7 great geeky gifts for grads

Consumer Reports

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Know someone who's collecting a degree this year? All graduates deserve a reward for making it through school (and before they have to face the rather scary job market that awaits them). Here are some electronics suggestions that should put a smile on any grad's face.

A digital SLR and interchangeable lens

For capturing important events (like, say, graduation), your favorite grad will want a really good camera. The Nikon D7100 (shown at right) is pricey at $1,500, but it has very good quality across the board, and its kit lens has a longer zoom than most: 18-105mm. And as a bonus, it can capture HD video too.

If you're just looking for a long-zoom standalone lens, consider the Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM ($629), a Consumer Reports recommended model.



A streaming media player

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A grad who's suddenly got a lot more leisure time will appreciate the Roku 3, $100. The streaming-media player offers more than 750 channels, a fast processor, and a new interface that's a joy to use. One unique new feature: a headphone jack is built right into the remote for private listening.

Note that if your grad is heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem and likes access to their iTunes (and iCloud) content, the Apple TV may be a better choice in streaming media players.



A set of headphones

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The Roku 3 comes with its own purple earbuds, but our tester found them fairly poor-sounding compared to the ones he usually listens with.

A better—and quite affordable— headphones choice might be the Sennheiser CX-215 ($30).

These portable isolating ear-insert earphones deliver very good sound quality and come in five funky colors (blue, bronze, green, orange, and red), and the unusually contoured shells can be easily gripped to ensure a firm fit.


Wireless speakers

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Headphones are great for private listening, but sometimes your grad may want to kick out the jams with friends. The Edifier iF335BT Bric, $100, delivers good sound in a highly portable package that's among the least expensive Bluetooth speakers we tested.

The speaker, which runs on six AA batteries, has an analog input for playing music from devices that lack Bluetooth, and the built-in microphone can be used for hands-free phone conversations when connected via Bluetooth.


A tablet computer

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Finally, if your grad is using an older tablet—or, horrors, doesn't even have a tablet!—consider springing for a nice new one. The Apple iPad Mini, $330, is a great choice in smaller-screen tablets, with very good screen quality and long battery life.

And the new 16GB Samsung Galaxy Note 8, $400 (shown at right), got top marks in our most recent tests; it comes with a stylus, GPS, and memory card reader to expand its storage; but it runs around $70 more than the 16GB Mini.


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