koubachi-wi-fi-plant-sensor-o Koubachi's WiFi plant sensor will keep track of your plants' health, which will make any green-thumbed mom's life easier. Photo: Koubachi

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and like many among us, you’re buying gifts at the last moment. But your mom, she just doesn’t want the super high tech stuff. She doesn’t want WiFi in her shoes or earrings that double as a 4G tether. But she does love simple tech stuff, so here’s a gift guide for Mother’s Day, low-tech style.


You mom likes the look of tablets, but she’s never used one. She’d probably like to use it for simple media consumption and reading. Maybe Facebook. Well, you’re in luck - both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have you covered.

Amazon’s basic Kindle E-Reader is outfitted with WiFi and a six inch screen designed to emulate paperback novels. It’s uncomplicated, small enough to carry in a pocket or purse, and holds over a thousand books. The battery lasts a month, unlike your smartphone. Plus it’s $69 right now, and if you want a built-in light and high contrast screen, the Kindle Paperwhite is $119.

amazonkindle Amazon's Kindle is basic and cheap. Photo: Amazon

If you want the absolute cheapest though, there are still a few Nook Simple Touches out there. Barnes & Noble brick and mortar stores still sell them so that’s a bit tricky, but Best Buy is currently selling the Simple Touch for $49.

Stepping up a bit in price will introduce mom to a full media tablet in the Kindle Fire HDX 7”, at $199. The Android-based Fire HDX works not only as an Amazon e-reader, a but a tablet fit for light duty social media and video streaming. The best part of it is Amazon’s “Mayday,” which connects a user to an Amazon customer service representative with the touch of a button. So if she can’t figure something out, there will always be someone to help her figure it out (who isn’t you).

Audio Players:

Your mom remembers the days before digital downloads and even before CDs, when vinyls were the way to listen to music at home. Chances are she’s still got a collection of 33 ⅓ and 45 records somewhere - why not let her relive those days? Audio Technica makes a turntable that plays both speeds for under $100, and you won’t have to show your mom how to use it. Chances are, she’ll be the one showing you.

at_lp60_1_sq Audio Technica AT-LP640 stereo turntable. Photo: Audio Technica

If she’s embraced digital music though, there’s always simple Bluetooth setups like the Beats Pill. Once paired, she can change what the speaker plays right from her phone.

Odds & Ends:

If your mom can never remember where she puts things (sorry mom!), there’s a nifty, simple solution on the horizon: the “Find 2.0.” The premise is that you’d stick the plastic casing onto something (or clip it) you don’t want to lose track of. It’s basically a Bluetooth-enabled chip with a proximity sensor; through an app, your mom can set digital fences so any time the object in question moves towards that boundary, she gets an alert on her phone. If only it existed when I was young, I’m sure my mom would have taped it to my head.

FINDchip Find 2.0 locator chip. Photo: Kickstarter / SenseGiz

Tech stuff isn’t limited to the obvious though. Got a gardening mama? There’s a WiFi sensor to track plants’ healths, called the Koubachi. It analyzes the needs of the foliage and sends reports to mom’s phone, allowing her to ensure all of her plants remain in perfect health.

If you’re still strapped for idea, there’s always Netflix/Hulu Plus/Amazon Prime.

And really, who doesn’t love Netflix?