Here's another stocking stuffer idea for anyone on your list who owns a smartphone or tablet. The NuScribe combines a stylus for using on those devices with a pen, which can be handy for those times when you go, "I have no pen!"
The Stylus part is a soft rubber nub that sits in the location where an eraser would normally go on a pencil, and the pen is a standard ballpoint-type pen. It's very thin - thinner than a normal pen, but can still write like you would with any other normal writing instrument.
The stylus part is handy on a smartphone or tablet if you get sick of constantly cleaning off fingerprint smudges on the screen, or if you have an app where you need the accuracy of a pen (drawing apps, handwriting apps, etc.).
The only odd part I discovered was when using the stylus, the pen was upside down - I kept feeling like the ink was going to run out of the pen. But that's probably not the case - I was just likely having flashbacks to my junior-high days when pens tended to explode if they weren't handled properly.
- Keith Shaw
$20 to $40 + shipping
No matter how proficient you are with your tablet and no matter how many note-taking and drawing apps you've downloaded, you will inevitably find yourself in need of a traditional pen from time to time. For a good-quality stylus that includes a great pen, check out the Lunatik. This is a well-tooled instrument with a soft, rubberized stylus tip and grip area that also includes a tiny hole for the writing point to emerge from and retract into. The pen tip emerges from the stylus by clicking the top of the barrel, just like you would on a normal pen.
It's convenient to use, and easy to switch from stylus to pen tip with a familiar gesture. The writing tip is a replaceable fine-point gel pen -- very smooth and responsive. The stylus tip is rather large it's the one drawback to this tool. The case is available with either an aluminum or plastic barrel. Both options come in several colors. When I am at a conference and need to minimize the amount of gear I'm schlepping, this is the stylus I grab.
- Mary Lester
$29.95 + Shipping
For note-taking, a small stylus tip is key. For longevity, a rubber stylus tip needs to be protected.The Hand Stylus does both with handsome, industrial panache.
The 4mm tip is the smallest rubber stylus tip I've found. The tip retracts into a knurled metal collar. Toss it into a bag or briefcase with no worries. The hexagonal barrel comes in comfortably-weighted anodized aluminum. The clip is magnetic and clings obediently to the iPad for convenience. For gift-giving, this stylus offers custom laser engraving, six barrel colors in either matte or gloss finishes.and arrives in beautiful metal case. Extra tips are available as well.
With more than 7,500 pledges, the HAND Stylus project ended as the most funded stylus ever on Kickstarter.com. Order one and you'll see why.
- Mary Lester
The Gosmart Restpad combines a mouse pad with a therabeutic wrist rest. When I was first handed the box, I thought, "This has got to be the silliest-looking mouse pad ever. They want me to review this? Who would want to use this, let alone purchase it for someone as a gift?"
How wrong I was. This device is like wearing an UGG boot on your wrist - for fashionistas or fan favorites of the Tom-Tom UGG, you know the comfort and softness that I'm talking about. The wrist rest is rounded and covered in "breathable sheepskin" at just the right ergonomic lift for my wrist. For maneuvering a mouse, it works just as well.
Because it has a larger surface than most mouse pads, the Restpad caused some co-workers to ask about this giant funny looking thing on my desk. Some even wondered whether it's too big for my desk. But I think they're just jealous.
The mouse pad comes in a variety of different color options as well, making this a stylish accent to your desktop as well as a comfortable one. As an affordable holiday gift for a co-worker or as a holiday grab item, I'd recommend this restpad - especially if they have ergonomic wrist discomfort from using a mouse all day long.
- Rari Hilditch
The Kensington Presentair is a Bluetooth-enabled presentation remote control (page forward, backward, etc.) that also includes a red laser pointer and a tablet stylus. The unit is powered via USB port with the included cable, and it comes with a handy carrying case. The unit is about the size of a giant ballpoint pen, or about the size/shape of a cigar. Four navigation buttons (up, down, left right) control the presentation as well as the laser pointer. The Presentair can also be placed in Media Mode, which lets you play/pause, stop and move to next track/previous track on any media playing app.
The tool is aimed at anyone who needs to present and wants these functions - the stylus tip is an add-on that seems to be there to give the Presentair something to do when it's not assisting with a presentation (or, for the growing number of people who are giving presentations off their tablets or smartphones).