20 Tech Gifts for the Gadget Lover
Including a new take on our favorite earbuds, plus no-filter air purifiers, Herman Miller gaming chairs and more
You have to be careful with technology when you’re gifting.
The cool new gadget may go obsolete within a few years, or even months. And your giftee may not be technologically inclined; there’s nothing worse than spending good money on a piece of gear that’ll just end up collecting dust because a parent / loved one / friend didn’t understand what they were getting.
So figure out the knowledge level of your recipient, while also keeping their passions in mind. If you’re getting a gift for someone who’s into gaming, they’ll probably be a few steps ahead of where you are (as in, they pre-ordered that Playstation 5 during the summer; don’t bother trying to find one now). Meanwhile, a casual music fan may appreciate a new set of wireless earbuds, but if the setup takes more than five minutes, it could make the experience frustrating … and those earbuds may end up in a junk drawer.
Below, our gadget gift guide for 2020. While we emphasized usefulness, modest pricing and ease-of-use, there’s still a “wow factor” to this tech that should impress anyone receiving one of these items.
Sure, there are plenty of devices that can sterilize your phone. But Coral is deep enough to host remotes, toys, baby bottles and dishes. The UV-C lights in here zap 99.9% of germs in just minutes, and the whole thing doubles as a dryer.
Sort and access your various cords, chargers and other tech paraphernalia with ease, thanks to Peak’s origami-like pockets and elastic accessory loops. Even if you’re not traveling, this weatherproof tech dopp kit will at least keep your personal space better organized.
A computer encased in a keyboard. Featuring a quad-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output, and 4K video playback, and arrives with a mouse and all the cords you need — just add a monitor.
Print photos taken by your smartphone, because digital is ephemeral. The development and printing of those pics — various filters and frames available, natch — takes less than two minutes; after, you’ll be left with a tactile memory for your fridge or wallet. Bonus: You can print pics from video, too.
Cleanse your room of allergens and viruses with this unique, plasma-field air purifier, which uses washable and reusable collection plates instead of HEPA filters.
Don’t overthink the tablet — everyone (even Android folks) will be just fine with Apple’s latest iPad, which features a 10.9” Liquid Retina display, much improved graphics and speed. And, if paired with a Magic Keyboard, this can do a solid job replacing your desktop/laptop.
We’ve recommended Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones quite a bit, so we’re genuinely excited that the follow-up model takes an industry best and improves on it … for about the same price. Here, the active noise cancelling gets an upgrade and you can pair two devices simultaneously to the headphones, but everything else stays the same (and great).
Look, you either already ordered a new Xbox or Playstation … or you’re gonna have to wait. Instead, embrace the console that allows you to play at home or on the go, with games that are easy to learn and family-friendly. And since we’re all stuck together in tight quarters: Pair this with a new AirFly Pro Switch Edition so you can stream sound to your wireless headphones (and to a person you’re playing against).
As someone who’s experience a lot of mail theft this year, I can appreciate Ring’s latest alarm system, a small device that’ll real-time notify you (via app or voice assistant) when mail arrives or when anyone opens your mailbox.
Home projectors are great. And you can certainly use this portable screener for your spontaneous Netflix viewings (and watch shows with up to a 100” picture). But the cool factor here is that you can point the Cube at any flat surface and utilize a 23-inch interactive, virtual “touchscreen,” making this ideal for school, presentations or numerous other applications.
That catch-all in your entryway could use an upgrade. This valet tray / wireless charger can keep your phone powered up and your keys within eyesight — and that leather’s gonna look better over time, too.
Attach this to your own pot, seal the food in a bag and use the controls or an app to basically get your food to the perfect temperature. When you’re done, throw it in a drawer. It’s sous vide made simple.
Easy to read with a splash of color, this minimalist ode to Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design is a wonderful analog throwback that’ll give your eyes a break.
Upload and “print” a video memory on these desktop frames — or buy some video artwork to showcase.
Hisense is a 50-year old Chinese brand that’s a big player in the rest of the world, but is just starting to make its presence felt here. We saw a few of their 2020 models before the pandemic and left impressed — these are smart sets (this one’s powered by Android TV/Google Assistant) offering rich colors and a minimum of motion blur and all at a modest price point.
We’ve shied away from portable wireless chargers because they simply aren’t as good as their wired counterparts. This two-tone power bank, however, doubles as a kickstand so you can keep your eyes on the screen … and doubles your charging, as it powers up two devices at once.
A very thin panel and small base, coupled with the ability to pivot and tilt, makes this screen an ideal second monitor (or primary monitor) for your increasiingly crowded WFH setup.
Oh ha ha, Herman Miller (high-end) just made a gaming chair (low-brow). The new reality? Most of us are stuck at home, and any chair that makes us comfortable while staring at a screen — and that activity might include gaming or Zoom or whatever — is a necessity. A co-production with Logitech, this ergonomic wonder supports your spine “no matter how you sit” while keeping your butt and back cool thanks to some built-in cooling foam. No one’s laughing now.
Hydroponics at the push of a button. These indoor planters are ideal in the winter (and during lockdowns) as a way to grow fresh herbs simply (the control panel will tell you what you need to do) and in the warm confines of your house. Plus, the plants are grown in water, not soil, so there’s no mess.
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