10 Cool Gadget Gifts for Grads

Fun tech that can help reward accomplishments and ease the adjustment to the working world


For extra fun, the camera's lens can swing to a fisheye effect for goofy pet or friend pictures. Young photographers who want to try manual controls can adjust white balance and exposure settings, among others. And besides the standard black and silver, the camera comes in eye-catching orange and pink. 

[For those focusing on good looks, some tech is downright beautiful

7. Just Right Laptop ($630): Grabbing the sweet spot between notebook and netbook, the Gateway EC14 includes an 11.6-inch screen that's big enough for serious Web browsing and to accommodate a comfortable keyboard. But it's also small enough to keep the weight under 4 pounds.

At this price, the configuration includes a Pentium chip, 4 GB of RAM and an eight-hour battery. For graduates who are used to streaming their entertainment across the Web, the included HDMI port makes it easy to connect it to a flat panel TV. All that, and it's a rare ultraportable with a DVD burner. 

8. Geekless Protection ($35): Unusual, natural-fiber ColcaSac sleeves have fleece inside that protects portable electronics. They are a welcome break from the common neoprene sleeves that typically carry expensive gadgets either alone or inside bags and briefcases. The ColcaSacs are also ripe with ecofriendly appearance in their earthy, heavyweight hemp fabrics.

The fabrics come in a variety of colors and patterns and are so non-techie that they might just fool a hurried thief. The company, which took its name from a canyon in Peru, started with sleeves for Apple Macbooks but recently expended to models for the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. 

9. Dead-Simple Wi-Fi ($100): Leaving college means no more free tech support, so grads could benefit from a super-simple wireless hub. The Cisco Valet almost configures itself with easy software that just asks a few questions. Then the included USB drive transfers the setup to wirelessly connect PCs and Macs.

Besides making it easy to secure a Wi-Fi network, the Valet also sets up a second network that guests can access with or without a password, depending on the host's choice. The router is no speed slouch, though it doesn't come with USB ports for sharing printers or, at this price, even wired Ethernet ports. 

10. Countertop Browser ($200): A stationary, plug-in portal to the Internet, the Sony Dash is so much more than a digital photo frame. Its sleek-looking, 7-inch touch screen brings Web info and entertainment to the bedside table or kitchen counter through a Wi-Fi connection and more than 1,000 free apps.

Newbies to the work world will appreciate the traffic and jobs listings, and cooking for themselves is easier with a recipe app. Others can check social networking sites and monitor E-mail. Viewers can stream Netflix and YouTube videos, and it multitasks so Internet music can play while someone checks his or her daily health tip. No battery means it isn't portable, but it does also make a nice photo display.