With the peak of the holiday season just around the corner, you are probably not only still trying to finish up your gift shopping, but desperate to come up with the perfect gift for that IT pro or SysAdmin on your holiday season list. Fear not, for we have the definitive list of the top tech toys that will fill any IT pro’s holidays with glee. And relax, we’re going for quality geekiness, not sticker shock, so none of these gifts will bust your budget. So sit back, relax, open up your web browser, and get ready to order as we look at the 13 must-have tech toys for the geek on your holiday season list.
Here’s one of the coolest things to come from Google since Gmail. Chromecast connects to an HDMI port on your television, and lets you stream content from your laptop. You can browse the web, play YouTube videos, watch Netflix, and more, and control it from your laptop or Android smartphone. For $30, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
Whether you want to go big and bold to rock the house for your next party, waterproof to take the tunes into the shower, or portable for the road warrior in your life, Bluetooth speakers to sync to your cellphone, tablet, or PC make a great gift for listening to music or watching movies, and make up for the tinny sound most laptops have without the need for all those cables. Prices run from $20 on up, and the small portable ones also make pretty decent speakerphones for all those conference calls.
And while you are thinking both audio and Bluetooth, a set of cordless headphones or earbuds will make a great gift for any geek who travels, works out, or just has a cube big enough that sliding the chair back would normally result in ripping the ear buds out. Again, there are options to cover almost any budget with this great gift.
4. Activity monitors
Wearable activity monitors are becoming very popular and can help get that geek out of his chair and on his feet. Whether you go with the Nike Fuelband, FitBit, Jawbone, or other, anything that helps your favourite SysAdmin increase their daily physical activity will be appreciated.
The first smartwatch to look like it’s worth the money and deserves the hype. This device is worn like a wristwatch but pairs with your geek’s iPhone or Android to provide an easy-to-use interface for Caller ID, text messages, remote functions and more. Leave the phone in your pocket and control it all from your wrist.
6. The newest tablet
If your special SysAdmin is also someone special to you, and the budget is a little larger, the newest tablet in their platform of choice is sure to be a winner. Whether they are drooling over the newest iPad, are dying to get their hands on a Surface 2, or love all things G and want the latest Nexus, a new tablet may be the priciest thing under the tree, but it will also be a gift they will use every day.
7. TV tie-ins
Back to more budget conscious ideas, find out what your SysAdmin’s favorite TV shows are, and then hit ThinkGeek.com for gift ideas for everything from Doctor Who to the Big Bang Theory. Trust me…anything that ties into a cherished TV show will be a hit, even if it looks silly to you.
Hit up Amazon search for CREE flashlights, and you will find a gift that will fit ANY budget, and a cool tool guaranteed to light up any geek’s holiday season. CREE lights are amazingly bright, and every geek loves shiny things.
This might be more of a gift for your favorite IT guy or gal if you happen to cohabitate with them. Next programmable thermostats not only can save you money on your utility bills, they can be programmed, learn your activities, and can be controlled over the Internet. “Oh, you’re a little cold honey? Let me bump up the heat from my phone!”
Electronic “candles” that change colour are just geek chic enough to hit it big whether you light them up during a party, or a little more quality time. They’re cool because they are electronic, can be controlled remotely, and still set the kind of atmosphere you’d get from a more traditional candle…just without the fire hazard.
Here’s one gift for IT guys and gals that will simply never go out of style. The Red Swingline stapler should be on every IT pro’s desk, and if it’s not on yours, here is the perfect opportunity to fix that. Then you can go back to watching the squirrels.
12. Nerf guns
A toy for any IT pro who just needs to vent some steam, there are Nerf guns from $10 to $100, and as long as at least one other person on the team has one, you’ve got a guaranteed way to blow off steam and build up some team morale.
13. Retro candy
Gage your IT pro’s approximate age, then go get a bucket of Retro candy. With selections from the 40s through the 80s (I really don’t want to know if you have an IT pro on staff who grew up in the 90s, but yes, there are options for them too) Retro candy will include favorites that should take them back to their childhood. Yes, I know, they probably manifest just a little too much of that childhood regularly already, but these will be happy memories, and they will thank you for them. You just might find yourself at the head of the upgrades list too.
So that is our list of thirteen gift idea options for the IT Pro or SysAdmin in your life. With prices from <$10 to several hundred, there’s something in there for every geek and every budget, so if you’re still shopping and out of ideas, this list is just what you needed. However, if you are a geek who feels like we left something out, leave a comment below and tell us what’s tops on your Christmas list. Then make sure you forward it to your special someone so they get the clue!