Skullcandy Hesh ANCHigh school and college seniors experienced a graduation in 2020 that was at the least restrained, with in-person ceremonies moved online, and parties shifting from restaurants and event spaces to virtual rooms. Some graduation ceremonies are starting to happen in-person again, with social-distancing still in place, but however a new grad is celebrating, a gift is always appreciated.
A gift can be honestly anything: a card, a note telling someone how proud you are them. You can also consider picking something, or going in with others on an item, that a new grad wouldn't normally pick out themselves. A laptop computer, tablet or even a set of earbuds may sound boring, but it could be just the thing a new college student or new graduate going into the world would likely seriously appreciate.
The MacBook Air now features Apple's new M1 processorApple
Apple's new MacBook Air starts at $999 and runs on the company's new M1 processor — and it is fast. The screen has 400 nits in terms of brightness, a resolution of 2560 x 1600, with P3 color gamut and Apple's adaptive True Tone technology, which adjusts the brightness and temperature to match ambient lighting. There's a 720p camera, and a pair of stereo speakers beneath the keyboard which supports Dolby Atmos audio. You also get a trackpad and Touch ID fingerprint reader for unlocking and using Apple Pay.
The Kensington StudioDock works with the iPad to turn it into a computerKensington
Know a student who has an iPad? The $400 Kensington StudioDock could be a welcome gift, which turns the iPad into a computer. The wall outlet-powered dock attaches to the iPad using magnets and connects to its USB-C port. The iPad can be held in portrait or landscape orientation, and there is a pair of wireless charging pads at the base, ready to power up your iPhone and AirPods. One of the pads charges at up to 7.5W, while the other is limited to 5W.
As for ports, the StudioDock has a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port and an SD card reader on the side, plus three USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI 2.0 on the back.
Any student heading to college this fall — and settling into a shared dorm room — is likely to greatly appreciate headphones with active noise cancelling. The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are a pair that will not disappoint, and not only are they easy to wear, they're easy on the budget. For $130, you're going to get ANC, a device that can hold 22 hours of battery life (and a fast charge of three hours in 10 minutes), plus a Tile tracker inside. That means if they accidentally leave these at the library, they can use the Tile app to find them again.
Dyson Pure Hot+Cool
Dyson Pure Hot+Cool works as an air purifier, heater and air conditioner
This stylish device from Dyson not only pushes out a blast of cool air, but can warm up a room as well. Nice for dorm rooms, or even small apartments, the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool also works as an air purifier, and the company claims it can remove 99.97 percent of pollutants and allergens down to .3 microns in size. You're going to pay about $500 for this device, which can also move from side to side as it works.
iPhone 12 ProCamera app of the iPhone 12 Pro GearBrain
With the new iPhone 12 Pro, you get a crystal clear 6.1-inch OLED display. There are three cameras on the back, with wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, and the system produces 12-megapixel images. Plus the phone can shoot in Dolby Vision, and sports the A14 bionic chip — yes, this means it's extremely fast. Starting at $999, the iPhone 12 Pro also has an IP68 water and dust resistance, meaning it can survive being submerged in nearly 20 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. But mainly, it's a gorgeous device, a powerful one too, and a smartphone that can easily take your new grad into college and beyond.
Ecovacs N8+ robot vacuum
Ecovacs N8+ is powerful and can clean its own bin
Sure, a vacuum may seem like an odd gift for a young graduate, but trust us your student is going to need to clean the floor at some point, whether that's in their dorm room or an apartment. That's the beauty of the Ecovacs N8+ — a robot can do the cleaning for them. The $600 device even has a mop attachment (although that may be asking too much of any college student) and it even comes with an Auto-Empty Station which means the robot rolls back to its charger and gets rid of the dust and debris it collected, on its own. You can read more about it at GearBrain's review.
Kami Mini Indoor Security Camera
Kami Mini Indoor Security Camera is just $29.99
A small indoor security camera can keep an eye on a space as small as a dorm room and as large as a studio apartment. For just $29.99, you get night vision, built-in AI with facial recognition and human detection technology with the Kami Mini Indoor Security Camera. You run the camera through the Kami app, or you can sign up for a service to keep an eye on things as well, for $149.99 which provides 24/7 emergency response if some help is needed. You can read more about the camera on GearBrain's review.
The Meural Canvas II is a step up from college postersGearBrain
The $400 Meural Canvas II is one of those connected devices that's a joy to have. It does one thing — send images, mostly art, into your home — and it does that very well. It's pretty simple to set up, it's easy to use, and it evolves; You can get new art frequently, and change up what you see. The frame itself is also simple, and innocuous. For any grad looking to step up their art work from college posters, this is a nice gift to consider. You do need to add-on a $70 a year subscription to really tap the full breadth of images Meural can offer, which is something to note. You can also read more about this in GearBrain's review.
Yummly smart thermometer walks you through every step of cooking chicken, beef and fish
For some students, this may be the first time they're ever cooking on their own. Microwaving a potato is one thing. But grilling a piece of chicken? That may be daunting. Yummly is a $130 smart thermometer that works with their smartphone via an app to walk them through the entire cooking process of nearly any cut of meat. (They'll even get a ding on their phone.) You can also spring for a subscription to the Yummly app, which provides myriad other recipes they can tap as well. Read more about this device on GearBrain in our review.
Apple AirTags and accessoriesApple
You can almost bet a new grad is likely to lose something. Between the flush of starting new classes at college to getting used to handling the responsibility of running their own place, something will get misplaced — keys, a bag perhaps or more. Apple's latest trackers work on Bluetooth to help you locate missing items via the Find Me app. Even more fun? You can customize these items adding words, initials and also emoji, all included in the $29 price.
We found that ordering these customized added some weeks on to our delivery, so please take this into account if this is a gift. You can also read more about these at GearBrain's review.
TCL Series 5 Roku Smart TVApps can be downloaded to the TV, and there is free content as well through the Roku channel GearBrain
A TV you say? For a new grad? Well at just $450, this QLED, Dolby Vision, 4K TV is going to set you back less than a new computer or smartphone in some cases. But we guarantee a new grad is going to love it. This 50-inch screen is big, so not probably suited to a standard dorm room. Apartments? Even studio-sized ones? They're going to find the TCL Series 5 Roku Smart TV likely perfect. It's a Roku TV as mentioned in its name so it's pre-loaded with streaming apps, and you can download more if you choose as well. Think about throwing in a subscription to one of their favorite services as a huge bonus too. You can read more about the TCL Series 5 Roku Smart TV on GearBrain's site in our review.
Naim Mu-so Light Wood
Naim Mu-So Light Wood speaker is beautifully designed and will delight audiophilesLauren Barack/GearBrain
Finally, if money is not a concern and you have a new grad who is a true audiophile, the Naim Mu-so Light Wood is something to consider. At $2290 this is not a device for a high school grad, and we guarantee a college student is not likely able to afford this either. But for any music major or someone who truly appreciates sound and design, the Naim Mu-so Light Wood is gorgeous and plays the most wonderful sound. Clad in sustainable wood, and floating on a mirrorer base, the speaker pairs seamlessly via Bluetooth, works well with Apple AirPlay and even with Google Chromecast. Spotify users can make quick use of the speaker, Tidal subscribers too. You can read more about this Naim speaker on GearBrain's site in our review.
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TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV - 50S535, 2021 Model