Consumer technology these days is more accessible than ever. You probably use it to wake up until you fall asleep. Some even use it while they sleep. Most of us have the necessities and a few luxuries. This guide is for those who love gadgets and can’t get enough. It’s important to keep it simple when in search of gifts for techies. They likely have the more complex things taken care of. For example, there is no need to buy a techie a computer. They likely already have one with the exact specifications and features they need. This guide will mostly focus on products that maximize that technology. This is the safest option if you aren’t very familiar with their needs. We’ve also broken this list down by different types of technology to cover different tastes.
General Gifts for Techies
Philips Hue Starter Kit
Home automation has already hit the mainstream. Automation can extend to every part of the home including lighting. Philips Hue was at the forefront and their Starter Kit represents a great start or addition to any home automation efforts. The Phillips Hue Starter Kit comes with 4 of Phillips A19 LED Color Smart Bulbs. Each color bulb is dimmable and capable of 16 million different colors. They are also rated for 25,000 hours of life. The kit also includes the Phillips Hue Hub that acts as a bridge to all your smart bulbs. This is where the magic happens. The hub and the companion app allow your smart bulbs to really shine (literally!).
Let’s start with an example. You wake up every weekday at 5 AM and stumble down your dark hallway to the bathroom before fumbling with the light. With Hue, have calming yellow light on at 4:40 AM every morning like clockwork. You can even set it up to slowly brighten until it’s normal around 5:00 AM. 3rd party services like IFTTT really supercharge these capabilities. Light your room red when your favorite team wins a game. Light your room blue in the morning if it’s supposed to rain that day. Want to play nice with existing home automation hardware? No problem. Have your lights blink red if your Nest cam senses motion outside after 9 PM. Or just tell your Google Home device to dim the lights.
The possibilities really are endless and that’s just one of the reasons it’s on our list of great gifts for techies. Many may already have a home automation device like an Amazon Echo. Adding the Phillips Hue Starter Kit will only make other tools more powerful. Even non-Phillip Hue smart bulbs can be used with the Phillips Hue Hub and its app. While home automation has broken into the mainstream, no one will get more out of these products than technology lovers. We will always get most out these products in creative ways. That’s why the powerful, versatile Phillips Hue Starter Kit is such a great gift option.
JBL Flip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
There are a ton of options for Bluetooth speakers. It can often make it hard to chose. JBL managed to stand out with original JBL Flip. The JBL Flip 4 only builds on that legacy. You will not find many with this sound quality and set of features in this price range. The Flip 4 offers 12 hours of continuous playback with its 3000mAh battery. It’s also not shy. It can easily fill a room and adjacent rooms without reaching top volumes. It also has a few more tricks up it’s sleeve.
Let’s say the volume in the next room isn’t enough. JBL Connect+ technology allows you to wirelessly link multiple JBL speakers (up to 100) to play the same music at once. It also allows two smartphones or tablets to hook up to the speakers and control tunes. The JBL Flip 4 will shine at a house party or a pool party. It can actually survive being submerged in water thanks to its IPX7 rating. We won’t judge. We all party in our own way. It also has dual external bass radiators that you can hear and feel. Don’t forget the voice assistant integration, the ability to make calls and six different color options. The JBL Flip 4 is a great value and one of our favorite gifts for techies.
Amazon Echo Dot
Smart speakers with voice assistance like the Echo or Google Home are not for everybody. They add a ton of convenience, but present privacy concerns for some. The Echo Dot is a low cost option for those interested in testing the waters. The Echo Dot is cheaper than the normal Echo and the upscale Echo Show. It still includes Alexa’s signature intelligent assistance and come in a smaller footprint. This will mean smaller sound than the larger Echo devices. Luckily, the Echo Dot can connect to other speakers via Bluetooth or aux cable. This will extend music, voice commands, calls or any other audio to that speaker.
Alexa and it’s capabilities are the real star here. You’ll get the usual options to ask mundane questions and receive instant answers. Alexa is also a bridge to all your multimedia services. Instruct her to go to the next track in Spotify or turn your TV on and launch Netflix. You can also integrate with other hardware in your house. Tell Alexa to dim your lights or activate the alarm before you leave the house. The true power of the Echo Dot is not in the speaker. It’s in the paired software that adds convenience in a million different ways.
On a Budget:
Anker PowerCore 5000
When in search of gifts for techies, there are a few can’t miss options. These are options that constantly provide utility in a number of scenarios. The Anker PowerCore 5000 fits the bill for less than $20. It will provide 5000mah of power and give juice to your smartphone, tablet or other devices. 5000mah is enough to charge most phones almost twice. It all comes in a compact design, a travel pouch and PowerIQ technology. PowerIQ technology will detect your device type and charge it as fast as possible. Whether traveling or at work, the PowerCore 5000 is a lifesaver in a pinch. See More
Best Gifts for Techies That Have Cut The Cord
TCL 49S517 4K Ultra HD Roku LED TV
4K technology has made gigantic strides in the last few year. The same can be said for streaming devices. The TCL 49S517 4K Roku TV is a marriage of those two technologies at their best in one affordable package. You have the future-proofTCL LED panel with 4K and HDR. This means top notch resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) for the vibrant and accurate color reproduction. The well-rated TCL 49S517 provides plenty of inputs and that shines viewing any content. You can watch the Super Bowl with 120 Hz. You can play video games with low input lag. You can even watch a blockbuster movie with Dolby Vision sound. The feature packed TCL panel will not disappoint.
Customers consume content through more services than ever. TV software is key and the TCL 49S517 checks this box in a major way with Roku’s software. Roku is our favorite streaming platform for a reason. It’s range of quality app options can’t be beat. It has all the big players and enough fringe options to keep you busy for days. Its interface is simple and clutter-free. Users want to get to their content quickly and the Roku does this flawlessly. The Roku software ties directly with the TV. This means no extra set top box and less issues with certain apps not displaying 4K content correctly. And you get all of the other Roku features like a mobile app remote and free content with the Roku Channel. The software and hardware on the TCL 49S517 4K Roku TV are a match made in heaven at a price that can’t miss.
Fire TV Cube
It can be hard to keep up with Amazon’s complete suite. The Fire TV Cube is new to the line up, but merges two familiar products. Think of it as a FireTV 4K mixed with an Amazon Echo. Then sprinkle in some of the functionality of universal remote. Connect it directly to your TV and Fire TV Cube will breathe life into your entertainment center. It’ll also provide it with the benefits of automation. Previously, your Amazon Echo paired with a Fire TV or smart plug may have allowed you to use voice commands to power your TV on. Nothing else is needed with the Fire TV Cube. It will allow you to power on a TV, an A/V receiver, a soundbar and other products you may have in your entertainment setup.
It’s greatest trick may be its ability to switch inputs. Tell Alexa to play Beyonce and it will fire up the Fire TV software, switch inputs and launch Spotify. Tell Alexa to watch CBS and it will switch inputs to your cable box and change the channel to CBS. The Fire Cube TV does this by sending IR signals to communicate with various devices in your entertainment center. The Fire TV Cube does all this and keeps the core functionality of the 4K Fire TV and Amazon Echo. All of this comes at a price point way less than both combined. That simplicity and its features make the Fire TV Cube one of the great gifts for techies who have cut the cord.
Roku Ultra 4K HDR Streaming Box
We’re pretty big fans of the Roku platform here. We have a few gripes about their software, but it’s all around the most accessible and polished. It doesn’t lock you in to its digital services and its interface is clutter free. You’ll also have no problem finding the latest and greatest apps.
The Roku Ultra brings all this with top notch hardware to drive it’s platform faster than ever. It is feature proof with 4K and HDR compatibility. It also includes an Ethernet port, MicroSD slot and USB drive support. That means great media playing capabilities online and offline. The upgraded remote comes with new shortcuts, TV power and volume buttons and a headphone jack. We also love the remote finder feature that we’ve used an embarrassing number of times. Press the button on your Roku and you’ll hear a beep to help you locate your lost remote. The loaded Roku Ultra is our recommended streaming device and a top option for cord cutters.
On a Budget:
Options are important for cord cutters. Maybe your internet is down or a certain channel is unavailable. Having a backup plan can be a lifesaver. While it may not always solve the problem, an HD Antenna can be that lifesaver. A good HD antenna can receive several channels in crystal clear HD quality. This usually includes your regional network channels (Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC) that can be great for sports. This Vansky HD Antanae is a quality option at an affordable price. It’s truly one of those gifts for techies that will save them in a pinch.
Top Gifts for Techies Who Love Gaming
Nintendo Switch & Joy-Con
Gamers come in all types. Hardcore gamers likely do most of their gaming on an Xbox, PS4 or PC. Nintendo has been the odd man out and embraced it. The Nintendo Switch is the latest proof of their innovative work. It’s combines traditional home gaming with the ability to game on the go. This allows gamers to truly game anywhere with seamless continuity. The main Nintendo Switch unit rests in the in a dock that can output games to your television in full HD. This mode is perfect for gaming at home alone or with a friend with the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. Want to continue your gaming on the go? Just pull the Switch unit from it’s dock and play on its 6.2 inch multi-touch HD display. The Joy-Con controllers easily slide alongside the unit for comfortable game play. Also on board the Switch are speakers and an card slot. The 4,310 mah battery and 32 GBs of storage also come in handy. It’s everything you need and more to get your gaming fix on the go.
Nintendo also brings it’s signature style and brand. The Nintendo Switch’s game collection centers around lighter games with it’s classic characters. You can only get Zelda or Mario in one place and that’s the Nintendo Switch. The Switch launched with the critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and didn’t disappoint. It went on to be the best selling Zelda game ever. It was followed soon after by the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In addition to the classics, Nintendo introduced party oriented games like 1-2 Switch. The Switch’s growing game collection is unique in it’s own right, not counting classic characters we all grew up with. That’s why is makes such a great option for gamers on more traditional platforms. The Nintendo Switch is an experience any gamer would enjoy and a great gift option.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 All Platform Gaming Headset
Quality audio is important to any gamer. You want to hear the clarity in dialogue and the deep bass in every explosion during a campaign. You also want to hear the enemy sneaking up behind in time to react during online play. A good gaming headset will provide you with all this and a top notch microphone to communicate with others. The Steel Series Arctis 3 provides all this at an affordable price. It comes in five color options and compatibility on every platform. The Arctis 3’s ClearCast mic provides studio quality voice clarity and background noise cancellation. It’s on-board speaker drivers produce quality sound that is detailed with low distortion. This guarantees an immersive experience aided by on-ear audio controls and a comfortable design. The Steel Series Arctis 3 simply can’t be beat at this price. It’s one of the perfect options for gifts for techies who love gaming no matter what system.
DESKTEK V4 VR Headset & Gamepad
Virtual Reality gaming is still in its infancy. With so many systems, it can be hard to know where to start and how much to spend. The DESTEK V4 VR Headset & Gamepad is a great place to start. There is no need for a $400+ VR system with it’s own processor and display. All you will need with the DESKTEK V4 is one of the many compatible Android or iOS smartphones. Hook up your smartphone to the headset and you are good to go. DESKTEK supplies instructions laying out all the compatible apps. The DESTEK V4 delivers a 103° view perfect for an immersive 360° experience. That includes passive viewing and interactive gameplay. DESTEK also has you covered here with the bundled gamepad. At an affordable price, the DESKTEK V4 VR Headset and Gamepad make a great introduction into virtual reality. It should also be one of the top budget options for those in search of gifts for techies.
On a Budget:
$20 Xbox Gift Card [Digital Code]
$20 PlayStation Store Gift Card – PS3/ PS4/ PS Vita [Digital Code]
$20 Battle.net Store Gift Card Balance – Blizzard Entertainment [Digital Code]
There is a reason there is no recommendation for any specific video games. There are so many platforms and types of games. That makes it difficult to guess what game might interests someone. That’s why gift cards always make great gifts for techies who love gaming. Gamers can put gift cards toward purchasing a game, a subscription, downloadable content or micro transactions. Instead of spending $60 on a game, spend $20 on a gift card. Trying to locate the perfect game is not worth the trouble. That $20 will go further and toward something that definitely interest them.
Gifts for Home Automation
Amazon Echo Show
Home Automation technology has changed so much in just the last two years. With every new device, new features are added rendering other devices unnecessary. The Amazon Echo lineup is a perfect example of this. It helps that Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation in the home automation category. It also helps that so many services and devices have jumped aboard the Echo ecosystem. All this has allowed for the products like the Amazon Echo Show to shine. It was previously thought that you needed a hub to get the most out your home automation. A hub is a central device compatible with multiple communication protocols such as Zigbee or Z-Wave. These hubs allowed your multiple devices to “talk” to each other to properly automate tasks. If those devices are part of Alexa’s ecosystem, it can replicate a lot of a hub’s functionality. That’s the beauty of the ecosystem Amazon has built and the Echo Show extends that capability.
Many traditional smart home hubs allow you to automate processes. That still may be ideal for those who want to set it and forget it. Amazon’s Echo devices also allow for on the fly interaction. That means having your lights dim at 8PM every weeknight and also having the option to just say “Alexa, dim the lights”. The Amazon Echo Show breaks the mold as the first mainstream smart assistant to add a display. This adds an invaluable level of convenience. Place the Echo Show in your room and ask Alexa to view the video feed from your nursery or outdoor security camera. Leave it in your kitchen and ask Alexa play a video recipe or show your shopping list. The use cases are really unlimited. The Amazon Echo show also has capable speakers for music playback and intercom functionality. It can’t be beat for a simple and convenient smart home. The Amazon Echo Show has ability to handle your automation tasks and adds an interactive element no other device can replicate.
Securifi Almond 3 – Smart Home Wi-Fi System
The Securifi Almond 3 is another device that wears multiple hats. It’s a Wi-Fi router that doubles as a smart home hub. It’s promises to 1,300 sq. ft home with fast and reliable Wi-Fi. It’s compatible with ISP modems/routers (Verizon, Comcast, etc) and allows for the addition of extra units to cover larger homes. It’s main focus is to prevent WI-Fi dead zones that happen with inferior routers. This can frustrate any user, but is an even larger issue in a smart home that relies on communication multiple devices.
The Securifi Almond 3 unit brings an interactive touchscreen interface. It’s compatible with Zigbee or Z-Wave devices and the Almond app for remote control access. Almond 3 owners can schedule automated tasks and implement parental controls. Integrated support is included for popular platforms like Phillips Hue, Nest and Amazon Echo. As if that wasn’t enough, the Securifi Almond 3 also has home security functionality. Securifi’s security sensors are sold separately, but once added users can arm and disarm their home automatically. Intruders will be greeted by the Almond 3’s built in siren. The Securifi Almond 3 promises a lot. It meets those expectations and is a safe bet in your search of good gifts for techies.
Yi Home Monitoring Security Cameras (2 Pack)
Home automation is all about convenience and that’s what the Yi Home Monitoring Security Cameras are known for. They provide simple home monitoring features at an affordable price. For a simple home security setup, these cameras provide HD recording and motion detection. Comparable systems may have more bells and whistles, but this system provides everything you need. Subscription plans are only necessary for additional cloud storage. Live monitoring with the app is free and so are cloud stored “Activity Alerts”. These are short clips that will record and be stored in the cloud when motion is sensed. You also have the option to disable this and only record to an SD card. Additional Yi Cameras can also be paired with your existing ones. This allows for the flexibility to utilize one as a baby monitor or build out an extensive home surveillance system. All of this come at less than half the price of competitors. There is a reason Yi Home Monitoring Security Cameras are #1 on Amazon for home monitoring systems.
On a Budget:
Etekcity Wi-Fi Smart Plug (2 Pack)
In the smart home space, you’ll often see complicated devices that won’t interest you. These Etekcity Wi-Fi Smart Plugs are not that. They are very powerful and also one of the simplest smart gadgets out there. Pair with a hub or another 3rd party service (Alexa, Google Assistant, etc) and they allow you to toggle power for any device you want. Just plug them into your outlet and plug any device into them. Label each outlet/device in your hub and your done. The possibilities are endless. Turn on your bedroom lamp from your phone. Or just schedule it to come on every morning at 7AM. The Etekcity Wi-Fi Smart Plugs are a cheap hack that can make any device smart. See more