Useless gadgets to avoid this Christmas

by Katelyn Chisholm

I hate knick-knacks. I really dislike those useless gadgets that appear at Christmas and serve no purpose but to sit on your shelf, take up space and collect dust. (Bah humbug, right?) Check out this list of 5 gadgets and find out how they rate on our Usefulness Scale.

USB Warmers

Anything that is warmed by USB power has to be slightly questionable. Isn’t an overheating gadget something to be avoided? Isn’t Apple recalling their first generation Nanos for that? Regardless, they’ve invented the USB coffee cup warmer. Plug this in at your desk and place your coffee on the warming element so you never have to sip cold coffee.

Usefulness Scale: 3/5. It’s small and easy to tuck away, but you can always pour a fresh cup or use the microwave.

Equations or Backwards clocks

In case children (or adults) didn’t have a hard enough time learning to read analogue clocks, they’ve made these versions even more complicated. The equation clock tests your mental maths skills as each hour is the answer to the complicated equation. The backwards clock displays all the numbers in a counter-clockwise direction, forcing you to forget all the habits and patterns of time-telling you learned as a kid and might even make you late for the bus.

Usefulness Scale: 2/5. While it serves a design purpose, it’s otherwise confusing and misleading.

IPod-Dock Headphones

IPod accessories are always a great gift. Everyone wants a new and awesome way to play their music. Especially with these giant headphones that also act as a dock for your iPod. Not only do you look cool, but it puts the iPod in a position that a) does not easily allow you to change your music without removing the headphones and b) exposes it completely, making it easy for sticky-fingered passers-by to snatch.

Usefulness Scale: 0/5. You can’t change your music AND it makes your iPod easily snatchable. No thanks.

Touchies or Dots iPhone Gloves

This is actually a great gadget. Not only are the warm gloves are perfect for winter, they are also interwoven with conductive wire so you touch can be transmitted to your iPhone. No need to cut holes or remove your gloves on a blustery day.

Usefulness Scale: 5/5. Warm and functional: a perfect fit.

The Little Printer

This tiny printer is not actually being released until 2012, but design buff-hipsters all over the world are raving about it. I get it; it’s adorable; it’s a printer with a face. But it’s useless. While it does serve a purpose, it basically does what your expensive iPhone does. You get a receipt-sized summary of what you would otherwise read on your screen. So not only is it redundant, it also wastes paper.

Usefulness Scale: 2/5. It really isn’t USEFUL but there is something about that little face that makes you consider buying it… for a second.

Have you received any not-so-useful gadgets? Tell us about them in the comments below.
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