Let’s be honest for a moment: gift guides are pretty terrible. Oh, I should buy my mom an iPhone 6s? A GoPro makes a great gift for dad? Beats headphones, you say? A Kindle eBook reader… that never would have occurred to me!
Rather than run through a bunch of the year’s most popular products, which are undoubtedly already on your radar, BGR decided to do something different from other sites this holiday season. After all, our Black Friday 2015 hub is stuffed to the gills with great deals on all of the popular electronics you could ever need. This year, we put together an alternative gift guide filled with gift ideas you won’t find in any of the guides assembled by our peers.
Try something fresh and new for the holidays this year. Get your friends and family gifts they’ll love that they might never have found themselves.
MUST SEE: Don’t wait for Black Friday: Lowest prices of 2015 available now on these 10 HDTVs
Just Mobile “Tenc” Self-Healing Case
You’ll find plenty of iPhone cases on holiday gift guides this year, but the Tenc case by Just Mobile could be one of the best-kept secrets around. Of course, BGR readers might recognize the name from our coverage back in October.
Just Mobile’s Tenc case looks like any other high-quality clear plastic case for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, but it has one key feature that sets it apart: a special coating that is capable of healing itself from light scratches and swirling in a matter of minutes. We might not have believed it if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes, but it works.
Apple’s iPhone 6/6s is a gorgeous device — don’t hide it in an ugly third-party case.
Here’s a video of Just Mobile’s self-healing cases in action:
Just Mobile Tenc Self-Healing Case for iPhone 6/6s — $24.95
Just Mobile Tenc Self-Healing Case for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus — $29.95
We can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of the people on your list will have even considered buying themselves a gadget that shoots fireballs from their wrists. We also guarantee that if you do buy a Pyro mini to give as a gift, it’ll be the most talked-about present your recipient receives all year.
We were one of the first sites in the world to get our hands on the Pyro mini, and we wrote about it earlier this month. In short, it’s a tiny concealable gadget that straps to your wrist and launches fireballs through the air with the tap of a button on a wireless remote or on the device itself. It’s made for illusionists but trust us, it’s fun for anyone and everyone.
Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves
There are touchscreen gloves, and then there are gloves that just so happen to work with touchscreens. You’ll see plenty of the former on holiday gift guides, but they’re generally pretty hideous, cheaply made and uncomfortable. The latter, however, is much more difficult to come by.
Mujjo’s leather iPhone cases are easily among my favorites of all time — the tan leather wallet case in particular — and the company’s gloves are equally unique and stylish. The company sent us two pairs to try, and both are high quality with a great fit and an even better look. The single layer fabric gloves are our preference, but you can’t go wrong either way.
Each pair features a unique look, but you’ll find that either one will keep your hands warm even in harsh winds; we dipped well below freezing in the Northeast earlier this week, so we have plenty of hands-on experience with these gloves. They also work much better with touchscreens than the cheap touchscreen gloves you’ll find elsewhere.
Mujjo is a Dutch company but shipping is available to the United States and around the world.
Single Layered Touchscreen Gloves — €24.75
Leather Touchscreen Gloves — €82.60
YI Action Camera
There are tons of gift guides with GoPros on them this year, and maybe even a few Sony models. All of those cameras have one thing in common though: They’re expensive.
How does a high-quality action camera for under $100 sound?
Meet the YI. This tiny little action cam fits in the palm of your hand but it packs quite a punch thanks to the high-quality Sony sensor contained within. It captures 16-megapixel still photos and, more importantly, crisp 1080p full HD video. The YI sports Bluetooth 4.0 as well as Wi-Fi, and it can be controlled either by the included remote or a connected smartphone thanks to a free app. You can also stream video from the camera to your phone in real-time, which is a great feature.
The YI comes by itself for just under $100, while a kit with a remote and selfie stick/monopod costs $140.
YI Action Camera — $99.95
YI Action Camera Kit: Camera, Selfie Stick, & Remote (Green) — $139.95
YI Action Camera Kit: Camera, Selfie Stick, & Remote (White) — $139.95
Alto Braided Lightning Cables
Looking for a nice inexpensive gift for a friend? Yes, your friends already have Lightning cables to charge up those iPhones and iPads, but they’ve never seen a cable quite like this.
We’ve covered Alto’s iPhone cases in the past here on BGR, most recently in our iPhone 6s case roundup. They offer great high-quality leather cases in bright and unique colors, but now the company is branching out into cables. They’re unique, the quality is terrific, and they’re affordable.
Alto Braided Lightning Cable (White/Gold) — $39
Alto Braided Lightning Cable (Navy/Gold) — $39
Alto Braided Lightning Cable (Black/Black) — $39
Case Logic LoDo Bags
We’ve tried a whole lot of laptop bags in our day, but this year we were introduced to three of our all-time favorites. The first two were both made by Case Logic, which, to be honest, probably wasn’t a name we would have considered in the past when it comes to laptop bags.
The company’s LoDo lineup has us singing a completely different tune.
Case Logic’s LoDo bags are surprisingly stylish and sturdy. They lean closer to casual in terms of the look, but you’ll definitely be able to pull one off in just about any office environment. We tested two models, the 14″ Attache and the Medium Backpack, and both have proven to be sleek, sturdy bags. You’ll find plenty of exterior and interior compartments on either model, and they’re both surprisingly comfortable and lightweight.
Case Logic LoDo Bags — prices vary
Case Logic LoDo 14″ Attache (LODA-114GRA) — $56.20
Case Logic LoDo Medium Backpack (LODP-114GRA) — $74.74
Knomo Kobe 15″ Leather Messenger Bag
Continuing from above, the third bag that stole our hearts this year is a higher-end bag by Knomo made of supple leather. The Kobe 15″ messenger bag is all business on the outside, but the inside has a wonderfully vibrant blue lining that adds a wonderfully unique flair to the bag.
We don’t like to give away our secrets, but the blue liner is so vibrant that we used it as the backdrop in the photos from our iPhone 6s review.
Knomo included plenty of storage in the Kobe messenger bag, but it’s not bulky or heavy at all. It fits a 13″ or 15″ notebook computer quite comfortably with plenty of room to spare for all of your cables and accessories. We’ve used it for work and even to travel, and we have yet to find anything to complain about.
Knomo Kobe 15″ Leather Messenger Bag — $350
Look, it’s 2015 and marijuana is legal in several states. Odds are pretty good that there’s at least one pothead on your list this year, and this is the ultimate gift for any stoner.
The Pax 2 has been called the Rolls Royce of vaporizers. People have said that if Apple were to make a vaporizer, this is what it would look like. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to find anything bad that has been said about this surprisingly sleek and compact little vaporizer.
It’s now available in a gorgeous gold finish for a limited time, as pictured above, but the aluminum Pax 2 is still offered in four other finishes if gold is too flashy for you.
The Kangaroo really made waves when we covered it on the site in late October, and for good reason — it’s a $99 desktop computer the size of a smartphone.
InFocus launched the Kangaroo just a few short weeks ago, which means odds are very good that the people on your holiday list haven’t even heard of it at this point. If you’re looking to surprise someone with what is easily one of the most novel and affordable desktop computers in the world, there’s simply no better option.
The Kangaroo features an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage and the Windows 10 operating system. No, it won’t win any races and you shouldn’t buy it for any hardcore gamers on your list, but it packs more than enough punch for web browsing, video streaming, school work and plenty more.
Spyder PowerShadow Case for iPhone 6/6s
“PowerShadow” is a pretty aggressive name for an iPhone case, but that doesn’t make Spyder’s slim and sleek charging case for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s any less appealing. This great case adds the least amount of bulk to your iPhone that we’ve ever seen for a charging case that stores any decent amount of juice. With a 2,750 mAh battery of its own in addition to the iPhone’s battery, your phone will last about two days before it needs to be charged again.
Spyder PowerShadow Case for iPhone 6/6s — $99.99