According to a report from the Consumer Technology Association, over US$97 billion is expected to be spent on tech gifts this holiday season. From phones and laptops to games and smart home devices, shopping for a techie on your holiday list can be a daunting experience.
Before venturing out to the mall or big box store, or wasting endless hours scrolling through online shopping sites, check out our top holiday tech gifts for 2019 below.
For the person who needs an upgrade
If you have a person on your list in need of a new laptop, the feature-rich ASUS Zenbook 14 packs a solid punch in a small form-factor (and includes a unique second screen in the trackpad). $1,399 at Best Buy.
Microsoft’s latest line of Surface models offer something for all types of users. The Surface Laptop 3 ($1,349) is a high-end, pure Windows 10 laptop, while the Surface Pro 7 ($799) and Surface Pro X ($1,349) combine the experience of a tablet and laptop in one versatile product.
Android users will appreciate the latest releases from Google and Samsung with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL (from $999) and Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus (from $1,059) both offering amazing screens, cameras and features.
With more and more devices losing the headphone jack, wireless earbuds are coming from every company these days. Apple is far ahead of the curve in this department and their newest AirPods Pro ($329) are worth every cent.
For the person who needs motivation
Exercise is the last thing on most people’s minds, especially over the holidays. To help get that special someone motivated to put the bonbons down and get off the couch, the Fitbit Versa 2 ($249) is a great smartwatch and exercise tracker that will help keep them on track.
Pairing well with the Versa 2, the Fitbit Aria 2 and Fitbit Aria Air smart scales (from $69) sync with your Fitbit account to track your weight and body-mass index (BMI), while giving you feedback on your health and fitness goals.
For the person that needs more security
As more and more people become victims of data breaches and hacks, giving a sense of security is an excellent gift. A YubiKey (starting at $50 at yubico.com) is a physical device that helps secure most accounts, like GMail and Facebook, so even if someone gets your password they can’t login to your account without the physical key. The YubiKey comes in a variety of models and works with phones as well as computers.
Toronto-based 1Password is a secure password vault that helps create and save lengthy passwords and important documentation. A personal subscription runs US$35.99 a year and makes an excellent geeky gift.
For people worried about home security, the Nest Hello Video Doorbell ($299 at Best Buy) offers a clear, HD image along with features like notifications via a Google Home or Nest Hub when someone is at your door. With an additional Nest Aware subscription you can get 10-day or 30-day video recording, person alerts and a bunch of other features.
For the person that likes to show off
With new outdoor wall and landscape lighting options, including an awesome lightstrip, Philips Hue lights (from $69.99 to $299) are a perfect gift for the person who likes to show off (and with millions of colour options available they will help get them into the holiday spirit as well).
There are a lot of options for smart light switches and plugs on the market and TP-Link makes some of the nicest ones for the best value under their Kasa brand. Whether you need a dimmable switch or an outlet to control a lamp, their entire product line is easy to install and control.
Google is upping the voice-assisted game by adding screens to their smart speakers. The Google Nest Hub lets you see recipes and weather, play YouTube videos and view your Nest security cameras. It’s also a great digital photo frame.
For the person that likes to play
The new GoPro Hero 8 ($469 at Sport Chek, Best Buy) shoots crystal clear 4K video even when used during intense action scenarios. Mount it to your bike or ski helmet, or take it on vacation underwater, and create some very unique and cool videos to share.
LEGO is going high-tech with their line of Hidden Side AR sets. These let you build a structure, such as a Graveyard Mystery ($39.99), then use your phone to see it come to life with augmented reality (AR).
For the person that has it all
If you’re still struggling, there is nothing wrong with giving a gift card. Best Buy, EB Games, Staples, iTunes and Amazon cards are widely available. You can also look at PlayStation Plus, XBOX Game Pass, Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions.
For more gift ideas, budget tips and the best (and worst) of holiday entertainment, check out our Holidays 2019 guide here.