Gifts for Geeks 2: 10 More Holiday Gift Ideas From The CRN Test Center

Geek-Gift List

Just in time for the holidays, the CRN Test Center has tested and approved 10 more devices for its list of geek-approved gizmos for gift-giving. Techies are generally pretty easy to buy for, and we're here to help narrow the choices. Here are 10 more devices that we wouldn't mind receiving as presents this year. You might also want to look at Gifts for Geeks Part 1.

Power 2U

This is a must-have for the gadget hound. And with virtually all of today's mobile devices charging via USB connectors, we could easily imagine a product like the Power 2U becoming standard equipment in homes and offices. Fitting into a standard single-gang electrical box, Power 2U delivers two 15- or 20-amp outlets plus two 5.2-volt USB type-A charging ports with up to 12.5 watts, enough for the largest and hungriest of devices. Its specialized switch plate incorporates small dust covers that when closed protect the ports and disable DC power conversion, saving power.

$19.99, (15 amp); $27.50, (20 amp)

Charger Leash Too

The primary complaint around the CRN offices where the Charger Leash was being tested and deployed was its very raison d'etre: the alarm. It seems we were not the only ones to complain. The latest version of the charging cable with a built-in disconnection alarm now comes with a silencer button. The improved version also is now made with a flat, tangle-resistant cable that has reinforced ends for longer life. The sturdy Charger Leash comes in various lengths for all iPad, iPod and iPhone models as well as for Android devices.

$19.99 and up

Motrr Galileo

Add selfies to the list of cottage industries created by the smartphone. Among the ultimate accessories for selfie-ographers is Galileo, a motorized mount for iPhone 4S or higher, GoPro or other digital cameras and devices. Its clever mounting system uses rubber cups of different sizes to hold the camera as it pans and tilts from a set program, automatic face tracking, or by remote control, leaving the director free to concentrate on acting, directing or whatever. Camera movement is steady and silent, and is controlled locally by an on-camera app (for iOS 7 or higher), or from a separate device over Bluetooth or the Internet. Kits include USB charging cable and mounting adapters. Galileo can be mounted on a tripod, and some models also charge the device while it's docked.

$139 and up; Black, white, green or red


Mobile-device speakers might sound good enough for the device owner, but most are just too small to project loud volume at distance. For $29.99, Canz connects to any laptop, tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth or the included 3.5mm audio cable and provides up to six hours of sound that's loud enough to fill a room. Separate LEDs indicate charging and pairing status. We tested the SP880-A, which can recall just a single pairing device, but reconnects automatically. A standby mode helps preserve battery life during periods of inactivity. The company claims a 30-foot range, but as with most Bluetooth devices, closer is better; sound started breaking up at about 12 feet in our tests.

$29.99 with audio and USB charger cables; in red, blue and silver

iClever Auto Charger

Between emergency car kits and trade-show giveaways, device-charging adapters for the car are a dime a dozen these days. But if purchasing a cigarette lighter adapter is required, consider the cleverly named Auto Charger from iClever. It delivers a port designed specifically for the "circuit parameters" of Apple devices, and another for Android and similar gadgets. Both ports can be used simultaneously for powering smartphones or tablets, provided that the total draw doesn't exceed 4.2 amps. An LED indicates that the unit is receiving and can supply power.


Waterproof Case, LED

Boy Scouts, boaters and beach-goers will gravitate to ProGear 9000 Light-Case waterproof case and LED light, the smallest in Pelican's line of device enclosures sold exclusively through the channel. This all-in-one device provides a lockable, IPX64 certified watertight space that's big enough for a smartphone or two, plus keys and other valuables that work best when clean and dry. Also part of the high-impact plastic clamshell is a powerful, four-mode LED that runs in 200-lumen high mode for about two hours from four AA alkaline batteries, included. The light can be propped up using the integrated kickstand or hung from the included carabineer.

$59.95 with lifetime warranty; black or yellow

Aries Prime

It might sound like a character from "Guardians of the Galaxy," but Aries Prime is actually something a bit more useful. This two-part device wirelessly connects the HDMI output of any laptop, desktop, game console or media player to the HDMI input of a monitor, TV or projector, and it does so without drivers or cables in between. When plugging the transmitter into a computer's HDMI output, the host system sees it as a monitor. Signals are transmitted uncompressed to the receiver, which feeds the HDMI input. Aires Prime supports resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,080 with no lag or jumpiness, even with full-motion video (no sound). Pairing is automatic, and also can be invoked manually. The kit includes a receiver with AC adapter and HDMI cable, HDMI transmitter with USB cable (for gaining power from the computer), and a right-angle HDMI connector. The device worked well from about 25 feet, but at its maximum stated range of 30 feet the picture began to degrade.

$179.99 with one-year warranty

Mouse Jiggler

Having that annoying screen saver pop up during an important presentation might be considered a first-world problem, but there's still an app for that. As its name implies, Mouse Jiggler does nothing more than keep the mouse pointer moving to prevent the host computer's screensaver or sleep mode from kicking in. Implemented as a USB stick, Mouse Jiggler works with Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.


Flexible Tripod

Shoot like a pro with the iStabilizer Flexible Tripod, a light and inexpensive device that's anything but flimsy. Legs are wrapped with neoprene foam that makes its sturdy wire legs comfortable to hold and easy to adjust and wrap around objects. Feet are capped with rubber to prevent slipping. An innovative, spring-loaded clamp quickly mounts to most smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras. The mount itself attaches with standard tripod thread and can be replaced with other mounts or secured directly to a camera. A ball joint tilts and swivels into any position and locks reliably in place with a twist.


Sennheiser SP20

The Sennheiser SP20 plugs into the headset jack of any smartphone, tablet or laptop and delivers a high-quality speakerphone with remote control. Green and red phone-icon buttons can start, end or reject a call, redial and place a call on hold. Tiny LEDs form a circle around the mute button at the center to indicate volume level in green, system mute (all red) and battery status in blue. When no call is in progress, the green button will pause media playback on some devices; the red button shows remaining battery life. Also included are a 30-inch charging cable with USB Type A connector, and a 26-inch audio cable for 3.5mm headset jacks. Captive at one end, the cables wrap around the unit's underside. The unit also provides clear sound for media playback, echo cancelation and a carry pouch.


Be sure to check out the CRN Test Center's Gifts for Geeks Part 1.