11 Tech Gifts Inspired by 'Stranger Things'
Instead of a box of Eggos, consider one of these 11 tech items for your favorite super-fan.
Earlier this year, "Stranger Things" debuted on Netflix, giving us yet another show seemingly designed for binge watching. And the show has become a pop culture phenomenon.
A lot of that has to do with how well it taps into 1980s pop culture—and we're not even talking about the cast, which includes Winona Ryder and a very evil Matthew Modine. The technology featured in the show is a total blast from the past, in a good way.
Let's get the bad news out of the way up front: You really can't get pudding in a can anymore.
And even if you could, it's not really a gadget. But if someone on your shopping list is one of the show's many rabid fans, consider wrapping up one of these Stranger Things-inspired tech gifts.
1. Casio CA53W-1 Calculator Watch
Tech geeks might have a super advanced smart watch like the Apple Watch or Moto 360 on their wish list--but most "Stranger Things" fans would be downright giddy to get the totally retro and far more affordable Casio CA53W-1 Calculator Watch ($24.95).
After all, this vintage-looking timepiece sure gets us nostalgic for the Netflix hit. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) doesn’t technically wear a Casio (the consensus is that it might be an Alpha Calc Chrono, which you can see at the very bottom of this page), but this model is similar and just as spiffy, with a 1/100-second stopwatch, an alarm clock, and an 8-digit calculator.
2. Pentax K-70 Digital SLR Camera
You could track down an old Pentax K1000, which is close to the camera Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) uses to capture images of the monster—but you'll also have to find a local store that still processes film. Developing photos isn’t as common as it used to be, but Pentax is still cranking out great cameras.
If you'd rather get something modern that's still in the spirit of Jonathan's camera, the Pentax K-70 ($649.95) is the latest and least expensive model in the company’s K Series. The 24-megapixel camera shoots a fast 6 frames per second, has a night vision red light display so you don't ruin your night vision when shooting in the dark, and a top sensitivity of ISO 102400. It’s also dustproof, weather-resistant, and cold-proof, all of which adds up to a great camera for Demogorgon hunting.
3. Wouxun KG-UV8D Two-Way Radio
This isn’t a Heathkit, but the Wouxun KG-UV8D ($104.99) allows you to tune into the magic of ham radio without using a rig that takes up half a room like the one at the school in "Stranger Things." This handheld is only 17.2 ounces with a Li-on battery that packs in up to 12 hours of chat time.
Other features include 4 watts on UHF and 5 watts on VHF, 999 programmable memory channels, up to 5 watts of audio output, and an LED flashlight feature (ideal for navigating around the Upside Down).
4. The Clash: Sound System CD Box Set
Sick of hearing "Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Although the 80s hit appeared throughout the first season of Stranger Things, it barely scratches the surface of great songs by The Clash.
The Sound System box set ($189) has the band’s first five studio albums, which were remastered by Mick Jones, as well as another three discs of demos, singles, B-sides, and other rarities. There’s even a DVD and a cool array of Clash collectibles packed into boom-box packaging.
5. Panasonic RX-D55 CD Radio Cassette Recorder
The Clash's box set isn’t available on cassette. Crazy, right? But if you have your old copy of Combat Rock or other tapes sitting around, you can play them on the Panasonic RX-D55 CD Radio Cassette Recorder ($138).
It doesn’t have all of the sweet features of Jonathan’s very-80s Fisher stereo, such as the turntable and separate speakers. Think of it more like a souped-up version of the one Will (Noah Schnapp) had in his room, with a CD player, an AM/FM radio, USB and music ports, and a preset EQ selection.
Once you burn through all eight episodes of "Stranger Things," you can get a daily dose of supernatural goodness by playing Oxenfree ($19.99). Available as a download for Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PS4, and Linux, this single-player game veritably oozes a "Stranger Things" vibe, with a storyline that revolves around a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift.
7. Dungeons & Dragons
If you’d rather wrap something a little bigger, maybe slip an Oxenfree gift card into a copy of the game that sits at the very center of the movie's universe: Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set ($19.99).
D&D defined the social lives of a generation of geeks and gamers in the 70s and 80s, and it remains what many people consider to be the world's greatest roleplaying game.
8. Native Union Retro Phone Handset
When your son has been sucked into the Upside Down, you probably don’t want to sit and wait by the phone. Joyce (Ryder) really didn’t have a lot of options. But the Native Union Retro Phone Handset ($7.99) makes it easy to take calls anywhere, and with a side of nostalgia.
Just plug the cord into the 3.5mm jack on your smartphone or computer and use the touch button to pick up and hang up from the handset. Hello, 1983, is that you?
9. Motorola Talkabout T600 H2O Two-Way Radios
The Stranger Things kids used some pretty advanced walkie talkies (for 1983), but they’ve got nothing on the Motorola Talkabout T600 H2O Series ($119.99). The rugged design means they can take a beating, are dust-resistant, and can withstand being dumped under a meter of water for 30 minutes, making them perfect for use in the woods, by an impromptu pool party, or deep into the Upside Down.
The set also has the iVOX hands-free feature so you can use it like a speakerphone. Other perks include an emergency alert siren, a built-in flashlight, and access to seven National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Environment Canada (EC) weather channels.
Jonathan brought Will a mix tape during his hospital stay. Now that's some brotherly love. The mix tape wasn't just a great way to share music, but between picking the songs and the actual recording, it was a downright labor of love.
The same sentiment is there with a Milktape ($14.99). Just upload 15 to 20 songs to iTunes, then drag and drop them to this giftable USB cassette. You can also create custom tape and cover artwork. Maybe you can even load up this Stranger Things playlist.
11. West Bend 2-Slice Egg & Muffin Toaster
It’s probably not such a great idea to stuff stockings with Eggos. However, you could certainly fit this 2-Slice Egg & Muffin Toaster ($59.99) under the tree.
It can handle two Eggos at a time—and Eleven probably wouldn’t mind that it can simultaneously poach, scramble, or boil eggs while toasting. There’s even a 4-slice/2-egg model ($89.99) available for the extra-hungry fugitive from justice.