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While we’d never begrudge you treating your mom to flowers, chocolate, or scented candles for Mother’s Day, we at Ars always have tech on the brain, so we’d be remiss not to extol the benefits a good gadget can have on her daily life.
You’ll always know your mom’s tastes and interests better than we do, of course, but if she has room for a new piece of tech, we’ve rounded up a few useful, hassle-free, last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas for your consideration below. Here’s hoping they give some thanks back to the woman who has put up with your nonsense all these years.
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Table of Contents
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6
An Apple Watch is a timeless gift… so long as you pick the right generation. They’re stylish (especially in new colors), reliable, customizable, and do most everything you could ask of a smartwatch.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest, best-looking, and most well-equipped of them all. Health-minded moms will appreciate features like blood oxygen monitoring, ECG readings, and all-day heart rate monitoring. It also features fall detection, which calls emergency services in the event of a hard fall or if the emergency buttons are manually triggered. For both aging and healthy parents, you can think of an Apple Watch as a Life Alert pendant that also monitors and tracks aspects of their health and fitness.
Apple is clear, as all wearable manufacturers are, that Apple Watches are not tools for medical diagnosis, though the sensors within are FDA approved and can help keep track of trends worth speaking to a doctor about. It’s the kind of health monitoring that approaches the futuristic idea of having a device in or on you that tells you when something’s wrong. Sleep tracking on the watch is another good example, as this shows you trends rather than any specific diagnosis. And right now, for the highest degree of health tracking, we don’t recommend anything lower than the Series 6.
Other wearables have these sensors, too, but Apple Watches further seal the deal with their wide-ranging support for various apps and services. If you have an active mom who’s into running, swimming, surfing, hiking, meditation, or gardening (just to name a few activities), there are dedicated Apple Watch apps for all of those. Or if your mom likes to keep track of certain sports, shows, audiobooks, podcasts, or news, there are Apple Watch apps for all of that, too. Really, whatever your mom’s into, there are apps for her to access or engage with it on her wrist.
Oh, and she can use a new Apple Watch to call or text you when she’s not by her phone. What mom doesn’t want more communication from their kids this Mother’s Day?
Garmin’s Lily fitness tracking watch is a gorgeous wearable that emulates a classic timepiece aesthetic and comes in a variety of colorways for different tastes and occasions. These devices mimic jewelry more than tech. The Classic Edition has leather straps and a stainless-steel bezel in bronze or one of two shades of gold, while the Sport Edition has an anodized aluminum bezel and silicone straps. In all, there are six styles to choose from—three of each edition—and all of them are 5ATM water-resistant and fashionably versatile, from casual to classy.
Each has a metallic-looking dial with unique monochromatic patterns bolstering the refined looks. This masks a touchscreen underneath that presents information through a white light TFT LCD. It’s easy to read, even in the sun, so no matter what the situation she can read text messages and other notifications on her wrist, be it from an iPhone or Android device.
Being a Garmin watch, there are also sensors for heart rate and blood oxygen tracking that you can spot check, but they also inform easy-to-read aggregate health stats like stress levels, abnormal heart rate, fitness age, body battery, and sleep tracking. In-app, you can also track menstrual cycles.
GPS isn’t built in, though, nor is music storage, so if leaving the phone at home for on-the-go mom adventures is important to her, then this may not be the best pick. Otherwise, activities for strength training, cardio, elliptical training, stair-stepping, yoga, Pilates, and breathwork can all be initiated and tracked right on the watch.
If your mom would appreciate a portable speaker that will let her better enjoy music or podcasts at home, on the road, in the shower, or at the beach, we like the Marshall Emberton. For a compact (2.7×6.3×3.0 inches) and not-too-heavy (1.5 pounds) device, it packs impressive audio quality. Compared to similarly sized speakers we have tested like the UE Wonderboom 2 or Sony SRS-XB33, it presents a fuller, smoother, and more natural sound, with a commendable level of balance and width. And while no speaker this size can pump out truly deep bass, the Emberton delivers a nice level of punch without ever distorting or blobbing up the fine details of any given track.
Besides that, we dig the Emberton’s guitar-amp-inspired design, which includes a handy battery-level indicator as well as a simple one-button control scheme for adjusting volume and playback. We found the battery itself to last roughly 10 hours per charge—though that will change depending on how loud you play—and the device recharges quickly over USB-C. The whole thing has an IPX7 rating, too, meaning it’s fully waterproof and will have no issues surviving splashes from the shower, pool, or kitchen sink.
That said, the Emberton is pricey for what it gives you. If you’d like to gift a less expensive speaker, consider Tribit’s XSound Go or StormBox Micro. Neither is as flashy looking or full sounding as the Emberton, but both are good value and similarly waterproof. We’ve recommended the former in the past, while the latter is even more compact and has a built-in rubber strap that lets it snap onto backpacks, bike handlebars, and the like.
Jabra Elite 75t and Apple AirPods Pro
<div class="gallery shortcode-gallery gallery-wide"> <ul><li data-thumb="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/jabra-elite-75t-150x150.jpg"><img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/jabra-elite-75t.jpg"><span cdn.arstechnica.net wp-content uploads jabra-elite-75t-980x669.jpg https: jabra-elite-75t-1440x983.jpg data-sub-html="#caption-1705050"> </span><figure style="height:669px;"><div class="image" style="background-image:url('https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/jabra-elite-75t-980x669.jpg'); background-color:#000"></div> <figcaption id="caption-1705050"><span class="icon caption-arrow icon-drop-indicator"></span> <div class="caption"> Jabra's Elite 75t is a wonderfully well-rounded pair of true wireless earphones. </div> <div class="credit"> <span class="icon icon-camera"></span> Jeff Dunn </div> </figcaption></figure></li> <li data-thumb="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/apple-airpods-pro-7-150x150.jpg"><img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/apple-airpods-pro-7.jpg"><span cdn.arstechnica.net wp-content uploads apple-airpods-pro-7-980x653.jpg https: apple-airpods-pro-7-1440x960.jpg data-sub-html="#caption-1595625"> </span><figure style="height:669px;"><div class="image" style="background-image:url('https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/apple-airpods-pro-7-980x653.jpg'); background-color:#000"></div> <figcaption id="caption-1595625"><span class="icon caption-arrow icon-drop-indicator"></span> <div class="caption"> Apple's AirPods Pro are the true wireless earbuds to get if you prioritize active noise cancellation or ease of use with Apple devices. </div> <div class="credit"> <span class="icon icon-camera"></span> Jeff Dunn </div> </figcaption></figure></li> </ul></div> <div class="ars-component-layout ars-component-buy-box align-right"> <div class="ars-logo-box"> <div class="ars-logo-box-content ars-logo-box-content-buy-box"> <div class="ars-buy-box"> <div class="ars-buy-box-content"> <div class="ars-circle-image ars-circle-image-green ars-circle-image-buy-box"> <div class="ars-circle-image-container ars-buy-box-image-container"> <img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Apple_AirPods-Pro_New-Design-case-and-airpods-pro_102819-300x324-1.jpg" alt="Jabra Elite 75t & Apple AirPods Pro product image" class="ars-circle-image-img ars-buy-box-image"></div> </div> <h3 class="ars-buy-box-title">Jabra Elite 75t & Apple AirPods Pro </h3> <div class="ars-buy-box-button-container"> <ul class="ars-buy-box-list"><li class="ars-buy-box-list-item"> <a class="button button-orange ars-buy-box-button ars-buy-box-list-button noskim" href="https://amzn.to/3t5NxfP" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jabra Elite 75t: $130 at Amazon</a> </li> <li class="ars-buy-box-list-item"> <a class="button button-orange ars-buy-box-button ars-buy-box-list-button noskim" href="https://amzn.to/3t2bjJr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Apple AirPods Pro: $197 at Amazon</a> </li> </ul></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="ars-component ars-component-affiliate-disclaimer"> <div class="ars-affiliate-disclaimer-message">(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through <a href="https://arstechnica.com/affiliate-link-policy/">affiliate programs</a>.)</div> </div> </div>
If Mom would like to get in on the “totally wireless” headphone trend, consider gifting the Jabra Elite 75t. They’re smaller and lighter than most other true wireless earbuds, with an in-ear design that stays secure and comfortable in the ear over multiple hours. We’ve had few issues pairing them with iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices. They get roughly seven hours of battery life per charge, which is above-average for a true wireless pair, and their easily portable charging case provides another 20+ hours on top of that. Their built-in microphone array does well to keep your voice sounding clear during phone calls, and they’re IP55 rated, so they can withstand sweat or light rain while Mom is out and about.
Like most true wireless earbuds, the Elite 75t don’t sound amazing, particularly for the price. They emphasize bass and treble out of the box, but lots of people enjoy that kind of sound. For what it is, it’s more fun than fatiguing. A recent update to Jabra’s companion app added a useful—if not world-beating—active noise canceling mode as well. A one-button control scheme on each earbud makes it easy to pause songs, answer calls, and adjust volume. Plus, if something ever goes wrong, Jabra covers the device with a two-year warranty.
If your mom only uses Apple devices, though, we can also vouch for Apple’s AirPods Pro as an iOS-friendly alternative. They’re typically more expensive than the Jabra pair, but they pair near-effortlessly with iPhones and iPads, and they have a more effective noise-canceling mode for blocking out rowdy environments while working or exercising. They also have a more balanced and neutral sound that could be more pleasant to certain tastes. That said, they aren’t quite as comfortable as the Elite 75t, they only get about five hours of battery life per charge, and they don’t have volume controls built into the earpieces. But for iPhone owners who’d prefer the simplest experience possible, the AirPods Pro do enough right to be worthwhile.
A protective or stylish Magsafe iPhone case
<div class="gallery shortcode-gallery gallery-wide"> <ul><li data-thumb="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-13-150x150.jpg"><img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Best-iPhone-Accessories-13-scaled.jpg"><span cdn.arstechnica.net wp-content uploads best-iphone-accessories-13-980x654.jpg https: best-iphone-accessories-13-1440x961.jpg data-sub-html="#caption-1731804"> </span><figure style="height:654px;"><div class="image" style="background-image:url('https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-13-980x654.jpg'); background-color:#000"></div> <figcaption id="caption-1731804"><span class="icon caption-arrow icon-drop-indicator"></span> <div class="caption"> Apple's leather wallet case comes in five different colors and affixes easily to your iPhone 12 or a MagSafe compatible case. </div> <div class="credit"> <span class="icon icon-camera"></span> Corey Gaskin </div> </figcaption></figure></li> <li data-thumb="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-30-150x150.jpg"><img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Best-iPhone-Accessories-30-scaled.jpg"><span cdn.arstechnica.net wp-content uploads best-iphone-accessories-30-980x654.jpg https: best-iphone-accessories-30-1440x961.jpg data-sub-html="#caption-1731822"> </span><figure style="height:654px;"><div class="image" style="background-image:url('https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-30-980x654.jpg'); background-color:#000"></div> <figcaption id="caption-1731822"><span class="icon caption-arrow icon-drop-indicator"></span> <div class="caption"> OtterBox's Magsafe cases add an appreciable amount of protection and can be used while charging your phone via Magsafe, but you'll still need a good screen protector. </div> <div class="credit"> <span class="icon icon-camera"></span> Corey Gaskin </div> </figcaption></figure></li> <li data-thumb="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-33-150x150.jpg"><img src="https://scoreit.online/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Best-iPhone-Accessories-33-scaled.jpg"><span cdn.arstechnica.net wp-content uploads best-iphone-accessories-33-980x654.jpg https: best-iphone-accessories-33-1440x961.jpg data-sub-html="#caption-1731826"> </span><figure style="height:654px;"><div class="image" style="background-image:url('https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Best-iPhone-Accessories-33-980x654.jpg'); background-color:#000"></div> <figcaption id="caption-1731826"><span class="icon caption-arrow icon-drop-indicator"></span> <div class="caption"> Zagg's Invisible Shield Glass screen protectors are lifetime warrantied. </div> <div class="credit"> <span class="icon icon-camera"></span> Corey Gaskin </div> </figcaption></figure></li> </ul></div>
Apple’s new Magsafe chargers are an easy way to rest your iPhone 12 (or prop it up) and give it a decently quick charge. Better yet, the magnets and technology within let you access that charge at full power through Magsafe compatible cases like those from OtterBox. Or, in the case of Apple’s magnetic leather wallet, you can attach the pouch-like case to the back of your iPhone for a slim and useful wallet solution.
The world’s opening up again, and we’ve found OtterBox’s Magsafe cases to provide substantial protection on adventures indoors and outdoors, while Apple’s Magsafe Leather Wallet makes traveling light and easy. Both come in a variety of colors to match Mom’s style. Pair them with Zagg’s lifetime warrantied (i.e., unlimited replacements, just pay shipping) glass screen protectors, and both Mom and her phone will be ready to enter the world again, provided she’s vaccinated, of course.