If you thought 2019 was a standout year for the best tech gifts, then 2020 is going to blow you away. Several months in and we’ve already seen some awesome, must-own gadgets perfect for gifting anyone on your list no matter the occasion.
So, what are the best tech gifts in 2020? Based on what we’ve seen at CES 2020 and some of the year’s latest releases, you’re going to find more innovative products designed to enrich your everyday life. This includes adaptive noise-canceling headphones, affordable smartphones with killer specs, retro everything, smart home do-it-alls, and sportier AirPod Pro alternatives.
That’s not to say we’re completely overlooking the biggest releases of last year. These are still awesome 2019 tech gadgets that continue to dominate the sales charts and remain atop many people’s wish lists; don’t sell them short of gift-giving options. We’re talking must-haves for any tech lover from industry staples like Apple, Amazon, Bose, Microsoft, and Nintendo, along with some impressive tech from select indie brands.
Whether you’re looking for creative high-tech products to pass on to your loved ones or upgrades to buy for 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 2020 (so far). Keep in mind that many of these products are very in-demand, which means they may be out of stock (or nearly so).
Best Tech Gifts of 2020: Phone Soap 3
When it was time to choose the best tech gifts of 2020, there was no question what our top choice was going to be. When we first featured this UV phone sanitizer on SPY, we said that it was the perfect gift for germaphobes. Well, in 2020, the year of stay-at-home orders and quarantine, we’re all germaphobes. Using UV light, this device sanitizes smartphones, tablets, jewelery, face masks and other small objects in just a few minutes. For obvious reasons, Phone Soap is having a tough time keeping this device in stock, so if you find it available, don’t hesitate to place an order. It’s the perfect gift, but we also recommend buying one for yourself.
BEST AFFORDABLE EARBUDS
An unfortunate consequence of true-wireless earbuds is that they’re easy to lose and even easier to drop. In fact, what makes them so great (the lack of wires), makes them so hard to hold on to. If your hands are sweaty or you’re tired, it’s easy to fumble them and drop them on the floor, or in a drain, or in the toilet.
Now, we’re not suggesting that will always happen, but it does happen. And for that reason, we love Skullcandy’s Sesh headphones. The quality is there. The headphones come with easy-to-use buttons so you can change tracks, activate your virtual assistant and manage the volume, all without pulling out your phone. They also stay in your ears whether you’re riding your bike, going for a jog or powerlifting your way to a new PR. But our favorite quality of these buds? The price. For $40, you can get audio quality that’s ideal for the gym. And if (and when) you do drop them or lose them, you won’t be heartbroken. For a gadget that’s this easy to lose or destroy, the lack of heartbreak is an incredibly important feature.
JBL Clip 3 Portable Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
FOR SHOWER KARAOKE
Looking to buy a gift for the music lover in your life? Well, if they’re anything like some of our music-loving colleagues, singing in the shower is a regular routine. To help them find their rhythm while sudsing up, gift them this well-priced waterproof speaker from JBL. Not only is it made to handle wet conditions thanks to its IPX7 rating, but it also comes with a nifty clip. So regardless of your giftee’s shower setup, there will be a place to hang this lovely little speaker.
Nintendo Joy-Con (L/R) – Neon Red/Neon Blue
FOR AVID MARIO KART RACERS
There are still those of us who are regulars on the ol’ Mario Kart circuit. If you know such a gamer, they’ll likely need another set of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. For starters, there’s an issue with a lot of Joy-Cons known as “drift” which causes the controllers to register commands you did not give. If your friend is suffering from this affliction (read: blaming lost races on their gear), gift them a new set! You can pick from more colors than ever these days. Also, if your friend loves to host race nights or (Mario) parties, they’ll need all the extra controllers they can get their hands on.
RCA to HDMI,AV to HDMI Converter
FOR THE NOSTALGIC GAMER
Some of us just can’t let go. It’s hard to say if the games really were better back in the day, or if nostalgia paints everything in rose. But regardless, if you have a friend who owns an N64 or SNES and doesn’t use it, gift them this nifty converter. It will take those classic red, white and yellow cords that used to work with every TV and convert them to HDMI so they will still work with every (new) TV. Turns out Goldeneye 64 does NOT hold up. However, Mario Kart 64? Arguably better than the Switch version. And don’t even get us started on Banjo Kazooie . . .
Homagical Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
BEST FOR HEAVY SLEEPERS
We all know one. Some people cannot get up and out of bed in the mornings. And if your friend or loved one has tried every conceivable alarm clock on the market, gift them this sunrise alarm clock from Homagical. What makes this thing great is that it slowly grows brighter and brighter to help them wake up, as opposed to ripping them from deep sleep with a jarring noise. The clock comes with 16 adjustable volume specs as well as seven natural alarm sounds, so your giftee can customize their wake-up to their heart’s content.
Keurig K-Mini Plus Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker
BEST FOR THE BACHELOR
Got a friend who lives alone and loves their morning cup of joe? Gift them this small, sleek single-serving coffee maker from Keurig. Sure, those who live with roommates or significant others might want a larger coffee maker, but if your giftee lives alone, all they need is one cup at a time. And thanks to Keurig’s seemingly limitless offering of coffee flavors and brands, your coffee-loving pal will have plenty of options to choose from. Just, you know, make sure they clean their coffee maker now and again.
The Awair Element
BEST FOR PARENTS
If you’re looking to get something nice for mom and dad (or perhaps the in-laws?) try this handsome-looking air quality monitor. Aside from looking fantastic just about anywhere in the house, this clever device will share up-to-the-minute information regarding CO2 levels, humidity, temperature and particulate matter within their home. Best of all, it’s all controlled via the Awair app, so your giftee can check and edit all they want, from wherever they want.
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)
BEST FOR IPAD ARTISTS
For some, an iPad is just a big phone. You download apps, maybe read or watch movies, but otherwise just endlessly consume media. However, there are those who pick up an iPad for creating, and for those people, there is no better gift than an Apple Pencil. Like the iPad itself, the Apple Pencil is far from cheap. At nearly $130, this instrument of creation is just expensive enough for the starving artist in your life to resist buying it themselves. So, with the holidays approaching, why not gift it to them? While there are some solid Apple Pencil alternatives, none really work as well as the original.
Apple iPhone SE (2020)
BEST SMARTPHONE GIFT
The era of the mid-range smartphone is upon us, and though the Google Pixel 3A had people talking, the all-new iPhone SE already has them adding to cart. Is it better than the flagship iPhone 11? Of course not. However, the amount of performance it offers combined with its ability to take on new software updates for years to come clearly makes it the best investment for mobile consumers who want an iPhone upgrade for half the price. The 2020 model maintains Apple’s sleek aesthetics, as well as the same chip that powers the iPhone 11. Photogs will find the camera more than capable of snapping clear, vibrant photos and selfies. Most importantly, the iPhone SE promises the seamless iOS experience that no other mobile operating system has matched.
We can’t think of a better way to spend $400 right now.
Marshall Monitor II Wireless Headphones
BEST NOISE-CANCELING HEADPHONES
Marshall is best known for amplifiers and speakers beloved by musicians, but the iconic brand has recently started producing more products for the rest of us. Earlier this year Marshall released their highly anticipated active noise-canceling headphones, the Monitor II, and these wireless over-ear headphones don’t disappoint. Not only do they look incredible, with a handsome pebbled leather design, but they also boast a super comfortable ear cushion, stellar audio quality, and 30 hours of battery life. If you’re looking for a pair of noise-canceling headphones to buy as a gift, then this is the product you’re looking for. They’ll set you back $320, but they’re undoubtedly one of the best tech gifts of 2020.
Mac Mini 2020
BEST DESKTOP COMPUTER
When you want a powerful desktop computer, but you don’t necessarily have the room for one, the Mac Mini fills that gap with an impressive 3.6GHz quad-core 8th Gen i3 processor — and that’s just the base model. It can be upgraded with six core i5 processors and up to 4.1GHz. This powerful mini desktop is a total game-changer, and an affordable way to get a powerful Mac in your home.
Samsung Sero TV
BEST TECH GIFT FOR ZOOMERS
Now there’s a TV that is designed with social media in mind. Meet the Samsung Sero TV. With a portrait orientation, the screen helps bring your Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok videos onto the big screen without those lame black bars on the sides. And when you want to watch regular old TV, the TV spins on its axis for the more traditional horizontal viewing experience.
Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Record Player
BEST THROWBAKC GIFT
We love this Bluetooth record player, which comes with a fun retro design and built-in speakers. If you have a friend, sibling or parent that loves their old record collection, then this affordable and portable record player is the perfect tech gift.
BEST GIFT FOR iPAD USERS
When you want a premium typing experience on an iPad Pro, the Magic Keyboard provides just that. With comfortable, soft and backlit keys, it’s essentially an affordable way to turn your iPad Pro into a MacBook Pro. And with a floating cantilever, you really can get the best viewing angles possible. It’s one of our favorite iPad accessories for a reason, and you may end up buying one for yourself, too.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
BEST STREAMING DEVICE
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.
An incredibly designed soundbar with every aspect well thought out from the omnidirectional firing speakers to the rounded and elegant shape. The sound quality is top tier and even has plenty of bass production without the need for an additional subwoofer. It’s a pricey soundbar, but the money is well spent.
Galaxy Active 2 Smartwatch
Purely in terms of style, the Galaxy Active 2 is one of our favorite smartwatches. However, it’s also a powerful fitness tracker and a worthy alternative to the Apple Watch. The Galaxy Active 2 provides a ton of health data including insights on your sleep as well as tracking your workouts. And with Samsung Pay and the ability to download music, you can virtually leave your phone and wallet at home. If you’re team Android, this watch checks all the boxes — and for $100 less than Apple’s signature smartwatch.
Google Pixel Buds
BEST FOR WORLD TRAVELERS
Whether you take phone calls in noisy environments or like to listen to your favorite playlist at the gym, the Google Pixel Buds have you covered. Sensors help focus in on your voice for clear calls, even when your surroundings are noisy. Plus, these wireless earbuds are sweat resistant so you won’t have to worry about hitting the gym hard and ruining your buds. Of couse, all of the best wireless earbuds boast the same exact features.
The real draw with the Google Pixel Buds? The real-time translation app, which make these the optimum ear buds when you’re traveling abroad. It’s an incredibly cool and futuristic feature that will leave you yearning for the days when we can travel again.
ReMarkable Tablet 2
BEST TABLET GIFT
We’re big fans of the ReMarkable 2 paper tablet, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best tech gifts of 2020. Combining the e-ink of a Kindle with the best note-taking functionality of an iPad, this tablet was designed for people who still prefer to take notes with a pad and pencil. It writes and feels like pen on paper, but with digital features such as digitizing all of your notes, the ability to write directly on PDFs, and automatically syncing all of your notes to the cloud, so you can access them at any time. The ReMarkable Tablet 2 proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks, and it deserves to be considered among the best tablets in the world.
KEEP Smart Stash Box
BEST FOR STONERS
Never would we have thought that keeping your cannabis stored safely would cost more than the cannabis itself, but here we are with one of the best tech gifts for stoners. The Keep Smart Stash box looks like a digital clock, but it opens with compartments for multiple strains and even provides a nice rolling tray. And you can even get notifications if anyone tries to pinch your stash. It’s the perfect stash box for parents or anyone with nosy roommates. This popular gadget sells out quickly, so join the waitlist if there’s nothing in stock right now.
BEST GAMING GIFT
This compact, modular gaming unit is revolutionizing the way we view gaming desktop computers. It looks more like an add-on to your desktop rather than the desktop itself, but its tiny form factor and the easily accessible system makes it incredibly simple to upgrade, all while leaving plenty of space on your desktop for all of your other PC gaming accessories. It was originally set to release in June 2020, but the release was recently delayed. When it finally drops, this innovating gaming PC is going to be one of the most popular tech gifts of the year.
August Smart Lock Pro+
BEST SMART HOME HACK
This smart lock easily attaches to your existing deadbolt for quick installation. Once installed, you can enjoy great features like geofencing, which uses your phone’s location services to lock and unlock the door as you enter and leave your home. It’s compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, giving you a variety of choices when it comes to hands-free use.
Fitbit Charge 4
BEST TECH GIFTS UNDER $150
Fitbit’s latest model isn’t just a reliable fitness tracker with intuitive exercise modes and unbeatable biometric-sensing technology — it’s also an underrated Apple Watch alternative you can score for about half the price. For all these reasons, we have the Charge 4 neck and neck with the Versa 2 as the best Fitbit product, as well as one of the best gifts for fitness lovers. Its popular ecosystem promises the same accurate sleep and fitness monitoring, which you can view on the bright grayscale screen. Up to seven days of battery life, GPS tracking, Spotify support, and cool new features, like Heart Rate Zones to track when you’ve burned the most energy, are small tastes of what this device can pull off.
CHEF iQ Smart Cooker
BEST KITCHEN GADGET
The Instant Pot is cool, but we’ve found a rival that’s smarter, does more for less, and looks better on any kitchen countertop. We’re referring to the CHEF iQ, an all-new cooking appliance that offers a wide range of cooking options, along with mass library of recipes and visual directions. It’s engineered to pressure cook, sear, saute, steam, and slow cook food 70% faster, decreasing cooking times to enjoy savory meals quicker. There is even a built-in cooking scale, so you don’t have to measure ingredients. The CHEF iQ app also simplifies cooking by granting access to explore and save recipes and watch step-by-step guided videos. Seriously, it’s one of the best cooking deals you’ll find right now.
RAVPower 20000mAh 60W PD 3.0 USB C Power Bank
BEST TECH GIFT UNDER $50
Anker might be the king of portable charging, but RAVPower isn’t trailing far behind. The company’s latest power bank is its most impressive creation to date and solves almost every mobile charging conundrum. It’s thin, offers dual-device charging, doesn’t overheat, and delivers high-speed performance to juice up smartphones 2.6x faster than stock chargers. Even more absurd is the fact that it can fully charge larger devices like a MacBook or Nintendo Switch. That’s some crazy power for just $50.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS
The only thing more popular than true-wireless earbuds right now are sporty true-wireless earbuds. If you’ve never been one to fall into the AirPods Pro hype, then Jabra’s newest buds are worth every penny. It’s no secret that the SPY team loves these headphones, as we named these the Best Headphones at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. The Elite Active 75t carries over the dynamic sound and strong connectivity of its critically acclaimed predecessor, the Elite 75t, and squeezes it into the same tiny design, but with added waterproof protection. The Jabra Sound+ app helps personalize audio through customization features like the built-in EQ and music presets. You’re also given more battery life than Apple’s cordless pods with seven hours of playtime (28 hours total with the charging case).
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 four-pack bundle that comes with a free Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation).
OnePlus 8 Series
Not all of the best tech gifts of 2020 come from big-name brands like Apple, Sony and Sonos. And while Apple and Samsung made big phones trendy, but it’s indie darling OnePlus that has set the bar higher by undercutting the competition with its open-sourced smartphones, killer specs, and unbeatable price structure. The OnePlus 8 series is evidence. These Android powerhouses don’t hold back on hallmark features and stuff high-powered internals into a sleek, water-resistant design to bring forth unparalleled performance. You get one of the brightest AMOLED displays that produce gorgeous picture quality, along with the Snapdragon 865 chip that keeps the devices operating at ridiculously fast speeds. Battery life has also been upgraded and lasts longer than a day; the bundled Warp Charge 30T charger fully recharges the phones in an hour. You won’t find better premium phones in its price class (or higher).
LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
Have you ever attempted to clean a S’well or Hydro Flask water bottle? It’s torture. The LARQ is a more inventive and resourceful alternative that takes all of the hard work out of maintaining a reusable water bottle by performing the cleaning 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 two hours and store it cold for 24 hours. How refreshing.
Apple AirPods Pro
BEST FOR iPHONE USERS
To say Apple outdid itself seems like an exaggeration these days, but the AirPods Pro isn’t just a remarkable upgrade for the company’s popular wireless buds — it’s a major evolution in its wireless category. The buds are decked out with a more functional design, thanks to the inclusion of ear tips and sweat-resistant protection. Hands-free “Hey Siri” voice control operates flawlessly and registers commands as quickly as it spits out results. Meanwhile, modes like Announce Message read off incoming messages as they come in. Then there’s the mother of all features, active noise cancellation, which is surprisingly effective and makes listening to music on the go peacefully entertaining. If your gifting recipient already has AirPods, then an Apple AirPods case makes a perfect present, too.
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2
BEST FOR COFFEE LOVERS
Think it might be time to replace your old man’s “Best Dad Ever” coffee mug with something more modern? We agree. Our recommendation: The Ember Smart Mug 2. This high-tech cup gives every hot coffee lover the ability to warm up their favorite beverages on command. The smart coffee warmer makes it easy to adjust and program temperatures directly on the mug’s touch display or mobile app. The device also has 50% more battery life than the previous version, which is clutch for forgetful types who need a java fix after getting caught up in their work.
Nintendo Switch Lite
BEST FOR FRIENDS WHO STILL HAVEN’T PLAYED ANIMAL CROSSING
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). During the stay-at-home era, the Nintendo Switch became increasingly hard to find, but the Switch Lite offers just as much fun in a more affordable (and easier to find) package.
Nomad Base Station Stand Desk Charger
BEST WIRELESS CHARGER
Wireless charging stands are making wired charging a thing of the past. They’re also a fancier way to flaunt your newly purchased smartphone. The Nomad Base Station Stand is the best-looking and most functional of the batch, allowing users to charge their iPhone or Android phone in vertical or horizontal orientation and freeing them of all those pesky wires in their work bag (peace out, Lightning cable). It’s capable of juicing up your AirPods, too, even with a protective case on it. How intuitive.
Braun Series 7 7020s Electric Shaver
BEST ELECTRIC SHAVER
There is a belief in the grooming community that the pricier the electric shaver, the better the shave. But don’t make that mistake when shopping for the best electric shavers. Braun’s newest mid-tier line of products — the Series 5, Series 6 and Series 7 — are some of the finest tools designed for premium facial hair maintenance that don’t require splurging. While all three models make great additions to any man’s dopp kit, we’re most fond of the Series 7 7020s, thanks to its ergonomic design and intuitive features. Auto-sense technology automates blade sensitivity based on the thickness of one’s beard, gently cutting through every strand without causing any skin irritation. The 360-degree flex head also provides great control and flexibility to carefully follow the contours of your face.
Hisense 55R8F 55-Inch 4K ULED Roku Smart TV
BEST 65-INCH TV
We’ve said it before: the technology of big-ass TVs has reached its apex in gorgeous 65-inch TVs. From the stunning visuals of 4K displays to the unlimited entertainment options available via online streaming, these devices are the key to any man’s heart. We recently named the new Sony X800H 4K TV one of the best 65-inch TVs for sale in 2020, and it offers the perfect balance of cutting-edge technology and affordability. If price isn’t an issue, definitely go with Sony’s premium Bravia OLED TV instead. However, for the extremely attractive price of $1,000, you can buy this stunning 4K TV, which will last for years without any noticeable wear and tear.
Twelve South AirFly Pro
It happens to all of us. We get into the gym, jump on the treadmill and try to distract ourselves with The Office reruns on the mini-TV console. Unfortunately, it only supports an aux cable and not your brand-new wireless headphones. Well, the Twelve South AirFly Pro serves as a skeleton key for headphone jacks that works with your AirPods or any other pair of cordless headphones/earbuds. It even connects to two devices at once, so you and the missus can enjoy the same in-flight entertainment when flying back home.
Amazon Echo Show 8
BEST SMART SPEAKER
The battle for the best smart home display has yet to be determined, though for its functionality and price, the Amazon Echo Show 8 makes the strongest case of any model. It manages your smart house tasks better than most smart speakers, while operating as a reliable media device that streams music and videos at high quality. Set timers, dim the bedroom lights, video chat and monitor your other smart home devices through Alexa voice commands. Aesthetically, it’s quite the looker, flaunting a chic charcoal fabric exterior and petite design that looks handsome on any kitchen countertop.
Razer Kraken Ultimate
BEST GAMING GIFT
Mom already spent big on a gaming console for baby bro and she’s going above and beyond to save for a PlayStation 5 this holiday season. The least you can do is get him an elite gaming headset to make his Fortnite Friday nights special. Our recommendation: the Razer Kraken Ultimate. This critically acclaimed headset guarantees premium performance at a reasonable cost. It feels extremely comfortable, has excellent wireless connectivity, works on multiple platforms (e.g. PC, laptop, and PS4) via USB, and produces a nuanced sound that enlivens video game environments, thanks to THX Spatial Audio. The retractable noise-canceling mic is also effective for reducing background noises to communicate clearly with teammates.
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
BEST PORTABLE SPEAKER
Ultimate Ears already makes the best portable speakers, but just when we thought it couldn’t go any bigger (or louder), along came the Hyperboom. This sonic beast is powered by 4.5-inch woofers, a pair of 1-inch tweeters, and two passive radiators that unleash ground-rattling audio; the bass response outperforms most home entertainment systems. It has some cool features as well, like one-touch controls, two Bluetooth connections, and an adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts the sound to the environment. Despite its larger form, the Hyperboom was designed as a modern boombox that can be easily transported via a durable strap, making it the ideal sound system for pool parties and rooftop gatherings. Having 24 hours of battery life ensures the party never stops.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
BEST AFFORDABLE eREADER
If you (or a loved one) has somehow made it to 2020 without an e-reader, this is the one to buy. It’s light, incredibly easy to use, lasts for weeks on a single charge and (now in its most recent form) is waterproof. Read at the beach with the sweltering sun overhead. Read it in the bath with candle lighting. Read it for bed and forget all about pesky blue light keeping you up. If you want a well-priced piece of technology that will last for years, you can’t do better than the Kindle Paperwhite.
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.
Smile Direct Club Electric Toothbrush
BEST BUDGET BUY
AI toothbrushes are the newest dental-hygiene trend and offer insight into one’s health that they may never have thought was an issue. They can also be very expensive. The Smile Direct Club is undercutting the competition, while saving you a fortune on dental visits, with its newest oral scrubber. The company’s newest creation is programmed to guide you efficiently through the brushing process; 30-second timers indicate when to move on to the next quadrant until reaching the two-minute completion mark. A tongue scraper has also been built into the design to clear out any lingering bacteria in your mouth. For $25, you can pick up one for each parent and sibling without breaking the bank.
Awair Glow C Air Quality Monitor + Smart Plug
BEST FOR GERMAPHOBES
It takes true ingenuity to develop a smart plug that also doubles as an air-quality monitor. We don’t know how Awair did it, but we appreciate all of the Glow C’s high-tech goodness. Smart integration with Alexa and Google Assistant allows the device to perform smart home tasks like powering on the AC when the house gets too hot or turning off the bedroom lights when you hit the sack. That’s just a small sampling. The plug also houses air quality, temperature and humidity sensors that analyze the air and send real-time notifications to your phone, keeping your health safe from toxic airborne chemicals.
Apple MacBook Air (2020)
BEST FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
Apple knows how to create beautiful, powerful, and streamlined hardware. The MacBook Air series couldn’t be more exemplary of this. Faster, stronger and retaining the same compact sexiness of its predecessors, this updated version comes equipped with better specs at a lower price. Underneath the hood are new quad-core processors, 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB SSD storage. You’ll be able to stream Netflix and run other applications like Adobe Premiere Rush simultaneously without a hitch. Apple also added its popular Magic keyboard for improved typing. The only thing more appealing than its performance are the color options: Space Grey, Silver, and Gold.
Anker iPhone LED
BEST FOR THE ASPIRING INFLUENCER
To capture the perfect Instagram shot, you need great lighting, and that’s not something the iPhone provides photographers. Anker’s new pocket-sized LED cube connects directly to your iPhone vibrantly enhances photos by providing double the range and four times the brightness as the built-in flash. With up to 50 minutes of use on a full charge, mobile photogs can take up to 10,000 photos in Flash mode. The LED Flash also works with third-party cameras to shoot well-lit, detailed photos in dark spaces.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
No list of the best gadgets of 2020 would be complete without the Amazon Echo Dot. It’s not the sexiest of our picks for the best tech gifts of 2020, but it is one of the most practical. Amazon’s tiny smart hub has always made for an extraordinary stocking stuffer on the cheap. The updated smart speaker from Amazon 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.
Beats Powerbeats 4
BEST BUDGET EARBUDS
Giving the gift of Beats will always win you major brownie points. The Powerbeats 4 takes the beloved sports headphones series to the next level, boasting the same hallmarks as its cordless sibling, the Powerbeats Pro, but for $100 less. You’re getting solid build quality, instant connectivity to iOS devices, and terrific on-ear stability that fitness freaks want from wireless running headphones. Beats tweaked the sound profile to produce crisp vocals and punchy bass that will fuel your workouts. Colors are limited to three choices (Red, White, and Black) at the moment, though we expect more vibrant options to release later in the year.
Roku Express HD (2019)
Amazon Fire devices may have a better ecosystem, but Roku devices have always provided a better overall streaming experience. Look no further than the Roku Express HD, the company’s latest palm-sized streamer that affords a ton of performance for an unbelievably inexpensive price. On the checklist: 1080p video output, access to hundreds of media apps and services, effortless setup, intuitive universal search, lightning-quick operation and the most user-friendly interface to navigate through content.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Vinyl Player
BEST FOR AUDIOPHILES
A record player is one of the most considerate gifts anyone can buy a true audiophile. Whoever that may be on your nice list is bound to shower you with daps and hugs upon receiving this gorgeous turntable. The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB has a painless setup and some cool features that modernize the vinyl listening experience. It pumps out great sound that’s even better when paired with other powerful audio equipment (e.g. amps, speakers). Being able to convert vinyl records to digital audio is underrated and awesome, too. Start sharing links to some vinyl subscription services to get them set up in advance.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Series
BEST FLAGSHIP SMARTPHONE
Q1 is Samsung time, as the company always reserves the first quarter of the year for its highly anticipated mobile launches. While we enjoyed the Galaxy Z Flip for bringing flip phones back, it takes a back seat to the excellent Galaxy S20 series. The camera is the biggest highlight here, capturing beautiful photos and 8K videos that can be edited directly using Samsung’s video editor. A new Snapdragon chip keeps the smartphones operating lag-free, be it for gaming or navigating around the interface. Other standout features include 128GB storage with a microSD card slot for expanded memory, reverse wireless charging and a fingerprint sensor that is built into the fantastic display. The phones also come 5G-ready, so once more carriers deploy their networks, expect some insane download speeds.
Philips Hue Bluetooth Bulbs
BEST SMART BULB
Some of the people on your shopping list might already have a few Philips smart bulbs installed on their light fixtures. But they may not yet know about the new Bluetooth-enabled version. Launched a few weeks before the 2019 holiday shopping season, the latest Philips Hue lets you automate smart home lighting from a smartphone, so you won’t have to rely on the wired Hub Bridge. Staying within wireless range allows you to control the same tasks as the previous model, such as change color and lighting effects, set timers and enable other commands using Alexa or Google Assistant.
Theragun G3 Percussive Therapy Device
Theragun might be Therabody now, but that means you can buy the brand’s previous generation of massage guns at a discount. Nothing beats a deep tissue 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. And if the Theragun seems out of your budget, read up on our favorite Theragun alternatives.
JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Speaker
BEST WATERPROOF SPEAKER
Frequently one of the best tech gifts of the year, tne of the market’s top waterproof portable speakers just got better. JBL recently launched the Flip 5 to critical acclaim, highlighted by its enhanced design, sound and battery life. PartyBoost mode lets you pair two speakers simultaneously to achieve stereo sound, whereas the IPX7-rated exterior protects the internals from water damage. You’ll be able to blast music near the pool steps and watch as the booming sonics create ripples in the water. Battery life remains steady at 12 hours, too. Even cooler is the vast number of color options available, which currently sits at 11, along with the option to personalize the speaker using your own distinctive designs.
Apple Watch Series 5
BEST FOR APPLE LOYALISTS
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.
Whistle Go Pet Tracker
BEST FOR PET PARENTS
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.
Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD
BEST FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS
Samsung gives us a glimpse into the future of portable storage with this sexy, credit-card-sized SSD that transfers files nearly 9.5x faster than the average hard drive and has fingerprint security. Wait, what? Yes, this portable drive features a fingerprint scanner with AES 256-bit encryption to easily unlock files with the touch of your finger (or with a password). It’s convenient to travel with and even easier to set up. But, what you’ll feel most comfortable knowing is that Samsung promises users top-notch security to keep their data private. The T7 comes available in two capacities (500GB/1TB) and colors (Black/Silver).
Courant Catch 3 Wireless Charging Accessory Tray
BEST FOR THE STYLE OBSESSED
One of our favorite SPY Finds, this wireless charging tray is an ideal all-in-one solution for the active lifestyler who requires organization and mobile power without being tethered to wires. It is beautifully constructed, with premium pebble grain leather and ample room to store numerous EDC items such as Bluetooth trackers, keys, lighters and travel-sized grooming essentials. But what you really want the Courant Catch 3 for is its ability to wirelessly charge your iPhone, AirPods or Android device when stationed at a desk. The handsome leather design also blends nicely into any setting.
Wyze Cam Smart Home Camera
BEST BUDGET SMART HOME DEVICE
A $25 indoor security camera with 1080p HD resolution, smart features, cloud storage, digital assistant support and night vision almost sounds too good to be true. Brace yourself, because it’s a reality, and one that you can generously gift to several others who value home privacy. It even has a person-detection feature to inform homeowners when guests arrive, along with a smoke and carbon monoxide detection feature. Now that’s advanced functionality for a cube-sized camera.
BEST iPAD GIFT
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, which has a 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 two-in-one productivity tool for students or young professionals. Keep it on your radar when putting together your back-to-school shopping list.
Oculus Quest VR Gaming Headset
BEST VR GIFT
The best tech gifts make us feel like we’re living in the future. Case in point: the Oculus Quest VR Gaming Headset, which takes the term “immersive gaming” to an entirely new level. If you have a gamer that’s always wanted to try VR gaming, then this might just be the best tech gift they ever receive.
Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Camera Everything Box
BEST FOR MAKING MEMORIES
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 shooters to operate. You’ll also find it a relatively affordable photography gift.
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller
BEST FOR XBOX GAMERS
Whether they’re an Xbox or PC gamer, this is the gaming pad you’ll want to put in their hands heading into the New Year. Microsoft’s flagship controller receives some notable upgrades like Bluetooth support, longer battery life (40 hours of playtime), wireless charging and a lighter design with wraparound rubberized grips for better in-hand comfort. Aspiring e-sports competitors will also be relieved to know they can refine their skills on the road by pairing the Elite Series 3 with their high-powered Windows 10 laptop; it’s also a great add-on for the Surface Book 3.
Plott Cubit – Smart VR Measuring Tool
BEST FOR HOME DECOR
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.
Facebook Portal TV
BEST FOR FACEBOOK FANS
Facebook’s adorable Muppets commercials certainly have us intrigued about its new smart camera. Portal TV makes video chatting with family and friends more convenient by allowing users to make Facebook/Messenger/WhatsApp calls directly from their living room. The setup process is a breeze, and the device comes loaded with intelligent features like auto tracking and room scaling to produce clear 720p video streaming. They can use Alexa to control smart home functions on the camera, while immersive AR effects create interactive story sessions for kids to enjoy when parents need a breather.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
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 easier on the eyes when reading at night. It has the instant 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. As one of the best tech gifts of 2020, it’s also a great gift for mom, dad or anyone on your list that loves a good book.
GoPro Hero8 Black
BEST FOR ACTION JUNKIES
Another year, another GoPro release on our list of the best tech gifts. 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.
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.
Nikon Coolpix P950
Any shutterbug committed to their craft probably won’t use their iPhone to photograph life’s grandest moments. They’re using a professional camera, ideally a superzoom compact camera with DSLR-like capabilities. The Nikon Coolpix P950 is a portable mid-range shooter with a 16MP 1/2.3-inch sensor and colossal zoom range. Thanks to Dual Detect Optical VR technology, you’ll be able to capture vivid, blur-free 4K videos and raw images. However, it’s the 83x optical zoom that is the true star here, ensuring you catch even the smallest details in every background and subject from far distances. This Nikon is easily one of the top cameras of 2020, and thus one of the best tech gifts of the year.
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 two-in-one laptop means nothing without a superior screen, which the Surface Pro 7 carries — a 12.3-inch 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.