This year has already paved the way for some amazing, own-worthy tech perfect for gifting anyone on your list no matter the occasion.
We’ve seen new launches (and updates) from industry staples like Apple, Bose, Google, Fitbit, Nintendo and Samsung, 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 been trending throughout the year? Adaptive noise-cancelling headphones, Bluetooth-tracking stickers, premium smartphones with killer 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. Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch
Fitbit’s flagship device isn’t just a reliable fitness tracker with smartwatch capabilities — it’s the closest thing to the Apple Watch that you can score for nearly half the price, making it a great gift for fitness lovers. Its popular ecosystem promises the same accurate sleep and fitness monitoring, which you can now view on the beautiful Always-On AMOLED display. One swipe up showcases daily insights such as calories burned, heart rate and other health vitals. Lots of apps (including Alexa) work with the Versa 2 to accommodate daily tasks (e.g. calendar management, Starbucks purchases, Uber rides), and it supports mobile notifications.
2. Tile Sticker
Wireless tracker stickers are now a thing, and although we’re waiting to see if the rumors of Apple launching its own location-tracking version come true, Tile has already beaten them to the market with the impressive Tile Sticker. Tiny, waterproof, and with a 150-ft. Bluetooth range, it keeps you from losing anything. This includes wallets, smartphones, water bottles, your Roku remote, and any other valuable that comes to mind. If you really want to get the most for your money, purchase the 4-pack bundle that comes with a free Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation).
3. Apple iPhone 11 Series
All the memes would lead you to believe the iPhone 11 is a joke, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is Apple’s most ambitious smartphone to date, thanks to vastly improved apps, stronger components, and a compelling ultra-wide camera system. You can expect the same intuitive performance from iOS 13, which benefits greatly from the superfast A13 Bionic processor. Battery life has been given a noteworthy boost, too. However, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max steal the spotlight with triple cameras that provide a better range for amazing results. Simply put, the iPhone 11 maintains the series legacy as the most well-rounded smartphone that money can buy.
4. 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.
5. LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
Have you ever attempted to clean a S’well bottle? It’s torture. The LARQ is a more inventive and resourceful alternative that takes all of the hard work out of maintaining a water bottle by performing the task all on its own. A self-cleaning mode is programmed into each bottle, activating a UV-C LED light that eliminates up to 99.9% of harmful, odor-causing germs on the inside. You can purify water in as little as 2 hours and store it cold for 24 hours. How refreshing.
6. Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds
Beats’ latest creation is 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 other 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.
7. 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.
8. Nintendo Switch Lite
If the original Nintendo Switch hasn’t already marked the new era of portable gaming, then its smaller sibling must certainly earn that honor. The Switch Lite is exactly what its name implies, a lighter, travel-friendly version that grants access to the platform’s incredible game library at the cheapest entry point. Battery life is much longer than the first-gen Switch models, plus the integrated Joy-Cons with D-pad makes all the difference when playing 2D platformers (cheer with glee, Mario fanboys).
9. Ring Stick Up Cam
This more flexible 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, or any area of their property for that matter, directly on their smartphone and can communicate with visitors via two-way talk. There is 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.
10. Anker Powerwave Base Pad
Wireless charging has made it super convenient to power our smartphones without being tethered to a charging cable and wall outlet. The Anker PowerWave might look low profile, but it’s fully powered with high-speed charging and nifty features that are easily overlooked. While most charging pads bear a circular form, Anker opted for a rectangular shape that properly aligns with your phone to secure the most effective charge. Vents were built into the base to prevent overheating. We like that the PowerWave supports charging through thicker phone cases, too. Its competitive price should entice you to double up; one for the house and one for the office.
11. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Where the popular Bose QC35 line sets 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.
12. 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.
13. Apple Watch Series 5
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 5 as your gift. As always, Apple spared no expense with the internals, stuffing twice the storage (32GB) and the efficiently-fast S5 chip into a thinner case. The new Always-On Retina display is stunning and makes touchscreen interactions simpler. Battery life remains steady at 18 hours on a single charge. Intelligible features like raise-to-speak Siri and optical heart rate monitoring give the Series 5 a leg up over all other wrist-based wearables.
14. 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.
15. MoodoGo Portable Fragrance Diffuser
The MoodoGo is one of those products you didn’t know you needed, until you’ve actually tried it. Basically, it’s a portable, eco-friendly scent diffuser designed to automatically fill environments with mood-inspired scents that produce an olfactory sensation. You can build up energy while crunching numbers in your office or enjoy some brief relaxation on the car ride home, though most of the scents will leave you daydreaming of Tahiti beaches. The portable design makes it a convenient travel buddy and fits in most cars’ cup holders. All the more reason to toss out those cheap cardboard pine tree ornaments hanging above the dashboard.
16. Fujifilm X-A7 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Any photographer committed to their craft wouldn’t use their iPhone to capture life’s grandest moments. They’re using a professional camera, and likely a mirrorless camera because of its DSLR-like capabilities and smaller package. The X-A7 is an entry-level shooter that has a multitude of enhanced features and a stellar hybrid autofocus system with 117 selectable points to detect the slightest details in every frame. Advanced filter modes (ex. Dynamic Tone, Fish-Eye, Toy Camera) make Instagram’s editing tools look amateur. The only thing more attractive than the X-A7’s photo quality is its retro-styled body, which is ruggedly charming and sold in four cool colors: Brown, Black, Silver, and Mint Green.
17. Sega Genesis Mini
Critics and diehard fans have anointed the Sega Genesis Mini the best classic console re-release yet. We’re talking a super-compact design that blends beautifully into any home entertainment or gaming setup, HDMI video quality, seamless plug-in-play setup, and more games (42 in total) than its competitors. Grabbing a pair of Retro-Bit 6-Button Controllers (sold separately) only heightens the nostalgia by letting you plays the majority of games to their fullest extent. Can’t you just hear the Sonic ring chime going off in your head? That’s your cue to add to cart.
18. Plott Cubit – Smart VR Measuring Tool
Picture a home improvement gadget that records measurements in real time and tells you exactly where to place objects. Insane, right? That’s the Plott Cubit in a nutshell. It employs an array of different technologies like augmented reality and laser sensors to accurately “measure and design with scale and context.” All of that data is then sent and attached to a corresponding image that you can view in a companion app to make any necessary adjustments. There isn’t another digital doohickey at its price point that can help you decorate walls, layout rooms or build out floor plans more efficiently.
19. 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.
20. Eero Mesh Smart Router
The average consumer cares little about the technical side of WiFi. They just want something that’s simple to setup and guarantees the fastest results. Well, this revised version of the highly popular Eero Mesh router simplifies your relationship with your home network through smarter wireless management and voice commands. For instance, you can ask Alexa to pause WiFi on all smartphones and route that power towards your smart TV to establish a stronger streaming connection. Excellent. Tech illiterates worried about the setup process can also breathe easy knowing it takes 10 minutes (or less) to get up and running. Its most rewarding feature: that price tag. A set of three should guarantee zero dropout during Fortnite sessions.
21. Plantronics BackBeat 5100 True Wireless Earbuds
Another awesome stocking stuffer idea for music lovers, the Plantronics BackBeat 5100 is an ideal everyday headset for those who want to enjoy clear-sounding calls and tunes. Despite its polished construction, each bud is covered in sweat- and water-resistant coating, which means they can double as true wireless sports earbuds. The BackBeat App received a minor facelift and has lots of features to personalize the BackBeat 5100 for optimal use. Sound is also warm with strong bass response to fuel powerwalks or workouts.
22. 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.
23. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
Amazon’s tiny smart hub has always made for a sweet stocking stuffer on the cheap. What makes this updated version worth the purchase over the past-gen models? For starters, it now features a built-in LED display to show the time and outdoor temperatures, and auto-dims at night. Tapping the device snoozes alarms. The speaker quality is much better, along with the mics that produce clearer-sounding music and phones calls. Updates to the Alexa app also make this version smarter by adding many more voice commands and enhanced functionality.
24. Hisense 50H8F 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart LED TV HDR10
The way to any man’s heart is by gifting them a big-ass HDTV. Hisense’s 2019 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 surreal in 4K. The 50H8F is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing couch potatoes to pull up whatever they want using voice commands. Hisense also flexed its creative muscles on the design end with a “bezel-less” frame that blends perfectly into the living room décor and expands the viewable screen area.
25. Anker PowerPort Atom III Slim Portable Charger
It takes some serious innovation to create a portable charger this small that’s capable of powering a laptop and other mobile devices. Anker accepted the challenge, gifting us a travel gem that solves almost every mobile charging conundrum. The PowerPort Atom III Slim is ultra-thin and delivers high-speed performance to juice up devices 2.5x faster than stock chargers. Even more absurd is the fact that it can fully charge a MacBook 12” in just 2 hours. Hot damn!
26. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note+ are exemplary of Samsung’s commitment to premium performance. Each model is bigger in every facet including cameras, features, and of course, size. Build quality is superb with an aluminum frame and durable Gorilla Glass that uphold their striking appearances. The triple-camera system captures vibrant, colorful shots that look even more immersive on the breathtaking AMOLED display. Toss in the highly functional S-Pen, you have two productivity powerhouses capable of replacing your iPad and iPhone.
27. Jabra Elite Active 65t
The only thing more popular than true wireless earbuds right now: true wireless sports earbuds. Look no further than the Jabra Elite Active 65t. 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.
28. Theragun G3 Percussive Therapy Device
Nothing beats a deep muscle massage after an intense run. Since most of us don’t have the funds to keep a Swedish masseuse on retainer, the Theragun G3 fills that much-needed void for post-workout recovery, and for a one-time charge. Two different treatment speeds are programmed into the device, which requires no more than 30 seconds per muscle group to relieve soreness, while improving strength and flexibility. There’s a reason why professional athletes and fitness editors swear by it.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
For those seeking a hybrid tablet with more productivity tools than the iPad, the Surface Pro 7 stands out as the clear choice for gift-givers. This machine is a performance beast loaded with dominant features like faster multitasking, new 10th-gen Intel processors, USB-A/USB-C ports, and up to 10.5 hours of battery life. But a 2-in-1 laptop means nothing without a gorgeous screen, which the Surface Pro 7 boasts — a 12.3” PixelSense Display touchscreen that produces stunning visuals and automatically adjusts to lighting conditions. Its super-thin frame leaves plenty of extra room in your messenger bag for other travel necessities, too.
32. Analogue Mega SG
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.
33. GoPro Hero8 Black
Another year, another GoPro release. This time around, the action-camera maker developed its newest shooter with vloggers in mind. Improved in-camera software and a sleek design with new Mods makes recording influencer content far simpler for newbies. There’s also more than enough performance here to record and share wild adventures in vivid detail, courtesy of better image stabilization and cool modes like Live Burst to snap live-action burst shots.
34. 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 siblings. 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.
35. Whistle Go Pet Tracker
What a world we’re living in when our pets have their own wearables. The Whistle Go is basically a Fitbit for animals, but with some special tricks programmed underneath its durable shell. All data is accessible through the free Whistle app, which provides insight for numerous activities, from basic performance stats (e.g. calories burned, distance traveled, etc.) to how often they lick themselves. Other advanced features include escape alerts and live location tracking via Google maps. The device itself is lightweight and waterproof, so you can leave it around your pup’s neck during bath time.
36. 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.
37. 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.