I was going to call this post a nerdy gift list, but these items are really gifts you need to give yourself. I mean, come on. Can you imagine the look of disappointment on my nephew’s face if I got him an air purifier for Christmas?
Watch for these items or brands like them to show up in Black Friday sales. They’re practical and sometimes necessary for the crazy times we’re living in.
Note: When you click on these links, I may get a buck or two from Amazon. Throughout the year, I usually make enough for a coffee. 🙂
If we discovered one thing in 2020, it’s that our laptop’s internal cameras are pretty pathetic. Upgrade your onscreen presence with an external webcam.
The Top Choice: Logitech Brio ($224)
The Logitech Brio gives you crisp graphics, automatic lighting adjustments and even software that helps you add fancy layers to your Zoom stream. Yes, it’s pricy, but if you want top of the line, this is it.
Darn Good Alternatives: Other Logitech Webcams
I’ve owned many Logitech webcams through the years, and I’ve never been disappointed. They’re all hard to find these days because they’re so popular. so you’re probably going to pay a little extra because you have to use a third-party seller.
Just like external webcams, an external microphone can make a huge difference in your professional online persona. I’m still using the $50 Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic I purchased several years ago.
The biggest challenge is that the dang thing is big and clumsy, so this summer I spent an extra $20 for a desktop microphone stand so that my microphone is off the desk and closer to my mouth.
I bet I’ve saved 10 hours of my life this past year because of the Tile Mate Trackers. Rather than spending a morning searching every corner of the house for missing keys, I just open my app and click a button. The Tile device starts pinging, and the app even indicates when I’m getting hotter or colder.
I got a great deal on these Alexa-connected light strips on Amazon Prime Day. They’re awesome! I have them around my TV, behind my desk, on my front porch and under the cabinets in my kitchen. A couple of years ago I bought another brand and paid at least three times as much.
I like being able to tell Alexa to turn them on, but you can get it without the smart home functionality.
Note: whatever you buy, stick with that brand. This will save you having to connect different strings with multiple apps. I made that mistake.
Do you have a dead Wifi spot in your house? A mesh system will help, and this Google system will replace your existing router. Our house is kind of rambling with two stories, and we have three mesh hubs that help the Wifi signal reach all over… even to the barn.
These smart home cameras are inexpensive and high performing. I picked up the outside version this year so we could let my dad watch the birds at our feeder since he can’t come visit our new house yet. (Sad face).
Although the EPA says you can’t rely on portable air purifiers to protect you from COVID when you have to be in enclosed places with others, they can be a notch up in your protection planning.
Smart home purifiers let you quickly control the low with a quick, “Alexa…” command. Our house is full of them because they help with my Tennessee allergies.
Dyson devices are top of the line as well as top of the pricing charts. I got them on Black Friday a couple of years ago at a great discount. But they’re still stupid expensive.
You can get really good ones for a quarter of the price.