By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
Fickle, trend-sensitive teens can be among the most difficult people to buy for on the gift list. With likes and dislikes that seemingly change by the week if not daily, gifting items that elicit a coveted “OMG” response can be hard to come by. To help you swing your target teen’s mood in the right direction and score that appreciative smile, here are some of this year’s hottest teen gear gifts that can help you hit the mark.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (www.BestBuy.com) -- $799.95
One thing is for certain: teens love technology and cool design. Enter the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S, which offers the best of both. This super slim, highly versatile Intel 2-in-1 device features a 360-degree flip-and-fold design that allows it to be used in notebook, tablet, stand, or tent mode. Powered by the 4th generation Intel Core processor and Windows 8.1, teens can enjoy both a PC and tablet experience in one super lightweight and portable device, providing entertainment, productivity, lightning-fast Web browsing, super-responsive apps, flexibility and all-day battery life. What more can you ask for? The genius gadget is super thin, weighing in at approximately three pounds. Design wise, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S comes in a super-cool clementine orange or sleek silver. For school and life, this is a technology gift that can truly give your teen everything they need to succeed at their fingertips—wherever the world they may be.
iHome Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock Radio Speaker System (www.iHomeAudio.com) -- $49
Your teen will love the cool color changes that this fantastic piece of technology offers them. Not only do they get an alarm clock and radio, but they also get a charging station and way to play their favorite device. The iHome iHM28 LED Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock Radio Speaker System will play an iPhone, iPod, or any other device via an in-line jack. It is also a great way to charge devices with its USB charging port. It has an adjustable LED cabinet color and alarm display to continually change the look of the clock radio. With Reson8 speakers, it puts out incredible sound, making it great for parties or setting the mood while listening at home. While packing a powerful combination of sound and technology, it only weighs 1.37 pounds, making it easy to move around from room to room. The device also comes with FM radio with six presets.
IDAPT i4 + Universal Charger (www.Amazon.com) -- $79.99; $9.99 for additional tips
The IDAPT i4 + Universal Charger is designed to eliminate messy and unsafe power strips and cable clutter in your teen’s room. While the footprint is small, it charges up to four power hungry devices simultaneously as fast as each device’s original, individual chargers. This is accomplished by employing a USB port and three interchangeable tips that come standard. IDAPT, in fact, offers more than 20 different charging tips to ensure connectivity for nearly any device, and continually stays on top of new product launches in the market to ensure new tips are added to the IDAPT line in kind. This makes this gift item wholly future-proof, customizable, and completely compatible with current and future gadget. It already works with over 5,000 currently available devices, including all generations of iPhones, iPods, and iPads as well as Samsung smartphones, Nokia, Bluetooth devices, rechargeable batteries, cameras, MP3s, etc. This stylish charger offers highly efficient use of power, space, wall sockets and resources and, thus, is an ideal gift for your teen.
HANDeBand Slide (www.HANDeBand.com) -- $21.95
Want to better ensure you teen won’t drop and damage their mobile phone or tablet ever again? Here’s the item for you! The HANDeBand Slide is a mobile device handgrip that attaches to the back of any portable device, including smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Once affixed to the device, the user then uses the flexible rubber finger grip to hold and use the device securely, also freeing up the thumbs for a wider range of mobility. It essentially streamlines and enhances the use of mobile devices, also keeping them better safeguarded from slips and drops. The HANDeBand is designed with a low profile of just 5/16” for easy storage in pockets, handbags, and backpacks.
GoGo Pillow (www.GoGoPillow.com) -- $19.95
Teens will love the GoGo Pillow because it is a plush, multifunctional pillow-like case that cradles a tablet, allowing it to sit upright to provide better comfort and visibility for the user. The patented multi-slot design guarantees that the tablet is locked into place for easy viewing, whether at home or on-the-go. The two stretch bands on the reverse side also provide the option to hang or affix it just about anywhere, including a headrest in the car. The GoGo Pillow also doubles as a plush travel pillow. It has a convenient storage pack to store power cords and earbuds, making it fantastic for road trips and air travel. It comes in many color options to suit your teen’s personality, including blue, grey, black, animal print, burgundy and pink.
ChordBuddy Guitar Teaching System (www.ChordBuddy.com) -- $50
Many teens want to learn how to play the guitar, and they can do it in a fun and easy way thanks to the ChordBuddy Guitar Teaching System. Now it won’t’ take months and even years to get a positive sound out of that six-string instrument. This system is purportedly known as the world’s fastest guitar teaching system. Teen users can simply press multi-colored buttons to make the four chords in the key of G, so they can play songs on the very first day they use it! The really cool part is that, over the couple of months that follow, the teen actually learns those chords one at a time and the ChordBuddy is no longer needed. Then the teen is well on their way to becoming the next rock or country star!
Hathaway Games 32-inch Table Top Air Hockey (www.Wayfair.com) -- $51.44
This super-fun, compact table top air hockey game is perfect for any teen. The 110-volt electric blower lets the puck float around on a cushion of air. Each of the goals has a score slider to keep track of the each player’s score. The game delivers the benefits and fun of a full-sized hockey table in a smaller form so it can be stored easily rather than taking up a whole room! That means your teen can enjoy the game in their room, in the den, or on the patio with their friends.
Lights Out Glow in the Dark Mini Basketball Hoop (www.LightsOutBrand.com) -- $34.99
The Lights Out Brand over-the-door basketball hoop is no ordinary hoop! The backboard trim, rim, net and ball all glow in the dark adding an extra dimension of fun and an amped up “cool factor.” Featuring a 17” x 12.5” backboard, breakaway metal rim, padded door bracket and 5” ball, the unit is easy to assemble and a great time for both boys and girls. CEO and former San Diego Charger, Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman launched the Lights Out Brand in 2013. He earned his name from his hard-hitting style of play, and this out-of-the-ordinary indoor basketball hoop making offers intense teen fun.
Personalized Beach Towel (www.District17.com) -- $66
Your teen will enjoy spending next summer in style with a fabulous personalized beach towel from District 17. There are an array of designs to choose from. For girls I love the multicolored Neapolitan stripe design and for boys the navy blue nautical stripe is a sure winner. To the towel you can add a full name, initials or full monogram with a variety of fonts, colors and design options to choose from so you can truly make these towels their own. Made of super-soft microfiber velour and printed with non-toxic ink so your custom design will not peel or crack, this stylish beach towel is both practical and fashionable. Whether at the pool, lake, or beach, this custom-tailored towel is a mandatory summer swag.
Towel Topper (www.MyTowelTopper.com) -- $12.99
Here’s a fun, unique, quirky and useful personal care accessory that helps solve a problem faced by millions of girls everywhere: towels that do not stay put when wrapped around the body. The patent-pending Towel Topper solves this problem in super-cute form. The decorative band wraps around the top of any towel to secure it in place, instantly turning a towel into a stylish robe or cover up. It is ideal for travel, the gym, beach, spa and college as well as an everyday home solution to keep the user covered and eliminate the “oops” of a falling towel. Helps gals remain hand’s free as they do their hair and makeup.
Deer Antlers Jewelry Holder (www.District17.com) -- $45
Many teens love signature décor that helps them express their personality and stand out from the crowd. This Deer Antler Jewelry Holder certainly fits this bill. Your teen will enjoy using this rustic jewelry holder for all their bling. It balances the masculine and feminine and can be gifted to either, also making it a rather sophisticated piece of art to display on a vanity or dresser. The Deer Antlers Jewelry Holder is made of porcelain and features a catchall as well. It is a great way to store rings, necklaces, earrings, watches and more in one place. Your teen will appreciate that you picked out something that is cool, unique, stylish, and practical, combining fashion and function.
Jamberry Nails Vinyl Nail Wraps (www.JamberryNails.com) -- $15 per sheet
What teen girl doesn’t like to do her nails or her friend’s nails? Jamberry Nails Nail Wraps are decorative vinyl-based wraps that are applied with a simple heat and pressure technique. There are over 300 designs to choose from, including the awesome option to create your own custom nail wrap designs simply by uploading your own image to the site. This creates a personalized manicure for a truly one-of-a-kind look that will be the envy of all. These nail wraps are completely non-toxic and are not polish-based so they do not chip. Each sheet of nail wraps provides for 2-3 full manicures.
Personalized Name Bubbles (www.NameBubbles.com) -- $34.88
Teens have lots of stuff…much of which needs to be labeled for school, travel, sports and other. They’ll surely love these waterproof name labels that come in hot and trendy styles so they can personalize their school supplies, gear, and electronics and help keep it from getting lost or misplaced—or returned when they are. There are seven designs to choose from that’ll appeal to both boys and girls, and the labels are both laundry and dishwasher safe. The clothing labels are designed to fit perfectly on a clothing tag with a simple press-and-stick application with no ironing necessary. The Black & White Pack comes with 80 labels, including 8 round labels, 16 fun labels, 18 mini labels, 8 square labels, 2 oversized labels and 28 clothing labels.
Personal Reflectors (www.Personal-Reflectors.com) -- $10.99
Besides giving teens gifts that make them look and feel cool, it’s also wise to gift them with something that also keeps them safe. Few people realize that a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle every 8 minutes and killed every 2 hours. According to the NHTSA, 1,100 children ages 14 and under were injured by vehicles during 2011. Almost three quarters of these accidents occurred between 4pm and midnight. A great solution is a set of attachable personal reflectors. These two-sided, ultra-lightweight reflectors are made from USDT-approved reflective material that is then mounted on a Velcro hook and loop. Easy to apply, all you have to do is just peel one open and wrap it around any strap. These personal reflectors are weatherproof, shatterproof, and easy to transfer from one item to another. They are great to apply to backpacks, book bags, purses, baseball hat clasps, belts and dog leashes not to mention they can even be attached to a wool hat.
"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***