The Best Tech Gifts for the Geeks in Your Life
It is difficult to pick the right gift for people, but it’s even more difficult when you don’t know anything about their interests. If you’re perplexed about what gift to buy for a geeky loved one, try one of these.
Keep in mind, these are actual tech gifts. In case your friend already has all of these, you can always look at non-essential geeky gifts for techies.
Streaming Sticks or Media Players as Tech Gifts?
Geeks love their TV shows, so make it easy for them to watch their favorites on a big screen. A smart TV isn’t the best way to stream services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Instead, a streaming stick or media player is a better option.
The new Roku Express is an incredible deal if you’re looking for a budget buy. It’s super easy to set up, is an independent streamer (unlike the Chromecast) and supports all the major streaming services.
The Roku Express is a basic streaming device, without support for some of the great new technology today. If you want to take advantage of 4K and HDR TVs, get the Roku Streaming Stick . For twice the cost, you get a much more robust player. It also has a secondary Wi-Fi receiver so that it works well even when it’s far from your router.
If, and only if, your geek is an Apple fan, then skip the Rokus for an Apple TV. Chances are, your loved one has bought movies and songs from iTunes, which they can redeem and even upgrade to the new Apple TV. The 32GB version is the best bang for the buck.
A good e-reader is a game-changer in how many books you’ll start reading again. If you want to encourage someone to read (or know that they already like it), get them an e-reader.
The Kindle Paperwhite makes the best gift of the various Kindle choices today. It supports Amazon’s vast ebook store, has a 300 dpi resolution, and comes with a built-in light to read at night. And it’s not too expensive either. But feel free to buy one of the other Kindles if you think that’s better for your geek.
The Kindle’s only real competition today is the Nook GlowLight 3, an e-reader from Barnes & Noble. And it’s a solid contender, with basic waterproofing and free lifetime in-store support. We’d pick the Kindle over this, but check our Nook vs. Kindle comparison to see which one is right for you.
The Best Tech Gift: A Tablet
While tablets are not as sought after as they once were, they can still be pretty useful in the right circumstances. At this point, it seems to be two choices only: Amazon’s new slate, or the good old Apple iPad.
The new Amazon Fire HD 10 is the best value tablet around today. With 32-64GB storage, a Full HD screen, and hands-free always-on Alexa, it might even be a better gift than a home assistant like the Echo Dot Mini.
With the new Fire HD 10, it makes little sense to spend so much more on the regular iPad if you’re looking for a media device. The iPad Pro is a different ball game though and offers a lot of productivity too. If you’re still unsure, Tim breaks down which iPad you should buy. But do your geeky loved one a favor, get them a 12.5-inch iPad Pro. They’ll love you for it.
Video games have been, are, and always will be something every geek loves. Don’t listen to their protests. Even if they are older now and have left their gamer days behind, a dose of nostalgia is all it takes for a merry Christmas.
This is a brilliant gift for old-school gamers who grew up on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The NES Classic Edition mini console is a miniaturized version with an emulator, running several popular NES games. Hook it up to a TV and relive those days of innocence. This is a limited-edition model, so it might not be around next Christmas.
The Nintendo Switch is the best video game console of 2017, or maybe even the best video game console ever made. And almost every gaming publication has ranked The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as the game of the year. If your geek friend doesn’t own this gizmo yet, you’ll be their favorite person after gifting this.
It’s a toss-up between the two other major consoles. There isn’t much to separate Sony’s PlayStation 4 Slim from Microsoft’s Xbox One S, the budget versions of both. The PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X make fine gifts too, of course, but those are seriously expensive presents.
In the PS4 Slim vs. Xbox One S comparison, we recommend you figure out what your geek’s friends use, and buy that. It’s the simpler choice to ensure they get to borrow and lend games, as well as play online together.
Smart Home Assistants
The big tech item on Christmas wishlists this season is a smart home assistant. Amazon’s Alexa Echo line-up leads the way, while Google Home Mini is catching up. So which one should you pick?
Here is the best choice for anyone on a budget. You get to give the gift of a smart home assistant without breaking the bank for it. The Echo Dot is as good as the Echo or Echo Tap, except there’s no built-in Bluetooth speaker. But that’s fine, your geek probably has one already anyway.
For an Android phone user, the Google Home Mini is an excellent smart home assistant. You can use the same commands used by your phone, as well as a Chromebook or Android smartwatch — if you use either. That means you don’t need to learn new hotwords, and everything works seamlessly together.
The only smart home assistant with a built-in touchscreen display, the Amazon Echo Show tries to be a “console” for your home. Hook it up with a wireless security camera, and you’ll be able to see who’s out on the porch. Ask it to play a video while you’re cooking, and you can chop along to the recipe. It’s all about picking the right Echo for the right person.
More Tech Gift Ideas: Headphones
You can gift a pair of great Bluetooth headphones depending on what your budget is. But that’s the easy part. In today’s age, you need to do a bit more for an impressive gift.
We have a long list of the best-wired headphones, but we all know that the cables can get messy. Save your geek the trouble with Recoil’s Automatic Cord Winder. Pop in those headphones, and it will coil them up perfectly with its motor. And when you want to listen, they’ll come out untangled.
If you’re going wireless, it’s time to go truly wire-free. The Apple AirPods are unnecessarily expensive, but a new cost-effective entrant is getting rave reviews. Meet Anker’s Zolo Liberty, sweatproof earbuds with no wires, and over three hours of playback on a single charge. And that can go until 24 hours with the included charging case.
Cool Tech Gift Ideas: Fitness Trackers
For those geeks who don’t live a healthy lifestyle, spur them into action by talking their language. A smart activity tracker can be just the impetus they need to get fit. Your choice will usually narrow down to two brands, and we have a detailed comparison of Fitbit and Garmin trackers. Here are the best two gift options.
The Flex 2 is the ideal budget buy for a beginner in the world of fitness trackers. Apart from heart-rate monitoring, it has everything you would need. And it’s water-resistant too, so feel free to take it swimming.
The best overall fitness tracker today, the Garmin Vivosport is the last purchase you’ll make for a long time. It does everything from monitoring your heart rate and sleep to accurate location tracking with its built-in GPS.
Power Banks or Battery Backup Packs
In a world where our most important gadgets run off batteries, it’s important to have a power bank as a backup energy source. There are six great power bank choices, but what is the best for gifts?
What’s the point of having a power bank if you forget the cable? Jackery Bolt ensures that never happens with its built-in cables for Micro-USB and Apple Lightning ports. So go charge an Android or an iPhone easily, with a slim power bank that you can always carry with you.
The big boy of battery backup packs, Anker’s PowerCore 26800 is for the super-geek. It charges up to three devices at the same time, including support for Quick Charging 3.0 on one port. And its output voltage is high enough to charge laptops with USB-C ports too, including the new MacBook and several Chromebooks.
What’s the Best Geek Gift in 2017?
All right geeks, weigh in here. If someone you knew was browsing this page, what would you wish they picked for you? What’s the best geek gift in 2017?