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miscellaneous gadgets

The Octa Whale Kit is a universal stand for tablets that uses a powerful vacuum suction dock. You can use the spherical dock on its own, or you can attach a tail, designed to look like a whale fluke.

iPhone 5 case (

Australian case designer Cygnett was quick to roll out a line of cases for Apple's new iPhone 5 dimensions. The Workmate ($25) is slim, light and comes in slate blue or khaki. Its outer shell is durable enough to protect your device and flexible enough to slip easily on and off. The Cygnett UrbanShield cases ($30) are a bit more metro styled. Made of either carbon fibre or aluminum, they also come with a plastic screen protector.

Tablet holder ($49.95 U.S.;

The Octa Whale Kit is a universal stand for tablets that uses a powerful vacuum suction dock. You can use the spherical dock on its own, or you can attach a tail, designed to look like a whale fluke. The flexible tail can be held by a hand or used to prop a tablet up in myriad ways, providing any viewing angle required. The vacuum seal will hold on any non-porous surface until it's disengaged.

Styluses for tablets (;

Some people aren't content to use their tablets only for Web browsing and e-mail. There are those who hand write and even draw on their portable computers. The GoSmart Stylus 300 ($24.95 U.S.) has a see-through, Teflon-coated tip so users can see what they're writing or drawing, which greatly improves accuracy and precision. And it's magnetized so it can be attached to the tablet itself. The Bluetooth-enabled Pogo Connect ($80 U.S.) is an even better option for artists because it lets them draw with different widths. The device responds to the pressure exerted on the tip of the stylus.

Dyson Digital Slim cordless hand-held vacuum ($450;

It's not going to fit in his stocking, but this latest vacuum innovation from British engineer James Dyson's company will elicit squeals of joy when your husband sees it. It may be lightweight and cordless, but the Digital Slim is powerful enough to suck up all the pretzel crumbs under the sofa. And it's portable enough for easy cleaning of the car, too. But what will have him volunteering to clean is the opportunity to press the button that activates the turbo-charged super-suction. It's power in the palm of his hand.

Innergie PocketCell rechargeable battery bank ($90;

It's the end of a long day and you're on hold to get reservations at the new hip restaurant and your phone is about to die. You're on transit, so there's no outlet close at hand. That's when you're glad to have the PocketCell battery bank, a universal power source that can deliver a boost to any USB-powered device. That means it will also come in handy when the kid's MP3 player runs down when you're still an hour from your road trip destination.

Belkin Lightning connector accessories (

Apple's latest devices all make use of a new connector, something they've dubbed Lightning. What that means for many Apple users is that they need new docks and chargers. Belkin is the first to release Lightning accessories. The four-foot-long car charger ($29.99) flows 10 watts, enough for an iPad, and is designed to protect against overvoltage conditions. The iPhone 5 charge and sync dock ($29.99) includes a plug for the headphone port so your device can also connect to your computer's screen and speakers. It does not, however, include the Lightning cable. That you'll have to get separately from Apple ($21).

RHA SA950i ($69.99;

These glossy black iPhone-optimized headphones from esteemed British audio hardware maker RHA look gorgeous and sound better. Yet they're not so expensive that you'll begrudge replacing them when, as all headphones eventually do, they start cutting out (and that may be longer than you think, thanks to a sturdy, replaceable knitted cable). The audiophile in your life will thank you.

The Wedge ($14.99;

Simple, stylish and ingenious, this plush pillow acts as a stand for almost any phone or tablet, propping it up at a comfortable viewing angle without the need to remove any protective casing. They're available in a wide range of colours and designs, from pink peace signs to elegant patterns and swirls. Bonus: Their microfibre surfaces can be used to safely polish delicate displays.

CarBot ($29.99;

Thinking up ways to waste time on the job can be hard work, but not with a CarBot in your drawer. These phone- or tablet-controlled cars are tiny, lightning quick and surprisingly maneouverable. Freak out unsuspecting co-workers by zooming one past their feet, or work in cahoots with your colleagues to set up desktop races and office derbies. Worried the boss will find out? Have Secret Santa bring her one so she can join the fun.

Epson LabelWorks LW-300 label printer ($39.99;

For the obsessive-compulsive person in your life comes the ultimate monomaniacal device: an Epson label maker. It will let you organize the spices in your cupboard, ensure no one steals your lunch at work, and allow you to put your name on every single item you own, from your shoes to your toothbrush. And when you're done, all of your family and roommates' possessions await. The possibilities are endless.

Edifier Sound to Go Plus ($49.95;

Laptops and tablets tend to have crap speakers. If you need sound while on the go and are determined not to use headphones, you'll need an external solution. Designed in Vancouver, Edifier's Sound to Go Plus – a stylishly crafted mini-soundbar – is a good option. It doesn't have the punch of larger systems (it is portable, after all), but it delivers clear mids and crisp highs, and its lithium-ion battery last 10 hours on a single charge.

The Wizard's Wand universal remote ($89.95 U.S.;

Changing channels without buttons on your remote can be as easy as abracadabra. Probably the nerdiest thing you'll ever own but undeniably cool and actually sort of practical, the Wizard's Wand Universal Remote lets you change channels, raise and lower volume and administer 13 commands without ever having to press a button. It even comes in its own fitted, fabric-lined case for the discerning would-be wizard.

Nap Massaging Bed Rest ($99.99 U.S.;

We've all laid in bed on a lazy Sunday, and now you can do it in extravagantly lethargic style while getting a well-earned massage. The Nap Massaging Bed Rest features a mug holder, bendy LED reading light and roomy side pockets to ensure you don't actually have to move for anything. It's also soft and plush, folds flat and has a built-in handle. Just make sure you don't start to live out of it.

Oregon Scientific HD all-terrain video camera ($129.99 U.S.;

For the true sports freak (the kind that actually does sports, not the type that just watches it), this neat and not-so-little HD camera is perfect for capturing amazing moments in action that you created yourself. Water-resistant to 20 metres with a 130-degree field of view, the camera does stills and video at five megapixel resolution and also records sound. Best of all, it comes with all the mounting equipment necessary to easily attach it to helmets, bikes and any other stuff.