By JAMIE TUCKER Consumer Technology Reporter
Some of the best Christmas presents you ever remember were probably surprises. That one gift is hidden in the back from mom, dad, or Santa they saved for last.
It was something you never asked for. Maybe something you didn’t dream of or even know about.
Face it, as we get older those Christmas surprises are harder and harder to come by. I’ve rounded up a few tech gadgets no one on your list will ask for because they probably don’t know they exist.
The DIYer on your list has probably become frustrated when they try to match the paint without a barcode or paint-lid. It’s nearly impossible to match the color exactly because there’s either too much light or not enough.
The Nix Mini Color Sensor is pure genius for the DIY’er on your list. The small gadget has its own light and color sensor, so no matter how much or how little light is in the room, it can capture what color is on the wall. At least, it’s really close.
After you scan the original paint, the Nix app searches the color palettes of most major paint brands to show you the closest match. The app shows the color, paint brand, and color code which I took to a local hardware store for a sample of that color, and then, voila’ it’s close enough to not be noticed.
The Nix color sensor doesn’t read whether the paint is glossy, satin, or flat.
Smartphone glass protectors are often hard to put on, but now there are liquid glass protectors on the market. Just clean your phone, apply the liquid glass, let it set for a few minutes and then buff it off. These are around $20.
Anyone who owns or maintains a car should have an OBD reader on hand. This device plugs into the OBD port in most vehicles to scan any error codes. If your check engine light is on, the OBD reader can tell you what’s causing it, and turn it off, saving a trip to the mechanic. The FIXD OBD2 scanner is $40.
Even if they don’t have a so-called ‘smart home’, they can use these smart plugs to turn lights or anything else plugged into the outlet on and off by asking Alexa or Google. I have one for porch lights that turn off at a certain time if I forget to do it. A pack of four is around $30.
If you really want to blow their mind, check out these sunglasses with built-in speakers and microphones. The Soundcore Frames have dozens of styles, the mic and speakers are in the stems to play music, podcasts, and take phone calls. They’re on sale for about $70.
And all of these things are small enough to fit in a stocking but cool enough to be a gift they talk about and use, all year long.