13 Alternative Gadget Gifts For People Who Are Tired Of The Same Old Thing

Just to show that person who has everything that they don't quite have everything just yet.

There are practical holiday gifts (like socks and underwear) and there are trendy holiday gifts (like iPads), and for some annoyingly complicated people, both of these totally adequate categories of presents are deeply disappointing.

Enter the startup gift. Sure, the startup world has produced some cosmically useless stuff (remember Juicero?), but some young companies, flush with millions in funding from investors, have generated a profusion of not-your-average gizmos that might just dazzle anyone on your list who has acute gifting fatigue or name-brand-phobia. At the very least, gift-givers can earn originality points, and avoid a last-minute trip to Best Buy.

Here are some alterna-gifts for adults and kids from various startups, selected for BuzzFeed News by researcher CB Insights. We've ranked them in order of how much investment the companies that make them have attracted. Who knows — one of them might be the next Oculus.

Essential Phone: A durable phone made of titanium and ​ceramic ​to ​resist ​scratching, ​denting, ​and ​bending. The company that makes it was started by the co-founder of Android, and so, unsurprisingly, the device runs on Android. ($330 million in funding for Essential Products)

Essential / Via shop.essential.com

Dash and Dot Robots: Learn to code with these robots, i.e. educational toys, which are already in 12,000 schools. ($76.9 million in funding for Wonder Workshop)

Wonder Workshop / Via store.makewonder.com

Seaboard Block: A new way to make music by sliding your fingers over the keyboard-like surface. ($43.5 million in funding for Roli)

Roli / Via roli.com

Ember Mug: A chargeable travel mug that maintains the exact temperature of your hot beverage, which you set digitally, for about two hours. ($28.9 million in funding for Ember)

Ember / Via ember.com

Smart suitcase: The Bluesmart suitcase has a battery charger for your phone and other devices so you can don't have to crouch desperately on the floor next to an outlet at the airport. Which is great, as long as TSA doesn't get suspicious of your wired bag. ($27.35 million in funding for Bluesmart)

Bluesmart / Via bluesmart.com

Cotopaxi Travel Pack: Cotopaxi makes outdoor apparel and other gear, including bags like this one, which is one of Outside's "favorite weekender travel bags." The crowdfunded, Utah-based company donates 2% of revenue to nonprofits and offers a 61-year guarantee on its products. Plus, come on: Their corporate logo is a llama! ($22.9 million in funding for Cotopaxi)

Cotopaxi / Via cotopaxi.com

Personalized children's books: Yes, Goodnight Moon is a most excellent book, but sometimes kids want something more them. Wonderbly's template, The ​Little ​Boy ​or ​Girl ​Who ​Lost ​Their ​Name, is a personalized ​book based ​on ​the ​letters ​of ​a ​child’s ​name, which is pretty neat. ($22 million in funding for Wonderbly)

Wonderbly / Via wonderbly.com

The Brilliant Control: A light switch that responds to touch and voice, like a next-gen Clapper. ($21 million in funding for Brilliant)

Brilliant / Via brilliant.tech, The Clapper / Via amazon.com

Rylo: A 360° ​camera. ($14.6 million in funding for Rylo)

Rylo / Via shop.rylo.com

Prynt: A printer-case that turns your smartphone into a Polaroid. ($10.6 million in funding for Prynt)

Prynt / Via prynt.co

Meural Canvas: It's a digital display with an art library so you can switch between van Gogh on your wall one day and Banksy another. Subscribers get access to a bigger library of art. ($8.23 million in funding for Meural)

Meural / Via meural.com

Tinitell: It's an affordable, water-resistant watch-phone that costs roughly $9 a month for service so parents can always contact their children without getting them a smartphone. ($5.41 million in funding for Tinitell)

Tinitell / Via shop.tinitell.com

Keecker Robot: A cute, mobile projector that follows you around the house like R2-D2 and can play music and video through apps like Netflix and Spotify using voice command. Translation: At long last, you can watch reruns of "Friends" projected on the side of your bathtub! Downside: it's totally niche and costs $1,790. ($5.41 million in funding for Keecker)

Keecker / Via us.shop.keecker.com



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.