Whether you want to show some flourish in your tech-gifting this Valentine’s Day, or just need a few alternate ideas to bring in the romance, there are more ways than ever to geek out about love.

Giving Tech Gifts With a “Wow” Factor

This Valentine’s Day, you can bet a bevy of new devices will be going out in a sea of red or pink wrapping paper. (T-Mobile’s even offering up a hot promo, giving away all phones and select tablets for free on Saturday, Feb. 11.) It’s a lock that the gift alone will earn a respectable bump on the relationship-o-meter — but why not up your game by turning the occasion into an extra-special event?

  • If you know information like usernames and passwords, save your S.O. some time by fully setting up that device with email, Facebook and/or other accounts.
  • Take that favorite photo of the two of you, and load it as the lockscreen or wallpaper.
  • Making a slideshow is easier than ever these days (see below), and you can conjure up some magic by creating one and pre-loading it, so s/he can watch it right on that new handset. (For extra cute points, tape a short note to the device’s screen with instructions like “For part 2 of your present, boot me up and open the Photos app, then choose Albums…” etc., or “Launch the web browser and visit this link: [www.yourvidsite.com].” Stand by with a handkerchief — this one could bring on some waterworks.
  • Turn a single product into a gift bundle by adding accessories or skins in the recipient’s favorite color or style.
  • Change the ringtone to your special song, then wrap up the box and hide it in the room where you plan to give the gift. When the time comes, don’t just hand it over — call the number, and the song will play, guiding your sexy thing over to his/her new sexy thing.

Other Creative Gift Ideas:

  • Scenes to Remember: Nothing brings on the sappiness like a little home movie chronicling your love connection. (Best part — it’s cheap too!) This can be made from a few video clips of the happy couple or some still photos stitched together. Desktop software like Photo Story or iMovie, or websites like Animoto.com, make this a breeze. Just collect some snaps, pick a cheesy love song, and wham! — you’ve got a sentimental journey ready to go.
  • Hungry For Love: What says romance more than a home-cooked dinner for two? If you’re going to do it, go all out — Use a tablet or large-screen smartphone as your sous chef, and queue up your cheffiest cooking app or website for whipping up something more than just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (I like EpicuriousCook’s Illustrated and AllRecipes.) Likewise, for the 21+ set, try leaning on wine apps from SwirlIt, Natalie Maclean and others. And for goodness sakes, don’t forget about décor. Set the scene with lots of romantic candles. (You can get some great deals on Amazon.) Gear that could help: Try Belkin’s Kitchen Cabinet Mount for that tablet, or the iGrill cooking thermometer attachment for iOS devices.
  • When “Über Geek” Is How You Roll: Not everyone’s into expensive gifts or hitting the candle-lit dinner thing like a playuh. For some people, fully embracing their inner nerd is more their speed, so if you’re a couple that likes to march to the beat of a different drummer — or simply enjoy offbeat things like seeing the World’s Largest Ear of Corn or a trip to a farm museum or observatory — then try hitting up NerdyDayTrips.com for some fun, quirky activities for V-Day.
  • Hitting Some Floral Notes: If time is winding down and you can’t decide what to do, there’s nothing wrong with going with tried-and-true flowers and chocolates. Not to mention, if you’re out and about when the V-Day thought strikes, and you suddenly remember that you forgot, 1800Flowers can really come to your rescue. Not only has it moved on from being just a flower delivery hotline to a full-fledged e-commerce website, but it also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS, as well as a downloadable Mobile Gift Center for BlackBerry users.
  • Retro Classic, Hipster Cool: Back in the 80s and 90s, making a mixed tape, or “mixtape,” was an artform. (To learn why they’re so great, check out the clip of John Cusack explaining it, courtesy of High Fidelity.) So how do we recapture that magic today? Well, choices range from burning a CD to copying files onto a USB drive — there’s even a Mixtape USB Drive available from places like Perpetual Kid or PBTeen. These come close, but dumping a pile of songs on there doesn’t quite cut it. I like the idea of a USB cassette MP3 player instead. This slim rechargeable gadget is like a cassette, but smarter. Not only does it take SD cards and work like a normal USB card reader, but it also plays inside standard tape players (say, in older home or automotive stereo systems). No tape deck? No prob — it can function as a standalone MP3 player. Not bad for $18 − 24. Just load your thoughtfully arranged mix on this multiply usable device to inspire your own brand of fidelity. (Available here and here.) Prefer an online version? Then try out EveryonesMixtape.com or apps like AirCassette (iOS).

And finally, don’t forget that sometimes it’s the little things that count. If your Valentine is really into you, something small — like changing your Facebook relationship status to “In a relationship” — can help fuel the love buzz… which is what February 14 is really supposed to be about.

Ever crafted or enjoyed an excellent Valentine’s Day? Tell us how you rocked the cupid in the comments below.

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