Ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost Valentine’s Day again. But the most romantic holiday on the calendar can also be the most frantic, with lovers racing around trying to find that special gift for that special someone. Well, put down that pathetic teddy bear and box of chocolates, because we’ve got you covered with items they’ll actually want. Check out these hand-picked tech gifts with a thoughtful twist.
Gifts for her
Suck Mix Tape USB ($30)
Nostalgic for a time when sharing music with loved ones took a lot of time and energy? Here’s a way to revisit those days … without using too much time or energy. The Mix Tape USB, from British company Suck, looks like a cassette tape but opens up to reveal a 1GB flash drive. Just load a heart-felt playlist complete with “Kiss from a Rose” and “Waterfalls,” and wrap it up in one of six retro designs. Blank space in the jacket lets you write a personal message or list of songs so your loved one can appreciate the risky move to put “Linger” after “I Will Always Love You.” Finally tell that Starbucks barista you think she’s cute by letting Celine Dion do it for you.
LG Pocket Photo Printer ($120)
If your better half takes more photos with her smartphone than she takes calls, LG’s Pocket Photo Printer is the perfect gift. As you’ve probably surmised, it’s pocket-sized, lightweight and fits in the palm of your hand, and is compatible with both Android and Apple devices. All she has to do is take a photo, edit it in the accompanying app, send it wirelessly to the printer and voila, instant 2-by-3-inch photo goodness. The printer doesn’t require any ink (because science!) and costs around $160.
BloomThat flowers (starting at $35)
A nice bouquet of flowers is always a good V-Day gift, and you can find a flower shop in just about every city in the world, but if you happen to live in San Francisco, you don’t even need to leave your house to buy your significant other a bundle of flowers. BloomThat, an SF-based startup that recently locked down a $2M in seed funding, lets you custom order bouquets and have them delivered within 90 minutes – all from the company’s simple mobile app. And don’t worry if you’re not in SF – there are dozens of other startups like this. If you live in another area, check out Bloomsnap or Teleflora.
Here’s a cool gift idea: SCVNGR is an iPhone or Android app that sets you on a virtual scavenger hunt in your city or neighborhood. Go places, check in, and complete challenges to win points and other, real-world rewards, like free coffee. It’s a great couples-bonding game, especially if you’re competing against other couples.
Miriam Merenfeld QR Code Necklace ($95 to $190)
Nothing says “love is forever” like a necklace bearing a QR code with that very message. These stylish silver and gold pieces of art are perfect for any Valentine with a smartphone, which you can use to read the QR code and extract their hidden messages. The necklaces come in various shapes from hearts to guitar picks, and range from $95 to $190, depending on which message you choose (customizable ones are more expensive). Imagine the look on your loved one’s face when she sees that her jewelry is not only beautiful, it also means “reach for the stars,” or “love conquers all” in robot language.
Gifts for him
Dollar Shave Club (starting at $25)
Ladies – if you want to give your guy an awesome gift but don’t want to break the bank, get the dude a subscription to Dollar Shave Club. The service couldn’t be simpler: Select one of their great razors, pay one low monthly fee, and they’ll send a fresh one right to your guy’s door every month. No more over-paying for fancy brand-name shave tech, no more forgetting to buy blades. He’ll be baby-faced and clean-shaven all the time. New customers get a free compatible handle, and if he ever wants to try a different blade, he’ll get another compatible handle free of charge.
With an attractive gold or gunmetal finish and a typical whale-back enclosure, you might mistake Ravi Ratan’s cufflinks for any other pair, but there’s a surprise inside: a 4GB USB flash drive inside for remote storage on the go. They’re a phenomenal — and practical — way to help him channel his inner Bond. He’ll be able to access must-have presentations and work documents while keeping up a sleek appearance, and personalized engravings let everyone know they’re his.
Pebble Steel Smartwatch ($249)
Welcome to the future, or at least the future of wristwatch technology: the Pebble Steel smartwatch. Available in brushed steel and black matte, with metal and leather bands, the Pebble Steel is compatible with Android and iOS operating systems, boasts a growing selection of apps in the Pebble app store and he can even wear it while swimming. It costs only $249, a small price to pay for your man to be stuntin’ like George Jetson. And you want him to be stuntin’ like Jetson, don’t you?
Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves ($54)
Nothing screams affection like a pair of touch-capacitive, Ethiopian lambskin gloves, but not many of us simply aren’t willing to shell out an upwards of $170 (nor can we). Thankfully, Mujjo also touts a quality budget-based offering available in four distinct colors (black, sandstone, gray, lavender, pink), and intertwined with a similar set of high-quality silver-coated nylon fibers. The high-density texture, stretchy and imbued with anti-pilling properties, offers an admirable amount of insulation and warmth while allowing him to pleasantly tap into his smartphone’s day-to-day activities without hinderance. He’ll have one less excuse to say “I love you” on the frigid commute — and one more to play Angry Birds.
Thinksound On1 ($240)
Whether he’s listening to Jack Johnson, Tool, or Skrillex, it will sound awesome through Thinksound’s flagship headphones. As outlined in our Thinksound On1 review, the luxurious pair of cans sport a gorgeous, natural-wood design and a 40 mm dynamic driver that produces richly-detailed sound signature rollicking with crystal-clear highs, excellent bass performance, and impressive noise cancellation. They’re entirely environmentally friendly, admirably comfortable, and adorned with a single-button control microphone.