Great Gifts for Grads

Tech giftsCollege graduation is a major rite of passage. It marks the end of an insulated life and the beginning of entry into the "real world." The best gifts will give your special grad a boost to help him or her get started in his or her new life.

After he's received his diploma, it's a pretty good bet that the laptop that saw him through the past 4 years is in need of a serious reboot. The perfect upgrade: a MacBook Air (starting at $999.99). As it's slim and lightweight, he'll find it easy to tote around. In our tests its performance was top-notch.

Related: Top-Notch Laptops

Magellan ExploristLots of grads suffer from wanderlust - and who can blame them for wanting to travel and see the world after 4 years in an ivory tower? If your grad is going off to explore (or is just an avid hiker), treat him to a portable, hand-held GPS. Both Garmin and Magellan offer a large variety of personal navigators with unique features. The waterproof Garmin Montana ($550-$669) and Magellan Explorist Series ($130-700) have cameras so he can document his tracks and geo-coaching software that guarantees he won't get lost.

To keep her connected after she's cut off from free university Wi-Fi, give her the affordable and simple to use Cisco Valet ($90) home wireless system. The Valet router easily connects multiple devices to the Internet and she won't need a tech expert to set it up.

Related: Back-to-School Gear

Universal Charger Idapt i4Having grown up in the digital age, the average twenty-something has a bevy of gadgets in his arsenal. The Universal Charger Idapt i4 ($59.99) is compatible with over 4,500 devices and can charge four simultaneously. As it keeps a gazillion cords from tangling up , it'll help nip apartment clutter in the bud right from the gitgo.

What do you mean I can't use the school gym anymore? Gym memberships can be way expensive which means your grad may need to find a new way to get fit. The Nike+ FuelBand ($150) tracks fitness progress throughout the day, and turns the activities of daily living into a game by setting goals and using red and green lights to signal progress.

Related: Great Gadgets to Simplify Your Life

Samsung SmartTVIs she moving into a place of her own? If you're OK with splurging, you can't go wrong with the gift of a new television. Samsung offers an impressive lineup of Internet ready TVs, perhaps the most note-worthy being the SmartTV ($3,750) that will let her stream content live from the Internet and from Netflix, Amazon.com, and Facebook - and control the TV with her gestures or voice. If a Samsung is way out of your budget, the Roku 2XD ($69.99) will allow her to stream content on a television she already owns. What gift are you giving your grad this May? I'm on the hunt for a few graduation gifts myself, and now that I've spilled the beans about what's on my mind, I need some help coming up with surprises!

What are you planning to get the grad in your life? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out more great ideas in our Graduation Gift Guide.

-Rachel Rothman

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