What do the techie elite really love? In most cases, they use the same criteria as the rest of us--convenience, intelligent products that save time, exceptional power, and functionality. This gear should be at the top of your holiday list, especially since the products all offer something extra that is surprising, smart, and goes beyond the norm.
1. Logitech G Powerplay Wireless Charging System ($100)
Meant for the serious gamer (or office worker), the Logitech Powerplay is a mousepad that charges the mouse continuously and without wires. For gaming, the connection is fast and doesn't have the same lag (or battery issues) as a mouse that connects only to a USB port over Bluetooth.
2. Master & Dynamic MA770 Wireless Speaker ($1,800)
Yes, it weighs 35-pounds, and that's one of the biggest selling points. Made from a concrete composite, this high-end speaker has such a lush and powerful sound it makes you want to reach for the volume button on every song. The speaker connects over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to your phone, but also supports a standard 3.5mm aux cable.
3. Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool ($132)
Tech gadgets don't always need electrical power. This Gerber multi-tool has a surprising feel when you pull out the screwdriver because it's so balanced and rigid. The fold out blade is also 30 percent longer than most multi-tools. It comes with a pouch that also holds the extra screw bits. Gerber just released a new all-black model.
4. Dreampad Pillow ($129)
A pillow that emanates soft, lilting music to help you sleep? Sign me up. The Dreampad connects using a 3.5mm cord to your phone or you can use an optional Bluetooth streaming device. The pillow uses sound vibrations that reach the bone of your inner ear to help you drift off to sleep.
5. Lenovo Star Wars Jedi Challenges ($200)
Lenovo teamed up with Lucasfilm and Disney to make a standalone VR headset (you use your own smartphone, like the Google Pixel 2 or an iPhone) that comes with a VR lightsaber. There are also more cerebral games, like VR chess, and action games that involve slicing and dicing your way through a level filled with Star Wars baddies.
6. Ubtech Lynx ($800)
One of the most remarkable toys of the holiday season, the Lynx robot can snap a photo, show you some dance moves, or lead the whole family in a workout routine--and it's all controlled by voice. Amazon Alexa on board means you can even have the bot read books and play music.
7. Palo Alto Innovation Sandman Clock ($45)
A simple alarm clock with a bright display, the Sandman Clock doubles as a four-port USB charger for your phone or tablet. It also has an easy-to-use alarm button. The bright red LED readout is old-school, but you can see it from across the room.
8. Hyperice Vyper 2 ($199)
A workout roller for fitness nuts, the Vyper 2 has three levels of vibration to help you get a lighter or more vigorous workout. The roller lasts two hours per charge. It works much better than a normal foam roller because of the vibration feedback.
9. Rocketbook Everlast ($34)
A digital notebook that uses normal pen and paper? That you can erase with a drop of water? Seems like a smart way to take notes at a meeting. The Rocketbook Everlast uses an app to help you capture the notes digital, then you can erase them easily.
10. Qardio QardioBase 2 ($120)
Forget a normal bathroom scale. This model from Qardio connects to an app and shows you your current weight, weight history, BMI (body mass index), and body composition. The app helps you set goals for workouts and weight loss over time.
11. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 ($480)
My favorite tablet that runs Android, the Tab S3 lasts 12 hours per charge (or even longer if you dim the display and reduce the processor speed) and has a bright 9.7-inch screen. Four speakers along the bottom pump out enough power for any Hollywood movie.
12. Microsoft Surface Book 2 ($1,500)
Microsoft improved the processing speed on the new Surface Book 2 with an Intel Core i5 chip. As a 13.5-inch touchscreen tablet, it also works perfectly as a normal laptop, with a built-in keyboard. Why do techies love it? Mostly, it's the remarkable display, which accepts pen input for notes and drawing that's super accurate.