So what to get for the tech-savvy people in your life this year? Lots of choices. Where do you start?
Let’s start with what’s popular now…
For those who like to binge-watch TV shows or who are “cutting the cord” from the cable company, these devices can be amazing gifts. After much personal testing of the available units, I’m a huge fan of the Apple TV. It’s fast, has all the “channels” I want and can take my iPhone pictures and display them right on the screen. My next favorite is the Roku Ultra 4K followed by the Amazon Fire TV. The tech that’s built-in to smart TVs just isn’t fast enough for me.
No doubt that Apple leads the charge here. But don’t forget to look at Samsung, TicWatch and Fitbit. Not just for tech nerds and fitness buffs, these are the best in wearable tech that can truly enhance our lives…and make a fashion statement at the same time. Before now, a tech fashion statement was limited to pocket protectors and cell phone holsters…ugh!
The frontrunner here is the Amazon Echo products, which all refer to simply as “Alexa”. Google Home is in second place and farther behind is Apple Home Pod. All of them fill a void in our homes and help us out. Advanced features allow them to control lights, sound, appliances and much more. These are fun gifts and fit almost every age bracket. Plus they have fancier models this year with screens for live video chats and playback.
Is there anything besides the iPad? Umm, yeah there is! I’m a big fan of the Amazon Fire HD 8, especially for kids. Great for reading books, watching movies, surfing the web and of course, playing games. There’s also devices from Samsung, ASUS and the new-ish Microsoft Surface Go.
Laptops are often closely associated with business folks who travel and students…which makes a lot of sense because that’s who uses them the most! A bigger screen laptop, like 17”, is a great addition to the kitchen desk or similar spot where it will never move and will also simply disappear when you close the lid. For kids, we like the Chromebook…from anyone who makes it, but especially the Google Pixelbook and anything from Samsung. For students, the MacBook Air from Apple and the Microsoft Surface Pro and big winners around her, but so is the Lenovo Yoga. Both are delicate and require proper care and handling. For the rest of us, anything with an Intel i-5 processor, 8gb RAM and 256gb SSD will happily satisfy.
These can be a really fun gift and often a perfect stocking-stuffer. They have units that hang from your bike, attach to a backpack, light up on a table, hang on the wall…you name it. The technology for it is mainstream (Bluetooth) and work with just about anything, but the quality, unless you spend over $100, is “just ok”. Look for devices from Bose and JBL if you want to stick with the good stuff.
There’s many types of these; gaming, smartphone, tv watching and more. The gaming ones are truly an investment. But before you buy something, best to ask the gamer’s friends which ones to consider. For smartphone users, the choices are also many. For iPhone people, AirPods are the only way to go. Well, maybe not the “only” way to go. I like wireless headsets from Jabra and Bose for Apple and other smartphones. Headsets for watching TV can be a blessing. Dad can watch TV in bed and not disturb mom who’s reading. These are also great for those who may be hard of hearing.
There’s loads of other tech gifts to consider. Wireless cameras, doorbells, smartplugs and lightbulbs for the house. Gaming consoles like Sony Playstation and Xbox remain popular. Don’t forget to look for tech in the bedroom; sleep machines, sleep-sensing pads, smart alarms and more. The list really goes on and on. There are devices to check what’s wrong with your car, a heads-up display for your smartphone in the car, smart keyrings, wireless smartphone chargers, pet items, health and fitness toys…the list goes on and on. If you’re looking for something unique and “techy” this holiday season, just Google “best tech gifts 2018” and you’ll see a boatload of items to consider.
All the best for this holiday and the upcoming New Year from your tech friends at Two River Computer!