Techy, educated, but hopeless
Greeting, older generations! The graduating class of 2013 would like to thank you for handing them one of the most craptastic job markets since the Great Depression.
While some green shoots of hope are out there, it’s still generally slim pickings. In order to make up for your generation’s gross economic mismanagement, here are some suggestions for tech gifts for the recent college grads in your life—because they sure as hell won’t be able to afford them.
These gifts include lots of great toys and electronic doodads. Specifically, we're highlighting gadgets and devices—and a few online services—that require an initial financial investment, but that will save money (and, in some cases, possibly help a career) in the long run.
Spotify Premium subscription ($10 / month)
Spotify is TechHive’s pick for the best all-you-can-eat music subscription service. Besides the basic free and $5-per-month ad-free versions, Spotify offers a $10-per-month premium subscription (available in gift-card form). This will allow your grad to download and stream with wild abandon across multiple screens.
As an added bonus, it is rumored that Spotify will start experimenting with original on-demand video content. The gift that keeps on giving!
Amazon Prime subscription ($79 per year)
For only $79 a year, you can give your favorite grad the gift of unlimited entertainment via cafeteria access to Amazon’s beefy Instant Video library that can be viewed on any screen.
Roku 3 ($100)
The Roku 3 was our choice for best set-top media streamer. The small device streams Internet content directly to the TV—so your grad can “borrow” their neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal and delight in all the cat videos and late-comer “Harlem Shake” videos that Youtube has to offer.
The Roku also nicely complements Amazon and Spotify memberships.
Zipcar membership (pricing varies)
Instead of subjecting your grad to the exorbitant car rental fees charged to those under age 25, we recommend a Zipcar gift membership that allows users to reserve cars on the go and pay by the hour.
Check the Zipcar site (above) for availability and pricing in your city.
Xbox One (not yet available, price unknown)
Many unknowns still surround Microsoft’s next-generation console—notably the price and release date. So this gift may have to take the form of an IOU, rather than an actual physical gift.
However, we do know that the One will allow users to play games, watch live TV, browse the Internet, and video-chat via Skype with abandon—all from their TV.
Apple iPad Mini ($329 to $659)
The dainty 7.9-inch display on the iPad Mini is still good for most things that one would do with a regular iPad—read books, watch videos, look for jobs—but it comes in an adorable little transportable package.
Depending on how much storage and connectivity you want, a Mini will run you anywhere from $329 (16GB; Wi-Fi only) to $659 (64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G).
Samsung Galaxy Note II ($149 to $649)
Samsung has stretched the concept of a smartphone to its practical limits with the 5.5-inch screen of its Samsung Galaxy Note II. If the “phablet” is indeed a mobile category and not just industry gobbledygook, then the Note II is at the leadership of it.
At its heart, the Note is still a phone, but the stylus pen and touchscreen allow you to do so much more. It’s available on all four major carriers.
Skullcandy Aviator Roc Nation headphones ($150)
You know who doesn’t worry about money? Jay Z. That’s why the young'uns in your life can take inspiration from Hova’s Roc Nation–banded Aviator headphones manufactured by Skullcandy.
While you can buy higher quality headphones for a similar price, you won’t find any that look as cool—and for the recent grad, fashion can be more important than fidelity.
Dating-site membership (various prices)
Online dating is a must-have for post-graduation life. Many free options are available, but why not help spread your grad's net into the premium territory?
Note: Purchasing a dating site membership for someone can easily be misinterpreted.
So, just make sure you have the kind of relationship with your grad where this won’t be considered offensive ("are you saying I can’t get a date on my own?!") or pressuring ("I need to be thinking about marriage now?!").
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