Gadget Daddy’s gift guide for 2020

Lonnie Brown
| Special to The Ledger

In the past 12 months, I’ve written about dozens of electronic gadgets, which, incidentally, would make reasonably priced holiday gifts as well.

Here are some of them (with the date the column ran in parenthesis):

• The VGAzer Magnetic Levitating Floating Wireless LED Light Bulb Desk Lamp (April 4). As the name implies, an LED light bulb – with four vertical LED “filaments” – floats above a “wood look” circular base. Notes the promotional copy: “Use Magnetic levitation technique, Floating and Spinning automatically in the air Freely without any support or contact, no need cables, batteries.”

Yup. It lights up, and turns ever-so-slowly while floating about an inch above the base. A touch-area on the base turns the bulb on and off.

It’s available on Amazon, and if you are a Prime member, the product and shipping work out to be about $100.

• Vivid-Pix Restore (April 11). It’s a program designed for desktop computers that allows users to scan in a faded family photograph, and with one click transform the photo into a refreshed, cleaned up version that can be printed anew.

The one-click operation does a credible job, but some easy-to-use tools allow users to add their finishing touches before the photo goes to print.

The company is offering a special: Buy one copy for $50 (Windows or Mac) and receive a gift certificate for a second program to give to a friend. Website:

• PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable Charger from Anker (May 9). It replaces three cables with one. The 3-foot cable has a USB plug on one end. That plugs into the computer or an adapter for a wall socket. On the other end of the cable is a USB Type C connector. It is used to charge about 20 different brands of smartphones, and is the same connection used to charge Kindles and other e-readers.

There are two adapters attached to the end of the cable as well, held in place by short “keeper” holders. These two adapters plug into the Type C connector. One of them is a Lightning charger that allows the cable to connect to Apple devices – including iPhones all the way back to iPhone 5.

On the other keeper holder is a Micro USB adapter. It’s used for charging GPS and Bluetooth devices, portable chargers and speakers, some e-readers, keyboards, cameras and camcorders.

It’s priced between $15 to $20, and can be found at Target and similar big-box stores, as well as on Amazon.

• PowerCore by Anker (June 27) is a charger, about the size of a cellphone, that can charge one of those cellphones over three times before it needs to be recharged. (It can also charge most tablets twice.) Two devices can be charged at once.

Very cool feature: For those of you with wireless charging ability on your phones, simply place the phone atop the PowerCore. It automatically detects the device’s presence, and begins the charging process. When finished, the PowerCore turns itself off.

The battery comes with a storage pouch and an 18-month warranty. It’s available on Amazon for about $36.

• The myFirst Camera Insta 2 from Oaxis. This camera is part of the company’s new collection of products designed for kids. Here’s the cool-factor of the camera: The camera can print the picture in about 10 seconds. The finished product emerges from the front of the camera on high-quality thermal paper – the same paper used for printing cash register receipts that requires no ink. The picture size is 3 1/4 by 2 inches.

The pictures are in black-and-white only, but the kids don’t seem to mind. Parents won’t mind either when they learn the prints cost only a few pennies using that thermal paper. About $100 from Amazon.

• The Energizer Connect Smart Plug (Nov. 21), and the Gosund smart plug (as well as other brands) are go-betweens that plug between the wall socket and the device you want to control: a lamp, coffee pot, fan or other appliance. The smart plug is controlled by a free app on your smart phone.

The controlled event can be planned out in several ways: Turn on and off at certain times of day; turn on and off remotely (be in from the next room or a far-away city); countdown the hours or minutes and turn off.

Available for about $5 each when purchased in packs of four at Amazon.

Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected]

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