It’s that time of year again – when you tear open the packages under the tree in hopes that somebody got you that thing you really want. Or, perhaps best of all, they got you something they saw that made them think of you which you’d never pick out for yourself but end up loving for years to come!
To help out with those questing to find the best gift for that tech/geek/nerd person in their life, I present to you my annual review of the best tech gifts on offer for the holiday season of 2023:
First up, the one that will likely help all the other work better, new Wi-Fi generators!
- NETGEAR Orbi series wi-fi mesh (3-pack $1,499): All your best gadgets these days are connected to the world wide web nearly 24/7. It’s all part of the idea behind the “Internet of Things” or IOT that was touted years ago as the answer to everything from Energy Savings in your home with an IOT thermostat to ease of cooking with an IOT refrigerator which can display your recipe on a built-in touchscreen. But you know what all those cool things need? That’s right BANDWIDTH and if you don’t have enough of it you can be left waiting for signal while your kids stream Netflix on their tablet in the basement. The Orbi series of wi-fi generators are a bit pricey, but their blistering 10.6 GB speed and massive coverage area means they’ll do great for all these applications. Plus they’ve got prioritized signal settings for up to 200 devices!
- Apple AirPods Pro 2 ($199): Ok, you’ve got your Internet speed up to snuff, you’ve downloaded the latest podcast app and synced up your podcast episode subscription so you can now listen to your favorite show anywhere on the go. But what about sound quality? Look no further than the AirPods from our friends at Apple. These wireless earbuds have essentially set the standard for headphones (an antiquated term if I’ve ever used one these days) for years now but the 2nd generation of the AirPods Pro are a cut above the rest in this very crowded category. They’ve gotten a ton of upgrades from Gen 1 including longer battery life, touch controls and enhanced noise cancellation so nothing can distract you from your favorite tunes or talk or audiobook. And they’re now water-resistant in case you drop them into Lake Lure!
- Satechi 2-in-1 Headphone stand with Wireless charger ($80): If you’re like me you’ve got several devices hanging out on your nightstand these days. Whether you use your phone as your alarm or just like to have it nearby to charge it up and use it for some late night audio-book listening or podcast review – odds are high that your phone and some other gadget is parked their all night long. Why not charge it up AND declutter the furniture with this multitask docking station? You can hang your headphones on the stand and keep them connected to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth all while the smart device itself sits on the pad and recharges without any wires! Plus if your headphones have QI wireless charging as well, they’ll recharge while hanging around during the day. How cool is that?
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 ($534): I could – and have – write entire columns about what tablets are great these days and which count as good values. But I’ll condense everything here to say if you can live outside of Apple’s ecosystem for one area of your life then this is the best Android tablet out there for the money. If you already have an Android-based smartphone, then this is THE best tablet for you to seamlessly extend that experience to a larger screen with likely more powerful processing. The S8 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an 11-inch display and 128GB of built-in storage. Plus, this particular device has many package offers right now that include the always useful S Pen stylus.
- Govee RGBIC LED Permanent Outdoor Lights ($337): We’ve all got spaces outside we like to decorate, especially this time of year. But with this techie gift the geek in your life will be happy to change the color schemes on this lights year-round. With a downloadable app you can effortlessly switch from Orange and Purple for Halloween to Red and Green for Christmas time. Then, in the summer, select a patriotic lighting scheme for Independence Day! And these are LED lights so you won’t have to worry about changing bulbs or running the string in such a way that you avoid any burnouts that crash the whole strand. In fact, they’ll last for years to coming making them really close to actually being permanent.
Well, there’s my list of hot tech for this year’s season. Here’s hoping you download everything you want and remember to save the experiences that really matter – spending time with your family and friends this holiday season.