Check out our eighth annual Cool Yule Tools, in which our testing elves have so vigorously presented their favorite technology products and gift ideas for the 2007 holiday season. This year was more exhausting than usual, as we had to find products other than the iPhone to endorse. Luckily, we found a few.
Presented here are five cool tech products that cost under $100. These are unique gifts that would make any family member happy, and could also be used to provide the "envy gift" at any company Secret Santa or Yankee Swap.
No. 5. Nekfit behind-the-shoulder iPod holder, $35: This cleverly designed brace lets you strap an iPod Nano (both new and older versions) or an iPod Shuffle and wear it on the back of your neck. Hooks on the side allow you to wrap around your earphone cables, providing a perfect holder for your music player for running or working out. The Nekfit lets you avoid cables from getting in the way and not having to get an armband holder.
No. 4. Kensington DomeHub (with Flylight), $36: There's not much a company can do to make a seven-port USB hub somewhat exciting, but Kensington takes a stab with its well-designed and stylish DomeHub with the LED Flylight. The DomeHub has a solid weighted base and nonskid feet, providing stability for connecting or disconnecting cables to the unit. The light (USB powered, naturally) is snake-like and can be positioned anywhere illumination is needed. It won't light a room, but if you like working in a low-light area, it can provide a nice glow. The only downside: no off switch for the light. You have to remove it from its port.
No. 3. Altec Lansing Orbit-MP3 speaker, $40: Portable iPod speakers are great, but lately they've become large boom-box monstrosities, or have added additional features like an alarm clock. If you're traveling, you want a speaker system that's small and easy to throw into your travel bag. The Orbit-MP3 speaker does this; it's a little round speaker with its adapter cord wrapped around it for easy storage. It runs on 3 AAA batteries, requiring no additional power adapter.
No. 2. Logitech VX Nano Cordless Laser Mouse, $70: Laser mouse technology from Logitech has been around in the desktop world for a while, but never in the portable mouse space. Now mobile workers get to enjoy the precision mousing with laser technology. The coolest part of this mouse is the ultra-tiny USB receiver, which practically plugs in flush to a USB port, preventing mobile workers from losing the adapter (it can basically stay plugged into the port), or having it snap when the notebook gets put into a notebook case. The mouse is powered by two AAA batteries.
No. 1. Stanley 4-in1 Bi-Material Pocket Driver, $2.50: Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages. This handy tool contains four screwdriver interchangeable bits (two flat-head, two Phillips-head) that pop into a pen-sized frame. The perfect gift for anyone who has to unscrew tiny computer screws or unlock the battery case for the mountain of electronic toys they'll be buying for their kids this year. Truly a "Cool Tool."
Mark your calendars and chat with Keith live about the holiday gift guide and other technology gift ideas on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. EST.