Personal Tech | November 8, 2021 12:02 am

The Best Tech Gifts for a Fully Optimized Life

From the best new audio gear to the smartest smarthome products

A collage of tech gifts for holiday 2021 on a green background
The best tech gifts for holiday 2021

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.

Forget the chip shortage, which is causing major delays (and major headaches). There is plenty of available tech if you’re willing to go beyond next-gen gaming consoles, including smart items for your home that legitimately improve your environment, headphones and earbuds that’ll block out the holiday noise and plenty of devices that actually encourage creativity.

Below, 21 gifts for fans of technology. And speaking of tech, we suggest going online and buying these much sooner than later, and well before Black Friday … which many stores have already started.

June Smart Oven
June Smart Oven
June

June Smart Oven

Launched a few years back, June keeps updating their 12-in-1 countertop device to allow for more interesting and diverse cooking options. This convection oven/grill/air fryer/toaster (with eight more uses) has sensors and AI to make sure your food never gets overcooked. One warning: Make sure the person who gets this has counter space. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

It’s finally time for folding phones. Unfurled, the Fold3 offers a 7.6” display and an “undisplayed” camera that you won’t notice if you’re watching a video (but will reappear during everyday tasks). As well, the unfolded main screen is now 29% brighter than previous-gen models while using less battery. And they’ve reconfigured the tech so you can use the S Pen2 stylus. Add in IPX84 water resistance and the strongest aluminum ever used on a Galaxy smartphone (“Armor Aluminum”) — plus the “wow” factor and the BTS song that’ll go through your head every time you use it — and we’re finally at a spot where proof of concept becomes legitimately good tech.

OrbitKey Nest
OrbitKey Nest
Huckberry

OrbitKey Nest

The best modern-day travel organizer? The lid is a wireless charger and a valet trey. The padded interior features movable dividers (and packets and pouches) so you can sort and place your various cards, cords and batteries. And it all ties together with a simple and secure elastic strap.

Apple MacBook Pro (2021)
Apple MacBook Pro (2021)
Apple

Apple MacBook Pro (2021)

The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips powering the new 14” and 16” MacBook Pros promise some big numbers: 13x faster graphics performance and 11x faster machine learning, yet somehow doing it with less energy and a longer battery life. As for the laptops themselves? Function keys are back, replacing the Touch Bar, and ports make a big return (there are a total of six). Featuring a Liquid Retina XDR display, an improved built-in camera — and a menu bar pushed up around the camera’s notch — along with up to 10 hours more video playback time per charge, these laptops certainly have creative professionals in mind.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones 
Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones 
Master & Dynamic

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones 

The makers of some of the best-looking and sounding headphones we use just got into the gaming business with this luxury headset. Crafted from magnesium, lambskin leather and Alcantara (a durable, suede-like microfiber), the MG20 features a detachable boom microphone with an additional onboard mic array, along with 50mm Beryllium drivers and 7.1 Surround Sound. It might be the most immersive gaming headset ever. Available starting Nov. 16.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones
Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones
Bose

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Some of the best noise cancellation you’ll ever experience, the QuietComfort 45 cans are also comfy, lightweight, foldable and feature easy-to-use, tactile controls. A must-have for travel (or shutting out your in-laws).

Chromecast With Google TV
Chromecast With Google TV
Walmart

Chromecast With Google TV

A $50 device that hangs in the back of your TV and, paired with a nine-button remote, offers up a simple, elegant solution for all your streaming platforms. Plus, it’ll give you access to Google Assistant and suggest shows and movies across your available platforms. 

Tile Essentials
Tile Essentials
Tile

Tile Essentials

Four new Bluetooth trackers just launched, including updates on the Mate, Slim, Sticker and Pro (get the “Essentials” and you’ll get a nice cross section of gear). They feature slightly new designs, louder rings and a better range (up to 400 feet). Your giftee’s “lost” devices will thank you.

Twelve South PowerPic Mod Wireless Charger
Twelve South PowerPic Mod Wireless Charger
Twelve South

Twelve South PowerPic Mod Wireless Charger

A wireless, lucite-framed charger where you can place your phone vertically or horizontally. When not charging your device? It’ll showcase any 4×6 photo or graphic, turning a tech necessity into a piece of art.

Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub
Best Buy

Google Nest Hub

The second-gen version of Google’s smart home device is supposed to double as a second or third or fourth screen, act as an elevated alarm clock, control your home’s devices and serve as your household calendar. All while serving as a speaker, of course (love the gesture controls, btw). At under $100 — or probably $50 during various holiday sales— that might be a steal.

Celia & Perah R3 DIY Bluetooth Speaker
Celia & Perah

Celia & Perah R3 DIY Bluetooth Speaker

A engineering puzzle meets your favorite tunes in the Celia & Perah DIY Bluetooth Speaker. An engaged present for the hands-on giftee, the full-range speaker sounds like a dream and makes for an interesting afternoon.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer
HP Sprocket Photo Printer
Amazon

HP Sprocket Photo Printer

Memories should be tactile and travel with you. Ergo, get a portable printer: This one allows you to print pics on sticky-backed paper from either your iOS or Android device. And you can customize those pics via the HP app (even with emojis) if you want some modern flair.

The Tech Kit by Stuart & Lau
The Tech Kit by Stuart & Lau
Stuart & Lau

The Tech Kit by Stuart & Lau

The tidiest and most handsome bag to store all your cables, power banks and cards, the Tech Kit is also waterproof, features a clamshell front pocket that opens flat for easier access and an add-a-bag sleeve for luggage.

Phonesoap SurfaceSoap UV
Phonesoap SurfaceSoap UV
Phonesoap

Phonesoap SurfaceSoap UV

Phone sanitizers are good. Wands that disinfect everything are better, particularly if you can take ‘em with you. The SurfaceSoap promises to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in seconds.  

Sonos Roam
Sonos Roam
Sonos

Sonos Roam

The tallboy-sized triangular speaker is not only easy to set up, it features a sound depth, bass and power that’s noticeably better than other portable models. Plus, there’s just enough “heft” here that the unit feels durable, but it wouldn’t bother you at all to carry it for a while or throw it in a bag.

Alen BreatheSmart 45i True HEPA Air Purifier
Alen BreatheSmart 45i True HEPA Air Purifier
Alen

Alen BreatheSmart 45i True HEPA Air Purifier

Customizable in size, color and even air filter type — and the winner of best air purifier by Consumer Reports — the Alen models are low on noise and annual costs, but do a great job clearing your rooms of smoke, dust and other harmful particles.

OnePlus Buds Pro
OnePlus
OnePlus Buds Pro

OnePlus Buds Pro

Think of the black pair here as sleeker AirPods. Features smart adaptive noise cancellation, personalized audio, a whopping 38 hours of playtime and even 10 hours of music listening on just a ten-minute charge.

Anker 622 Magnetic Battery
Anker 622 Magnetic Battery
Amazon

Anker 622 Magnetic Battery

A foldable kickstand props up this slim (0.5 inch) iPhone 12/13 charger, with a strong magnet to keep your phone in place and in ideal viewing space. Available in five colors, too.

Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite
Amazon

Halo Infinite

We’ve been waiting six years for the sequel to Halo 5, itself part of a franchise celebrating 20 years this winer. The best and most immersive first-person shooter in the console world now features cross-platform and cross-generation action, so even if you haven’t scored an Xbox Series X yet, you’ll still be able to enjoy multiplayer campaigns with everyone. Out December 8th.

TCL Series 6 8K 65” Set
TCL Series 6 8K 65” Set
Amazon

TCL Series 6 8K 65” Set

We saw this 8K set recently and were blown away both by the colors and the price — you can grab the 65” model for under $2,000. Machine learning helps create the best visuals here; the set features over 33 million pixels and has four times the clarity of 4K UHD displays.

Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar + 8Inch Wireless Subwoofer
Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar + 8Inch Wireless Subwoofer
Amazon

Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar + 8″ Wireless Subwoofer

It’s time to add a subwoofer to your home theater setup. This well-reviewed bundle features a 40” 2.1 horn-loaded soundbar with an 8” wireless subwoofer. And you can set it up and use with just one cable and a single remote.

DJI Action 2
DJI Action 2
DJI

DJI Action 2

A tiny, wearable action cam that offers 4K and 120 fps video and a super-wide FOV. Plus, the magnetic locking design means you can swap in and out camera accessories easily. And it’s waterproof up to 10m.

Tivoli Audio Music System Home Generation 2
Tivoli Audio

Tivoli Audio Music System Home Generation 2

This isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill home system. Tivoli Audio superior sound rings loud and true, even when playing from apps, Chromecast, or Apple Airplay. With a deep, rich quality and easy-use controls, it really is the best home setup around.

The Tula Mic
The Tula Mic
Tula

The Tula Mic

Podcasters, reporters, musicians or anybody on a Zoom call should want this colorful and portable USB microphone that doubles as a mobile recorder (with 12 hours of recording time).