9 tech gifts you probably didn’t get, but you just might need

The big day has some and gone and it’s entirely possible that Santa didn’t bring you everything you wanted. In fact, there are things you maybe didn’t even think to ask for that might be just what you need (or “need,” as the case may be).

Based on my experience and the input of many friends, I offer you the following list of 9 items you should think about buying yourself:

powerdock5-1_11. A powerdock. The holidays may have brought an extra iOS device to your home. If so, and you don’t have an extra outlet or two handy for charging, you might want to consider getting this powerdock device charger. I gotta say, it looks pretty handy to have a spot for all of them!

2. A wireless speaker or a new receiver. Still listening to your music on the speakers you had in college? Quit it. Today’s wireless tech gives you the perfect excuse to upgrade to a wireless speaker. For listening to music with your mobile device, consider getting a Bluetooth speaker. I recommend the Bose Soundlink Mini. I’ve also heard good things about the Jawbone Jambox Mini.

To take full advantage of all the multi-channel audio capabilities new TVs offer you might want to upgrade your receiver. My friend Jeff has this on his fantasy purchase list (you can see why he didn’t find that baby under his tree yesterday), but I can see his point. You can’t get full 5.1 or more surround sound with an old receiver.

3. 6-foot mobile device charging cable. I know this sounds a little silly, but most manufacturers include a 3 or 4 foot cord with their devices. This is fine, and yet a little inadequate if you’d like to actually use your device while it’s plugged in (not that my children EVER want to do this). I recently ordered a 6-foot cord to replace and OEM one and what a difference those extra few feet make. I highly recommend this cheap, and handy, tech accessory.

4. eneloop rechargeable batteries. Santa often brings battery-gobbling devices such as remote-controlled cars and game controllers. Save yourself some money and get some good rechargable batteries. My family has had eneloop batteries for years and years and they’re still going strong.

chomecast5. A ChromeCast. This suggestion by my friend Jeff, once out there on my Facebook feed, got many, many votes of support. Folks love their ChromeCasts! For only $35, my friends love the ability to make their regular TV a “smart TV” and stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play, and more. Plus, they say the ease with which you can send videos from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is really nice.

6. Bluetooth headphones. Sure, it would be great to be able to listen to your music without being tethered your mobile device, but these might ofter you the gift of silence as well. After all, you can tolerate KeSha’s music, but your 13-year-old daughter loves listening to it over, and over, and over, and over. Wouldn’t it be nice to just hand her a set of headphones so she can enjoy her music all by herself? And with Bluetooth headphones (my friend Eric suggests JayBird Bluebuds or Backbeat Go 2), even your 4-year-old can’t get too tangled up (like in the car, when you don’t really want to listen to SnowBuddies…again).

7. A FitBit. Yes, it’s an obvious choice, but after the holidays, who doesn’t need to take off a few pounds? I have friends with the One, and the Flex, and the reviews are all favorable. If you can manage to find one in stock somewhere, a FitBit might be a worthy purchase.

8. Remote PC support. This is TDS’ Internet product that frees you from ever needing to lug your computer to the local “Nerd Herd” for help. If you need help installing or setting up a device (including those ever-frustrating printers–why are they always just a pain?), a TDS tech will access your PC remotely and do the work for you. Note: this would make a lovely post-holiday gift for the people in your life who always call you for tech support ☺ (so really it would be a gift for you!).

PetiteKey_3Q9. USB 3.0 flash drive. Also a suggestion from my gang of tech-savvy friends. Sure, we’ve all got flash drives sitting around the house, but go ahead and splurge on a new USB 3.0 one–the speed will make you happy. Of course, I’m also intrigued by these two 2.0 devices–the LaCie PetiteKey (so small and water resistant) and the Kingston Data Traveler (also small [and does come in a 3.0 version although it’s not quite as sexy as the 2.0).

How about you? What tech you wish had received as a Christmas gift or what do you wish you would have asked for?

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.
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