We’re 13 years into the 21st century, so there’s a fair bet that most people’s wish lists this year will include at least one, if not multiple, electronic gadgets. Here are a few of the finds we ran across while putting together our gift guide this year. They put a cool spin on traditional tech gift-giving.


Inspiring sounds
This gift is perfect for a loved one or friend who is an avid lover of classic literature and classical music. This MP3 player comes preloaded with 100 timeless tales with characters like Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Juliet and more. Plus, it comes with 50 classical music pieces. Found at QVC.com, search their site for Library of Classics to buy and to see lists of included literature and music. $84.


Retro techno
Anyone over 20 (maybe we’re being generous) remembers the classic Polaroid. The instant film and the sound of the photo popping out of the magic camera is enough to inspire the strongest nostalgia. Polaroid reboots its classic instant camera with a new, sleek style and touches of modern updates. In addition to your instant photo, the 10-megapixel camera saves digital copies and allows sharing over social media. $180. Polaroid.com.


Upgrades be damned
So, your friend had the original iPhone, upgraded to the 3GS, went to the 4 and then the 4S. And, all along the way, they stocked up on every accompanying extra they could. They had the iPhone home stereo, the alarm clock and more. And, well, now they’re out of luck. The newest iPhones changed up their adaptors and now that cool home stereo just isn’t as cool anymore. A handy bluetooth-enabled music receiver will plug in to any stereo system, bypassing out-of-date physical adapters and bringing your friend’s internet radio stations and MP3s back into their living room. We found various versions from various brands, ranging from as little as $20 to more than $60. Belkin’s version plugs into any regular headphone jack and is easily affordable, coming in at about $35-$50 on sites like Overstock.com and Newegg.com.

Service-oriented smiles
You think tech gifts and you might think physical gadgets, but tech gifting can come in so many different flavors. You can gift streaming subscriptions and services for just about anything and anyone imaginable. Friend likes movies? Give them a year of Netflix. Have a photographer friend? Give them a year of Flickr Pro service. Music? There’s Spotify. Just can’t think of anything? Gift cards, honey, to the iTunes store, Google Play or any other online store or service your friend or loved one might enjoy.


Monopoly, for the present day
A perfect gift for a family, this Monopoly ZAPPED brings the classic board game into the 21st century, with debit cards, realistic property prices and updated properties (the Water Works and Electric Company are now the Telecom and Solar Companies, for example). Found via Amazon.com, requires iPad (not included). $8-$30.


Memory hog
Have a friend or loved one who goes bonkers over photos? They’re constantly taking photos at every meal, every family or friendly gathering and more. And, they’ve been doing it for 30 years. Well, make their day with this cool smartphone film scanner. Take decades of old film strips and digitally safeguard them for the future. $59. uncommongoods.com.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.