Tech Savvy: There’s still time to get mom a tech gift

There are lots of options available that can still be picked up at a local store and work for moms across the age spectrum.

The Tertill Weeding Robot uses guards to protect small plants and then uses height to tell plants from weeds as it patrols gardens and controls weeds.
Contributed / Tertill

Still looking for a gift for mom?

Look no further than a bit of technology. There are lots of options available that can still be picked up at a local store and work for moms across the age spectrum. And check to see if there are Mother’s Day sales to take an additional bite out of costs, which mom will likely appreciate.

Weeding robot — The Tertill Weeding Robot is solar powered and can take care of weeding those vegetable gardens all season. We first mentioned this after it bloomed at the CES show, which highlights consumer electronics each year in Las Vegas. As Tertill notes, the robot works by churning up the soil and using a weed wacker. Metal guards protect young plants as the Tertill uses height to tell plants from weeds. Tertill’s marking includes a garden plot without the robot and one with it, which are night and day as one might imagine.

The manufacturer said it’s been proven to be as effective as hand weeding and mom will have more time to enjoy the garden, prune and harvest to get all the benefits of being outside without weeding or looking sadly at a garden where weeds are ruining the garden calm.

“Lots of studies have shown the amazing positive impact gardening has on your physical and mental well-being, but gardening can also be frustrating,” Tertill reports. “That's where we come in.”


The weeding robot is $250 and there is an entire Tertill Garden Program, at about $60 a year, that can also bring in a customized fertilizer plan and organic fertilizer based on data collected from mom’s garden soil and size.

PhoneSoap — An ultraviolet sanitizer that santizes phones, keys, cards and money. And the larger HomeSoap disinfects items like tablets, remotes, game controllers.

“Backed by a decade of expertise, you’ll find PhoneSoap solutions fighting the good fight in homes, schools, hospitals, gyms, restaurants, and countless other germ hiding places,” PhoneSoap states on its website. PhoneSoap 3 is both a UV sanitizer and a charger and sells for about $80. There are multiple options on this theme. A Mophie — with a UV sanitizer and wireless charging device was locally on clearance for about $52. And another option includes a PwrUp Clean, which was listed locally on clearance for about $28.

A flower pattern is displayed on a computer mouse.
Logitech has many options for colorful designs to perk up and customize the computer mouse.
Contributed / Logitech

A fun new keyboard — Logitech K380 is a wireless multi-device keyboard for Windows and Apple iOS. It comes in multiple colors including rose and has a color coordinating mouse. The multi-device keyboards, and there are plenty of brands to choose from including Goldtouch, offer easy pairing and memory for three devices be that a smartphone, tablet or laptop so you can move from one to the other with the same keyboard by just moving a dial or pressing a key. For moms who may take a laptop between work and home, having a fun and functional keyboard at home helps that transition. Cost is about $40. Sometimes it can be just fun to have a new option. Samsers, which also comes in rose and black, has a keyboard with a slot to accommodate two devices, such as a tablet and smartphone so they are upright, and it supports connecting to two devices simultaneously. Cost is $27. Keyboards can range in price, but there are multiple options typically less than $30 or less than $50.

A new mouse — provides an inexpensive way to personalize something mom may use a lot with a wireless colorful mouse. A price check had numerous options between $12 and $15 with some less than $20 and others as high as $39. Best Buy and Target recently had a selection of colorful designs.

Roomba 675 on the floor by a dog in a living room.
A Roomba 675 works the floor. Robot vacuums are one of a host of tech gifts for Mother's Day.
Contributed / Roomba

Robot vacuum — There are multiple options now with prices coming down to make this option perhaps more appealing now than ever with some south of $200 now. And there are now robot mops as well.

A charging dock that handles multiple items, such as a watch and phone. There are many options in this category for brands and pricing.

A Tile tracker is attached to a set of keys
A Tile Tracker can be attached to a set of keys, added to a wallet in the shape of a credit card or attached to any most precious item, including a child's favorite stuffed toy so it can be found again if misplaced.
Contributed / Tile

Apple Air Tag or Tile — attach it to anything that one can misplace and need to find — like keys, purse, pocketbook, wallet. Those misplaced keys or wallet can be tracked down with the Air Tag using Siri or the app via a smartphone. Tile, with Android or Apple, uses the app and the tile will ring or the detector green rings will fill in when you get closer or ask Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant to help find them. Cost: $20-$30.


FireTV Cube — make it easy to find the things mom wants to see with a streaming system that also takes voice commands to turn the TV on or off, or turn the volume up or down, along with a host of other options, like combining with a smartplug or smart bulb to be able to turn lights on or off by voice command. This works great to make sure the room is lit before arriving to watch a favorite Hallmark movie or to dim or turn lights off for movie mode once tucked into a favorite chair. Cost: about $70. “Just ask Alexa - With the built-in speaker, ask Alexa to check the weather, turn off the lights, and more — even when the TV is off,” Amazon reports. “Designed to protect your privacy — Built with privacy protections and controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.”

If there are other Alexa devices in the room and the FireTV Cube needs to be operated separately to make it easier, just change its response name to Echo.

Want to make it easy for mom to call whether there is a phone nearby or not, just add an Amazon Echo Dot and mom can simply ask Alexa to make a call and can her children on their cellphones. This can be a nice option for older moms to know they can call just by voice command if needed. Echo Dots are about $25. Splurge for a little more and get one in the shape of a dome with a clock.

Kindle Paperwhite with an array of colored covers.
The Kindle Paperwhite offers a way to take a host of books anywhere with a lightweight and waterproof e-reader.
Contributed / Amazon

Kindle Paperwhite — for the avid reader. It is thin, lightweight, travelworthy and waterproof so it should be good for a vacation to the beach or poolside. Cost. about $100. Other Kindles may be had for about $55.

Headphones to better hear and enjoy TV viewing such as Sennheiser’s over-the-ear headphones with a charging station. They are easy to connect and make a world of difference for those who are hard of hearing by bringing the full range of sound from rain to soft-spoken dialog. The headphones also mean others can listen at a lower volume or the sound won’t carry. We’ve had several of these at use in the family and they have been a terrific addition. The Sennheiser RS135-9 stereo wireless over-the-ear headphones are lightweight, have replaceable earpads and cost about $93. There are more model options and Sony also has wireless headphones for TV watching.

<br/>The Magic Keyboard provides the best typing experience on iPad Air with its integrated trackpad and floating design.<br/><br/>
Courtesy / Apple

iPad Air — the new 10.9 inch iPad Air has the new speedy M1 chip for better multi-tasking. It also comes in five colors and has a 12 MP ultra wide front camera for Center State, to make, as Apple reports, “video calls more natural and content creation more fun. As you move around, the camera automatically pans to keep you cnetered in the shot. When others join or leave the frame, the view expands or zooms in.” Document scanning, compatible with Apple Pencil, 5G wireless option for Zoom meetings with the book club or movie streaming among its offerings. Cost: About $600.

iPad Air Magic Keyboard — for the iPad user, this keyboard with built-in track pad, provides a stand and much more user friendly way to type, whether that’s keeping up on Wordle or writing email or FaceTime sessions with family. The iPad attaches magnetically. The keyboard is backlit. Cost: About 299. Compatible with iPad Pro 11-inch (first through third generations) iPad Air (fourth and fifth generation) and iPad Pro 12.9 inch (third through fifth generation.)

For the super techy mom, BuzzFeed notes there is a Breo Box, a tech and gadget subscription box that arrives every three months with five to eight name-brand gadgets with a combined value of $300. BuzzFeed notes the first box can be had via Amazon for $149.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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