ACCESSORIZE: Gadgety gift ideas for the holidays

By , Network World |  Consumerization of IT, accessories, tablets

I tested this with my MacBook Pro - connecting via Bluetooth was easy (consult the quick guide so you know how to press the buttons to get into pairing mode), and the system worked well enough. In music mode I had some issues with the left/right (next/back) buttons with my Spotify app - but in iTunes it worked just fine.

For anyone on your gift list who needs to give a lot of presentations and wants a handy stylus for their tablet as well (or if they just like harassing cats with a laser pointer), check this out!

- Keith Shaw

Dockem Koala Mount for tablets

$20

The Koala Mount answers a question that most people would never ask - "How can I mount my iPad on a wall?" The back part of the package gives at least four areas where you might want to mount an iPad - in the kitchen (for following recipes, I guess) at the gym (for viewing video content?), in the bedroom (alarm clock or videos) or in the office (as a second or third screen?). I'm sure there are more scenarios as well, but those four give you a good idea of the use cases.

Fortunately, the type of mounting provided by the Koala Mount is not permanent, and doesn't require screws or knowledge of drilling holes in walls. The package provides two mounts - you'd put one on the bottom left, and one on the bottom right side. Then you slide in the tablet and you're done.

The mounts attach to the wall via included 3M Command strips, which leaves no damage or residue if you want to remove the mount (you can use on painted walls, wood, metal and "most other smooth surfaces", Dockem says). The two pieces also means that you can adjust the width to fit the tablet you want to mount - so this also works with Android tablets or e-Readers if you want (the Dockem website has a full list).

I'm not completely sold on these as a gift idea - unless there's someone on your gift list that really needs to wall-mount their tablet.

- Keith Shaw

Brookstone Roll Up Keyboard

$60

If you need or want a keyboard to go along with your iPad but don't want a hard case that adds additional weight to your travel back, then check out this roll-up keyboard from Brookstone. Made of a flexible silicone, the keyboard can roll up quickly to store in a laptop bag, and the keys are water-resistant, so if you spill your coffee on it, it won't frazzle the keyboard.

The keyboard uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to your iPad (we tested with an iPhone 4 and it worked just fine too) or any other Bluetooth-enabled device (except for BlackBerry systems - sorry folks). It also comes with a mini-USB cable that is used to recharge the battery of the keyboard.

It's not the fastest keyboard in the world - touch typists might have to slow down a bit when using this - but it certainly can make typing out long emails or creating word processing-type documents a lot easier on an iPad than by using the device's on-screen keyboard. I'd recommend this keyboard if you plan a lot of typing on your tablet, and if you're concerned about spilling things or need a lighter keyboard option than the hard-case ones.

- Keith Shaw

iOmounts iOstand for iPad

$100

If you're looking for an extremely solid stand for your iPad or other large tablet (e-reader), check out this stand, which uses a very powerful magnet to connect your iPad to the stand.

You can tell it's a powerful magnet for two reasons. First, there's a warning label inside the box that warns you from keeping the magnet away from any electronic devices that have spinning hard drives (computers, older iPods). Newer tablets and computers that use either solid state drives or flash memory are fine to be near the magnet, and to attach to it as well. Second, the small red part with the magnet is very hard to remove from the metal orb at the top of the stand. When the magnet is attached to the orb and your tablet, you can be assured that the tablet is not going to fall off.

In order to mount a tablet onto the iOstand, you need to affix a small magnet to the back of your tablet. The company calls these iOadapts, and recommends that you attach these to a case rather than directly to the tablet. Why? The iOadapts use very strong 3M adhesives - anything you connect these to will be permanent. The company recommends against attaching to soft suede, leather or silicon type cases - look for a case that has a smooth and hard surface.

Once the adhesive sets (about four hours), you can then connect your magnets and mount the tablet onto the stand. The magnet that connects to the metal orb can rotate around, so you can adjust the angle of the tablet on the stand to fit your needs, whether you are setting this on a kitchen table to look at a recipe, or if you're using this to watch a movie or TV show in the living room.

The solid nature of the stand sets it apart from other iPad and tablet stands I've seen - if you're very picky about how you want to mount a tablet, these high-end stands should be on your wish list.

- Keith Shaw

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