Technology gifts 2018

At long last, the holiday season is here once again. And of course, with the holidays comes the inevitable rush to buy gifts for your closest relatives and friends. You might find yourself in just that rush, which is exactly why we compiled a list of some of the best technology gifts you can give a friend this December. Whether you’re looking for a present for a gamer, an audiophile, or a Netflix junkie, there’s something here for everyone.

 

Amazon Echo PlusAmazon Echo Plus

Of all the smart speakers on the market, Amazon’s Echo Plus might just be the most versatile. Since the release of the original Echo, smart-assistant Alexa has proven to be an invaluable and reliable AI. This year’s model includes Zigbee, a built-in program that connects to any smart home device in your Wi-Fi network. The best part? It works perfectly with both Android and iOS devices. Neither Google nor Apple can make that claim.

Echo Plus is certainly worth the price of admission at $150.00 on Amazon, and ought to make a great gift for any friend in need of an assistant.

 

Steelseries Arctis 7Steelseries Arctis 7 Headset

The Steelseries Arctis 7 Wireless Headset has widely been called the best gaming headset on the market—and deservedly so. It has an incredibly comfortable set of ear cushions complemented by bass-heavy audio that makes both music and in-game audio more immersive. It also has a voice chat mixer, making it easier to turn your friends’ chatter up or down during online matches. The downside? It isn’t Bluetooth, so you’re not going to be able to hook it up to your phone without an audio cable. But the included wireless router makes connecting to a PC nearly seamless.

At the time of writing, the Arctis 7 is $118.00 on Amazon, and it’s absolutely worth it for the friend searching for better gaming audio.

 

Razer MouseRazer DeathAdder Elite Gaming Mouse

When it comes to PC gaming, accuracy is key, and nothing on the market can compete with the DeathAdder Elite mouse. Claiming to have a “true 16,000 DPI optical sensor,” it certainly won’t skip angles or frames. But even if you don’t care about DPI, the DeathAdder’s ergonomics are incredibly comfortable, even after hours of gameplay or work. And it has a relatively subtle design, so even if you don’t want to use it for gaming, it won’t come across as too flashy.

At the time of writing, the DeathAdder is $39.99 on Amazon. Choose it for anyone looking for a comfortable working or gaming experience.

 

micro SD card200 GB Micro SD Card (Compatible with Switch)

If you know anyone getting a Nintendo Switch over the holidays, we would highly recommend adding some storage to the system. Frankly, the amount of storage built into the Switch is puny (32 GB), and any user who downloads more than a few games will quickly run out of space. 200 GB is the perfect storage amount for holding a sizeable collection of indies and triple-A games without breaking the bank.

At a mere $40.00 on Amazon, a Micro SD Card is absolutely essential for any newfound Switch owner.

 

Apple Charging standOLEBR Apple iPhone/Watch/AirPods Charging Stand

If you have any Apple fanatics in your life, they will absolutely adore this charging stand. It holds an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods charging case in a single location, able to ensure that your devices are ready to grab at a moment’s notice. It can also hold a phone in a convenient position for briefly glancing at notifications and calls.

At $40.99 on Amazon, this charging stand is a great accessory to add to your loved one’s armada of Apple products.

 

Samsung charging standSamsung Official Charging Stand

If you don’t have any iPhone-owning friends, the Samsung alternative is certainly an admirable contender. Samsung’s official charging stand is solely wireless and holds your Note or Galaxy in an upright position for quick notification glances. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an AC adapter, but finding a USC-C to AC cable is fairly simple.

On Amazon, the Samsung charging stand is $40.00. Grab it for any Samsung-owning pals you have.

 

Xbox One Elite ControllerXbox One Elite Controller

As it was, the Xbox One controller was already fantastic. But when Microsoft released the Elite variation in 2015, it floored the competition. Interchangeable parts, rear-facing paddles, customizable controls, togglable button layouts—customization is this controller’s strong suit. But just like the first iteration, it’s as comfortable as can be.

At $150.00, the Xbox One Elite Controller is a bit of a hard sell. But nonetheless, it remains one of the best gamepads on the market, and would be a fantastic gift for any Xbox users in your life. You can grab it on Amazon.

 

Jabra earbudsJabra Elite 65t Wireless Earbuds

If you’re looking for a great pair of truly wireless earbuds, there aren’t too many great options out there. If you’re not keen on Apple’s AirPods, another fantastic choice is the Jabra Elite 65t pair of earbuds. Not only do they block out noise better than their Apple competitor, but they provide for an overall more comfortable fit.

At $170.00 on Amazon, Jabra’s wireless earbuds aren’t the cheapest thing in the world, but they will certainly be a great fit for those who don’t want to be burdened by wires.

 

Nintendo Switch Pro ControllerNintendo Switch Pro Controller

The Nintendo Switch is one of Nintendo’s best consoles, and to be frank, the Switch Pro Controller is one of their best controllers. Everything about this controller—from the large analog sticks, to the massive face buttons, to the satisfying triggers—is made from a professional level of quality that few but Nintendo can provide.

Sure, at $70, it’s the most expensive standard controller for a current-gen system, but it’s arguably worth it for the Nintendo fan in your life. You can buy it on Amazon.

 

Turtle Beach Mouse PadTurtle Beach Mouse Pad

A mouse is only as good as the surface it’s used on. A mouse pad like the one made by Turtle Beach is essential for anyone using a Mac or PC. What’s so special about Turtle Beach’s? Not much, to be honest. It’s a simple fabric pad with embroidered edges that keeps your mouse from running off the edge.

It might sound simple, but don’t let that underwhelm you. At $20 on Amazon, the Turtle Beach Mouse Pad is a stellar pick for your computer-using friend.

 

DJI Spark DroneDJI Spark Drone

Let’s be real: drones can be pricey. If you’re an enthusiast looking for a drone with a 4K 60fps camera, you’d be hard-pressed to find an option for less than 600 dollars. Thankfully, there are drones like the DJI Spark that combine affordability and genuine value. The Spark is a light-weight, smartphone-controlled drone with a variety of colors. It’s absolutely intended more for play than for serious camerawork, but if that’s all you’re after, it’s a great package.

Compared to other market prices, the Spark’s $359.00 Amazon price tag is a bit more digestible, and it’s a blast for whoever receives it as a gift.

 

Roku Streaming StickRoku Streaming Stick Plus

Of all the home entertainment options out there, Roku is undoubtedly the most accessible. For the price of the average video game, you have access to a vast collection of movies and TV shows in the form of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or Amazon Prime. And Roku conceals itself better than any other streaming box on the market; it’s literally just an HDMI stick you plug into the back of your TV!

At the time of writing, Roku Streaming Stick+ is $50 on Amazon, a fantastic deal to gift a friend over the holidays.

 

Nintendo LaboNintendo Labo Vehicle Kit

Nintendo shocked the world when it announced it was selling us cardboard earlier this year. And then they shocked us again when it turned out to be a surprisingly imaginative and mechanical product. Well, the most recent Labo “vehicle” kit might just be the most in-depth so far. Besides being an intricate piece of cardboard machinery to assemble, the vehicle kit’s included open-world racing game is unexpectedly fun, too.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the vehicle kit is on a bit of a price hike, sitting at $129.22 on Amazon. Once that price comes down, however, it will absolutely be worth the investment for the ingenious kid or adult in your life.

 

SNES ClassicSuper NES Classic

If you grew up in the early nineties, you’ll know that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was nearly inescapable. With beloved classics like Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong Country, it’s understandable that many call it the greatest video game console of all time. That’s why the Super NES Classic is such an easy sell; for little more than the price of a contemporary game, you’re getting 20 of the Super Nintendo’s greatest games in a single, well-organized box. Plus, it comes with two controllers, so playing Street Fighter II or Contra III with a friend has never been easier.

For 80 bucks on Amazon, the Super NES Classic is essential for the retro gamer in your life.

 

DAS KeyboardDAS Keyboard 4 Professional

If you spend long hours in front of a computer, a comfortable keyboard is necessary not only for your efficiency but your health. The DAS Keyboard 4’s mechanical keys are tactile and responsive, giving just the right amount of feedback for a quick typist. Plus, the onboard media controls (including one for volume) make things like video editing and music playback all the quicker.

Even though it’s $170 on Amazon, the DAS Keyboard 4 is one of the best of its kind and will make a great surprise for anyone who uses a keyboard often.

 

Tile SlimTile Slim

Tiles are lifesavers. Imagine having a homing beacon on your valuables that you can pinpoint at any given time; that’s Tile. Tiles connect to your phone via Bluetooth and will make a loud ringing sound when you call them through an app. If the Tile is out of range, the app shows the last location it was connected at, and will notify you if any other Tile users find it. A Tile is incredibly helpful, and has saved this writer more than once from losing his keys.

A Tile Slim will only lose you $28.00 on Amazon, so grab one or two for a friend’s peace of mind.

 

8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller

The original Super Nintendo controller is a fantastic piece of hardware. It’s ergonomic and visually pleasing and has one of the best D-pads on any controller. Now, take that controller and add on modern improvements like analog sticks, triggers and motion controls, and you get 8Bitdo’s fantastic take on the modern Switch Pro Controller. The SN30 Pro is a lovingly-crafted tribute to the greatness of the original SNES controllers, and it works seamlessly with Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Android.

You can pick up the SN30 in American or European colors on Amazon for $45.00, and it’s the perfect gift for any friend who likes platformers like Celeste or top-down games like Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King.

 

Google Home MiniGoogle Home Mini

Google’s foray into the smart speaker market has been largely successful, with a competent voice assistant in the form of Google Assistant. Google Home is a worthy product, but for the holidays, we recommend grabbing a few Home Minis instead. Plugging a few of these assistants around your house or apartment will make them more readily accessible, no matter which room you may be in.

Google Home Minis are only $30 on Best Buy this holiday season, so they’re perfect for buying pairs or triplets and gifting to a friend.

 

Logitech KeyboardLogitech K480 Keyboard

Multitasking can be a pain—the Logitech K480 seeks to fix that. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard that can sync with up to three devices at once. With the flip of a knob you can switch from typing on your phone, to your computer, and then to your iPad. It’s also thin and lightweight, making it an extremely portable typing option. While most keyboards will eat into your wallet, the K480 is a mere $29.93 on Amazon. It’s a nice gift for anyone who uses multiple devices for productivity.

 

Oculus GoOculus Go Virtual Reality Headset

Virtual Reality has always been difficult to adopt, due to its high cost and lack of substantial games. Oculus Go is a great stepping stone into the VR market without paying an arm and a leg for a Rift, Vive, or PSVR. While it may not offer full-fledged games like Superhot or Tetris Effect, there are still plenty of VR videos on YouTube and mini-games on the Oculus app.

The Oculus Go runs from $179.00 to $229.00 on Amazon, which is considerably cheaper than the higher-end alternatives. Be sure to get this for anyone interested in giving VR a try.

 

Bose SpeakerBose SoundLink Micro Speaker

Portable speakers are handy when you’re outside the house without a full-fledged speaker system. For a solid mix of portability, sound, and battery life, we recommend the Bose SoundLink. Not only is this tiny speaker one of the best in sound quality, it lasts up to six hours on a single charge. And it’s waterproof!

For $79.00 on Amazon, the Bose SoundLink is a great gift for an audiophile on the go.

 

And that’s our gift guide! We hope that this list helped you choose a great technology present for a friend or family member. Are there any great gift ideas that we missed? Let us know! We’d love to add more to the list.

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