With Mother’s Day coming up and Father’s Day not far off, you may be in search of elegant, innovative tech gear appropriate for gift giving.
I’ve tried and mostly liked the following.
Eco-friendly laptop. Sub-$1,000 Windows laptops usually aren’t very interesting, but Acer’s Aspire Vero is an exception. Costing between $699.99 and $899.99 depending on how it’s configured, the laptop has an appealing design and is made with the environment in mind.
Roughly 30 percent of the materials used to build the laptop are “post-consumer recycled” plastics, Acer boasts. The keycaps are 50 percent PCR.
The maker is so proud of this that it has engraved the words “post consumer recycled” into the right-hand palm rest, among other phrases etched onto various portions of the PC. Groovy or garish? You decide.
I like the Vero’s looks, overall. The laptop is light gray with flecks of bright yellow and dark gray that would draw attention at a coffee shop. It’s paint-free.
The Vero is a bit of a beast, but that is to be expected for a low-cost 15-incher (we’re not in ultralight territory here).
The keys feel great (and are illuminated). The 16:9, 1920 x 1080 display isn’t anything special, but it is much like the one on my employer-issued Lenovo ThinkPad for getting a ton of work done.
I wish the sole USB-C port could be used for charging (I have to rely on the clunky, non-standard power adapter Acer provides), but that port works fine for data transfer and hooking up external displays. The laptop also has a trio of USB-A ports, plus an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and an audio jack.
Battery life isn’t amazing, but you’ll likely be plugged into power most of the time anyway.
Specs include an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor along with 8 or 16 GB of memory and 256 or 512 GB of storage, depending on config. Not bad, for the money. Other features include a fingerprint reader built into the touchpad, and standard screws for those who are tech-savvy and want to get into the Vero’s guts.
Charging pads and stands. Nomad is a brand that consistently catches my eye with its elegant, well constructed phone-charging devices. It has something for every kind of phone user.
The company has exploited the magnetic-charging MagSafe capability built into recent-model 12-series and 13-series Apple iPhone handsets with a variety of compatible pads and stands. Some are designed to accommodate Apple’s MagSafe charging puck (which you purchase separately) and others have a puck built in.
Nomad’s newest offerings in this vein are the $99.95 Base One and the $149.95 Base One Max — the latter is also an Apple Watch charger, as shown below.
Nomad also has options for users of Android phones and older iPhones. These include the $99.95 Base Station Stand, which will accommodate any handset that supports Qi wireless charging, and the $119.95 Base Station, which not only Qi-charges two phones side-by-side but has a USB-C port and a USB-A port for wired charging – meaning you can juice up four devices simultaneously.
These are premium gadgets made out of leather and other swanky materials, and have prices to match. You can find wireless chargers for a lot less money — but I guess the point is to wow Mom or Dad, right?
With most of these products, you have to supply your own USB-C wall charger — or to purchase one from Nomad.