From the innovative and the practical to the downright ingenious, here’s our list of the best tech gifts to bring some joy to friends and family this Xmas.
It’s been a strange old year, hasn’t it?
With the holidays just around the corner, we all want to feel closer to the ones we love. Now, more than ever before, technology is playing a key role in helping us keep connected with friends and family and making life at home as comfortable as possible.
So, let’s spread a little comfort and joy and take a look at some of the most innovative, practical, and downright ingenious tech products on the market, each of which could be the perfect gift to give this Christmas.
For those on a budget, streaming sticks are a great gift for friends and family members looking to upgrade their TV into a smart one. Who’s watching ‘normal’ TV nowadays anyway? Simply put, streaming is the smart way to go.
With great options like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Google Chromecast with Google TV enabling access to over 5,000 channels, apps, and games at super clear 4K high definition, this is home chilling at its simplest, most affordable, and downright entertaining. Spending Christmas with the parents? Upgrade their old TV in an instant and settle in for some festive favorites.
When it comes to a simple, affordable gift that’ll please everyone from 9 to 90, a smart speaker takes some beating. The big 3 smart home companies – Amazon, Google, and Apple – are making incredible speakers that enable you to control your music playlist, lighting, heating, and more, all with simple voice commands.
The Google Nest Mini and the Apple HomePod mini are both excellent speakers, but the Amazon Echo Dot might just be the pick of the bunch, especially as a smart gift for an older adult. Pair with the Care Hub – a free feature available in the Alexa app – and you can check in remotely with your loved one to make sure they’re ok. It’s an amazing feature that’s about checking in with them, rather than checking on them – it’ll alert you when they’re up and about at the start of the day, as well as alert you if they ask Alexa for help and if no activity is detected. If you’re looking for a gadget to help you to feel closer to an elderly loved one, this is it.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of European companies with staff working from home has skyrocketed from 4% to 88%. And while we all hope for a return to normality sooner rather than later, it seems that home working is here to stay.
So, this holiday season, gifts don’t come much more practical than those tailor-made for home working. The Mind Reader Adjustable Laptop Desk is a good place to start – sturdy, flexible (a must to protect from the dreaded screen glare), great heat protection, and lefty-friendly, this ergonomic home working treasure is worth its weight in gold.
With more and more focus on workplace health, standing desks are becoming all the rage. They have been shown to improve concentration and boost productivity, as well as improve spinal health. As home working health and wellness products go, the Deskmate Standing Desk is an absolute steal if you’re on a budget.
For those who want to bring some added focus and flow to their work day, the TimeFlip 2 might just do the job. It’s a simple, ingenious Pomodoro timer that looks like a 12-sided dice and it helps you break down your tasks into short sessions. So, the idea is that, instead of getting distracted when working at home, you split your day into short periods of high focus work, with small break periods in between. With an integrated app and user-friendly web interface, you can analyze and optimize your performance, based on data collected by the TimeFlip.
We’ve all got a friend or family member who’s a bit of a fitness freak. Whether they were born to run or they’re embarking on a heroic weight-loss challenge, a smartwatch will jump-start their Christmas!
But smartwatches are so much more than just a fitness tracker. Yes, you get the standard metrics like speed, distance traveled, calories burned, etc. The best ones though, like Apple Watch Series 6 and the Fitbit Sense, are geared towards overall holistic health and wellness, with blood oxygen monitoring and integrated sleep apps enabling these ingenious little gizmos to keep tabs on your body’s overall condition. These small lifesavers – quite literally, it turns out – even have trip detection and elevated heart rate alerts, automatically notifying the emergency services should the worst happen.
If you have a friend or family member forever forgetting their keys, this could be the smartest gift you could give them. Smart locks are the ultimate tech product for those who value safety, security, and convenience above all else.
One of the best smart locks money can buy is the Nuki Smart Lock 2.0. It sends you notifications when your door is locked and unlocked, or when it’s left ajar. You can also set it to automatically lock when shut and unlock when you’re a few feet away, as well as grant guest access for others at certain times. The Schlage Encode is another great option – this one comes with an inbuilt alarm and keypad.
In terms of design, functionality, and sound quality, modern headphones are off-the-charts spectacular compared to the headphones of yesteryear. Whether you're chilling on the sofa getting lost in classical music or running up a hill to pounding techno, a good pair of headphones is essential for anyone looking to get lost in the music.
For simplicity and functionality, Apple Airpods are where it’s at. Tapered tips for the perfect fit, noise cancellation for extra focus, and adaptive EQ to optimize frequencies to the shape of your ear. You can even personalize the pod case. What more could you want?
Well, maybe all you really want is some peace and quiet. Brand new on the market, Bose Sleepbuds 2 don’t play music at all – they pipe in soothing ambient sounds to help you relax and unwind or fall off to a night of soothing sleep.
As the old joke goes, vacuum cleaners suck. Well, the old ones certainly did, but modern robot vacuum cleaners rock! Practically silent and elegantly compact, buying a friend or family member a robot vacuum cleaner is like buying them extra time, something that’s pretty much invaluable.
The LG CordZero is as impressive as it gets. An onboard sensor and motherboard map out every dusty nook and cranny of your home, learning and adapting to conditions for a better, deeper clean each time. You can also control the vacuum with voice commands and start, stop or reprogram it remotely, keeping your home nice and clean while you’re away.
The iRobot Roomba s9+ is another amazing vacuum cleaner. This super-smart sucker can map out multiple floors of your home, skip clean zones and hone in on dirtier ones and can even be programmed to only clean certain rooms on certain days. It’s expensive – but the money saved on cleaning bills or the time saved cleaning means, in the long run, it pays for itself.
Ok, so the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series S and Series X have just dropped, and there is still the ever-popular, nostalgia-packed Nintendo Switch. Yet, for your hardcore gamer friends, VR is the gift to give. It’s not just for gamers…
The HTC Vive enables everything from swimming with whales and browsing famous art galleries to taking part in virtual conferences and exploring the Earth, all from the comfort of your sofa. In this time of social distancing and reduced travel, it’s an even more valuable experience.
If you, your friends, or your family members need any help setting up or connecting your tech devices during the Holidays, just book a Buddy! We’ll be flying just behind Santa, to make sure you get the best out of your tech-centric Christmas gifts.