Pogue's cheap and unexpected gifts: the Soi Handbag Light

David Pogue
Tech Critic

Each week until Christmas, I’ll be back on Yahoo Finance’s “Midday Movers” to recommend another holiday tech-gift idea—always cool, cheap, and unexpected!

At a folk festival a few years ago, German engineers Christian Schech and Bastian Wetzel noticed how the women tried to illuminate their purses and handbags when they wanted to find things in there—by turning on their phone flashlights or even lighting their lighters. And a light bulb (heh) went off.

They’ve now invented the Soi Handbag Light ($30). I have no idea what Soi is supposed to mean (is it a typo for SOL?), but the idea is great: It’s a three-inch, featureless flying saucer that you keep in your purse, laptop bag, or backpack. Then, whenever you start rooting around in there, a bright white LED light bathes the proceedings so you can see what you’re doing.

In the depths of your darkened bag, all is illuminated.

Everyday jostling doesn’t turn it on; it lights up only when it senses the proximity of your hand. At that point, the light comes on for about 10 seconds. It’s powered by a pair of AAA batteries, which the company says lasts for 6,000 bag-foragings.

The Soi bag light has no controls or buttons; the presence of your hand turns it on.

I think the company does itself a disservice by marketing the Soi exclusively to women for their handbags; I’ve tossed one into my Timbuk2 laptop bag and life has never been the same. For starters, since you’re not clutching a phone or a lighter, you now have both hands free to do your exploration.

If there’s a better candidate for the cheap and unexpected high-tech gift idea, I haven’t seen it.

More from David Pogue:

Battle of the 4K streaming boxes: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku

iPhone X review: Gorgeous, pricey, and worth it

Inside the Amazon company that’s even bigger than Amazon

The $50 Google Home Mini vs. the $50 Amazon Echo Dot — who wins?

The Fitbit Ionic doesn’t quite deserve the term ‘smartwatch’

Augmented reality? Pogue checks out 7 of the first iPhone AR apps 

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, is the author of “iPhone: The Missing Manual.” He welcomes nontoxic comments in the comments section below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here, or you can sign up to get his columns by email