A Gift For Geeks: Charge!

two-chargersCell phones, tablets & related accessories are very personal items. I am increasingly of a mind that items of technology are too personal to be a gift. However, there are a few some cases where that’s not true. For example, unusual chargers.  In particular, high-current USB chargers built into standard receptacles.

These handy devices cost around $20 and are available from a variety of sources. Locally, I have found them at Lowe’s and Home Depot, although Amazon has a great selection which afford you the opportunity to match a particular décor. Those who are handy with a screwdriver might include the act of installation along with the gift itself.

If that’s not your thing, you might consider a wireless charger. Where a year ago wireless chargers were still pricey, in the $50+ range, they have since fallen to $25 or less. It takes a little research to determine if your intended target has a  mobile device that features one of the common wireless charging mechanisms, the most common of which is known as Qi.

From my own experience I know that our Nexus 4, Nexus 5 & Nexus 7 mobile devices all have Qi wireless charging built-in. If their cell phone, like the almighty iPhone,  doesn’t have Qi built-in you can add it by way of aftermarket  wireless receiver. These are also very affordable, and available in designs that fit just about any phone.

Wireless chargers potentially extend the life of the handheld device by avoiding the mechanical wear & tear common to repeated use of the micro-USB charging port. Further, a wireless charging stand puts a tablet at a convenient position resting on a desktop or night stand. That makes it more practical to use the device as an alarm clock or streaming music player. It’s reliably held at an appropriate position even while keeping it continuously powered.

Advanced chargers are good gift ideas.They are items that people usually don’t buy for themselves, yet they can significantly improve quality of life with handheld devices.

  • Buckhead Don

    I finally broke down and bought a Qi back for my LG G3 phone and a Nokia DT-910 charging stand. I agree on the concept of chargers being good gifts, although a little research might be needed to confirm the recipient’s phone is compatible with the charger being considered. I’ve found that Qi chargers aren’t quite as plug-n-play as I would have hoped. The failure modes of wireless charging aren’t nice. Finding that your phone unexpectedly didn’t charge isn’t cool. Being barraged by a cycle of charging starts and unexpected charge terminations, with the accompanying audio cues, can be worse. When wireless charging works, however, it’s sublime. It makes up for all those cases where tripping over a power cord sent a phone flying across the room.

  • Robin

    Our household consensus is that the greatest gadget in our home is a Chargebus 16 way charger (from http://www.chargebus.co.uk/) and a racking stand to store all the devices in whilst they are charging. It’s not wireless…..but it’s out of the way in the utility room, and it’s an absolute godsend when we all want to charge something at one….all the cables in one place and a reliable home for depleted gadgets needing a boost. Guests to our home know they never need to bring their chargers along when they visit!

    • mjgraves

      This is very much what my Mrs wants in our central hallway. She wants a place where everything can be charged, where it’s accessible, yet not always visible. Her idea of neat & pretty implies that we’ll have a drawer with connections for wired things, and a couple of dual position wireless charging pads for the common phones & tablets.

      • Robin

        It has worked really well for us over the last couple of years…but I’d admit it’s not the cheapest solution and it’s pretty utilitarian (ii.e. needs more work to make it tidy)..but none of us would give it up! If we re-decorated some of our other rooms we might think seriously about something like this in a couple of more visible locations – http://www.spell-online.com/collections/daily_digital/products/stage-interaction-shelf

        • mjgraves

          That’s nice…but hugely expensive! For that sum I’d be inclined to build one myself. I’m handy with wood and there’s a most excellent supplier of materials nearby. http://www.clarkshardwood.com/

          • Robin

            Lol! What can I say…European designer furniture :)That wood supplier looks like they have an Aladin’s cave of beautiful raw material…and if you have a workshop and some skills with wood then the sky’s the limit 🙂