Staff writers Joe Donovan, Emily Schiola, and Rick Stella contributed to this article.
For better or worse, there really is no one quite like your mother. With Mother’s Day 2014 steadily approaching on Sunday, May 11, the window for landing that perfect gift to show your appreciation for mommie dearest is closing — and closing fast. However, we all know not all mothers are the same, even if they’re becoming more tech-savvy alongside the rest of the times. The possibilities are endless, and such is the case, choosing the right gift for your mother can seem like the ultimate conundrum depending on her interests (and your budget). Some are cooking aficionados and others film buffs in the Ebert vain, while others still, prefer fitness and flowers over a quality music playlist featuring Barbra Joan Streisand and the latest in adult contemporary. Mother may know best, but then again, you should know she may want something more practical than a bouquet of flowers and jewelry she’ll likely never wear.
Here are our top picks for the best Mother’s Day gifts for the upcoming holiday, regardless of what you’re mom may be into. Alternatively, check out selection our 2013 holiday gift guides for a wide assortment of past suggestions.
Misfit Shine ($120)
Exercise is a key to component to a healthy lifestyle, and despite our reservations, there’s no reason a fitness tracker needs to come off as subtle hint to lose weight. The Misfit Shine is one of the best devices in the industry, encased in a gorgeously-minimalist design and featuring a battery designed to last for an upwards of four months. The aluminum disk is waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters and capable of syncing everything from the number of calories burned and distance covered to various sleep habits, while providing both iOS and Android functionality through the device’s accompanying mobile app. The jewelry-esque device can even be worn around the neck like a necklace or on the arm like a bracelet, rendering it one of the most stylish and functional fitness trackers to date. Check out our comprehensive Misfit Shine review for all the details.
iRobot Roomba 650 ($400)
It’s safe to say no one is a big fan of vacuuming. Thankfully, iRobot’s line of self-sufficient vacuums is specifically designed to clean on your schedule or at the mere press of a bottom. Sporting a rounded exterior and a slew of on-board controls, the Roomba 650 is one of most approachable of the bunch, capable of easily navigating most surfaces and transitions with little incident. Though the device exhibits long charge times and lacks a battery meter, it’s still easy to empty and maintain, rollicking in a spinning side brush that cleans along wall edges as counter-rotating brushes pick up dirt and unwanted debris alongside the device’s powerful suction. It works well in clearly-defined and open spaces, easily steering underneath couches, curtains, beds, and similar furniture while avoiding cumbersome areas such as stairways. It can’t do it all, but it certainly comes close if you’re willing to opt for something other than the classic Hoover. Check out our iRobot Roomba 650 review for a comprehensive look at the company’s flagship offering.
LifeProof smartphone case ($80+)
Though your mother may not have had a smartphone, cellphone — or any phone for that matter — when she was a kid, she surely does now. A quality case is the first line of protection for any mobile user, providing a simple means for defending against the elements and one’s own clumsiness. LifeProof’s line of protective cases specifically designed for both iOS devices and Galaxy smartphones is one of the best on the market, shielding devices against impact, snow, water, and dirt under nearly any situation. The lightweight, waterproof encasing retains touch sensitivity while reducing glare and maintaining access to all ports and side buttons, ensuring the utmost protection even when using headphones. Furthermore, the company offers the cases in a myriad of color combinations, meaning you can choose an offering that perfectly pairs with your mother’s sense of fashion and style. After all, looking good on the go is just as important as laudable protection.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice is pretty much synonymous with the best aspects of morning and spring time — and few juicers say “fresh-squeezed” at such an affordable price like Cuisinart’s Pulp Control Citrus Juicer. As the name implies, the juicer provides a custom pulp setting that determines the amount of pulp juiced out of each orange or lime, while additionally offering a final spin feature designed to extract even more juice from the pulp. All device components are dishwasher-safe and encased in the juicer’s brushed-metal housing, and the adjustable reamer offers three pulp settings (low, medium, high) for producing varying levels of pulp regardless if you’re juicing a small lime or behemoth grapefruit. Hell, the device even comes bundled with a extensive recipe book in addition to those provided on the company’s website. How do you think your mother feels about fresh-squeezed mimosas?
Quality cooking apps are a dime — err, more so a dollar — a dozen, but the same can’t be said for quality tablet stands designed specifically design for use in the kitchen. California-based Belkin is a household name, and being the case, the Belkin Kitchen Stand and Wand offers the kind of simple functionality and stability the company is known for. The convenient stand may not be dishwasher safe, but its non-slip rubber design ensures it remains stationary while mounted on the kitchen counter, and it even comes bundled with a magnetic-tipped stylus to avoid everyday smudged and cooking grime. Moreover, the device provides orientation options for low-angle and vertical viewing, whether using an Apple iPad or Nexus 7 tablet.
Next Page: Four more tech-related gift ideas for Mother’s Day.