At last, the holidays are officially upon us! That means we’re making our lists and checking them twice. With holiday sales expected to hit an estimated $118 billion this year in online sales, proving that technology serves as a valuable extension to our daily lives and an efficient tool to reach our goals.
From premium presents to stocking stuffers, there’s something out there for everyone this year and we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best. If you’re stumped on what to get that gadget-obsessed family member or friend, check out our list of the best tech gifts to give (and get) this holiday season.
Feel like billionaire Tony Stark as you interact with your very own Jarvis in the form of Amazon’s invention, Echo. For the techie who has a million questions, this second-generation, hands-free device is always on and connected to a cloud based voice service, so it is consistently updating. With far-field voice recognition even with other noises present, just ask Alexa what you want. In addition to playing music and providing information like news and weather reports, we’re sure Alexa is bound to be your new BFF — sorry, Siri! Not to mention, the Plus has a built-in Zigbee hub that allows easy setup to control your smart homes devices, and features improved sound for streaming yoour favorite tunes.
For the social media user who loves to stay connected or is looking to up their network presence, the new Polaroid Cube+ is the device of the year. Users can finally stream all their adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and take hardcore adventures to the next level. Best part is it caters to your lifestyle and is weatherproof, waterproof and shockproof; along with having a built-in rechargeable battery for more than 100 minutes of continuous recording on one charge.
The best part about this portable speaker is not just that you can take it pretty much anywhere, but that it is also waterproof, which means it will be perfect for those beach and pool days! Deep, loud and immersive, this impressive speaker provides true, 360-degree coverage with its sleek, seamless aluminum body. Music lovers can enjoy up to 12 hours of play time with a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery too. Plus, it pairs super easy with Bluetooth and allows you to take calls and access Siri or Google.
Touted as brilliant, in every way, the iPhone XR is regarded as this season’s single best iPhone for most Apple users. After its official launch this year, the XR has everything its predecessors have, but for a more reasonable price and a lot more features. It is seriously the ultimate in mobile computer technology, thanks to its all-new Liquid Retina display, a large LCD screen, wide color gamut, easy wake-up controls and the most durable front glass ever in a smartphone. Not to mention, it includes some serious precision-machined, aerospace-grade aluminum bands and is water and dust resistance. The new iPhone XR is available in six stunning finishes.
Let your friends be the center of attention at every picnic next year as you gift them with what many hail as a “portable party disguised as a cooler.” Bringing blended drinks, music and fun to any outdoor occasion, this multi-functional cooler started as a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. Touted as the must-have product this year, Coolest is available in three very bright colors. Complete with a built-in blender, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker to blare your favorite tunes, a USB port to charge electronics and much more — there’s nothing this cooler of the future can’t do.
Many Bluetooth headphones publicize themselves as the “workout-friendly” gadget, but this wireless wonder is purely exercise-focused. Ideal for jogging, biking and lifting weights, its rugged design with an armband holder delivers an impressive eight hours of listening time per charge. Flexible and waterproof, these headphones keep pace with your activities, while allowing you to control music and calls through Bluetooth technology. In addition to its bright, reflective colors that allow for safe nighttime jogging or walking, its thin ear-tip design directs audio into the ear, allowing you to hear a bit of your surroundings for precaution.
The best stocking stuffer this season is also the ultimate living room accessory. The small and dirt-cheap Google Chromecast holds a large library of TV, music, movie and gaming apps that cast to your television using a smartphone, tablet or PC as the controller. Without lag or buying a new TV, Chromecast’s super-fast streaming lets you be in control. Easily binge-watch or listen to what you want, when you want it, without disrupting your device or draining the battery.
Let your heart be your guide this holiday season as you gift your favorite health nut with the Fitbit Charge 3. This high-performance wristband helps fitness lovers stay in control of their goals to better understand their body, fitness regimes and everything in between with automatic continuous activity tracking. In addition to tracking steps, distance, calories and sleep, the Charge 3 also features optical heart rate sensors that constantly check your pulse. With a seamless app that syncs stats to your PC or smart phone, users can monitor trends and gain motivation to push themselves through each step and every heartbeat.
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What is on your tech-obsessed holiday gift guide this year? Let us know in the comments below.