Our Favorite Things: Last-Minute Gift Ideas (Day One)

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In an effort to help out our fellow last-minute shoppers, Matt, Jared, Graeme, Keith and I will each be spotlighting some of our favorite tech products this week. I drew Monday! Here’s a list of some of the gadgets and gear I use on a regular basis that would make good gifts:

Fitbit Ultra ($100)

fitbitWhen it comes to getting in shape, I’ll take the path of least resistance any time it’s available. I’ve been using the $100 Fitbit Ultra to help me get in shape lately. It’s a little doodad I clip onto my pocket that tracks the number of steps I take, the number of stairs I climb, and the number of calories I burn each day. It’s got a miniscule base station that plugs into my computer and serves as a way to recharge the clip, but also wirelessly uploads my activity data every time I get within a few feet of it. All that data gets uploaded to the Fitbit website, where I can log in and see how active I’ve been. I’ve set daily goals for myself—take 10,000 steps, climb 10 flights of stairs, travel a total of five miles, burn 2,184 calories—and when I log into the site, I can see how well I’m doing. I’ve found myself compulsively trying to hit my targets each day, so the system is working. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I can log my food intake, my weight, and wear the Fitbit to bed with an included wrist band to track my sleeping patterns. But even the most basic stuff that gets logged simply by wearing the Fitbit every day has been really helpful.

(MORE: Review: Gift Guide to E-Readers and Tablets from $99 to $500)

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ($60)

arctouchmouseUntil Microsoft’s Arc Touch Mouse came along, I’d never met a travel mouse I didn’t want to leave behind on my way out of town. This mouse folds flat when not in use, and then pops up into an arc shape when you’re ready to get some work done. Unlike most other travel mice, though, the Arc Touch Mouse feels just about as comfortable as a full size mouse. The satisfying touch strip works well for scrolling up and down web pages, and the tiny wireless receiver thoughtfully sticks to the underside of the mouse magnetically while you’re on the go.

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