Last-minute Gadgets for the Small Business Jock

By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For anyone who has put off shopping until the last minute — or is looking ahead to post-holiday sales — here’s a list of some top gadget gifts for the hiker, biker, skier or runner in your life.

List prices range from $9.99 to $1,800, but watch for big markdowns on the items below, all of which should appeal to someone eager to hit the slopes, trails or open roads armed with the latest high-tech gadget.

The choices are based on reviews from some top magazines and Web sites, including Consumer Reports, Outside Magazine and Men’s Journal.

** Start with a GPS to find your way to and through a hike, cross-country ski trip or any other adventure. A modern day map, compass and altimeter rolled into one, it’s the closest thing there is to a must-have gadget this season.

Men’s Journal says Garmin’s Oregon 400T, which sells for about $600, “has everything you could want from a handheld GPS” including a touch screen, topographic maps, 3-D maps, and an altimeter, not to mention customizable features.

** Cameras are always winners, if you can sort through all the choices to find the right one to put under the tree.

For the adventurer in your life, consider the Pentax Optio W60, which Outside magazine calls “the ultimate adventure point-and-shoot.” The 10 megapixel camera sells for $330, works in subfreezing temperatures as well as under water to a depth of 13 feet, and includes a movie mode feature and a glare-proof screen.

** What to do with all those photos? Check out Samsung’s 8-inch SPF-85V digital frame, which retails for around $230. “Front touch controls are easy to use and a rechargeable, nonreplaceable battery lets you view pictures without remaining tethered to a wall outlet,” says Consumer Reports.

** Why let your loved ones spend valuable time checking the web for weather reports when they can have a week’s worth of information at their fingertips.

Runner’s World says runners can use Ambient Devices’ $200 7-Day Forecaster, a handheld weather forecaster, to “plot their training with precipitation, pollen index, wind speed, and air-quality alerts at their fingertips.”

** Who wouldn’t have fun with night vision goggles? TheEyeclops Night Vision Goggles cost about $100, far less than you would pay for most competitors. Even at that price, Men’s Journal notes, “you can still see up to 50 feet in darkness and choose a black-and-white or green-tinted display.”

** A nifty gift for that cyclist in your life is a bike computer.

Blackburn’s Neuro 5.0 is among the best reviewed. At $175, it’s wireless, provides speed, heart rate and cadence. And you don’t have to be an engineer to install it. “It’s always frustrating when you open up a new computer and don’t know what to do, but installation on the Blackburn Neuro 5.0 is surprisingly simple once you read the instructions,” reports Bicycling magazine, adding that the computer offers up “everything you’ll need and then some.”

** Those searching for a stocking stuffer can consider a $9.99 Apple iPhone application. The HangTimer records every jump your favorite daredevil skier attempts on the slopes and “also detects your ski resort automatically anywhere in the world and downloads ski reports, lift status and trail maps,” writes

** On the pricier side, go all-out for a laptop. Consumer Reports gives a solid review to Sony’s $1,800 Vaio VGN-z540: “This 13.1 inch slim-and-light weighs 3.3 pounds and has a 6-hour battery life. Its LED-backlighted display was excellent.” 

“It has a power-saving feature that lets you switch between higher-performance discrete graphics and battery-saving integrated.”

** Another Garmin offering is the Forerunner 50, a $200 watch that allows you to record several streams of data during a run and then upload it all to your computer.

“The watch captures wireless signals coming from the Garmin foot pod to monitor the speed and distance (and even stride rate) during a run, and tracks the heart rate data offered up by the chest strap,” Runner’s World explains.

** Finally, for those trying to shed a few pounds, Tanita’s $300 Ironman 558 Scale comes with all the bells and whistles.

“Whether you’re a weight weenie looking to hit racing weight, or just want to trim down your flab and look good at the pool, the Ironman BC 558 is the ultimate tool,” writes Bicycling.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the Forums. Join the discussion today!

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

Must Read

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends, and analysis.