Holiday Hustle: 10 Last-Minute Tech Gifts

Don't Blow It!

You did it again, didn't you? You waited until the very last minute to do your holiday shopping and now you're stumped. You don't know what to get. The malls may as well be scenes from Mad Max (the second one, Beyond the Thunderdome with Tina Turner). You said you wouldn't wait; yet here you are again. That means you didn't buy any of the 25 hot gifts to get a techie from our 2011 holiday gift guide. It also means that you need help. Now. Badly. Luckily, you have us. We've scoured the globe, the web and the store flyers to come up with 10 last-minute gifts to get the techie in your life, and make sure you have it in-hand to present that big day. Just please, do yourself a favor, don't wait, lest you'll be stuck giving bogus donations to the Human Fund…again.

Amazon Kindle

All praise Amazon, which is now offering free two-day shipping for its family of Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon wants to make sure you can gift the Kindle before Christmas. Here's the rub, you have to order by 11 p.m. EST, Wednesday in order to take advantage of it. Oh, and you have to live in the U.S. The free two-day shipping deal is good on the $79 Kindle, the $99 Kindle Touch, the $149 Kindle Touch 3G and the $199 Kindle Fire.

Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mac

Apple is pulling out all the stops to make sure you get a kiss under the mistletoe this year offering free next-day shipping on its flagship iPhone (except the 4S), iPad, iPod and Mac products. Apple TV is in on the fun too. There's one small catch: You have to order by Wednesday to ensure delivery at your door by December 24. You already know how much this stuff costs. Consider it your penalty for waiting too long to buy. Apple is also letting dilly-dalliers buy online through Thursday for in-store pickup.


For those that can't drop a small fortune on a Christmas gift, CyberClean is the way to go. The affordable goo that promises to remove the gunk from your keyboard and other hard-to-clean areas is a cheap (less than $10) and easy gift, yet still shows you put some thought into your techie's tech needs. CyberClean is available in a host of online and physical stores, but we found pouches and small tubs of the glowing green goo at The Container Store, which has more than 50 locations nationwide.

Dell Inspiron Laptops

Dell has a select number of Inspiron laptop models that it's dubbed "Ships Fast laptops" for which the computer giant is promising free, second business-day shipping and promising arrival by Friday if orders are placed by Wednesday. Available Dell Inspiron models include the Inspiron 15, the Inspiron 14R, the Inspiron 14z (shown), the Inspiron 17R and others, ranging in price from $430 to $850.

HP Printers

HP is offering free, two-day shipping on a host of products purchased directly from Among the quick-ship products are some of HP's most popular printer models, including the HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One, HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One Printer - B210a, HP Officejet 6000 Wireless Printer (shown), HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format Printer, HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One Printer and HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color MFP. Prices range from $70 to $300. Act fast, because free two-day shipping won't last forever. And, in case you forgot, Christmas is Sunday.

Jawbone Jambox

Jawbone calls the Jambox the "boombox reinvented." The Bluetooth speaker clocks in at 12 ounces and acts as an 85 decibel speaker for portable music players and a hands-free speakerphone. It moves seamlessly between music and phone features. The Jambox ranges from $149 to about $200 depending on where you snag one, and it's available at a host of retailers, many of which must be close by, including Best Buy, Fry's, Staples, Walmart and more.


Ranging from $50 to $100, Roku promises to deliver TV shows, movies, live sports, music, games and more on your TV whenever you want it without a PC (it uses Wi-Fi). Users can access their Netflix subscriptions, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Angry Birds and a host of other content and Roku constantly adds more entertainment choices. Roku offers a range of options and features based on which model you choose. While available directly from, your best bet for swift retrieval is to hit up one of Roku's many retail partners, which include Costco, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target, Walmart and more.

Kodak Playful

Despite the name, this line of compact handheld video cameras is serious business. The Kodak Playful is on sale now through Kodak for $70 and the company is still promising it'll get there before Christmas. The Playful offers a built-in USB arm; is waterproof up to 10 feet, dustproof and drop proof up to 5 feet; enables videos to be tagged for e-mail, YouTube and more; and offers full 720p HD video with on-camera editing capabilities. If can't get it there in time, retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot and OfficeMax, among others, also carry Kodak Playful cameras.

Bheestie Bag

Everyone has that one friend. You know them. The one who somehow manages to drop their phone into the fountain, the toilet, the pot of boiling pasta, or spills Mountain Dew or coffee on it … A Bheestie Bag is the last-minute gift option that makes it look like you've put a ton of thought into this gift. Bheestie Bag works like this: You tear open the Mylar bag and drop the device in and seal it up. From there, Bheestie's little blue beads absorb the water, coffee, or other liquid. Once the beads turn gray, it should be ready to rock. And Bheestie Bag isn't just for phones; it works for iPods, watches, portable gaming devices and more. At $20, you'll be saving them some serious dough that they would've needed to replace their saturated device. Bheestie Bag is available at Amazon, REI, Restoration Hardware and a host of other retailers.

Tech Gloves

Got a techie who gives you the cold shoulder when the cold weather rolls in? It's probably not intentional that they don't text you back. Most gloves don't work with smartphones and other touchscreen devices. Get that pal a pair of tech gloves, or texting gloves, as some call them. These specially made gloves are made with specific materials that enable users to manipulate their touchscreen devices without risking frozen fingers. They're available from dozens of manufacturers, including The North Face (shown), Timberland, Isotoner, Lululemon and more. Amazon has plenty of pairs and styles to choose from, as do other retailers of outdoorsy gear. They range in price from about $15 to about $50, but $20ish seems to be the sweet spot.

Dishonorable Mention: Gift Card

And if those 10 didn't work for you, there's always a gift card.

Yup. It's cliche. It's a cop out. And it shows you didn't put much thought into it. (Hear that sad trombone?) But at this point, it may be all you've got. It's better than nothing. Right? Most retailers offer free and fast shipping on gift cards. Or, if you live anywhere other than a shack in the woods, you should be able to get to one of the nation's hundreds of drug store or super market chains and pick through their gift card displays; that's if you can't make it to the specific store for which you hope to purchase a gift card. Amazon, iTunes, Apple, Best Buy, you name it, they all offer gift cards in one form or another. Just pick the amount and let the techie in your life pick out their own gift. If you think about it, it's really the best gift you can give: The gift of choice.