Don’t panic! Yes, only three days to go. Yes, if all else fails, carnations! But wouldn’t your mom like something better? Something she can use in the weeks and months ahead, long after the last petal has fallen from a flower?
Well, we’re gadget people here. If you’re a gadget person too, and think your mom might be, allow us to make ten quick suggestions before Sunday arrives.
Canon SELPHY CP1200 – $159
Your mom fills her phone’s memory with photos. Where she’s been, family members, perhaps grandkids, aides-memoire. Of course, she’ll never want hard copy of her shopping list, but those photos of the grandkids? That’s a different matter.
The Canon SELPHY CP1200 isn’t going to be mistaken as being some kind of utilitarian office printer. It has a very specialised job: produce high quality photos, principally on what Canon calls “postcards”, but what I call four by six photo paper.
It’s not inkjet. It uses dye sublimation print technology for pictures indistinguishable from a photo lab. It can print from SD cards or you can print from your phone wirelessly.
iPhone 7 – from $1079
But maybe she’d rather just keep the photos in her phone … except that it’s running out of memory. That can happen fairly easily if your phone has only 16GB of storage, as so many did.
So, upgrade her phone. The entry level iPhone 7 now includes 32GB of storage as standard, leaving perhaps a good 20GB for photos – she could fit several thousand of them into that space.
Or you can be on the safe side and go for the 128GB model for $150 more. That way she’ll have room for lots of videos of the grandkids, in 4K.
BeatsX Wireless Earphones – $199.95
iPhones no longer have earphone sockets, but they still come with earphones. They use an adaptor to plug into the Lightning port on the bottom. I’d never recommend to anyone that they should use Apple earbuds. Their hard little nubs make it impossible to achieve either good sound or comfort.
But the new BeatsX Bluetooth earphones sound great and are very comfortable to wear. And they’re specifically designed to work well with Apple products, offering easy pairing and switching between Apple devices.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers – $129
Maybe she isn’t so keen on being plugged in. In that case, how about some very respectable sound from some rather cute Bluetooth speakers.
The Wonderboom speakers from Ultimate Ears are easy to use, quite robust and are waterproof. Two can be linked together to provide greater power. There’s a choice of half a dozen colours, some of them quite bold.
The best thing about them is the sound, along with remarkably full bass.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – from $899
Yes, I know, I wrote several thousand words about my frustration with the Microsoft Surface Pro over many months. And you wouldn’t want to set your own mother up for similar frustrations.
Except, since late last year, Microsoft finally fixed it. Ever since some firmware updates around December, my Surface Pro 4 has worked at least as well as any other Windows computer, with complete reliability. And there is no better platform, in my opinion, for general artistry and viewing those iPhone pictures.
The entry level model performs quite well enough for general use, doesn’t have a cooling fan, and is currently $899.
And if you buy at the Microsoft store before Mother’s Day, you’ll get a $99 Kate Spade sleeve for the Surface Pro 4 for no extra charge.
But what about the Surface Pro 5? Won’t she feel obsolete? Well, reportedly Microsoft has recently scotched rumours that the release of a 5 is imminent.
Fitbit Charge 2 – $249.95
Moms need to keep fit too, and there’s certain to be something from the Fitbit range of fitness trackers that will not only help her keep fit, but will look good on her wrist.
My favourite at the moment is the Fitbit Charge 2, which allows you to switch between a range of wristbands. It tracks heart rate and, if paired with her new iPhone (as it should be), can also track exercise routines on a map. There’s also a Windows app (for that Surface Pro 4) and Android equivalents.
Bosch-powered eBike – in the thousands of dollars
Ideally one form of exercise would involve climbing onto a push bike and pushing. Pushing hard and pushing for a long time.
But, hey, even a little bit of pushing is better than nothing. A Bosch-powered electric bike – they’re called “pedalec” or “pedalac” depending on whose spelling of the neologism you prefer – works by providing power only when the rider is actually pedalling. Legal in all states, plenty of top bike builders now include Bosch powered models.
They can be great for getting your mom where she wants to go, with a little bit of exercise, and not too much perspiration.
Sony MDR-1000X noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones – $699.95
I really like the BeatsX earphones, but there are good reasons why your mum might want something even better.
Perhaps she travels. Whether for business or pleasure, the best way to get there is without your ears ringing from hours or aircraft noise. The Sony MDR-1000X headphones have highly effective noise cancellation technology, along with a “talk through” function so that you can hear people if they want to speak to you.
Perhaps she loves classical music. Good as earbuds might be, there simply aren’t many of them – nor of headphones either – that sound as nice as these.
They’re available in both black and white
LASER clock radio with charging pad – $98
But maybe she doesn’t have an iPhone. If she has a recent model flagship Samsung or Motorola phone, she’ll probably appreciate wireless charging. I know I do.
Just being able to plonk the phone down on top of something instead of fiddling around with Micro-B USB connections removes one of those small irritations from life. By building that function into a clock radio, LASER has given it a place on her bedside table.
Breville The Perfect Press sandwich toaster – $129
After that exercise semi-riding bikes and counting up steps on her Fitbit Charge 2, she’s going to need re-charging herself. What better for that than a first class sandwich toaster! Especially one that can also make open melts.
Do note: this is not a good idea if you’re a youngster still living at home with your mom. It will look way too self-interested.