Gifts for the Commute
Whether someone special in your life travels to work by train, bike, or automobile, here are 12 great gadget gifts that will help make their commute a little more enjoyable.
The latest Apple iPod Nano music players are pretty cool--small and light, with built-in clips and multitouch screens. Plus, they sport myriad colors, come in 8GB or 16GB capacities, and feature VoiceOver gestures--perfect for bikers, walkers, and anyone who uses public transportation.
Best for: Bike, foot, bus, train
List price: $129 8GB, $149 16GB
iGrip Window and Dash Car Mount
Assuming that your car-commuting gift recipient already has a smartphone, why not grab an iGrip car mount for the device? The iGrip features phone-specific models for multiple BlackBerrys (including the Bold 9000, Curve 8300, Pearl 8100, Tour 9600, and Curve 8900), as well as for the Apple iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Motorola Droid Bionic, and many more smartphones. The iGrip mount uses suction power to stick to a car's windshield or dashboard.
Best for: Car
List price: $10 to $60
Jawbone Era Bluetooth Headset
You shouldn't text while driving, and neither should your commuting relative or friend. Messing around with the phone to make or answer calls is out of the question too. So pick up a sleek Bluetooth headset such as the Jawbone Era, which is easy to use and has a feature that allows you to shake the headset twice to pick up an incoming call when it isn't in your ear. Hands-free phone calls all the way.
Best for: Car, bike, foot
Street price: $101
Universal Bike Mounted Gadget Holder
Drivers shouldn't have all the fun. What if your gift recipient wants to attach their smartphone to their bicycle handlebars? They can do just that with this universal bike-mounted gadget holder from ThinkGeek. This gadget holder lets someone safely attach a smartphone, PDA, or GPS device to their bike handles--just in case they need directions, or they really want to finish watching the latest episode of Modern Family (not that I advocate watching TV while biking, of course).
Best for: Bike
Street price: $13
Two-Port USB Car Cigarette Lighter Adapter
Here's a simple stocking stuffer: This cigarette-lighter adapter has two USB 2.0 ports for charging all sorts of gadgets, including iPods, smartphones, or tablets. It's compatible with any electrical product that can charge via USB, and you can find it for only a few bucks.
Best for: Car
Street price: $3
Lenovo IdeaPad S205
Netbooks aren't quite dead just yet. Give a commuter the gift of productivity with this business-oriented netbook. The stylish Lenovo S205 is a good performer and offers decent audio, though it lacks a mobile broadband option. It sports an 11.6-inch screen, an AMD Fusion E-350 processor, and 4GB of SDRAM.
Best for: Bus, train
Street price: $383
iGo Everywhere Car and Wall Charger
Running out of juice is really annoying--but so is dragging all of your chargers and cables to and from work. The iGo Everywhere Car and Wall Charger lets your gift recipient charge all of their devices, and plugs into a car's cigarette lighter or a wall outlet. You can make a commuter's day with this light, easy-to-use universal charger, which comes with one free device tip.
Best for: All commuters
List price: $40
Apple's iPad and Asus's Eee Pad Transformer Prime are awesome tablets--but they're a bit out of the stocking-stuffer price range. Instead, you can choose a budget tablet such as Amazon's Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet. Each model features a multitouch screen, tons of ebook options, and a price of less than $250. On either device, commuters can enjoy media and ebooks, and they might even get some work done.
Best for: Car, bus, train
Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking
Typing is difficult, especially when you're on the road. But speaking isn't. For a boost to commuter productivity, pick up a copy of Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-to-text transcription software. After the recipient installs it on a laptop, they'll be super-productive on their long train or bus rides--though the person sitting next to them may not appreciate it.
Best for: Car, bus, train