thermometer that sends temperature updates from your cooking food direct to your smartphone. Choose from a list of presets (rare, medium or well-done), and it’ll alert you when your meat is ready. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, and has a range of up to 30 metres.
iPad Telephoto Lens, $25
A nifty little device that increases your iPad’s zoom by up to 12 times, the Telephoto zoom helps you get up close and personal without having to – um – actually get up close and personal. Perfect for taking photos from the cheap seats at the back.
Ventev Portable Charger, $34.99
Convenience, thy name is The Ventev Portable Charger: a slim, light, super handy little charger that’s perfect for a quick re-charge on the go. A great gift for long journeys, or those who forget to charge their phone before leaving the house. It’s rechargeable, natch.
RaspberryPi Zero, $5 / £4
Tinkerers, makers and technically-minded folk the world over are familiar with the Raspberry Pi – a credit-card sized computer that originally came into being to help wannabe programmers hone their skills. Now, it’s a popular basis for any project needing more than a basic microcontroller, and its low power consumption makes it an efficient option too. The Raspberry Pi Zero is the most pared down version to date and comes with 512MB of RAM, a micro SD card slot, mini DMI port and two micro USB ports. Perfect for innovator-types. This handy article has a few suggestions as to projects you can try with your new toy.
There’s a great Eddie Izzard sketch about pears. Pears are either rock hard or they’re mush, so you take ‘em home, stick ‘em in the bowl, and wait for them to ripen – which they’ll only do when you’re not looking. “No, no, don’t ripen yet… wait till he goes out of the room…ripen now! Now! Now!” And you come back in and they’re mush. So true, Eddie, so true. Some people feel the same about coffee. It’s too hot to drink until it’s too cold to drink. If you’ve a friend who has this problem, the ReadySip is for them. This IoT thermometer sits in your coffee and connects to your smartphone to alert you when it’s the perfect drinking temperature. Marvellous.
Playbrush makes a game of cleaning your teeth, so it’s perfect for kids who are a little slack in this department. Adults too, come to that. Motion sensors in the Playbrush record speed, how long you brush for, and placement (are you covering every surface?) By brushing, you can fly planes, shoot bad guys and save the tooth fairy. Brushing will never be the same again.
Sammy Screamer motion detector, £34.37
A tad more serious than the usual Christmas prezzie perhaps, but useful nonetheless: the Sammy Screamer is a wee motion alarm that you can attach to stuff you want to keep an eye on (unattended prams, handbags kept under restaurant tables, or even the cookie jar.) Move the item Sammy’s attached to and she’ll make a nice loud bleep and send a notification to your smartphone. When you don’t need her, use the BleepBleeps app to put her on sleep mode.
Tagonce smart luggage tag, £8.50
If a connected suitcase is out of your price range, this might just be the next best thing. Tagonce is a smart luggage label that you can tag with your address and contact information from your smartphone. You can store your travel history too. At 44mm high and weighing just 14 grams, it’s an ideal little stocking stuffer for frequent travellers.
myLupo Bluetooth finder, £20
The myLupo finder is a Bluetooth enabled tracking gadget that you can attach to keys, wallet, or any other valuable item. You can check a lost item’s last known location on a map to ensure you don’t permanently misplace precious possessions. It’s low maintenance too – the battery lasts a whole year before it needs replacing.
Thy stocking runneth over: more IoT gift ideas
As the Internet of Things becomes a familiar entity, we’re starting to see more and more IoT gifts on the market. If you didn’t see anything you fancied in the list above, you might find inspiration in this post on present ideas for early adopters.
Have you come across any IoT-themed gifts? Let us know in the comments below!