Last-minute gift ideas ideal for an unusual holiday season

Fitness trackers, webcams, tiny batteries, protective cases for your smartphone and cheaper ways to keep your house clean

Greg GazinThis year, celebrations, gift-giving and the whole shopping experience may be a whole lot different. Many of us will be separated from our loved ones this holiday season.

So here are a few gadget gift ideas you can easily order online and have sent directly to them:

Family-friendly webcam

High Def Papalook Webcam mounts anywhere

For the first time, you may be expecting virtual guests to be ‘Zooming’ in around the dinner table. If their computer lacks a built-in camera or if the resolution isn’t great, consider delivering a Papalook AF925 HD Webcam down the chimney.

It’s a full high-definition webcam with F/2.0 aperture that won’t break the bank. It houses a glass lens with autofocus. It also features automatic low-light compensation and automatic white balance so you can clearly see everyone even in a dimly-lit room.

It features a fold-and-go design with a 360-degree swivel that easily props onto a laptop, tripod, monitor or wherever it can give the best family view. It has a long built-in cable so it won’t get lost and can easily plug in to a computer’s USB port up to 1.5 metres away.

You can order it from Amazon for $89.99.

Affordable family iRobot vacuum

iRobot i3+ cleans and disposed dirt from all surfaces

Spending more time at home probably means a little more house cleaning. If a smart robot vacuum has been on the family’s holiday list but just beyond the budget, iRobot has expanded its lineup with the more affordable Roomba i3+. It even has an optional has a disposal system that hygienically empties debris on its own.

It has many of the features like its big brothers the Roomba i7+ and s9+, including a 3-Stage premium cleaning system, dual multi-surface rubber brushes and power-lifting suction.

App enabled, its advanced tracking sensors help it quietly navigate your home in neat little rows. It knows where it needs to go and can be controlled by voice.

Holiday pricing is only $599.99 ($399.99 without auto disposal) and available directly from iRobot Canada or Amazon.

Protecting your smartphone and you

Precision design Catalyst case for ultra waterproofing

People seem to be attached to their smartphones almost constantly, particularly in a time of lockdowns and isolation. But some smartphones carry more germs than a toilet seat, including the dreaded COVID-19 virus.

Catalyst has a series of cases that protect your phone from damage from liquids and can withstand repeated washings.

These case are fully sealed and submersible in water. But the built-in lens and acoustic technology mean the case won’t affect the quality of your photos or the sound you hear. The cases are slim and attractive.

You can find a selection of Catalyst waterproof cases at CatalystCase.ca.

Clutch charger

Tiny Clutch Charger gift ideas
Tiny Clutch Charger goes anywhere

Everyone loves a little extra emergency battery power but no one loves to carry around extra bulk. The sleek Clutch V2 is billed as the world’s thinnest battery, and is new and improved. It resembles a metallic credit card, with the thickness of a couple of coins and weighing just 50 grams.

The latest reboot doubles the battery life and it’s now available for Android and iOS. The redesign also adds LED battery charge level indicators and a choice of colours.

The Clutch is portable, with a minimalist design and a built-in charging cable that cleverly tucks away when not in use.

The Clutch Charger V2 for Lightning or USB-C comes retails for US$39.99 from ClutchCharger.com.

Fitbit Charge 4 now GPS enabled

fitbit gift guide
GPS enabled Fitbit Charge 4 with Special Edition band

If your shopping list includes a health tracking device but not necessarily a dedicated smartwatch, check out the new Fitbit Charge 4. This waterproof

all-day health and fitness monitor might be the answer.

The simple intuitive touch-screen tracks your steps, allows you to set goal-based exercise modes, tracks your sleep stages, your heart rate 24/7 and more.

For basic needs, it has built-in call, calendar and app alerts, text notifications and apps like weather, timer and alarm. Android users can also send quick replies to messages.

Identical in shape and size to Fitbit Charge 3, this iteration adds a built-in GPS to keep track of your workout, save your data and leave your phone behind.

The Active Zone Minutes feature alerts you to a target heart rate during a workout and the new Sleep Mode turns off notifications and disables the screen so you’re not alerted at night.

And FitBit Pay is now standard, allowing you to make purchases from your wrist – if supported by your financial institution.

You can find it on Amazon with $149.95 holiday pricing.

Troy Media columnist Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.

For interview requests, click here. You must be a Troy Media Marketplace media subscriber to access our Sourcebook.

© Troy Media


gift ideas

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

Greg Gazin

Greg Gazin

Greg Gazin, also known as The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication and leadership and technology speaker, blogger, podcaster and author.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login