May and June bring several gift-giving days in fairly quick succession: Mother's Day, Father's Day and high school and college graduations.
I've been accumulating smaller gadgets that I think would make great gifts, especially for people who fall into the "hard to buy for" category.
Belkin Valet Charge Dock
If you're like me, you have an Apple Watch and an iPhone. Both devices get put on a charger on my nightstand right before I go to sleep each night.
I tend to go through a lot of different charging solutions, and because space on my nightstand is at a premium, anytime I can find a charger that will save some space, I'll give it a go.
The Belkin Valet ($129.99, belkin.com) is a compact charging dock with a lightning connector for your iPhone and a built-in Apple Watch charger.
The Apple Watch charger I had been using required me to provide a watch charging cable. The Belkin Valet has the magnetic watch charger included.
The Valet can charge any iPhone with a Lightning port, from the iPhone 5 up to the iPhone X. The Lightning connector raises and lowers with a thumb wheel so you can make the proper connection if your phone is in a case. The adjustment was easy and only needs to happen the first time you set it up.
Since both charging connectors are built-in, one wall plug will charge both devices.
The base measures 5.28 by 3.47 inches, and it's solid enough that it doesn't slide around when you dock or remove your phone or watch. The Valet comes in black, rose gold or silver.
iOttie iON Wireless Plus
I haven't known about iOttie products for all that long, but everything I've tried from this company has been outstanding.
The iON Wireless Plus Fast Charging Pad ($54.95, iottie.com) is unlike any Qi wireless charger I've seen. Instead of a round disk that looks like a drink coaster, the iON Wireless Plus is an elevated charger covered in a nice tweedy fabric in tan, gray or red.
The design of the charger is to help with heat dissipation.
The charging pad connects to power with an included USB-C cable and wall charger. It can provide 10 watts for Android phones and 7.5 watts for iPhones, which is as fast as they can charge. Around back you'll also find a traditional USB port so you can plug in any other device that can charge via USB power - very handy.
The iON Wireless Plus is definitely the classiest wireless charger I've tried. It would look at home on your nightstand, kitchen counter or an executive desk.
Vava USB-C Hub Adapter
I'll admit I wasn't too happy when Apple eliminated ports on its new laptops in favor of USB-C connectors that require dongles for connecting almost any peripheral.
But Apple is not alone. The last few Dell PCs I've used also have USB-C, so I guess dongles will be a part of life going forward.
While some dongles only provide one type of port, there are hubs that combine almost all the ports you might need into one neat package.
The Vava USB-C Hub Adapter ($64.99, amazon.com) provides three USB ports, 4K HDMI, gigabit Ethernet, an SD card reader, a microSD card reader and a USB-C port to connect your power supply.
All of these ports connect to your computer through one USB-C port.
The power pass-through can provide up to 100 watts to keep your laptop charged up and provide enough power for all your connected peripherals.
Toss one of these in your laptop bag, and you'll be good.
The hub measures 7.24 by 2.05 by 0.63 inches, but the length is deceiving because more than half the length is the connecting cable. The hub is actually about the size of a business card.
Keep this hub plugged in between your laptop and the power supply, and you'll be ready for all your peripherals.
Finally, the go-to gift
If you're really stuck for a gift idea for that "hard to buy for" person, my go-to gift would be a 10-foot charging cable for whatever type of phone they use.
I like the Anker PowerLine charging cables. Anker has cables in every size and style. They'll cost between $10 and $20, and they're all available from Amazon. They're available for iPhones (Lightning) and Android (microUSB or USB-C).
I'm willing to bet your that gift recipient doesn't own a 10-foot charging cable, but I can tell you the cable comes in handy when you'd like to charge your phone or tablet and use it while you're sitting on the couch.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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