We're back with the WiFi HiFi holiday gift guides! Each week, we'll release new themed gift guides, chocked-full of great tech gift ideas for different people on your list. This week, we're looking at great gifts for people who love tech but care deeply about the planet and social issues.
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL Headphones
The updated version of this popular headphones series includes these over-ear models that promise a more premium listening experience compared to its predecessor along with better comfort, longer battery life (twice as long as the previous-generation model at up to 24 hours), and USB-C quick charging. The socially conscious angle is one that House of Marley as a brand on the whole follows. They are made using mindfully sourced materials, including FSC certified woods like sapele, maple, and beech integrated into the earcups. The headband is lined with REWIND fabric, consciously designed using a signature blend of organic cotton, reclaimed hemp, and recycled plastic bottles. The headphone's modern and cleaner frame extends to the backing of the foam earcups for a sustainable construction built to last longer and avoid excessive use of virgin plastics. They offer a noise isolating design, upgraded padding in the soft foam earcups and fabric headband, and a foldable design. Using quick charge, you can get four hours of play time in 10 minutes; or charge for two hours to load them up. Use the on-board mic for hands-free calling and voice commands, and the three-button remote to control volume and playback. The optional custom braided aux cable offers a wired connection whenever you need to plug in. Black, copper, and navy colourways, MSP of $150.
Google Nest Mini (2nd Generation) Smart Speaker
So what qualifies this device for the list? It's the fabric cover that is made from sustainable materials. A single, one-litre plastic bottle is enough to make fabric for two Nest Minis. They come in Chalk, Charcoal, Coral, and a new shade called Sky that's inspired by Lake Como. As with other smart speakers, you can use this tiny device to control connected smart home gear, play music, read your calendar, and ask questions. A new wall mounting option lets you keep it completely out of view, unobtrusively listening when you want it to. Enhanced audio provides a more natural sound, says Google. And with a new feature, if you add this to an existing ecosystem of other Google smart speakers or displays, you can control the audio throughout your home using your voice, the smart display touchscreen, or the Google Home app.
Nimble Portable Charger
This portable charger is made from aluminum and plant-based bioplastics, and comes in plastic-free packaging. Use one to charge a wide selection of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth speakers, wearables, and more. It is designed with a "speckle" texture by a natural mineral, mica, to give a rubberized, soft-touch non-slip grip. Each comes with a detachable soft-touch storage strap, and you can conveniently magnetically attach your cable to the bottom of the charger. After about a half hour, you'll get an up to 80% charge, depending on your device. They have high-speed USB-A/USB-C ports and can quick charge a device at 18-watt charging. US$80-US$130 depending on the capacity - they range from the "three-day" that's good for charging for you and a friend, and up to three devices at once, up to the "10-day" for charging all of your gear on the go, including up to four devices at once, with enough power for a device like the Nintendo Switch.
Nimble Wireless Pad
Also from Nimble, this wireless charging pad, which can be used for fast charging everything from the newest iPhones to Android smartphones, AirPods headphones (2nd generation), and other devices, is made with the same eco-friendly materials, including recycled aluminum and plant-based bioplastics. It has two ports so you can charge two devices at once, and delivers up to 5-watts, 7.5-watts, 10-watts (maximum) and comes with a one-metre USB-C to USB-A cable that is BPA and PVC-free, along with a wall adapter. US$50
Incase ecoNEUE Laptop Sleeves
This sleeves and organizers are made from biodegradeable and compostable environmentally-friendly materials, and come in FSC-certified packaging. The water used in the creation of the products is also cleaned and reintroduced into the environment. Proceeds from each purchase will go toward reforestation: for every tree used to make one of the products, two will be planted. The Icon Sleeve can hold a 13" laptop, and sells for US$69, while the range of organizers in various sizes will sell for US$29-US$39.
Puro Sound Labs PuroCalm Sound-Isolating Earmuffs
Sometimes being a socially conscious person doesn't just pertain to the environment. With the purchase of each of these earuffs, the company will donate a percentage to KultureCity, an organization that provides sensory-inclusive spaces and universal accessibility for children with disabilities. They are sized for kids aged 3-16, helping protect young ones from the loud sounds of a concert (kid-appropriate, of course), sporting event, fireworks, or other sounds that might be too loud for their sensitive eardrums. Teenagers can use them, too, if they fit and provide sufficient coverage to help them avoid distracting noise while they study, sleep on a plane, or find some relief from sensory overload. They can also be useful for kids with sensory issues relating to disorders like autism. They provide 27dB of safe and comfortable broad-spectrum noise reduction, and feature heavily padded, rotatable and foldable ear pads. There are two super soft and lightweight ear pads that are cushioned with foam and can rest around little ears gently. With a smooth, sliding arm and swiveling ear cups, the adjustable design ensures a perfect fit over a child's head, creating less tension. The earmuffs fold into a compact, easy-to-carry size. They come in pink or green for US$30.
Lucky Bastard All-Natural Skincare Products and Accessories
Ok, so there isn't a tech angle to these products, but from a socially conscious angle, they're worth including as items to get as stocking stuffers for the mindful man on your list. The California-based company makes a range of skincare products that are made without the use of harmful chemicals. The sunscreen, for example, includes titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and the lip balm calendula-infused almond oil, coconut oil, candelilla wax, shea butter, bees wax, jojoba oil, avocado oil, red raspberry seed oil, vitamin E, chamomile oil, lavender oil, and menthol. The goal, says the two brothers who created the line, was to create a line of sustainable products that are effective and completely natural while also leaving the "lightest footprint possible." Supporting the company is something you can feel good about in other ways as well, since the owners have done extensive work with the Los Angeles Mission, a homeless recovery centre, and ocean conservation efforts. Grab individual items from the website for delivery, or opt for The Smooth Sailor gift package, which includes a selection of organically crafted and coral reef safe items, including a cool candle that purportedly smells like the woods in a whiskey glass for US$97. If you're looking for stocking stuffers for friends, family, and colleagues, a small tube of lip balm is about US$6 or you can get a five-pack for US$26, a sunscreen stick is US$18, and that aforementioned candle is US$32.
Melon Box Designs Bracelet
You have the guys covered with the aforementioned Lucky Bastard skincare products, but what about the socially-conscious females? Again, while there isn't a specific tech angle to this gift item, it's a great option for a special someone who cares deeply about the earth. By a new brand that dubs itself "inspired jewelry for the conscious soul," this particular bracelet is made from frosted Rose Quartz and Pink Zebra jasper with rose gold Hematite spacers and beads. Pink Zebra Jasper is a grounding stone that is said to help you connect to Mother Earth while Hematite also supposedly works to strengthen our connection with the earth. Whether your gift recipient is a spiritual person or not, it's a fashionable gift that is totally Instagram-worthy! Pricing varies depending on the type of bracelet and stones, but starts at about $20.
Renogy E.Power 10000mAh Portable Solar Charger
Using this solar charger, you can gain and store power from sunlight using the high-efficient solar panel. With a 10,000 mAh capacity and dual USB outputs, it can charge two devices at once, including tablets, getting them anywhere from a half to a full charge, smartphones up to three times, and action cameras up to six times over. It comes with a built-in carabiner for attaching it to branches, tents, and backpacks to recharge it at a campsite, cottage, or while hiking, for example. It also functions as a multi-mode LED emergency flashlight and has LED indicators that tell you how much power it has left. IPX4-rated, it is protected from splashes and dust. The portable and compact device sells for US$40.
Renogy E.Flex 30 Portable Solar Panel
This solar panel has an energy conversion efficiency of up to 22-25%, using sunlight and turning it into usable electric currents that can power your electronics. Advanced iSolar technology enables the fastest charging speed possible and protects your device from overheating. It comes with an adjustable nylon kickstand and is water-resistant and rugged, able to withstand various weather conditions. An auto-optimization function guarantees immediate reconnecting when sunlight returns after charging interruption. It's foldable so it can neatly fit in a backpack, tote, or suitcase. US$100
Rakuten Kobo Libra H20 E-Reader
If you know someone who is trying to save the trees by getting rid of their paperback and hardcover book collection or finding a more eco-friendly way to consume their favourite novels, an e-reader might be a great gift. This one has a 7" HD Carta E link glare-free screen and convertible SleepCovers, and features one-handed page-turn buttons, waterproof design, and ComfortLight Pro. It comes in black or white with SleepCover options in black, grey, rose, and aqua. It can store up to 6,000 books - enough reading for an entire lifetime - and weighs just 192 grams. $200