It can be hard to give a gadget as a good gift. Finding that thoughtful addition to someone else's high-tech arsenal means giving something they'll always have a use for. It's daunting, sure, but with a little forethought the awkwardness of a useless gizmo present can be easily avoided.
Or, hey: skip the forethought and let us do it for you. Click Continue to see seven gadget gifts that will never go out of style.
1. Polk LSi25 Speakers
Audio technology comes and audio technology goes, but one thing remains the same: fidelity. Over the years, audio has gone from vinyl records to DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and beyond, but speakers have remained generally the same — a voice-coil moving a diaphragm through air. These LSi25 speakers add quite a bit on top of that, using a mirrored layout for accurate stereo imaging with a built-in 150-watt powered 10" subwoofer, two 5-1/4" woofers, and a 1" tweeter to produce a frequency range of 20Hz to 27kHz. While technologies exist that produce higher frequencies, only your dog will hear them, so for us mere humans, these beauties by Polk will be relevant for years to come. Even if wireless speakers become the norm, the reliability and robustness of good wired speakers won't let your giftee down.
Price: $2,800 for the pair
2. Leatherman Damascus Wave Multi-tool
A multi-tool is truly a gift that never stops giving, whether the lucky recipient is heading out on a hike, bike ride or just a working around the house. So why not splurge for a good one? The Damascus Wave is a 17-tools strong, with the usual bits such as Philips tips and eyeglass screwdrivers, and Damascus steel knife blades that are forged and etched with a distinctive wavy pattern and function like switchblades to make it quick and easy when you need to cut something. The Wave comes with a leather sheath that — appropriately — will only improve with age.
3. Meade 12-inch LX200ACF Telescope
Stars have been around for eons, and will be around for eons to come, fueling mankind's endless fascination with the galaxy and beyond. The Meade LX200ACF is an advanced coma-free telescope with lock-down features to produce great photos even with very long exposure times. It comes with a GPS receiver for accurate location and time/date information to make alignment a snap. It also comes with the Meade AutoStar II Hand Controller for access to a database of 145,000 celestrial objects. To future-proof the telescope, it can be updated with software upgrades and new information about things like comets, or any asteroids headed for our fair planet.
4. Patek Philippe Star Caliber 2000G
Nothing is as timeless as a well-made watch, and few watches are as well made as those by Patek Philippe. The Star Caliber 2000G is a manually-wound timepiece available in white, yellow or rose gold bodies, or platinum. All versions have two faces: one with the earth in its galaxy, and one with more information than you could imagine on an analog watch face, such as the season, leap year and sunrise/sunset. It even plays the chimes from London's Westminster clock (otherwise known as Big Ben) as a testament to its design. Only two watches are produced a year with over 1,000 parts in each. A watch like this will be a valuable asset forever for anyone, if you can afford it.
Price: Upwards of $7.5 million, if you can find one
5. Bodum New Kenya Tea Press
Coffee gets too much of the spotlight — tea is where it's at. The beverage has been around since a leaf blew into a pot of boiling water in ancient China around 10,000 BC and is still going strong, so it's easy to see its lasting power. The Bodum New Kenya Tea Press is a simple way to brew the perfect cup of the timeless elixir, with a carafe made from heat-resistant glass, protected by an elegant plastic frame. A glass container is ideal for brewing tea because you can see how dark the brew is — perfect for determining strength. Once you squish the leaves, the brewing process stops, keeping your tea from getting bitter. Tea — and tea brewing — hasn't changed much in centuries. "If it ain't broke," well, you know the rest.
6. MoMA Adjustable Measuring Cups
What aspiring chef doesn't have a collection of useless gadgets cluttering up every drawer in the kitchen? Specialized gadgets that are used once a year, if ever. However, a good set of measuring cups is indespensible, and will always be handy. These measuring cups from the Museum of Modern Art in New York elevate the simple measuring device into, well, art. Instead of a bunch of different sized cups, this is one cup that can be adjusted for liquids or dry goods. Even if one doesn't cook, having an accurate measuring cup will help anyone keep portion sizes under control — which is just a healthier way to prepare food, besides.
7. Custom Luna Cycles Bicycle
New ways of getting around are thought up all the time, but for a ride that will fit you for the rest of your active life, consider a custom bicycle. If you've been trying to get your girl to cycle with you but she's never comfortable, a custom-built bike is the way to go for a ride that's truly designed for her. Luna Cycles are built by a woman for women. It's more expensive than a stock bike, but since it's built for the rider's body dimensions, it can be significantly more comfortable and will be right for a lifetime, from the get-go.
Price: Frames starting at $1,500