Gifts for techies
If your small business relies on a system administrator to ensure your network of devices is running smoothly, you may want to mark Friday on your calendar. It may not be the most widely celebrated holiday of the year, but National System Administrator Appreciation Day is July 26, and time is running out to gather your co-workers to pitch in for something nice.
To help you find the perfect gift for your system administrator, or a family member or friend who works in IT, we've gathered our 10 best gift ideas for IT professionals, gamers, power users and digital devotees.
Amazon Echo Dot
Smart technology, especially smart speakers, are pretty ubiquitous at this point. Any device that can answer questions and connect you with loved ones via simple voice commands was bound to catch on like wildfire. Amazon's current model, the third-generation Amazon Echo Dot, brings personal assistant Alexa to any room. At less than 2 inches tall, this diminutive assistant can order food, play games and stream music from a variety of services for $50, though it's regularly marked down so you may be able to nab this tech gift for less.
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
System administrators wear many hats. One minute they could be clearing a laptop of viruses and the next, they could be elbow-deep in a RAID server fixing some indecipherable issue. Quickly switching gears at a moment's notice sometimes requires special tools, making the Gerber Dime Multi-Toola practical gift. Sporting a sturdy stainless-steel body and measuring just 4.25 inches long when fully opened, this butterfly-style multitool is small enough to fit in a pocket. But don't let its small frame and $20 price tag fool you, this device includes 10 tools: needle-nose, spring-loaded pliers; a wirecutter, fine-edge blade; retail package opener; scissors; medium flathead screwdriver; Phillips screwdriver; bottle opener; tweezers and file.
Anker PowerCore Speed 20000
Nothing is more frustrating than noticing you have mere moments before your smartphone becomes an empty, black mirror. For $60, the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000is a high-capacity portable charger with enough power to charge a Samsung Galaxy S8 more than four times and an iPad Air 2 roughly 1.5 times. Featuring Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 technology, this battery pack can quickly charge any USB device. Sporting a 20,000-mAh battery and two USB 3.0 ports, the PowerCore Speed 20000 will make it so even the most tech-obsessed person can keep their gadgets running.
Known for their colorful games and jovial Italian plumber mascot Mario, Nintendo has long been associated with everything nerdy and fun. If your system administrator has been known to save the day in your company's castle, your office can't go wrong by pitching in to get them a Nintendo Switch. This highly-portable video game console boasts excellent graphical fidelity with some of today's hottest games and is also the platform of choice for some of the more popular indie titles on the market. If the $300 price tag is too much for you and your team, consider a Nintendo Switch Lite.Nintendo Switch Lite. It costs $200 and comes out later this year.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo Wireless Earbuds
Listening to music while you work helps the hours fly by. Why not make things easier for your system administrator by getting them these Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo Bluetooth earbuds? They wirelessly connect to a Bluetooth-enabled device for more than 3.5 hours of continuous wireless playtime, and the case doubles as a charging dock, providing an additional nine hours of battery life. At $50, they're a steal compared to the way more expensive Apple AirPods.
Give the gift of on-the-go music creation with one of Teenage Engineering's line of portable drum machines and synthesizers, known as Pocket Operators. Featuring a minimalist, circuit-board-meets-calculator design, each device allows for 16 different sequences as well as live play. For beginning beatmakers, buy the $60 PO-12 Rhythm. For more musically inclined beatmakers, the $90 PO-35 Speak features an onboard microphone that drives its vocal synthesis capabilities and allows up to 120 seconds of samples.
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+
To the uninitiated, system administrators can seemingly do almost anything to get a broken system up and running again. With a Raspberry Pi kit like the one from CanaKit, they can perfect their programming skills, as these credit card-sized computers can be programmed to be used in a myriad of ways. If your system admin is adept in coding languages like Scratch and Python, or looking to brush up on them, this $55 set is a great gift, as it has everything they need to get started on a new project.
HyperX Cloud Revolver S gaming headset
When it comes to taking down enemies in Fortnite or streaking along a racetrack in Forza, communication is key. That's why the discerning gamer would want the HyperX Cloud Revolver S, a studio-quality headset with Dolby 7.1 surround-sound capabilities and a detachable noise-canceling microphone. With its durable steel frame and memory-foam lined ear cups, this model is ready to use with any device with USB audio or a 3.5-mm headphone jack. The HyperX Cloud Revolver S is $125.
Gunnar Optiks Intercept glasses
As anyone who sits in front of a computer screen for hours on end can attest, working in tech can cause a lot of eye strain. Studies have shown that too much blue light from computer monitors disrupts natural circadian rhythms. Specialized glasses, like the Gunnar Optiks, block out 65% of blue light and 100% of UV light. These stylish glasses reduce the harmful aspects of working or gaming in front of computer monitors for long stretches and come in a variety of styles for around $55.
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
Any IT professional worth their salt has a great set of tools. The $60 iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit is an awesome gift because it puts them all in one place. It's got it all, including a 64-bit driver kit, an anti-static wrist strap and an iFixit Jimmy opening knife. With all these parts, you can safely take apart everything from an Apple Watch to a Nintendo gaming console.