From virtual reality headsets to airpods to smart speakers, there’s no shortage of exciting gadgetry available for the tech lover in your life this Christmas. But knowing what to buy for your tech-savvy friends and family can be a daunting task if you’re not sure what to look for, or which brands are reputable. Here’s a breakdown of this year’s hottest tech gifts to give you some direction.
1. Smart Light Bulb
“Smart” lights are one of the hottest new products of this season. These high-tech light bulbs can connect to your smart speaker or smart phone, allowing advanced functionality such as voice control, automation options, color variations and even motion detection. Smart bulbs vary in price, ranging from $10 to $150 or more, with varying levels of integration and automation depending on the price tag.
Although they’ve been around for a while, robotic vacuums continue to be a hot item for that techy friend or loved one who could use a house cleaning. These days, the models are more advanced than ever, with features like smart phone and Alexa voice compatibility, as well as advanced route-learning technology for maximum cleanliness.
3. Smart Speaker
Smart speakers seem to be the “blue light special” of every Christmas, especially if you find yourself shopping on Amazon often. The Amazon Echo and more compact Amazon dot remain popular choices, with features such as voice control, high-quality audio and compatibility with other smart home products. The Google Home, Google Nest and Apple HomePod offer alternatives with competitive specifications.
4. Bluetooth Speaker
For those who don’t require voice capabilities and just want a portable way to enjoy their music, a Bluetooth speaker is the way to go. They’re more affordable than smart speakers and can offer equal or better audio quality. They also tend to be more durable than smart speakers, making them ideal for outdoor trips or in rugged environments.
5. Smart Watch / Fit Bit
Fitness tracking continues to be an ever-growing trend, and with guilt-inducing holiday meals and New Years resolutions to be had, continues to be a great gift choice. These days, smart watches can track far more than the time, including heart rate, calorie depletion and even sleep patterns. Many models also integrate with your smartphone, Alexa, and Pandora / Spotify.
6. Security Cameras
With home security cameras getting less and less expensive, there’s really no excuse anymore to not have some type of surveillance system in your residence. From the ever-popular Ring doorbell systems (which have sparked a viral Internet phenomenon whereupon people post videos of porch pirates in action) to dedicated, multi-camera systems with terabytes of storage data, today’s options for smart cameras are endless.
Electric drones continue to be the hot luxury tech gift of the holidays. The popular “quad copter” design continues to dominate, with prices ranging from around $100 to many thousands. Consumers will find the more expensive models come with advanced features, better picture and video resolution, and longer battery life. Drones are an especially appropriate gift for the Colorado guy or gal, as the state offers so much outdoor beauty to be captured on camera by a drone.
8. VR Headset
As virtual reality continues to evolve and become more refined, the availability and demand of VR headsets continue to rise. From standalone headsets like the Oculus Quest to ones that can plug right into your smart phone, the list of available features of these devices grows on. While many models are expensive and can go for over $1000, there are also more affordable options, albeit with less advanced functionality.
9. Sous Vide
Sous Vide has been steadily rising in popularity as the new way to cook food in the 21st century, and for good reason: by maintaining a steady temperature throughout cooking, it allows you to “set and forget”, resulting in delicious food cooked perfect every time without any hassle. Many models available today have smartphone integration with their own dedicated apps. If you’re going to buy a sous vide, you may also want to consider a vacuum sealing mechanism, as it is recommended for certain foods cooked with sous vide.
10. Smart TV
One the oldest “smart” items out there, the Smart TV’s of today have significantly improved over the ones from even five years ago. With features such as voice command compatibility, smart phone integration and the ability to record and store your favorite programs on a hard drive, a Smart TV is never a bad option.
These products only scratch the surface of what this year has to offer as far as high-tech gifts. With a little research, you can be sure to find something that will please your nerdy friends or family.