If you’re like us, you’ll be shopping for a gadget-loving, tech-obsessed individual this year.  We know it can be difficult to choose from all the options and hard to not go overboard on your budget.  From your tech co-worker, to that digital-enthusiast in your life, we’ve got you covered.  The Nagios Team has put together a list of some of our favorite, super-handy, inexpensive gifts that are sure to WOW the techies in your life.

 

 

1.) Mini Wireless Keyboard

What is it?
A handy wireless keyboard/mouse that is rechargeable via micro USB.

Why it makes a great gift
We think this is an amazing tech bag add-on for any field technician or systems administrator. Occasionally a workstation, kiosk, smart display, or server requires a simple key stroke or button pressed and a keyboard or mouse is nowhere to be found. Rather than carrying around a full sized version, a mini keyboard/mouse can hide in a backpack with ease!  The rechargeable battery adds more convenience and can be powered by any micro USB cable. Perhaps the most useful element outside of its compact size is the fact that the wireless USB dongle is highly plug-n-play and doesn’t rely on Bluetooth or other protocols/drivers to be installed. The wireless dongle also has home inside the keyboard case so that it will not be lost when needed. Some of our Nagios staff use these keyboards for their home entertainment control as well!

2.) Mini Travel Router

What is it?
A multi-function pocket sized router capable of acting as a wireless router, a wi-fi access point, a wi-fi bridge, or a wi-fi repeater. Setting up the router ahead of time allows for system administrators to carry this in their backpacks with the confidence that they can solve an immediate challenge relating to a number of wireless needs.

Why it makes a great gift
These routers are essentially a network engineer’s version of Swiss Army Knife. They are powered by USB and have the ability to solve, either temporarily or permanently, a wide array of common networking challenges.  Most travel routers can be easily configured to perform on-the-spot tasks that can save the day. Some models even go so far as to allow users to plug in an external hard drive and allow file sharing documents across a network.

3.) Samsung SmartThings Hub

What is it?
The SmartThings Hub is a small device that, when connected to a home network, can connect to a wide array of home automation devices and, most importantly, allows them to work together.

Why it makes a great gift
Easily the best part about gifting a SmartThings Hub is that right out of the box it is very intuitive and easy to set up for those who do not want to dive deep into customization, but also features a very in-depth developer platform to customize devices and automation routines for those wanting to flex their technical abilities.  The hub not only expands the catalog of available smart home gadgets to pick from, but also incorporates existing items someone may already have such as smart speakers, bulbs, and thermostats.

4.) Stream Deck

What is it?
A Stream Deck is a small keyboard with 15 individual screens that act as buttons. Each key can be programmed to perform a number of different tasks relative to what is on the screen. Initially built for the gaming community to increase live stream productivity, the Stream Deck is now seen on the desks of programmers, graphic designers, and other industry tech enthusiasts.

Why it makes a great gift
Programmable keyboards have existed for quite a while and their usefulness has always qualified them as great gifts. The Stream Deck stands out as an exceptionally notable example because of how easy it is to set up and use. Users do not have to remember what each key does because the key itself is a screen that can easily identify its function. The Stream Deck can also change what the keys do based on what window is open on the computer.  For example, if Excel is being used, the screens can display macros, shortcuts, and common or custom functions relative to Excel. If Chrome or Photoshop is then opened up or brought to the front of the screen, the Stream Deck can immediately switch to common task items associated with those programs.  The possibilities are always expanding and can really be a game changer for the way computers are used.

5.) Bluetooth Key Finder

What is it?
Reviving an age old product, a Bluetooth key finder is a tiny plastic chip sized device that, when attached to a set of keys, a remote, or any commonly lost item, can be found by activating a sound via a smartphone nearby. Users download an app, pair the key finder, and then attach it to an item.  When lost, the app will then send a signal to produce a noise for easy tracking.

Why it makes a great gift
This particular gift typically falls under the category of “I wouldn’t purchase one myself, but if given to me, I would absolutely love it!”   The low price point and day saving results make it an appealing gift for pretty much everyone. Devices like the Tile Mate, for example, have a relatively long battery life and extend their features to cloud based community tracking.  For example, if a set of keys is lost outside of the house, the app will enlist the help of last known locations and securely enlist other Tile user’s phones to help in the rescue efforts!

6.) HDMI Mini PC

What is it?
A computer featuring a full operating system (Windows) that is the size of a granola bar.  They typically feature one or two full sized USB ports, audio out, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and can be powered by micro USB or USB-C.

Why it makes a great gift
At first glance these mini PCs have an obvious use-case:  Kiosks, entertainment centers, et cetera.  Essentially any place that requires an extremely minimal footprint to install and run a full version of Windows (or Linux!)  The reality is that by having one of these in a backpack pre-configured with utilities or programs, a sysadmin can save the day!  Acting as a temporary replacement to a mission critical PC out in the field, plugging it into a car’s A/V system, or replacing the old method of thumb drives with stored presentation materials and instead carrying everything you need in one compact device! The possibilities are endless based on the horsepower these mini PCs now pack. Sure, they may not play Fortnite with exceptional detail, however for most sysadmin use-cases they are an incredibly useful tool.

7.) Nitecore TIP

What is it?
A usefully powerful flashlight that actually fits on a key chain and is rechargeable via micro USB.

Why it makes a great gift
If there’s one constant in the IT world, it’s that those working in it have a fascination of flashlights. Many may carry flashlights that can light up the dark side of the moon, however most have to rely on a clip or holster and be carried separately which defies the common pocket law of wallet-keys-cellphone! After all, the most useful tool is one that is actually present. Enter the Nitecore TIP.  This tiny flashlight features multiple easy to use modes, an impressive battery life, and is rechargeable via the popular micro USB cable everyone already has five of.  The rechargeable functionality alone makes it difficult to not fall in love with. The impressively small size makes it an easy addition to any pocket. Best of all, the flashlight is very bright!

8.) Logitech Harmony Hub

What is it?
A little box that can control and automate home entertainment centers or corporate conference rooms.

Why it makes a great gift
At a price point of around $60, this smart home add-on eliminates the need to search between the sofa cushions for that pesky set of remotes!  Controllable via Logitech remotes, smartphones, or even smart speakers, the app and tiny USB powered hub takes roughly 10-15 minutes to get up and running. The interface is incredibly easy to navigate and automate all entertainment devices in the same room. The ability to create custom scenes and activities is what really sets this apart from a traditional set of remotes. The hub can be configured to perform an activity such as, “Netflix” where pressing the button can dim the lights, set the thermostat to a specific temperature, and turn all of the devices on and to the right inputs to queue up the Netflix app.  For any tech enthusiast ready to say goodbye to the basket of remotes, this makes a great gift.

9.) Amazon Fire Tablet

What is it?
A low cost tablet featuring a bright screen, low profile, and easy to use interface.

Why it makes a great gift
These tablets made it on our list because of how many uses it can provide for the tech savvy.  Based on the price point, it makes a perfect add-on to any project requiring a dedicated always-on screen.  Several guides online outline how to install the Google Play Store to maximize the features and possibilities for a number of creative projects. We find many users dedicate and mount these tablets in areas to display smart home content, home media control, and other quick access functions where a 7, 8, or 10 inch screen is ideal. These tablets may not horsepower for playing movies and similar functions that more expensive models offer, but that’s what makes this a perfect project tablet!

10.) Raspberry Pi

What is it?
A Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python.

Why it makes a great gift
A common go-to for tech enthusiasts, this computer has a million creative uses which means if someone already has one or even two of them, the addition of a third means they can now develop another project! For those who have not been introduced to the Raspberry Pi, it makes for a great introduction to the maker community. Build a retro gaming system, or explore smart-home automation. It can even play Minecraft!

 


Be sure to head over to our Facebook Page and check out the videos of our Team explaining how they use these awesome gadgets.