The holiday gift-giving season is upon us once again, and tech gifts are all the rage. But there are some gadgets that I strongly recommend you stay away from.
Here are my top five gadgets you should avoid this holiday season.
Disposable power banks
These things are an environmental abomination. Not only are they needlessly wasteful -- you end up throwing away a battery and a bunch of electronics when it's done -- but most of these disposable power banks actually contain a rechargeable lithium battery, just without the charging circuit.
Such a terrible idea. Get someone a rechargeable power bank that they can use and reuse hundreds of times.
'Tempered glass' screen protectors
These are all the rage, but the testing I've done suggests they are next to useless.
They are expensive, difficult to attach without getting dust, hairs, and other schmoo caught behind the glass, fragile, break easily, and don't seem to contribute much at all to screen strength.
Far better to use a normal film screen protector. They are cheaper, easier to fit, more durable, and do protect the screen from damage.
Cheap no-name chargers and power banks
I've tested hundreds over the years, and on the whole, they are a safety nightmare. I know it's tempting to buy a cheap charger when the genuine ones from the likes of Apple and Samsung are so pricy. But there are plenty of quality aftermarket products available from companies such as Anker, Amazon, and RAVPower.
Things that needlessly incorporate Bluetooth
Bluetooth hairbrush. Bluetooth toothbrush. Bluetooth drinking cup. Really? So often the Bluetooth aspect of these devices is nothing more than a poorly thought out gimmick added in an attempt to differentiate it in a crowded market. The other problem is the apps -- usually are poor quality, buggy, and rarely (if ever) see updates.
No-name IoT devices
While it might seem like an excellent way to save money, cheap IoT devices are trouble in a box. I've experimented with so many. I have found them to be nothing but headaches, with issues ranging from poor quality hardware and software, little to no support, terrible reliability, and apps that are a security and privacy nightmare.