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The Best ~*Aesthetic*~ Tech Gifts for Your Friend Who's Always on Their Phone

No more boring tech, dude. We want our chargers, plugs, and mousepads to be bedazzled, wooden, and fully capable to sub for our personality.
MF
New York, US
Composite by VICE Staff
best tech gifts and accessories iphone

So the iPod just turned 20, which makes me feel real Buzzfeed Millennial Old, and also made me realize that the initial iPod was kind of… perfect? It was a clunker, for sure. But I think it was kind of rad in all of its chunky, ambitious glory. There was a sense that this little submarine was just the beginning:

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When did things get so boring? Back when computers really started really popping off in the 1980s and 90s, Steve Jobs hosted a kitsch Macintosh Software dating game with Bill Gates, Deee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier put on her Pucci tights and predicted an eco-tech-fairytale ethos for incoming computer design, and by the 2000s, Apple was churning out candy-colored Macbooks and flower power desktops for the people: 

It’s 2021, baby, and the time has come to imbue all of our tech with personality, beyond just rose gold iPhones. The good news  is that well-designed, art objet tech is out there, and it makes the perfect gift for your friend who is always scrolling, but isn't really a nerd.

So let's roll up our sleeves and find some aesthetic tech accessories that speak to whatever your giftee’s design preference is. Perhaps you’re looking for a tech gift for your minimalist friend, or a boomer who refuses to use a cell phone as an alarm clock (ILY). Maybe you’re more craftsmanship-bent, or looking for the kind of wooden cell phone charger that could also display a 100-year-old bottle of Scotch. Whatever their electronic aesthetic is, here’s a smorgasbord of our favorite tech accessories for you to shower them with. 

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They’re a minimalist 

This catchall dish by Courant would be beautiful even if it weren’t for the charger, which is barely perceptible: 


$175 at REVOLVE

$175 at REVOLVE

The people cry out for wood 

FINALLY someone brought wood—which elevates everything it touches—into the world of tech accessories. Call me spicy, but I think your charger shouldn’t always have to be some ugly-ass thing in your peripheral vision. Instead, it can be a gorgeous hexagon of walnut.  


$99 at Uncommon Goods

$99 at Uncommon Goods

For the boomer dad

We love you, Ted/Jerry/Ralph. Sometimes, it feels like every step forward (buying a cell phone) takes you a step back (leaving it in the trunk of your car), but it only makes us love you and your lectures about an “impending return to the Gold Standard” all the more. Get your boomer a Very Good Alarm Clock that ushers them into more tech use with ease. The Moon Beam brand was founded in 1952, or as Boomer Dad calls it “The year Britain successfully tested atomic weapons.” Anyways. This upgraded version of their alarm clock is just as classic, but has a digital clock and a USB port. 


$59.95 at L.L. Bean

$59.95 at L.L. Bean

They’re a baby beluga in the deep blue sea

What? You think that being tech-savvy should impede one's ability to regress back to the banana phone, criss-cross applesauce, primary parachute tent glory days of yore? Screw you, man. Watch me Baby Dow Jones so hard with this nanner.  


$40 at Uncommon Goods

$40 at Uncommon Goods
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They have two small Barbie hands

“Sorry Ken, I can’t hear you. But I’m leaving you for Midge” is very much the energy with this one. That, and the gentle stampeding of your little doll acrylic nails over the faux buttons.  


$8.99 at Amazon

$8.99 at Amazon

Blast them into space

You know what? Smartphones are liable to be thee most expensive ~quotidien~ item you use, and use hard. The bar counters. The midnight bathroom scrolls. When you think about all that, giving your $700 beep-boop machine its own snug, stylish house is a pretty rad idea, and that’s absolutely how we’re justifying the purchase of this NASA-inspired phone purse by Balenciaga. If we could live in there too, we would.  


$750 at SSENSE

$750 at SSENSE

McBling queen

If you procure this mouse pad, your breath will smell like Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon mist, and your nails will magically sprout a ~fresh set~ of French tips. You also probably already own a bedazzled iPhone case, but you know what you don’t have? A bedazzled charger to go with it, and a light-up rainbow keyboard that can be seen from space. 


$40 at Voight

$40 at Voight


$15 at Etsy

$15 at Etsy

$43.99 at Amazon

$43.99 at Amazon

They know how to split kindling 

Shopping for someone who doesn’t know what to do with all their cables and all that [gestures in analogue] tech stuff? Are tool belts a love language they understand? Bellroy has created an entire tech kit to get them organized; it’s a straightforward shell made out of recycled materials that will probably remind them more of their shaving kit/grandpa’s toiletry bag than anything techy. 


$59 at Huckberry

$59 at Huckberry
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Anti-SAD tech

Here’s where we’re at, sweets [spits out snus]: We’re in-between fall sabbaths, the sun is setting only a few hours after we’ve cracked our eyes for overpriced brunch, and our landlords are not yet cranking the heat. Smells like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), for which the only antidote is a wireless mouse that looks like a potato/dolphin/heart. That, and a therapeutic imitation-sunshine lamp


$24 at Smoko

$24 at Smoko


$12.95 at Urban Outfitters

$12.95 at Urban Outfitters


$8.88 at Amazon

$8.88 at Amazon

You’re so vain

You probably think this mirror is about you. You’re right, it is. You look great, thanks to a little help from your trusty mirror power bank, which would honestly have been a goddess-send during so many shows and movie dates. 


$15.99 at Amazon

$15.99 at Amazon

Your other car is a slug

Cottagecore kings and queens, crawl out of your logs and off of your toadstools, and store your AirPods in a mushroom. Or a snail. [Rips bog bong.]


$18 at Urban Outfitters

$18 at Urban Outfitters


$18 at Urban Outfitters

$18 at Urban Outfitters

Because it’s puffer season

It’s the season to start bundling up, which means all gorpcore lords will be requiring a North Face puffer case for their smartphone that says, “I’d rather be in Aspen, but this Reno buffet will do.” This squishy boy by Urban Sophistication comes in a dozen colors and patterns, but we’re partial to the classic black or orange.


$65 at Urban Sophistication

$65 at Urban Sophistication
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There you have it: the tech gifts of our fanciful dreams. I want people to get as excited about tech accessories as Valentina Voight, who recently posted this veritable Barbie dream house for your smartphone:

If the future is robotic narc drug dogs and drones, they better be bedazzled in Swarovski crystals. If I am going to continue to do everything from organize my finances to track sharks off the coast of New York with my phone, it’s time to start taking its accessories a little more seriously. We hope the scope of widely available tech one day includes a plastic mansion for your phone. 

See you in the ether. 


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.