After they’re done celebrating their academic accomplishments, your grad might already have a new job or internship lined up, or they may be very close to a new opportunity. If so, they’ll want a few essentials that will ease them into the working world, whether they’re dealing with a daily commute or logging on from home. Here are a few gift ideas that they’ll appreciate regardless of where they find themselves doing most of their work.
Carrying a reusable water bottle on your commute is a smart idea, but what’s even smarter is a bottle that cleans itself. The LARQ Bottle PureVis claims to neutralize up to 99.99 percent of odor-causing bacteria using UV-C light, which means there’s less chance of it stinking up between refills. Either press the button at the top to trigger the clean, or simply wait; it automatically cleans itself once every two hours. The PureVis model also has thermal insulation that can keep drinks either cold or hot.
If they don’t mind cleaning their bottle, however, the Contigo Autoseal transit mug is a more affordable alternative. It’s wide enough to fit most cup holders and it has a handy Autoseal button which lets them drink out of the bottle when held down. As a bonus for coffee aficionados, both an Aeropress and a drip filter cone fits nicely over it, so you can brew your cup of joe directly into the mug. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer
A good backpack is essential for commuting, especially if your grad has to tote their laptop back and forth each day. One of our favorites is the Everlane Renew Transit Backpack thanks to both its exterior 15-inch laptop sleeve and assortment of interior and exterior pockets. It also has two water bottle holders and a pass-through strap that attaches to rolling luggage, so they can use it as their main travel pack during their next trip. And, as a bonus, it’s made from 100 percent recycled polyester, has a water-resistant finish and comes in three neutral colors that will pair well with any outfit. — N.L.
Even if your graduate already has an upgraded webcam, bad lighting can prevent them from putting their best face forward when virtually speaking with colleagues. The LumeCube Edge Desk Light can fix that with its multiple brightness and warm-light settings, plus a bendable neck that makes it easy to adjust the light’s position. Since it’s quite flexible, they can use it for other things, too, including note-taking and live streaming. And we know they’ll appreciate its built-in USB-C and USB-A charging ports, which will let them conveniently power up their phone, earbuds and more while getting all of their work done. — N.L.
Today’s office life is more on-the-go than ever, with workers switching between home, office and maybe the occasional coffee shop in between. But being mobile doesn’t mean having to settle for an unresponsive trackpad. The MX Anywhere 3 is a comfy mouse that can easily slip into a bag, though not as easily as it connects via the included receiver or Bluetooth. And it really does work anywhere — including on glass surfaces. — Kris Naudus, Commerce Writer
An external monitor is essential for anyone who works from home most of the time. Not only is it ergonomically better than hunching over a laptop all day, but the additional screen real estate is invaluable, too. We especially like the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q thanks to its 4K screen resolution, adjustable height stand and array of ports that they can use to charge their laptop as well as other accessories. It comes with an HDMI socket, two USB-C connections, a DisplayPort, a 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB-A ports. One more feature that’s especially useful if they plan on coding: the monitor can rotate 90 degrees so it can be used vertically as well as horizontally. — N.L.
Anyone with a busy schedule can appreciate the convenience of a portable battery pack – you’ll never have to worry about an unexpected dead phone, tablet, pair of earbuds or another essential gadget. One of our favorites is Anker’s PowerCore Slim 10000PD because it has a lightweight design and yet packs a 10,000 mAh battery inside. That’s enough to charge a smartphone up to three times, and it won’t take up too much space in your bag. Plus, we like that it comes with a couple of Anker’s safety features like overcharge protection and temperature control. — N.L.
In the age of Zoom calls and Google Meet video conferences, webcams have become essential. Like many of us, graduates have probably relied on their machine's built-in camera until now, but that just won't cut it if you're video conferencing multiple times a day and also care about looking good. An external webcam can make all the difference — our favorite is the Logitech C920s Pro HD webcam, which has 1080P video quality, autofocus capabilities and decent white balance adjustment. It also has a large 78-degree field of view plus a lens cover that will help protect your privacy when it’s not in use. On top of that, it has a solid pair of built-in microphones, and you can adjust settings like autofocus, brightness and contrast via Logitech’s Camera Settings companion app. — N.L.
The grad in your life probably wrecked their hands and wrists writing all those term papers on a dinky laptop keyboard, so why not get their working life started off right with something better? The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a treat to type on, thanks to its soft but responsive keys and split design that places your hands in a more natural position. The soft Alacantra wrist rest is pretty great too, and it certainly makes this a classy addition to a work area for under $ 100. — K.N.
When setting up a home office, audio isn’t always first and foremost on your mind. But when it comes time for your grad to start work, they’ll wonder how they lived without it. A Nest Audio is great for setting reminders like when it’s time to do laundry or check the mail, turn on lights remotely when it gets dark and, of course, play music or podcasts as they work. If they’re not into the Google ecosystem, an Amazon Echo is also a great gift with the same capabilities. — K.N.
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