This year has already paved the way for some amazing, own-worthy tech perfect for gifting anyone on your list no matter the occasion.
CES 2019 kicked things off showcasing the latest innovations from top companies across the globe. Since then, we’ve seen new launches (and updates) from industry staples like Apple, Bose, Google, Mophie, Oculus and Sony, along with some impressive tech from select indie brands.
That’s not to say we’re completely overlooking the biggest releases of last year. These are still hot items that continue to dominate the sales charts and remain atop many people’s wish lists; don’t sell them short of gift-giving options.
So what’s trending right now on the tech front? Adaptive noise-cancelling headphones, budget smartphones with high-end specs, retro everything, smart home do-it-alls and sporty AirPod alternatives. In other words, more cool gadgets designed to enrich our everyday lives.
Whether you’re looking for creative high-tech products to pass on to your loved ones or need an upgrade yourself, there are plenty of options to choose from across different categories and price points. Here’s a list of the best tech gifts of 2019 (so far).
1. Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds
Beats’ latest creation is arguably its greatest. Yes, it has the same performance conveniences as the AirPods 2019, from impeccable wireless performance to seamless iOS integration. However, those are just appetizers for what the Powerbeats Pro offers as the main dish. Battery life is ranked highest in its class at 9 hours on a single charge; the charging case adds an extra 18 hours. The hooks provide the necessary on-ear stability fitness freaks want from cordless buds, while the sound profile is tighter to enjoy crisp vocals and punchy bass. Black looks cool, but the upcoming colorways (Navy, Ivory, and Moss) are also well suited for casual or corporate attire. If you give the gift of Beats, you’re bound to win major brownie points.
2. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2019)
The Fire TV Stick has become a staple for UHD TVs, and this 4K rendition ramps up the entertainment value. Picture presentation is stellar with excellent 4K high-def resolution. The interface operates more smoothly due to a stronger processor. We’re also fond of the improved remote which introduces new buttons for power, muting and volume control, so you won’t have to pick up a second control to manage sound. The no-brainer setup, a plethora of streaming apps and Alexa compatibility place it in the unbeatable gift category. Not to mention the price is just right.
3. Fitbit Versa Lite Smartwatch
The Versa Lite isn’t just a reliable fitness tracker with smartwatch capabilities – it’s the closest thing to the Apple Watch that you can score for under $150, making it a great gift for fitness lovers. Fitbit’s popular ecosystem promises the same accurate sleep and fitness monitoring, which you can view through the clean, easy-to-use touch interface. One swipe up showcases daily insights such as calories burned, heart rate and other health vitals. Lots of apps work with the smartwatch to accommodate daily tasks (Philips Hue, Starbucks, Uber), and it supports mobile notifications.
4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Where the popular Bose QC35 line set the standard for noise-cancelling headphones, the 700 series sets the bar higher with unique performance enhancements. Bose’s new microphone system offers 11 levels of noise cancellation that can be adjusted via companion app to mute droning airplane engines and crying babies. Audio quality remains dynamic to enjoy Spotify playlists with transparency, whereas call quality has been vastly improved to eliminate ambient sounds during wireless chats. Then there’s the stainless steel unibody frame that is beautifully crafted, giving these sound cans a lavish presence fitting of its price tag. Every frequent flyer you know has this marked as their number one present going into the holidays.
5. Mophie Powerstation Hub
Portable power hubs are replacing external batteries as the must-have mobile accessory. Look no further than the Mophie Powerstation Hub, a 3-in-1 power solution that charges up to four devices at the same time, making it a convenient travel partner. It hosts two USB-A ports, one USB-C PD port and a wireless charging surface to dock your iPhone, iPad or any Qi-enabled devices. While there is fast charging built into the device, the AC power prongs juice up the battery quickly for extended use.
6. Oculus Go VR Headset
Virtual reality is the wave of the future for both entertainment and gaming. Oculus’ standalone headset is a technical achievement that brings a premium VR experience to your home, sans the extra hardware and cables. It’s wireless, feels comfy on the head and looks sleek for what can be considered gaming headgear. More importantly, it provides access to hundreds of apps and games that look sharp on a 5.5-inch LCD display. Pricing might be its greatest attribute, as the Oculus Go is way more affordable than most VR headsets and next-gen consoles, making it a great gift option. And if you want to go full-on Lawnmower Man, there’s always the Oculus Quest ($400) with higher specs.
7. Polaroid OneStep 2 Instant Camera
There is something special and sentimental about Polaroid pics. The OneStep 2 camera is a throwback designed for shutterbugs who value physical prints over digital imagery, capturing life’s grandest moments in a soft, desaturated aesthetic (aka retro-esque filtering). Its learning curve is elementary, making it one of the simpler point-and-click cameras to operate. You’ll also find it a relatively affordable photography gift.
8. Google Pixel 3A and 3A XL
The era of the mid-range smartphone is here, and Google has not just one, but two budget-friendly options that look and perform as well as their high-end sibling. Introducing the Google Pixel 3A and 3A XL – two handsets that carry over the pure Android experience and industry-leading camera performance of the Pixel 3, at half the price. Their displays produce vibrant visuals for Instagram and YouTube gazing, while Google’s adaptive battery technology ensures all-day use; a 15-minute charge enables 7 hours. Access to tons of camera settings, like the remarkable Night Sight mode to clear up low-light photos, make either phone a steal.
9. Marshall Stockwell II Wireless Speaker
The Stockwell II embodies the cool, old school, grunge-rock aesthetics of a ‘70s guitar amp, while blasting audio that can vibrate your living room wall. Its acoustic depth and energetic bass complement the speaker’s dynamic sound signature, lending itself well to all music genres. Having the freedom to adjust bass and treble via analog knobs is a sweet touch too. Throw in 20 hours of battery life, Bluetooth 5.0 with strong wireless range (up to 70 feet) and a vegan leather strap for portability, you’ve got a wireless speaker that can bump serious audio indoors or outdoors.
10. iPad Air 2019
When it comes to tablets, Apple is a clear choice for gift-givers. Splurging on the mid-tier iPad Air will certainly earn you Son/Husband/Father-of-the-Year honors, thanks to its luminous 10.5-inch display, fast charging, slim profile and speedy performance. In addition, pairing it with the Apple Smart Keyboard cover transforms it into a solid 2-in-1 productivity tool for students or young professionals. Keep it on your radar when putting together your back-to-school shopping list.
11. Lume Cube Air
For the perfect IG shot, you need great lighting, and that’s not something most camera phones provide photographers. This pocket-sized LED cube can be wirelessly controlled to shoot bright, detailed photos in dark spaces. It is waterproof up to 30-feet, so you can record well-lit aquatic adventures. A range of diffusers and mounting pods come bundled to flex your creative muscles when capturing photos and videos.
12. Sony X950G 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
The way to any man’s heart is by gifting them a big-ass HDTV. While listed in the same price range as a tropical vacation package, this UHD model is a visual stunner that will leave viewers feeling immersed in the picture. Blu-rays, Netflix content and Xbox One X games look phenomenally realistic in 4K. The X950G is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, allowing couch potatoes to pull up whatever they want using voice commands. Sony didn’t skimp on the sound either, employing its Acoustic Multi-Audio technology to produce theater-like audio.
13. GoPro Hero 7 White Edition
On rare occasions can you expect to enjoy great performance from a product that isn’t the most expensive option in its line. That’s your cue, GoPro. While the company’s Hero 7 Black Edition is an elite action camera, the White Edition offers many of the same bells and whistles for much less. This includes full HD video recording, special shooting modes, video stabilization, voice control and waterproof protection. There’s more than enough performance here to record and share wild adventures in vivid detail.
14. Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen (2019)
Amazon’s tiny smart hub has always made for a sweet stocking stuffer on the cheap. However, if you’re curious as to why this 2019 model is worth owning over the previous version, we’ll happily tell you. For starters, the speaker quality is much better. The integrated mics were tweaked to produce clearer-sounding music and phone calls. Amazon opted for a woven-fabric design this time, which blends nicely with most home décor. Updates to the Alexa app also make the Echo Dot smarter by adding many more voice commands and enhanced functionality.
15. Analogue Mega SG
The retro console wars have given us renewed motivation to hit the garage in search of our forgotten gaming collections. In waiting impatiently on the Sega Genesis Mini to drop this fall, Analogue has released the most attractive Sega console reproduction ever made. The Mega SG lets you play old Genesis cartridges on HDTVs in upscaled 1080p and lets you tinker with the video output by adding scan lines for nostalgia. It even supports wireless controllers (sold separately), as well as original Genesis controllers, and comes available in four unique colorways representative of past region launches.
16. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Portable Speaker
Everyone’s favorite portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker just got better. UE recently launched the Wonderboom 2 to buzz-worthy recognition, highlighted by its enhanced design, sound and battery life. The all-new Outdoor Boost mode welcomes more bass and treble to the party, whereas the IP67-rated exterior better protects the speaker from drops and water damage; you can still leave it floating in your pool and hear music loudly. Battery life was increased by 30% to play music for up to 13 hours. Even cooler is the option to pair two speakers at once for stereo sound, which should fare well at the next family cookout or in the shower.
17. OnePlus 7 Pro
Apple and Samsung have made big phones trendy, but it’s indie darling OnePlus that continues to impress by undercutting the competition with its open-sourced smartphones and unbeatable price structure. The OnePlus 7 Pro is evidence. This Android powerhouse doesn’t hold back on hallmark features that bring forth unparalleled performance. Underneath the hood is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that increases touchscreen responsiveness and makes load times unnoticeable. Its 6.66-inch Fluid AMOLED screen delivers gorgeous picture quality and the 48MP rear camera is a marvel that captures close-ups and ultra-wide shots in a distinct fashion. You won’t find a better premium big phone in its price class (or higher).
18. Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Earbuds
Another awesome stocking stuffer idea for fitness and music lovers, the Elite Active 65t is an ideal everyday headset for guys who want to enjoy clear-sounding calls on the go, while fueling their workouts with powerful audio. Both ear pieces come IP65-rated, which in layman’s terms translates to dust-, sweat- and water-resistant protection. The Jabra Sound+ app elevates listening with several options to personalize sound through the customized EQ or music presets. The buds offer great comfort and fit as well.
19. Apple Watch Series 4
If there’s a wrist that you’re looking to spoil with a fancy digital timepiece, settle for nothing less than the Apple Watch Series 4 as your gift. As always, Apple spared no expense with the internals, stuffing a faster processor and advanced health sensors into a thinner case. The screen is larger than previous models, making touchscreen interactions simpler. Battery life remains steady at 24 hours on a single charge. Intelligible features like raise-to-speak Siri and optical heart rate monitoring give the Series 4 a leg up over all other wrist-based wearables.
20. Dell XPS 13 (2019)
Faster, stronger, and more portable than ever, Dell has finally perfected its flagship laptop. The XPS 13 packs some serious hardware, including all-new 8th gen Intel Quad Core processors, 16GB of internal memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage. That’s just technical jargon for saying you can run Fortnite, Netflix and Adobe Premiere Rush simultaneously without a hitch. Dell pushed its design limits, somehow cutting down the notebook’s weight without compromising its clean and highly durable construction. Bravo, Dell.
21. Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019)
Amazon’s coveted e-reader was due for an illuminated upgrade. This new version of the Kindle Oasis allows users to adjust the screen’s color tone, creating less-harsh light that’s easy on the eyes when reading at night. It has the seamless functionality of other Kindle models and Audible integration for audiobook lovers. The popular one-handed design comes waterproof, giving bookworms more reason to binge read in splashy environments like the pool or hot tub.
22. Ring Video Doorbell Pro
This enhanced version of the popular security camera provides peace of mind for homeowners who value privacy. Users have the luxury of answering and monitoring the front door directly on their smartphone, while communicating with visitors via two-way talk. There’s even an Infrared Night Vision mode to spot intruders and unwanted guests. It’s a smart home gift that your dad or husband won’t see coming.Best Chromebooks of 2019 Perfect for Business Trips