The 20 Tech Gifts We’d Give Our Loved Ones This Holiday Season
Whether you’ve got the holiday bug or not, supply-chain problems across sectors means you probably needed to start your holiday shopping yesterday. However, it might not be easy to find the perfect gift for someone with a high level of geekiness. That’s what this gift guide is for, shopping for every kind of nerd in your life. From headphones that’ll get the job done for cheap, to the coolest way to get around town, these tech presents will show that you care, and also that you know there’s more to the holidays than sharing the wi-fi password with the family.
You can use it for anyone
Tracking fobs have been around for a few years, but ubiquity and ease of use have always held them back from being truly useful at finding what you’ve lost. Apple’s AirTags solve some of the worst problems with tracking fobs while expanding on key functions. AirTags detect iOS devices and notify you of their location anonymously. They’re a pretty smart way for your forgetful friend to keep track of bags, luggage and even pets if they’re known to wander out the house on occasion.
None of it matters (1)
They won’t wow anyone with a degree in musicology, but for $100, the Nothing ear (1) wireless earbuds don’t have to. They offer enough high-end features—noise cancellation, ambient noise transparency, wireless charging—and a pleasant enough sound profile to be an appealing stocking stuffer for someone who is more likely to lose their AirPods during a school dance than complain about bass frequency drop-off. These earbuds are also very stylish.
Price: A monthly payment of $9.99 or $89.99 for an annual fee
This past year, many people started to take up music as a way of making use of their spare time. Fender Play offers a free streaming music lessons service for guitar players. Fender Play’s simple, easy to understand videos and sheet music for beginners, combined with instructions for popular songs from hundreds of famous artists, make it a genuinely useful tool for learning your favorite songs or practicing some technical skills. For the musically-minded there are over 3,000 lessons available for guitar, bass, or ukulele. You can also view them on your smartphone or computer, so this gift is easily accessible from anywhere.
Apple Pro 14 inch MacBook Pro
Price: Up to $1,999
You are looking for the best laptop for professionals? Don’t think you’ll upset anyone with Apple’s new 14-inch (or 16-inch) MacBook Pro, which makes a return to what made the MacBook Pro so pro in the first place. This MacBook Pro has no gimmicks, such as the Touchbar. It adds additional ports, including HDMI and a 35.mm audio jack (I know it’s crazy), along with an SD card slot. The new Apple-made M1 Pro and M1 Max processors deliver an explosive performance boost that makes today’s laptops look out of breath by comparison. The return to form is much appreciated by longtime Apple users, but if your gift recipient is new to the Mac, it’s the perfect notebook to start someone’s journey.
iPhone 13 Mini
PricingPrice: 699 or more
Let’s be real: smartphones are really good now, and so much a part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine a day to day without them. But for many, they’ve also gone from being the cool cutting-edge thing to more of a utility item. iPhone 13 mini is the ultimate combination of smartphone function with a beautiful form. It’s Apple’s smallest 5G smartphone with a gorgeous 5.4-inch display, a pair of rear cameras and support for Apple’s magnetic MagSafe charging and add-on accessories. Who doesn’t love a utility item with some cutting-edge appeal?
You are the one who has it all
Remarkable 2 Tablet
Pricing: $399, $299 (with subscription)
Although handwriting and then reading notes on a computer are becoming more common, it is not possible to achieve this dream. Remarkable’s 2 eink tablet excels at writing and is a great example of this. The 10-inch eink screen provides a similar experience to traditional pen and paper. The premium Connect service, which costs $99 per year, allows you to connect to Google Drive or Dropbox cloud accounts. It can also perform handwriting conversions to text. You can even screen share to computers to make presentations. You can also check the notes from anywhere and anytime with the companion app. The tablet can’t load any other apps, so it offers a respite from social media and other distractions. It’s one of the coolest and smartest ways e-ink technology is proving to be a game-changer.
Onewheel Pint X
While bikes are getting cooler, faster and smarter, apartments aren’t getting any larger, making it hard to squeeze one into a studio apartment (or college dorm). Ubers can be expensive and walking around the city is boring. Onewheel’s Pint X is the electric transportation company’s second attempt at a tiny one-wheeled electric skateboard. Pint X can be used as a skateboard or snowboard and allows you to have fun on city streets. With a top speed of 18 m.p.h., and an 18-mile range, all in a package you can hold with one hand and slide under a desk, it’s safe to say the Pint X will get your on-the-go loved ones cruising about town while taking up the least amount of space.
PricingAmount: $99.99 annually or $10.99 per month
If they’ve already got the home theater setup, complete with big TV and booming speakers, watching Netflix or playing games is a pretty sweet experience. What about classics that some may not consider worthy of their shelves? The Criterion Channel streaming services are available for cinephiles. The apps are available for virtually every device. There is also a browser version to allow you to view the content from your web browser. You can choose from over 1000 ad-free films and other special features, including classics as well modern movies from both well-known directors and obscure favorites.
LG C1 TV
PricingPrice: From $1,099 and Up
You want to surprise someone this holiday season? Buy them an LG C1. An OLED TV with unbeatable color contrast and vivid colors is impossible to match, even the best LCD screens. LG’s OLED screens in its C1 4K UHD TV are also used in professional settings, and apps like Amazon Prime Video can take advantage of the TV’s technical prowess by displaying certain movies in those four special words, “as the filmmaker intended.” For gamers, a 120Hz refresh rate and support for variable frame rates makes it the perfect monitor for PC gaming should you want to help someone go big—though the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console can take advantage of those perks as well.
The social butterflies
PricingPrices from $119 to $299
A nice camera is a must-have for any occasion, whether it’s a wedding or slumber party, as well as vacation planning. Everybody also likes the feeling of nostalgia associated with a vintage polaroid. The Polaroid Now+ knows exactly what you’re looking for, and adds a few extra nice-to-have features to bring the instant camera into the 21st century. The iconic Polaroid camera design is still intact, however it has smartphone support to allow for more features. This camera is more modern than other instant cameras, thanks to color lens filters and tripod support. With the app, amateur (or not so amateur) photographers can set timers and shoot double exposure photos—an added bonus for photos that might take too long to qualify as an “instant” photo.
DJI OM 5
No doubt there’s a person younger than you trying to rope you into standing in front of their smartphone camera in the hopes that they’ll blow up online unbeknownst to you. Why not lend a hand? DJI’s OM 5 smartphone gimbal is a handheld gimbal used for creating buttery smooth video shots you can’t really get using your vibrating frappuccino-fueled fingers. The integrated extension rod allows for more extreme angles and three-axis stabilization virtually eliminates camera shake. You can set up your shot with accessories like the tripod stand, while its companion app allows you to capture more cinematic scenes using useful presets. Clever features like active tracking can ensure you’re always in frame while the DJI OM 5 follows around your soon-to-be-famous face.
Puffco Peak Pro
It’s cool to smoke cannabis again. Many states have legalized it. Even tech companies want in on the trend. They are creating new gadgets that will get you in the zone quicker than ever. But for an experience both a beginner and connoisseur can enjoy, Puffco’s Peak Pro electronic vaporizer is the BMW of bongs. For those who want to experience college, the electronic vaporizer uses water. However, its heating system is more efficient and can heat up to 500°F for serious smokers. Puffco PeakPro is among the best devices available to get stoned. It supports Bluetooth control, USB-C connectivity, wireless charging and Bluetooth support via a webapp. Enjoy your holidays.
This is for the parent who works from home.
Wahoo kickr Snap
Many people are looking for ways to continue their cycle training now that the weather has turned colder in many areas of the U.S. The Wahoo Kickr Snap is a great indoor trainer that will help you and your friends stay warm. Kickr Snaps are for people who just want to get on the bike and not have to worry about putting them on. Kickr Snap replicates inclines of up to 12 percent and is quieter than indoor trainers. Compatible with third-party apps like the cycling exercise game Zwift, TrainerRoad and Rouvy, the Kickr Snap can keep those you know in the saddle in the cold months so they’re ready for the warmer ones.
Many people care about sound, but most care just enough to know their TV’s speakers are awful. So if you’re looking to help your mom, dad or grandparents upgrade to something they can set and forget, and you’re sick of hearing them complain about not being able to hear anything out of their tinny built-in TV speakers, checkThe Sonos Beam is available. Compact soundbar packed full of sound. Dolby Atmos support provides additional dimension to audio. However, there are not vertical-firing speakers. The slim design is both subtle and attractive in any space. Its support for the Sonos music system and AirPlay 2 make it great for music-lovers, and its seamless syncing with your TV’s control system means they won’t need yet another remote in their living room.
iRobot Roomba j7 Plus
Vacuum lately? Didn’t think so. That’s what robot vacuums are for. Robot vacuums can spread doo-doo around your floor, which is a problem for pet owners. The Roomba J7 Plus has solved that problem, as well as the whole “emptying the vacuum” one. That’s right, the Roomba J7 Plus can look out for and go around your fur baby’s (or real baby’s) in-home accidents, preventing the dreaded smear many robot vacuum-having pet owners have come to fear. Combined with a self-emptying vacuum and cleaning base combo that can store two months’ worth of debris, it might be easy to forget how the floors got so clean in the first place.
Pricing: 60 to $90 per Week
It’s not unusual for holidays to be difficult, no matter the year. 2021 is no exception. That’s why gifting yourself (or a loved one) a subscription to BetterHelp might help improve your mental health in time for the holidays. BetterHelp connects you with professional mental health professionals like psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and more. Telehealth connects you with therapists in the same way that we connect to work. You connect via your smartphone or computer using audio or video and text messaging options.
Google Nest Hub
The Nest Hub isn’t exactly a new gadget, but the feature inside the newest Nest Hub could mean a better night’s rest. The new sleep tracking feature uses Google’s new Soli sensor to detect motion and activity more accurately. This improves accuracy and can detect when you are in bed and whether you’re turning or tossing. It also presents a score that is based on your sleep quality. Eventually, Google will offer suggestions based on other factors (like how much light it senses in a room at night) and could help the busiest people you know adjust their schedules to get more—and better—sleep.
A gift for the child (or adult) who is passionate about gaming
Logitech G923 Race Wheel
F1 2021 and Forza Horizon 5 are setting new standards for how it feels to be behind the wheel. Logitech G923 is a Logitech G923 Racing Wheel that will make gamers feel more engaged when revving their engines. You can connect the racing wheel and pedal system to your PC, PlayStation 5 (or Xbox depending on which version), to create an immersive racing experience. The G923’s smarter force feedback system does a great job replicating the tiniest bumps and shifts you’d feel when driving on a race track (or dirt road), and its metal paddle shift system brings it in line with modern-day cars and their electronic shifting systems. Just don’t get a speeding ticket.
Backbone One Gaming Controller
It can be difficult to play without lugging around a lot of accessories or dongles. For busy parents or those with long commutes, that’s more hassle than it’s worth. You might find the Backbone One controller accessory for iPhones that can shrink this down. You can use your iPhone as the screen with the Backbone One. Simply slide it into the controller case, and your iPhone will become a mini console. Backbone One connects all of the gaming ecosystem in a simple format that allows you to jump from game to game or organize a friend’s match. With a library of controller-friendly iPhone games in the app store to choose from, plus the addition of streaming games from your consoles, the Backbone One might be the killer accessory that gets someone back into their favorite hobby, even when they can’t find the time to sit in front of a TV.
PricingPrices starting at $249
Whether you’re dealing with someone who has a more discerning palette when it comes to their entertainment, or someone you want to keep quiet on your next family flight, Sony’s stellar WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones are hard to beat. The WH-1000XM4’s high-end sound profile and bass are powerful, while the low end is able to bring out subtleties that you might have forgotten when listening to music through earbuds for so many years. The WH-1000XM4 is a great gift idea for audiophiles. It has top-quality active noise cancelling, talk-to-chat functionality which pauses music when you begin running your gob and ambient sound control that allows you to listen to announcements and conversation while you are still wearing your headphones.