What is the best gift for a Millennial graduating from college? Or someone in the Gen Z age group graduating from high school? These gift ideas are intended to help parents and grandparents find a gadget the graduate will actually love.
1. Canon ImageFormula P-215II Scan-tini Mobile Document Scanner ($224)
Yes, a document scanner. It comes in handy more than you think, especially if your grad is heading off to college. Contracts, assignments, papers, snail mail--the grad can scan them in quickly using an automatic document feeder at 15 pages per minute. Some might argue that snapping a picture with your phone works similarly, but without the speed.
2. Verizon HumX (Pricing varies)
Don't speed! Stay safe! These two directives might help a grad when you see them in person, but the Verizon HumX is a good back-up. The device offers a wireless hotspot for passengers, can report on diagnostic problems, and has a speakerphone. The device does require that you pay a monthly fee, typically around $5 per month.
3. JBL Boombox ($380)
A massive (and waterproof) boombox (this one is literally called the Boombox) might come in handy. Sound quality is, as expected, loud and warm, if not always perfectly distinct for certain musical styles (say, alternative rock bands).
4. Samsung Gear VR ($130)
Samsung has radically improved these virtual reality goggles, now powered by Oculus. NBA games (now over but still available in an app) look stunningly real, with the camera placed under the basket. You can look all around the court. Games and movies also make you feel like you are there--repairing a droid in a Star Wars game looks ultra-realistic. Only ding to mention is that Google does offer a cheaper alternative.
5. Roku Streaming Stick Plus ($55)
One the easiest-to-use streaming gadgets on the market, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus plugs into a free HDTV port and connects to the included remote. Apps like YouTube TV let you stream network televisions shows, and you can play Hollywood movies in 4K. Only downside is that there are cheaper alternatives, such as the Google Chromecast for $35.
6. Spire Studio ($349)
This eight-track recorder lets you input a guitar or synth using the quarter-inch jack, then mix your music and export it to social media for anyone to hear. The device is easy to use and all of the recording is done right on the Spire Studio. For grads who are musical, it's a great gift because it's so compact. One minor issue? You can do multi-track recording using your phone as well. A guitar adapter for the iPhone or iPad like the IK Multimedia iRig 2 costs just $35, and GarageBand costs $5.
7. Focal Dimension Soundbar ($400)
The sound produced by the Focal Dimension is almost perplexing because it sounds so realistic. In tests, the device seemed to cast surround-sound all over the room. Fortunately, voices in movies like Annihilation sounded perfectly clear and from the center channel, even amid a rumbling soundtrack. Some soundbars do cost a bit less, though.
8. Kodak Photo Printer Dock ($140)
This photo printer doubles as a charging dock for your phone. For prints, you pull up the Kodak app, select the photo you want, then press a button to print it out. You can also print wirelessly to the dock, and the setup is about as simple as it gets. Cost of materials? That could be an issue, since the paper supplies and ink costs $20 for 40 sheets.
9. PowerWatch X ($279)
A watch powered by body heat? That's the idea behind PowerWatch X, which also shows notifications from your phone, is water resistant to 200 meters, and has a tough outer shell. There's also a sleep counter, step counter, and calorie counter. A few smartwatches, most notably the Apple Watch, do offer features like extra apps and more health trackers.
10. Sony A7 III ($2,000)
Want to go big on your grad gift? The Sony A7 III is a full-frame model, which means the camera captures a higher-resolution image that looks much better than consumer-oriented models. A sensor captures the entire image instead of using the traditional mirrors, and the shutter snaps ultra-fast. The A7 III also shoots crisp 4K resolution movies. Only the price (which is low for a Sony A7) is a question mark for grad gift givers.
11. Jura S8 ($2,899)
One of the most high-tech coffee machines ever, this grad gift is for the serous coffee-lover only. The Jura S8 makes 15 different drinks, from a low-temp green tea hot water mode to a new latte that requires just one touch on the control panel. Jura coffee tastes like something you'd only find at a high-end shop, and the S8 is now quieter than ever. It's a smart buy for the college-bound if price is no option.
12. Chevy Bolt EV ($37,495)
And for the most expensive item on the list, consider a 2018 Chevy Bolt EV. This all-electric car goes over 200 miles on a charge. It matches up with the wishes of parents everywhere--to keep your child safe (it's rated as "great" in crash tests) and to save money by going electric. The perk on this compact is that it's quite sporty, accelerating quickly into traffic. And, it is one of the techiest cars around, showing lush energy maps to help you drive smart. It's a bit more expensive than the 2018 Nissan Leaf which costs $29,990.