So far, our 2019 holiday gift guide series has covered gifts for those on a budget, gifts for frequent travelers, and gifts for the home. Today, we’re turning our attention to the office and general productivity needs.
Below you’ll find another hand-picked batch of recommendations based on a year’s worth of product testing. These are thoughtful yet pragmatic gifts to help improve your friends’ and family’s work spaces through technology. From password managers to keyboards to business-friendly laptops, we know firsthand that each of the products below can make productive time less of a slog.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
Most workplaces require you to have more usernames and passwords than you’d like. Instead of clicking that “forgot password” button once a week, 1Password can help organize and store all of your work and personal account credentials. As long as you can remember one password, the program will do the rest of the heavy lifting.
1Password keeps all of your usernames and passwords, along with secure notes, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information of your choosing, in a vault that’s secure using AES-256 bit encryption and a secret key that only you know. It also syncs across all of your devices, allowing you to quickly log in to any of your accounts with just a couple taps or clicks. 1Password also has browser extensions for the most popular browsers so, when you inevitably create a new account somewhere on the web, you can quickly save it to 1Password without thinking twice about it.
Solid security, seamless integration, and ease of use have made 1Password one of my most used programs on a daily basis. It’s sped up my workflow immeasurably, and I spend much less time fumbling with temporary passwords and emailed security codes thanks to it. And at $2.99 per month, it’s one of the most affordable ways you can make your work and personal lives a little bit easier.
Nekteck 4-port 72W USB Wall Charger
If your loved one has many devices that often need charging at the same time, the Nekteck 4-port 72W USB Wall Charger should make their day-to-day less of a headache. It’ll keep them in arm’s length of four USB charging ports, including a 60W USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port that’s capable of refilling nearly all recent smartphones and many Ultrabooks and MacBooks (15-inch MacBook Pro notwithstanding) at maximum speeds. Nekteck includes a three-foot USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, and there are three 12W USB-A ports alongside the PD port that can charge other accessories at a more traditional rate. (Just note that the whole thing can only output 72W total at a time, so you won’t get the full 12W out of each USB-A port if more than one is in use simultaneously.)
The charger connects via an AC outlet, but at 3.14×3.74×1.97 inches, the station itself won’t chew up a ton of room on a desk. It’s also been certified by the USB Implementers Forum—a body headed by Apple, Intel, and other tech giants that looks over the USB spec—so you can be confident that it won’t fry anyone’s devices over time. Plus, at $30, it’s good value for the amount of power it packs.
Nekteck 4-port 72W USB Wall Charger
A good wireless keyboard can be hard to find, but Logitech’s Craft is one of the more luxurious ones that stands out. Primarily, it’s a solid keyboard that’s relatively quiet and has decent travel, and the experience doesn’t falter even after months of continuous use. It also has a great battery life—it charges via USB-C and will last weeks on a single charge, even when used every day for hours at a time. It conveniently connect to your PC via Bluetooth or the included universal USB receiver as well.
A peculiar perk is the dial that sits at the Craft’s top-left corner. It can be programmed using Logitech options (along with other mappable keys) to do different things like adjust volume, switch tabs, and edit a photo’s contrast and brightness, and more depending on the program you’re currently using. That makes it a natural pick for creatives who will find the dial’s precision better than that of a trackpad or a mouse, but it’s also just a convenient tool for regular users as well.
Listing image by Logitech