There are tens of thousands of technology products that people will consider buying for someone else this coming holiday season. Here are four of them, prices from $20. to about $250. which I use and have found to be functional, fun and welcome additions to my increasingly wireless lifestyle.
The Logitech K750 Wireless, Solar Powered Keyboard
There are many wireless keyboards on the market. Most commonly used as accessories for laptop and tablet computers, they also have a place with a desktop for the user who wants to reduce with jungle of wires generally found behind the workstation at home or at work.
The Logitech line makes a wire-elimination plan even easier as its proprietary “Unifying” technology can manage a wireless keyboard, mouse and other devices through one small USB transmitter.
With this new model, the K750 Solar Powered keyboard, Logitech has advanced the options in an intriguing and nicely functional way. The K50 is 1) a full size keyboard with all standard shortcut and number keys, 2) a battery that is charged by light – ANY light (natural or electronic) which, once fully charged, can run the keyboard in the dark for up to three months, and 3) a nice, smooth and responsive touch. For those accustomed to regular keyboards, the light touch this K750 requires is lovely. I find my fingers literally dancing across the keys with great ease.
The Logitech K750 requires no software in addition to the basic unifying program which is small and very easy to install and use to add new devices. A link is provided to download and install a “Solar App” which tells the user how much light (in lumens) is being received by the cells on the keyboards surface at any moment and confirms how full the current charge is.
Paired with a Logitech M510 wireless mouse, my own desktop is finally somewhat de-cluttered and my hands and fingers are as grateful as my eyes!
Available at many sites priced from $50 – $65, the Logitech K750 is a gift that will likely be appreciated by that computer user who you once thought had ‘everything.’
The Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4530 Multifunction Machine
This new Epson WP4530 is a larger-than-usual multifunction machine designed for home users with high volume and two-sided printing needs or for use in small offices,
It is wireless and easily picks up the local network, prints, scans, copies and FAXes. The WP4530 actually has its own email address so you can send anything to be printed from any computer that is online – anywhere and anytime.
The ink cartridges for the WP4530 are quite large and will print well over 2000 black and white pages and over 1300 full color ones. For my own use, I expect a set of these Epson (#76) cartridges to last me about a year. Less frequent ink replacement means less hassle for me.
The ink is a new “DURA-Bright Ultra” formulation which dries immediately. As soon as the page comes out of the WP4530, it is dry and non-smudgeable. There are two paper trays. The main tray holds an impressive 330 sheets of paper, and a rear tray that I will probably use for envelopes, photographs, etc. holds another 100 pages.
The volume capacities are hard to beat in an ink jet multifunction machine in this price range.
For that person who needs a reliable wireless multifunction machine with greater-than-usual quality, capacities and speed, this Epson WP4530 will be w welcome surprise. It is listed at $299 and can be found at many sites for $250 or less.
The 8GB FlipVideo from Cisco
I learned about this little video camera from my 9-year-old granddaughter who brought it on a vacation and ran around filming herself and everyone else with it!
The technology has become relatively ubiquitous since Cisco first released the FlipVideo several years ago. For reasons known only to Cisco, after achieving much success and the lion’s share of the market for these small video cameras, they decided to cease production of them. The good news is that they will continue to offer warranty support and service for them and that following the announcement of the manufacturing stoppage, the prices simply plunged dramatically.
This FlipVideo sports a full 8GB of internal memory (enough for two hours of video) and its permanent battery is charged by simply plugging it’s fold-out USB connector into a powered computer. That same USB arm also transfers the captured video to a computer for storage, editing or sharing.
This FlipVideo is really quite small and easily fits into a shirt pocket without even making a bulge (3 7/8″ X 2″ X5/8″.) It is a natural as an unobtrusive recorder of family events! Simple one button operation and a 1 ¾” X 1 ¼” view screen make it easily usable by any adult and by most children over the age of 6.
Although it has no optical zoom and only a little (2X) digital zoom, the image quality is rated as HD (High Definition) and is surprisingly good. The software it comes with called “FlipShare” makes simple editing, titling and sharing of your video clips by email or social networking sites (including YouTube) straightforward and simple.
Not to be confused with a serious and more creatively versatile Digital Video Camera, this FlipVideo 8GB camera from Cisco is a really neat and fun little device. It is an electronic toy that everyone in the family will quickly enjoy.
No longer in active production, the FlipVideo 8GB is available for under $50.
The Western Hawk 4.8V Cordless Electric Screwdriver
A screwdriver is a basic requirement in all homes. Most people need at least several of them with different heads (flat and Phillips) and different sizes. This Western Hawk 4.8V Electric Screwdriver is rechargeable. It is a small pistol-shaped mini-drill (6 1/2 ” from the tip of the handle to the tip of the bit holder), is easy for someone with even small hands to use and generates sufficient torque to handle all the screws (both sheet metal and wood) necessary to install two screen doors and a dozen electrical connections in the house on one charge.
Not too many years ago, an electric screwdriver meant a heavy, plug-in, electric drill with screwdriver bits. Early small cordless screwdrivers simply did not hold the charges well enough to be more than momentarily useful and often lacked sufficient power to get screws entirely into where they needed to be. This little device was really quite a surprise!
This 4.8V cordless screwdriver from Western Hawk is fully and easily reversible so it can loosen as well as tighten screws and has a small light installed at the bit so the user can see the screw even in dark situations.
It comes in a small, clear-topped carrying case along with 30+ varied screw driver bits, a pilot hole drilling bit (which works in both wood and metal) and a couple of other shaft adjusting pieces to adapt the drill to special circumstances.
Available for under $20 at hardware stores, this petite but effective Western Hawk 4.8V Cordless Screwdriver would be a great gift for anyone who does small repairs and installations around the house.