Tech Gifts for Grads

By Tracey Dowdy

Grad season is upon us, and that means grad gift season is here too. Finding the right gift that’s both useful and fun can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

Whether your grad is transitioning from high school to college, or from college to career, these gifts are sure to be a hit.

You can’t go wrong with a Roku Streaming Stick, because really, what better way to celebrate never having to do homework again than by binge watching all six seasons of The Mindy Project? Plug the Streaming Stick into any HDMI-equipped TV and your grad will have access to hundreds of streaming channels, including Netflix, Hulu, Sling, HBO Now and PlayStation Vue. Its interface is user-friendly and the latest version has a voice-activated remote that can also control your TV’s power and volume. The Roku Express is another great option; though it doesn’t have the voice controlled remote, it is half the price.  (Roku Streaming Stick $69.99/Roku Express $29.99)

Another solid option is the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, which offers 16GB of internal memory and an expansion slot for microSD memory cards up to 256GB. Amazon promises12-hours of battery life for “mixed-use,” but remember, streaming video and gaming will burn through a charge faster than reading. Users can access Alexa with a single tap, stream music, take photos, or watch videos on its 8” display. (Amazon Fire HD 8 – $79.99)

If your grad is planning to spend a little time by the pool this summer, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom is the perfect Bluetooth speaker. Waterproof and roughly the size of a softball, the Wonderboom floats, is shock resistant, has a decent battery life and, as its name suggests, is “full of big, beautiful bass.” You can pair two for a stereo effect. (Ultimate Ears Wonderboom $99.99)

If your grad spent all their money on tuition and not on car payments, they could probably use the Mpow Bluetooth 4.1 Receiver 2-in-1adapter to allow hands-free calling and music streaming from their car. The Mpow plugs in to the car’s audio port – or a headphone jack if you want to use the adapter on other devices – has a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and can be paired with two sets of headphones. If the car doesn’t have an audio port, the iClever Himbox HB01 plugs into the car-lighter port for and features two USB ports on the back to allow users to charge smartphones while using the device. (Mpow Bluetooth 4.1 Receiver 2-in-1 – $29.99)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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