Christmas is just 17 days away. A few weeks ago David and I released our annual Geek Gift Guide episode of Mac Power Users. You can also find a list of some of my Favorite Things on this site which may provide you with shopping inspiration. If you, like me, are still struggling to find a few last-minute gifts, I thought I’d offer up a few of my favorites.
Fujitsu ScanSnap - If there’s someone in your life who wants to go paperless but is struggling, there’s no better gift than a document scanner. My favorite is the ix500. Without question, it’s the best document scanner on the market. I keep one on my desk at home and at the office and it churns through paper. Don’t settle for a lesser product, this is the one you want.
Eero Home Wi-Fi Network - I’ve tried everything to create a solid home Wi-Fi network over the years. Powerful routers, the latest standards, Powerline adapters, wireless repeaters, multiple base stations, you name it. Eero is a simple solution to most home Wi-Fi problems. Since they became a sponsor on MPU they sent me one to install in my home. I’ve since installed on one in my parents home as well and it has solved all our coverage problems.
Amazon Echo - In the past eighteen months I have become a full devotee of the Amazon Echo. I have an Echo in my kitchen and Echo Dots in my bedroom and office. I use them throughout the day for controlling smart home devices, getting the news and weather, listening to music and podcasts and much more. The Echo has become an essential piece of my home.
Ring Video Doorbell - While I initially brushed this off as a gimmick, it has brought a lot of peace of mind. The Ring Video Doorbell tells me who is at my door, notifies me when a package has been dropped (even when the delivery person fails to ring), lets me know who has been at my house and allows me to check in on things when I’m away. perhaps most importantly, I’ve found having a camera at my front door to be a great deterrent to solicitors and other foot traffic. Go for the Pro version if you can, if you can’t wire it in, the v2 Ring is great too.
AirPods - Yes, they really are as good as everyone says. These are the only headphones I want to use anymore and I regret wasting money on other purchases. No cords to tangle, fast and easy charging, and a convenient size to carry. I use them for everything from conference calls to working out.
Dyson V6 Cordless Stick Vacuum - I have a full-size upright vacuum that I use for whole house cleaning, but since buying my Dyson Stick Vacuum I find I rarely use it. The Dyson Stick Vac is lightweight, can be used almost anywhere and will give you up to 20 minutes of use on a charge. It’s great for quick cleanup jobs around the house.
Brother HL-L2340DW MMEF2Compact Laser Printer - I initially bought this printer for my office, but have since picked one up for home. It’s an inexpensive monochrome laser printer that you can connect via USB, AirPrint or Wi-Fi Direct. The printer is fast and efficient, providing up to 27 pages per minute and has a 250-sheet capacity with a manual feed tray. The printer is also Amazon Dash enabled so it can be configured to order its own toner. In over a year of ownership and fairly heavy use, I’ve only had to reorder toner twice. It’s much faster and economical than my old inkjet printer.
Qi Charger - I admit, when Apple announced wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and X I thought it was a gimmick. Wireless charging is slow and isn’t really “wireless” as it requires the charger to be plugged in. Turns out, it’s actually pretty convenient just to set your phone down on a pad. The trick is, to put these chargers in places where you commonly set your phone down already. I like a stand-up charger for my desk, and a charging pad for places I commonly lay my phone down like on my side table in the family room.
Lutron Caseta Starter Switch Set - I love my Hue lights, but sometimes they’re a pain to operate. Turns out, smart switches are better. A single smart switch can turn a whole room into a room full of “smart lights”. The Lutron Caseta is my favorite as they are available in a variety of styles and configurations and work with both the Amazon Echo and Apple Home Kit. Start with a hub and grow from there. I’ve already set up my family room, kitchen, bedroom, and fan and am itching to do more.
Top Greener USB Outlet - While you’re replacing your wall switches, might as well replace a few electrical outlets too. These outlets include USB outlets to neatly charge your devices without the need for unsightly wall warts. You can pick up outlets with USB-A ports and now USB-C ports as well depending on your needs. I like having a couple of these in the kitchen or other places people commonly charge their devices.