Mother's Day: 5 Tech Gifts Mom Will Love

Let MOM be the person pushing the buttons when she is learning. If you take her computer or device and punch all the buttons yourself, I promise you she won't learn and thing and she won't use them.
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Thinking about the best tech gifts for Mother's Day? All right. Let's just get it out of the way and start with the obvious: The new iPad. Yes, I could have left it off the list but I figured if it's something I'd really like to have myself -- I'm telling you about it.

What's not to love with its retina display, clarity, and the fact that it now takes photos! I have an original iPad and I love it -- but yeah, I would love the new iPad even more. And this time I'd splurge for the 4G. I didn't get the 3G option on mine and while it's useful as is, having 4G would make it the best tool in my bag. If I had 4G, I could even file these blog posts from the soccer field! The ability to connect anywhere adds far more value than I realized when I purchased mine sans the 3G.

The new iPad also comes with free shipping and engraving -- but if you have it engraved you might want to make sure that its really what Mom wants! This will be a pricey option starting at $499, 4G bumps it up to $629 and remember that a data pack is required with the 4G.

Next up -- again something else I'm longing for: the Clarisonic skin cleansing system. Starting at about $119 and topping out at $235 with added options, it's like giving Mom the ability to have a daily facial. My own mom exemplified what good skin care could do for a person. When she passed away at 78, her skin was gorgeous -- it glowed and she looked like she was in her early 60's. I was always in awe of the way Mom cared for her skin. But don't take my word for it -- check out the reviews yourself. You can always supplement it with a gift certificate for a facial to give Mom a head start and a little extra pampering.

Another of my personal favorites is the Roku player. This little number has actually replaced traditional television in our house. These are amazing little boxes -- weighing about three ounces -- that plug into your television using either the included A/V cables or an HDMI cable. Prerequisites for this include a television and a wireless high speed (DSL) Internet connection. Prices range from $49.99 for the most basic model, to $99.99 for their newest model, all with free shipping.

Now for the really great part -- there are "channels" that you download to watch movies, shows, and documentaries, and even play games through the Roku player. I started to count but decided to stop after getting up to 25. There are no subscription fees for the Roku player itself, however you may need to pay a subscription or per use/view fee for some of the channels. For example, one of the channels that we use fairly often is Hulu Plus, which requires a monthly subscription. (You can also get basic Hulu without a subscription.) We also use Netflix -- again a monthly subscription. The channel we probably use the most frequently is Amazon Instant Video. You can rent single videos for about $3.99, and if you have an Amazon Prime account you have a good selection of videos to watch free, included with your Prime account.

This next item just says "MOM" all over it -- a compact printer that will even fit in a purse. As a mom, I love to be able to take photos and then pass them out. In the past, that's meant emailing the files to the intended recipient and letting them print their own photos, or printing them myself at home and then trying to remember to give them to the recipient the next time we meet. However, with a compact printer Mom can take pics at June graduations. The Polaroid Pogo at eight ounces and the Canon Selphy at two pounds are among the smallest and most likely to actually fit in a purse or backpack. The Polaroid Pogo can be had for anywhere from around $40-$60, the Canon Selphy CP800 will run you around $80.

If you want to go the Apple route but don't have a lot to spend and Mom already has an iPhone 3GS or later, an iPod touch, or an iPod Nano 6G (sixth generation) you can get her the Nike+ sensor for $19. Available from the Apple store, the sensor works with Nike+ shoes to track time, distance, calories burned while running or walking, and is even compatible with several cardio machines at many gyms.

And one more -- a bonus that's not part of the five: if Mom already has a smart phone, iPad, or tablet, you can always give Mom her choice of apps for download. Put together a group of apps customized just for her based on her interests. You can gift a book that she's been wanting to read in an e-book format. If she doesn't do much with apps, give her an app starter kit made up of several free apps and show her how to use them.

A tip if you go that route -- let MOM be the person pushing the buttons when she is learning. If you take her computer or device and punch all the buttons yourself, I promise you she won't learn a thing and she won't use them. But if you truly take the time to show her and let her do the work, she will think of you fondly every time she uses that app, whatever it may be!

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