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Whether you’re buying for a family member, a coworker, or your nerdy spouse, knowing which tech gizmos and gadgets are big-ticket items this holiday season ain’t easy.
Does anything evolve faster than technology? By the time you come up with an answer, there’s going to be a new wave of fitness trackers to drool over. The rapid-fire rate at which manufacturers iterate upon their tech products—whether they’re TVs, laptops, or new ways to ask Alexa to drop the bass—can make it tricky to shop for tech gifts.
To help you be a little more knowledgey about technology, we’ve put together a list of 20 awesome tech gifts for all the different people in your life. Whether you’ve got a buddy who spends more time counting steps than he does counting sheep, or a spouse whose perfect Sunday is GrubHub and binge-watching, we’ve got you covered. These are the best tech gifts of 2018, according to Reviewed:
1. For the binge-watching addict: The best streaming device
The 2018 Roku Ultra really is the perfect choice for that person in your life who has a few too many streaming subscriptions. Not only does this handy device give you access to thousands of Roku’s so-called “channels”—things like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Now, Pandora, Spotify, Sling TV, and so on—but it’s also Roku’s most powerful streaming box ever (and our favorite streaming device, period). Come for the snappy experience, intuitive menus, and voice remote—stay for the ability to stream 4K and HDR content when you finally upgrade your TV.
If the Ultra’s $100 price tag is too rich for your blood, there are other alternatives. The Roku Streaming Stick+ is a more affordable, hyper-portable option that still gives you a voice-enabled remote and the same oodles and oodles of content options.
2. For families that game together: The newest cool gaming device
The Nintendo Switch is the latest family-friendly video game console from Nintendo (you know, the company responsible for Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Kirby, and all the other games most people have actually heard of). The Switch combines the power of a full home gaming console with the ability to “undock” the smaller screen and take it on the go like a tablet, which kind of makes it like two gifts in one!
Most Switch games allow three or four players to game together at the same time, and as usual, Nintendo’s games are colorful, intuitive, and family-friendly, making the Switch the ideal choice for parents looking to never, ever watch “Baby Shark” again. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a great case for your new Nintendo Switch.
If you don’t wanna spend three-hundred smackers, though, I don’t blame you. You can get the Super NES Classic Edition—a miniature version of one of the best Nintendo consoles ever, loaded with all the best nostalgic games—for just $80.
3. For the daily commuter: Amazing wireless earbuds
If you or someone you know someone commutes every day, you probably also know that there are two essential ingredients to a stress-free commute: packing light, and mitigating the sounds of honking horns, squeaking breaks, and “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.”
Apple’s Airpods perfectly complement both situations: They’re true wireless earbuds (meaning the two pods simply sit in your ear holes, literally no strings attached), and they sync so flawlessly with an iPhone you’d think the same company designed both—oh, right. Even one of our most discerning writers couldn’t deny his burgeoning, burning love for these earbuds—why should you?
4. For the serious gamer: HyperX Cloud II headset
If you’re looking for a great gift for the person who spends a fortnight playing Fortnite, the HyperX Cloud II gaming headset is a great choice. During our hands-on testing of the best gaming headphones, we found the original Cloud headset to be unsurpassably comfortable and easy to use—without all the garish design details that usually haunt gaming-focused headsets. Between plush velour ear pads and compatibility with PC, Xbox One, and PS4, there’s really no gamer that wouldn’t be on cloud nine when they unwrap these choice cans.
5. For the student: A great laptop for Netflix, I mean studying
I recently helped my girlfriend buy a new laptop for grad school, and two things immediately became clear: Generally, you don’t need a mega powerhouse, workhorse of a laptop for the years-old software required by most classes, and if you have to lug it around all day, you really want something lightweight and sturdy. Acer’s Chromebook 11 fits both those student-friendly niches quite perfectly, but it’s still [robust enough to tackle web browsing, email, and archaic statistics software. For around $270, it’s a super valuable gift for any student in your life.