I don’t usually write a graduation gift guide, but the pile of gadgets on my desk is getting pretty tall. Looking them over, I noticed that several would be really great gifts for graduating seniors who are heading off to college.
Roland R-07 High Resolution Audio Recorder
What: The Roland R-07 is palm-sized portable digital audio recorder with built-in stereo microphones and a microSD card slot for storage. It records extremely high-quality WAV or MP3 files. Its powered by two AA batteries or through a USB port for continuous operation. You can set it up and control it wirelessly through your phone or Apple Watch. You can also listen to the recordings through Bluetooth headphones.
Who it’s for: Perfect for recording lectures, but it really shines if your student is a music major.
Cost: $199.99 at roland.com, amazon.com and Guitar Center.
Toast Leather Laptop Cover
What: This cover is thin piece of leather sized exactly to the dimensions of your laptop. Peel off the adhesive and carefully place it on your computer, and your Macbook Pro or Surface Book will take on an entirely new look. Top and bottom covers are available, as well as trackpad surrounds. It was easy to install and really protects the laptop from scratches and nicks. Toast also makes wood veneer covers for laptops and phones.
Who it’s for: Laptop users who like to keep their machines in pristine condition.
Cost: For my Macbook Pro, $99 for the top cover, $60 for the bottom cover and $30 for the trackpad surround at toastmade.com.
Tapplock One + Smart Fingerprint Lock
What: It’s a padlock that unlocks with your fingerprint in less than 1 second. The lock can store up to 500 fingerprints for multiple users. The lock can also be opened via Bluetooth through an app on your phone. If those two methods are unavailable, users can tap a Morse code-type combination with long and short presses of the power button. It’s waterproof and the rechargeable battery lasts for up to a year.
Who it’s for: Great for lockers or locking up anything that can use a padlock.
Cost: $99 at tapplock.com and amazon.com.
What: The beauty of this notebook is that the ink is erasable with water. When you’re finished with your notes, you can scan them into your computer with your phone’s camera and the RocketBook app, which sends the scans to your email, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs or other cloud services. Erase the notes with a damp cloth, and use the notebook over again. You have to use special pens (Pilot FriXion), but they are readily available in office supply stores. I was skeptical, but it works really well.
Who it’s for: This is a notebook for people who still like to take notes by hand.
Cost: $34 for a letter-size notebook with 32 pages. It comes with one pen and a microfiber cloth at getrocketbook.com.
Coal Catalyst Portable Charger
What: This is a portable battery to charge your devices when you are away from a wall plug. The Coal Catalyst is ready for any device with the included three-headed cable that can charge microUSB, USB-C and Lightning devices. It is available in five colors and two sizes that can charge the latest phones in just two hours, and they have Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. The battery has regular USB and USB-C ports for charging and a nice LED battery life indicator that shows you the charge left in actual numbers.
Who it’s for: Everyone with a USB-powered phone, tablet or headphones can use some extra power. The included cable means it’s ready to use.
Cost: $34.99 for 8,000 milliamp hours; $39.99 for 12,000 mAh at amazon.com.