August 10, 2020

Tech Gift Guide: The best tech to give this holiday season

It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means: gifts. From Secret Santas to Christmas celebrations with the relatives to surprising that special someone in your life, gifts are a big part of December.

One gift category that people tend to get excited about is technology. Unboxing a fancy new gadget on Christmas day is sure to draw excitement from even the least tech-savvy person in your life.

So, in celebration of all the awesome tech that has come out this year and the season of giving, I have rounded up some of my favorite tech gift ideas to share with that special person in your life.

Home Tech

Maybe your best friend moved into their first apartment this year. Maybe you want to move your parents into the 21st century home. Maybe you just want a neat new gadget for yourself. These three gadgets are sure to make your home life smarter, more convenient, and more techy.

Philips Hue

One thing that can really set the mood of the room is lighting. Having a Philips Hue allows you to do just that. Put a light strip behind your TV or get the starter kit if you want. Either way, this will be sure to bring at least a few hours of joy to your otherwise unassuming room of choice.

Smart Speaker: Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant?

Smart speakers are all the rage these days. Imagine waking up and having your own Jarvis-esque personal assistant telling you your schedule for the day, giving you the weather, and answering pretty much any question you have. You can even use your smart speaker to control your Philips Hue light. Now that is #smart. As far as which one, though, that’s up to you. In general, I would advise Apple’s HomePod for the Apple lover in your life and either Google’s Nest line or Amazon’s Echo line for someone who isn’t tied to the Apple ecosystem.

Keurig K Mini

While not exactly the most high-tech or “smart,” you can never go wrong with a coffee machine for that caffeine addict in your life. We all need that morning pick-me-up, and this handy dandy little machine can give you a fresh cup right in the comfort of your home.

Gaming/Entertainment Tech

Winter is a great time to catch up on video games and movies/TV shows. It’s too cold outside to do much, and there is no class for a while, so it’s fitting to make some time for a binge session of your entertainment of choice. These gifts will elevate said experience to new heights.

Virtual Reality Headset

Virtual reality (VR) is something that can often be overlooked (a.k.a. “slept on”, as they say). After trying VR for the first time about a year ago, I have to say, I am impressed. The tech has come very far in the past few years, and now all you need is a small accessory for your phone and the corresponding app to take you to new worlds. 

Streaming Stick with Disney Plus

Streaming sticks are some of the handiest little gadgets to come out and make great stocking stuffers. For around $30 you can make your regular TV a smart TV capable of streaming Netflix, Hulu, and yes, Disney Plus. 

Speaking of Disney Plus, it seems like right now is a great time to gift a friend or family member with all the Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel they could ever want by buying a Disney Plus subscription for them. There isn’t a simple and easy gift card as of right now but there are workarounds. If anything, you could always Venmo your friend and memo it as “for Disney+.”

Soundbar

Most TV speakers simply suck. They are tinny, don’t offer the clearest sound, and are often an afterthought for most major TV manufacturers. This is fine for many, but if you want to make an instant improvement to you or your loved one’s viewing experience, you should seriously consider buying a soundbar. Even a cheap one like this model is sure to be an improvement over default TV speakers.

Personal Tech

These last few devices are for personal use. Everyone likes having something special just for them, and these devices fit that bill. They are as follows.

Headphones

You are in one of two schools of thought when it comes to headphones today- the wireless earbud or the over-the-ear traditional headphones. My personal favorites are the Apple AirPods and anything Beats, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there. Consider contacting your local audiophile for this one.

Smartwatch

Smartwatches are a great quality of life upgrade for that special person of choice in your life. There are even specialty options for fitness features and smartwatches that don’t look like smartwatches. Either way, this product will be used daily by the person you gift it to, so it seems like a worthy investment.

Tile

There is always that one friend that seems to lose everything. They just can’t seem to keep track of their things. Insert Tile, the smart device designed to keep track of your stuff. This little device features a ringer for when you leave your wallet in your pants or a smartphone app for when you leave your wallet at the somewhere that isn’t within hearing distance.

Hopefully, these tech items make holiday shopping a little easier. They may even become your person’s favorite gift. Or maybe they will become another reason for you to give tech support to your family and friends, who knows.

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash.

  • Zach Ferenchak is a current Senior studying Emerging Media with an emphasis in PR. Along with serving as managing editor for The Chimes, Zach is heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he serves as the organization's incoming National Vice President of Brand Engagement. He is an avid communicator who hopes to one day elevate brands and causes through effective storytelling.

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