When it comes to Mother’s Day gifts, it’s hard for a lot of people to look outside the box. Flowers, jewelry and coffee mugs with cute sayings on them tend to rule supreme each March.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, if you want to truly surprise mom for this Mother’s Day (this Sunday, May 8), there are a number of tech-themed options that are more chic than geek. You may have heard of the Amazon Echo, a screenless, voice-controlled household computer that can play music, read the news and weather, and keep a shopping list and countless others. It’s so popular that it’s not available for delivery from Amazon until May 22. But don’t despair: There are plenty of other good options.
Kindle Paperwhite ($99) – Amazon’s newest Kindle eReader, the Oasis, won’t be out until June 1, but the Paperwhite is still a phenomenal device with a long battery life and a very easy-to-read screen. (It’s also almost $200 cheaper.) Last year, the company gave the Paperwhite line a significant update – and unless you’re an especially picky e-Book reader, it’s the one to go with.
Fitbit Alta ($170) – If mom likes to stay fit – or compete with her friends – a fitness tracker can be a wonderful gift. The Alta does everything from track your activities and sleep to alerting you to calls, texts and calendar appointments. It also thin and has interchangable bands, so mom won’t be stuck wearing a bulky black monolith on her arm all the time.
Mophie Powerstation ($60-$150) – Moms need to be reachable, but smart phone batteries don’t always last for a full day. Mophie’s Powerstation line of portable external batteries are invaluable when you’re running low. The 2X will fully charge most phones twice and is light enough to fit in a purse. If your mom spends her time with a lot of other mothers who often run low, though, the 8X version can charge two phones at a time and contains enough juice to charge eight phones, total.
Netflix gift card (variable) – Everyone needs to veg on the couch and binge watch TV from time to time and mom’s no exception. Give her a wide swath of choices with a Netflix subscription. Whether she’s a fan of “Orange Is The New Black,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” or “House of Cards,” there’s plenty there to help her relax and unwind.
Customized phone case ($40-$60) – Buying mom a new phone might not be economically feasible, but you can still help her better personalize the one she has. Shout! by Cellaris lets you make a protective case adorned with pictures from your photo library or patterns of your choosing. And that makes it both unique and sentimental.
iHome Vanity Mirror ($99-$149) – While the idea of a high-tech mirror might sound like technology run amuck, there are some advantages to what iHome is offering with its 6-inch and 9-inch models. Equipped with Bluetooth, they’re able to stream music or let mom take calls hands-free as she puts on her makeup. There’s even a USB port so she can keep the phone fully charged.
Riva Turbo X ($299) – This portable speaker blows past its peers and runs neck and neck with the best Bose has to offer. It easily pairs with any bluetooth device, has a 20 hour battery life and offers a great balance of high, mid and low sounds. If mom likes to crank things up, it offers an instant surround sound button, which recreates a full surround sound system and a ‘Turbo’ button, which adds a little more volume, even when she’s hit the apparent maximum.
Withings Aura ($190) – Waking up isn’t fun, especially when you’ve got to get your family moving and out the door. But it can be a little less torturous with the Aura, a high-tech alarm clock that relies on a simulated sunrise and streaming music to lull mom awake, rather than jarring her out of bed. It will also help her fall asleep better, using colors designed to help the body secrete sleep hormones.
MOS Spring cables ($19-$30) – Moms lead busy lives – and that often results in shredded power cords for their smart phone or tablet. MOS cables are designed to not crush or break, even when they’re stepped on or yanked. Reinforced with a woven exoskeleton with a spring where the wire and connection head meet, they’re available for iOS and Android devices – and they come with a lifetime warranty.
Monster SuperStar Backfloat Speaker ($169) – Waterproof speakers generally focus more on being waterproof than good speakers. Monster’s Backfloat is something mom can put in the tub with her and still hear some incredible sounds, playing anything from her nearby (and safe and dry) smartphone.