Cool Gifts for Tech-Lovers
Shopping for a gadget-obsessed friend or family member? Tech gifts are some of the most popular and sought-after gifts out there, yet many electronic gifts come along with a big price tag. But if you’ve written off any and all devices this year because of the fear of sticker shock, you might think twice after seeing our editors’ creative picks. We’ve kept things affordable, because we know just how many people you have to shop for. And cost-effective doesn’t have to mean lame, though. You can still get one of the year’s hottest gifts—a virtual reality headset—for under $100. Plus, there’s dozens of items priced at $50 and under (foldable keyboards, Bluetooth tracking tags, and robots), too. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a man, a woman, or a child, you’ll find something here for even the pickiest person on your list. And since we know everyone favors different operating systems, we’ve made sure to include both Android and iPhone products, plus a host of gifts that don’t require any smartphone at all. Yes, there are some tech gifts that even the most computer-illiterate will quickly come to rely on (don’t worry, they definitely won’t be calling you with questions—they’re that easy to use). We’re pretty positive—if not 100 percent sure—you’ll find something you love. But, if not, you’re just one click away from hundreds of other unique gifts and stocking stuffers in our holiday gift guide.
Attach this device to any item you tend to misplace (keys, wallet, laptop) and it will mark the last recorded location on the accompanying app. Choose from Star Wars, Marvel, or DC Comics characters.
To buy: $25; foundmi.com.
This waterproof compass syncs with his phone to guide him to his destination, no matter what detours he wants to explore. In three colors.
To buy: $129; beeline.co.
With this old-school joystick, he can play his favorite childhood video game on nearly any TV.
To buy: $20; target.com.
A Lite-Bright for the digital age: Once you assemble the postcard-sized unit, you can program it to make and play games, display the weather forecast, and more using basic coding.
To buy: $79; kano.me.
Encourage your teen to drag himself out of bed with the help of this high-tech alarm clock that features a sunrise-simulating light, gradually increasing alarm sound, and Bluetooth speaker.
To buy: $80; wittidesign.com.
VIctrola Gramophone with Bluetooth Speaker
Channel some old school flair without sacrificing technology with this vintage-inspired Bluetooth gramophone. The powerful speaker is portable and comes with a rechargeable battery, so it can move along wherever the dance party may be.
To buy: $131; bedbathandbeyond.com.
Move over, panorama. Easily share 360-degree photos and videos from this all-seeing camera.
To buy: $230; Samsung.com.
Perfect for any plant lover, this smart pot takes all the guesswork out of keeping blooming beauties alive. Not only can Parrot Pot automatically water his plant for up to a month, it also monitors temperature, moisture, light, and fertilizer levels, so he can be sure his growing greenery is getting the care it needs.
To buy: $80; parrot.com.
This clever take on the router knows that in this era, the best gift possible is speedy, reliable WiFi. Eero’s advanced system covers every spot of your home (backyard included) in a Wi-Fi “mesh,” with a simple plug and play installation. Instead of calling her Internet provider if something goes wrong, she can troubleshoot via a user-friendly app—or get support from Eero’s team in an average of 60 seconds.
To buy: From $199 for one to two bedroom home coverage; eero.com.
Perfect for any incredibly busy friend, this piece of wearable tech surprisingly doesn’t add any distractions. Actually, the stylish, streamlined fitness bracelet might even simplify her life. Inside the reconstituted stone is a powerful activity tracker that not only counts steps, but also alerts the wearer to notifications from her phone via lights and vibrations. Apps, alerts, and even people can all get their own combination so she can look at her phone only when she knows its important. And when she does steal a glance, she can use the time to refocus and relax via meditation exercises available in the Ringly app.
To buy: $125; ringly.com.
Now that Apple has eliminated the headphone jack, the search is on for the perfect pair of Bluetooth headphones that are stylish and comfortable for listening to your favorite music from treadmill to desk. Enter the Fitbit Flyer headphones: a sleek, sweat-proof set that comes in two colors (slate gray or navy blue) with an adjustable cable, a built-in microphone, and more high-tech features. Bonus: The shorter cord means you no longer pull a tangled mess out of your purse!
To buy: $130; fitbit.com.
Do you have a friend that complains how “No one prints pictures anymore?” This brilliant gadget is bringing real photos back by making it easier than ever to print out iPhone snaps from your phone. You can edit within the Prynt app and print on special ink-free sticker paper to instantly turns any pic into a scrapbook-ready memory.
To buy: $150; prynt.co.
Samsung POWERbot Star Wars Edition
A robotic vacuum that is full of force—The Force, that is. These Darth Vader or Stormtrooper designs will bring some levity to his cleaning routine while still offering the sophisticated technology of the robotic vacuum he’s always wanted.
To buy: From $699; samsung.com.
Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard
In an always-on world, it can start to feel increasingly difficult to escape the deluge of emails coming in at all hours of the day. Perfect for the man or woman with a lengthy commute, this compact, foldable keyboard will help to maximize those extra moments otherwise spent idle. That can add hours of extra productivity—catching up on returning messages or writing a memo—back to the day. The rechargeable keyboard is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android, as well as Windows tablets and phones. Plus, Bluetooth technology means no wires cluttering small already cramped spaces.
To buy: $67, amazon.com.
Blue Marble 15-Inch Laptop Cover
When her office space is expertly curated with gorgeous objets on the bookshelf, gilded desk supplies, and even a soft faux fur throw draped over the chair, the only thing that could possibly make her space even more attractive is this marble laptop cover. The faux marble silicon cover snaps onto both Macs and PCs to hide the notebook’s chrome, white, or black finish and make the electronic feel more like a natural part of the space. Thinking of someone who prefers a little bit more color in her space? There’s also a white marble version.
To buy: $19, urbanoutfitters.com.
Quad Lock Bike Mount
If he’s up early on the weekends and out on the open road logging miles on his bicycle, this handy gift can help him to explore new routes and get the most out of his exercise. The secure mounting system attaches to a bike’s handlebar to keep his smartphone in place enroute, making it easy to use navigation and fitness tracking apps. The set also includes a poncho rain and weather resistant cover to protect phones, even in the event of an unexpected storm. Available for Samsung Galaxy phones as well as a variety of iPhones.
To buy: $70, amazon.com.
Portable Charger for Apple Watch
Her favorite new accessory is hardworking—in addition to the time, it notifies her of emails (and we know she probably gets a never-ending stream of those!), calls, and texts, plus it sends calendar alerts and even measures her heart rate. And although the watch’s battery life clocks in at about 18 hours, chances are it will unexpectedly run out of power at an inopportune time. Make sure she doesn’t miss any of those important notifications with this portable charger. It comes in an attractive brown protective case that easily slips into purses or briefcases.
To buy: From $19, amazon.com.
Bluetooth Tracking Tag
With all the stuff we lug around all day every day—keys, cell phones, credit cards—it’s no wonder things tend to get lost in the shuffle. Let this attractive wooden Bluetooth tag serve as a helpful guide for a forgetful friend. The device can be attached to a number of items, including the obvious (keys or your iPad) or the more unexpected (the TV remote). If the item goes missing, you can use the free companion app (available with iPhones) to play a sound and a vibration to help you find it (as long as it’s within a 160-foot range).
To buy: $40, uncommongoods.com.
Just because the guitar itself hasn’t really changed in decades doesn’t mean the process of learning how to play it can’t improve. Any modern guitarist knows there are tons of online music learning resources out there. But mastering new songs on the go can be a challenge for any musician (even the most advanced)—there’s simply not enough space to flip through sheet music and reading small print on a mobile phone can be nearly impossible. This handy device connects your smartphone to the neck of your guitar to make learning new songs a cinch. Load your favorite song lyrics, online sheet music, or guitar tabs onto your mobile device to enjoy them hands free.
To buy: $20, griffintechnology.com.
Native Union iPhone Dock
Nothing takes a space from streamlined to cluttered faster than a jumble of wires. Plus, an unruly nest of cords can make it extremely difficult to grab your charger and take it on the go. This year, give her something that’s going to add style points to her desk. This modern phone dock, which is a mix of silicone and brushed aluminum, fits a range of iPhone models. Who knows: saying goodbye to the mess on her desk may even help her find some zen, despite that busy workload, and get things done a little faster.
To buy: $50, eastdane.com.
Amazon Echo Dot
The perfect gift for someone looking to take his or her home into the digital age, Amazon’s latest voice controlled gadget packs many useful features to help make everyday tasks a little easier. Use voice commands, like “play my music” to stream Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, or IHeartRadio through the device, your headphones, or Bluetooth speakers. The Dot is also compatible with a wide array of smart home products, including Nest and Samsung SmartThings, as well as other wirelessly controlled lights, fans, and sprinklers. Ring, ring! That’s your Dot reminding you to take that casserole out of the oven—it works as an alarm clock, too.
To buy: $49, amazon.com.
‘Hey Girl’ Crewneck Tee
Know someone who sends an emoji in response to, well, just about everything? We’re willing to guess that the “hey girl” emoji is one of her all-time favorites. This gift, perfect for teens, tweens, or even a techy adult, takes one of the most fun features out of her phone and onto her T-shirt. Complete with sparkles, it’s sure to earn a spot in her weekly rotation. Plus, the heather gray is a neutral that works with nearly everything she already owns. A version with the flamenco dancer is also available if that’s a little more her style.
To buy: $39, nordstrom.com.
Why wear multiple devices when you can go with one that seems to do it all. This slim smart bracelet not only tracks steps, distance, and calories, but it also monitors sleep patterns. The wearable tech, which can also be worn while swimming and has non-charging batteries that last for up to six months, also syncs with your phone and vibrates to notify you when you receive calls and texts. Sitting for most of the day? You can set the device to remind you to get up and walk around periodically. Available in six colors, from black to a vibrant yellow.
To buy: $80, misfit.com.
Cookbook & Tablet Stand
Even the most practiced chef needs a recipe from time to time. A tablet or cookbook stand that actually looks nice on the countertop is just the right thing for the friend or family member who loves to cook or bake. Know they aren’t a fan of clutter and wonder if they’ll hate having one more thing to add to their kitchen counter? Don’t rule this out just yet—the sleek steel and ash stand disassembles into two pieces for easy storage when he’s not whipping up that fancy French stew. Though adjustable, the stand best fits tablets and cookbooks at least seven inches long.
To buy: $24, food52.com.
Plush Texting Glove
For the one friend who can’t go a single day without texting (we all have at least one!), a pair of gloves that work with touchscreens. The fingertips of these striped plush gloves are stitched with conductive threading, so you won’t have to take your gloves off to respond to a text—or miss an important email altogether—when it’s freezing cold and the wind is whipping. A ribbed knit cuff provides extra protection from the elements, and keeps snow from slipping down your wrists. Available in three colors, as well as a white or blue jacquard pattern.
To buy: $10, urbanoutfitters.com.
Know someone who travels for work and spends hours on airplanes or trains every week? This unique accessory could become their new favorite travel companion. The adhesive stand features a faux marble design that enhances its appeal, but the real benefit is its helpful features. The grip expands and tilts to prop your phone or tablet up at the perfect angle for streaming movies or videos. When expanded, it also makes it easier to get a firm grip on your phone. When not in use, simply push the stand down for easy storage. Available in a wide range of colors and designs.
To buy: $10, amazon.com.
Bluetooth String Lights
Perfect for the holiday hostess or even the college student whose dorm room is decked out in string lights. These Bluetooth-enabled lights feature built-in speakers that pair with your smartphone to play music, so you can set the mood in more ways than one. The 26-foot cord is also weatherproof and approved for use outdoors. With a Bluetooth range of 33 feet, you can walk away from the action to flip the burgers without the worry of cutting off the tunes. And since the lights are compatible with all iPhones and iPads, Samsung Galaxy, and all other Android devices, just about anyone can play deejay for the night.
To buy: $50, sharperimage.com.
Vector Luna Smartwatch
This water-resistant model from a London watchmaker earns its substantial price tag by offering “smart” features—text and email alerts, fitness calculator, weather warnings, smart home controls, social media, and more—in a sleek version that could be mistaken for a more traditional watch (read: no bulk or plastic). Plus, the battery lasts for up to 30 days, so he’ll only have to power up once a month. The timepiece, which is water resistant and compatible with most iOS, Android and Windows 10 smartphones, can be purchased with leather or metal straps in a variety of colors.
To buy: $300, amazon.com.
Related: Cool Gifts for Tech-Lovers
Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer
When snapping a picture is as easy as pulling out your smartphone, you end up taking a lot of photos. Why keep those precious moments to yourself? This compact printer wirelessly connects to your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch (or print from your computer, memory card, or flash drive) to print borderless four-by-six-inch pictures in a hurry (just 47 seconds, to be exact). The best part: The ink dries quickly, so you can touch the image immediately after printing with no risk of smudging. Even a quick dip in water won’t affect the printout! Available in white, too.
To buy: $107, amazon.com.
For the tech-lover who loves a good distraction, but needs a short reprieve from the screen every once in a while, these playing cards are modeled after the solitaire cards used in the original Windows 3.0 (the cards are all tucked inside of a box that looks like the vintage desktop icon, too!). As a bonus, the tiny pixelated corners make each card a little bit easier to pick up. The set of 54, which includes two jokers specially designed by Kare, is great as a grab bag gift, a stocking stuffer, or even an extra special present topper.
To buy: $20, amazon.com.
Crosley Messenger Turntable
This functional shoulder bag opens up to reveal a turntable (yes, really!), so your music maven won’t miss a beat—no matter where he is. The lightweight construction (it weighs just four pounds), top carry handle, and an adjustable shoulder strap make it easy and comfortable to transport, while a headphone jack makes it a cinch (and, perhaps more importantly, seamless) to listen to his own personal concert anywhere, even from his seat on the airplane. Because the turntable is battery-operated, there’s no need for an outlet either. The diamond stylus needle plays seven-, 10-, and 12-inch records.
To buy: $80, amazon.com.
8bitdo Bluetooth Retro Controller
Even if the gamer in your life plays on only the latest and greatest systems out there, he’ll still appreciate the nostalgia of this retro accessory (a reminder of his first gaming system ever!). The old-school Nintendo controller syncs up with compatible devices (it works with iOS, Android, Mac OSX, and Windows systems) using Bluetooth technology and functions with a wide range of games (programmable buttons mean you can alter the control to work with the mod games of your choice). Controllers for other vintage game consoles (like Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64) are also available.
To buy: $30, amazon.com.
Ozobot Smart Robotic Game Piece
A miniature robot (it measures just over one inch in diameter and height), this toy provides hours of entertainment while fostering an understanding of science and robotics. Introduce the kids (suitable for ages six and up) to the concept behind coding with easy-to-understand colors by printing out or drawing lines using a thick red, green, blue or black marker (or download the app to use preprogrammed paths, games, challenges, and activities). Then watch as this compact gadget, which won “best robot” at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, follows your design. It can memorize and play back up to 500 moves.
To buy: $50, toysrus.com.
KOHLER Moxie 1-Spray Showerhead
It’s never been easier (or, at the very least, it’s never been more fun) to carry a tune while lathering up. This sleek showerhead comes with a clip-on water-resistant speaker that syncs with your smartphones, MP3 player, tablet, or laptop (as long as it’s within 32 feet of the shower head) using Bluetooth technology to wirelessly stream audio. Don’t like to sing along, but instead you listen to a particular podcast religiously? Stream that instead. To recharge or move your music to another room, simply pop the speaker out of its magnetic holder. The speaker charges via a micro USB cable.
To buy: $136, homedepot.com.
The 3D Printing Pen
Let your creative cousin or your inquisitive niece bring his or her imagination to life with a pen that ejects warm thermoplastic in a rainbow of colors. The slim pen (it’s less than an inch wide), which is best suited for ages 14 and up, allows them to create 3D models that will harden in seconds (it functions kind of like a combination between a glue gun and an ink pen). The starter kit includes 50 plastic refills in assorted colors, but additional pen tips, a stand, and foot pedal is also available at an extra cost.
To buy: $100, hammacher.com.
Ringly Smart Jewelry
What looks like a fabulous new cocktail ring is that…and so much more. The bold bauble also syncs with her phone to function as an alert for text, calls, calendar appointments, reminders, and more. Discrete vibrations and colored lights let her know that it’s time to check her device, without having to peek at her screen. Four vibration patterns and five color options help her differentiate an email versus something that needs more immediate attention. The 18-karat gold-plated moonstone and cubic zirconia ring comes with a jewelry box charger and a USB cord. Compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
To buy: $195, ringly.com.
The low profile of these ultra-cool headphones will bring music to her ears. They feel (and look) like a cushiony headband—with just the right amount of bling. An attachment on one side, complete with three volume control buttons and a mic, will help her multitask, while the handy travel pouch makes it easy to tote around without damaging the metallic finish or soft memory foam cushioning. The headphones, which are available in two colors (iridescent metal or rose gold), are compatible with MP3 players, cell phones, and other audio devices with a standard headphone jack.
To buy: $170, netaporter.com.
Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet
They’re always asking to use your phone to play a game or watch a video, but you’ve had to deal with one too many cracked screens. Rather than risk your own, give the little ones a kid-proof tablet. The durable, lightweight case is easy for small hands to grip, but protects that precious gadget from the drops and bumps associated with kids’ active lifestyles. Offering access to thousands of books, movies, and educational apps (as well as top-notch parental controls), this tablet is replaceable for up to two years—just in case it happens to go swimming in the tub or is thrown out the car window.
To buy: $99, amazon.com.
GoPro Hero Waterproof Action Camera
This tiny camera is made to withstand the elements—water, snow, and mud (it can probably handle toddlers, too)—so you can shoot any adventure and share it with friends and family. A free companion app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, makes it easy to wirelessly transfer, watch, edit high-quality photos (8 megapixels) and video (resolutions of 1440p30, 1080p60, and 720p100), and share your film or stills on all of your favorite social media channels. An assortment of accessories and mounts—voice-activated remote, helmet mount, screen protectors, and more—are also available for an additional cost.
To buy: $199, bestbuy.com.
Rose Gold Ombre Macbook Decal Keyboard Sticker
Whether she got sucked into the seemingly never-ending scroll of her Facebook feed, is cramming for a big exam, or crunching numbers for the sales presentation that’s due tomorrow, she spends a lot of time on her laptop. No matter what has her glued to the screen, make the experience feel a little bit more luxurious with these gorgeous keyboard stickers. The grease-, fingerprint-, and water-resistant rose gold vinyl decals, which fit seamlessly over a variety of laptops, are easy to apply and remove—and won’t leave any sticky residue behind. Available in a variety of other colors and designs, so there’s something for everyone.
To buy: $16, etsy.com.
Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer
Capture and share photos in less than a minute. Connect your smartphone, iPad and iPod Touch, Android, or other devices to the lightweight, portable gadget (it weighs just over six ounces) via Bluetooth or NFC (near-field communication) and then edit and print your favorite snapshots. You can even add emojis or a password-protected QR code to share secret messages! The printer produces two-by-three-inch clear, high-resolution, frame-worthy shots—no ink cartridge necessary. Prints up to 25 photos per charge. Once it needs more power, use the included standard micro USB cord. Available in four colors: black, white, red, or blue.
To buy: From $126, amazon.com.
Buckshot Pro Rugged Bluetooth Speaker
Like a multi-functional boombox for a bike, this rugged water-resistant speaker snaps onto standard handlebars with an included bicycle mount. A wireless connection with up to 10 hours of juice means high-quality sound en route to the most far-flung destinations. Just don’t forget to pre-program pedaling playlists for a safe ride! The top attachment also functions as a flashlight, strobe light, and camping light. Plus, it flips open to reveal a USB port that will charge the rest of your devices on the go. Available in five colors: black, gray, red, glow (neon green), and army green.
To buy: $80, outdoortechnology.com.
Coach Knit Tech Gloves
One thing cold, windy weather is definitely not good for? Instagramming a picture of that awesome snowman he built with the kids or posting a Facebook status about how much fun his ski vacation is. But now the ultimate #firstworldproblem has a #firstratesolution that changes everything: supremely soft gloves made out of 100 percent extra fine merino wool and woven with a conductive material for touchscreen-friendly fingertips. They’ll want to take them out for a cold-weather scroll on the spot. For the ultimate in cold-weather luxury, complete the set by giving him a matching cashmere beanie, too.
To buy: $75, coach.com.
Zoom Cellphone Camera Lens
Beyond giving her devices the ability to capture close-up shots from distances smartphone photographers never dreamed of, this detachable 8-12x optical zoom lens boasts a few extra-special effects. The lens can transform the device into a widescreen version of binoculars, finally justifying its rightful place on, say, a safari vacation (when not attached to the phone, it can be used as a monocle, too). A manual focusing ring lets her adjust to get the sharpest image possible. The gentle clip-on design is durable enough to stay put, yet soft enough to keep her device scratch free.
To buy: $20, amazon.com.
Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones
Countless noisy flights have been saved by Bose’s gold-standard over-the-ear sound-mufflers—but now there’s an option for folks with less room to spare in their carry-ons and those who simply want a little less bulk. Adjustable modes allow for both active noise canceling and regular play to let in some sound when it’s needed—like during boarding announcements, when walking in a busy area, or using in the office, and specially-designed tips (the headset includes three sizes to ensure maximum comfort for all) mean they won’t jostle out of place. Available in two colors: black and white.
To buy: $200, amazon.com.