tech-gifts

The holiday shopping season is in full swing and we are marching ever closer to Christmas. Looking for the perfect tech gift for your friends and loved ones? Whether you have a huge budget or a small one, the following guide has a number of great options that we recommend personally, as well as links to further guides that break things down into pricing and other specifics to give you even more options.


Smartphones

moto-g4-play

The perfect phone for casual users

Sometimes all you need is a phone that can get the basics done, plus a little extra – like some light gaming, social media, picture taking, and more. There are a growing number of affordable handsets out there, but one we highly recommend is the Moto G4 Play. While its far from a powerhouse, with pricing as low as $99, you get a solid device that is powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB RAM. Other key specs include a 5-inch HD display, an 8MP rear camera, and a removable 2800 mAh battery. Bottom-line, if you’re looking for a reliable phone for a loved one, without paying a fortune, this is one of the best options you’ll find.

Available from $99 on Amazon

Looking for even more options? Be sure to check out the following guides:

oneplus-3t-soft-gold-hero

A flagship experience, but without paying a fortune

If you’re looking for a flagship quality phone but without paying such a premium price, you’re in luck. These days there are quite a few affordable flagships, with some of the best known options coming from ZTE and OnePlus. Our current recommended pick is the OnePlus 3T, though we also highly recommend considering the ZTE Axon 7 as well. So what’s so great about the 3T? Offering up the latest and greatest with the Snapdragon 821 processor, a whopping 6GB RAM, and 64 or 128GB storage — this thing packs a ton of punch. It also has a premium metal design and, best of all, is priced starting at $439.

Available from $439 on OnePlus.net

For more high-end yet affordable devices, be sure to check out the following guide.

pixel -Google 2016

A great smartphone for Android enthusiasts

Want a great all-around Android device that is fast, fluid, and also perfect for both hardcore Android users and those that simply want the best? The Pixel family might be worth a look.

Designed to compete with high-end flagships from the likes of Apple and Samsung, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are pure Android devices with a few unique twists, including a highly intelligent voice-driven assistant aptly named Google Assistant. There’s also support for Google’s new Daydream VR platform, the best rated phone camera on the market, and plenty of power under the hood thanks to a Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM. Essentially both models are the same, but the XL offers a 5.5-inch QHD display over the standard model’s 1080p 5-inch display, there’s also a few other minor differences like battery size.

Pixel family begins at $649

Of course there are plenty of other great phones worth considering, such as the Galaxy S7 edge and LG V20. For more options, be sure to check out the following guide.


Laptops

asus

A laptop for students and those on a budget

There was time that getting a laptop meant spending at least $500, maybe more. These days, there are a number of options in the $200 to $300 range. Most of them are Chromebooks and if the need for Windows software isn’t important to you, then we highly recommend them. Need a more traditional machine, though? One choice we’d suggest is the Asus F555LA-AB31. With pricing starting at under $350, you get a fairly nice looking machine that’s powered by an Intel Core I3 processor with 4GB RAM, and either a 500 GB or 1TB HDD.  While the machine will struggle with newer games, more casual games and basic software (Microsoft Word, etc) will run nicely on this one.

Available from $349 on Amazon

Looking for more options under the $500 mark? Be sure to check out the following guide.

A laptop that packs enough punch for students, light business, and more

dell-xps-13

Looking for a powerful laptop that’s easily portable and good enough for students, light business use, basic gaming, and the like? We highly recommend the Dell XPS 13 if you’re looking for an all-around great machine while still not breaking the bank. Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and boasting a a 13.3-inch full HD or QHD+ display (depending on your configuration), there are also numerous storage and RAM options. Beginning at $850 and going on up, depending on what you’re looking for.

Available now from $850 on Dell.com

Of course, the DELL XPS 13 isn’t the only solid option out there. Here are just a few others under $1000 that we recommend that you check out:

A laptop for those looking for a great gaming experience

alienware-13

There are countless options when it comes to great gaming laptops, but we highly recommend the Alienware AW15R3-0012SLV for its balance of price and features. Powered by an Intel i5-6300 processor with a 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB HDD, there’s a lot of power here. There’s also a full HD 15.6-inch IPS display and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. The latter of which means that this machine can handle just about anything you throw at it, including VR from headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Available on Amazon for $1280

Not exactly what you’re looking for? Here are a few other recommended high-end laptops capable of getting the gaming job done:


Tablets

Best tablet for casual users on a budget

lenovo-tab3-a7

When it comes to the best casual options on the market, if you are looking for Google Play support we highly recommend the Tab 3 7. If that’s not so important to you, the Amazon Fire starts at $50 and is worth a look. As for the Tab 3 A7? Priced around $90, this tablet is powered by a MediaTek processor and offers more than enough grunt force for basic tasks like web browsing, online shopping, reading books, listening to music, and casual gaming. There’s also a slightly more expensive (around $110) 8-inch model if you’re looking for a bit more screen real estate.

Available on Amazon for $90

Looking for other affordable options? Check out the following guides:

Best mid-range tablet

nvidia-shield-k1

Although its not the newest anymore, the NVIDIA Shield K1 is still a great choice thanks to its solid styling, decent 8-inch display, and a powerful Tegra processor that can handle just about any game you throw at it. The Shield also supports many of NVIDIA’s services for PC gaming and streaming, which is a nice added bonus. At around $200, it’s also pretty affordable.

Available at Best Buy for $199

Looking for more options? Check out the following guides:

Best high-end tablet

pixel-c

As an Android site, we’re going to show a slight bit of bias here and recommend the Google Pixel C. While it’s not perfect, it is attractive, powerful, and has the latest version of Android running underneath the hood. Powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor with 3GB RAM. There’s also a beuatiful 10.2-inch 2560×1800 display and configurations with either 32 or 64GB storage built-in. The Pixel C is a great tablet, however, if you’re not tied to the Android platform, you might want to check out our sibling site’s guide to the best Windows and iOS tablets on the market.

Looking for more options? Check out the following guide.


Media players

roku-ultra

Top pick: Roku Ultra

The Roku Ultra offers 4K Ultra HD (at 60fps) and HDR picture quality, a fast and powerful quad-core processor, 802.11ac dual-band for ultra-smooth streaming, and plenty of extras including voice search support, a remote with gaming controls built in and so much more. Essentially every feature you’d want in a media player is baked in, though at $129 it’s far from what you’d call “cheap”.

Available on Amazon for $129

Under $50: Chromecast

If you’re looking for a simple streaming device that works flawless with your smartphone, there are no better options than the Chromecast. At just $35, this makes a great gift for friends, family, or anyone that needs a simple way to turn a standard TV into a smart one without all the extra frills.

Available at Google Store for $35

chromecast-2ndgen

Under $25: Chromecast (1st-gen)

The Chromecast has seen a couple of upgrades since it was first available a couple of years ago, but if you aren’t looking for a whole lot of features or the ability to stream 4K and HDR content, the first generation device gets the job done. With the launch of newer iterations, the first gen Chromecast is priced at just $20, and is a great affordable option for those looking to cut the cord.

Available on eBay for $20

Google-Chromecast

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Gaming controllers

steelseries-stratus-xl

Top pick: Steel Series Stratus XL

The Steel Series Stratus XL might not attach to your phone, but it ones up the MadCatz by offering exceptional in-hand feel, a more upscale design, and a weight that just makes it feel more substantial. For pairing with PC, Android, and Gear VR — it’s certainly an excellent option. Best of all, at $45, it’s actually a hair cheaper than what you’ll pay for the C.T.R.L.

Available on Amazon for $45

Under $25: Mad Catz C.T.R.L.

The Mad Catz C.T.R.L. not only is capable of attaching to your phone via included clip, but also works with both Android and PC in mind. With great media controls and a solid in-hand feel, this is certainly one of the best controllers you can get for your mobile devices. At at just under $50, it’s relatively affordable too.

Available on Amazon for $49

mad-catz

Under $15:  Sminiker gamepad

If you are looking for an affordable device to enjoy a great gaming experience, the Sminiker gaming pad is a solid option. Compatible with Android smartphones, the gaming pad includes dual analog sticks, a cross key and 14 additional action buttons. The holder can be extended up to 95 mm, which is more than enough to accommodate any current smartphone. The Sminiker gaming pad is priced at just $19.99.

Available on Amazon for $19.99

sminiker-android

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our best gifts under $50, $25, and $15, as well as our best controllers guide:


VR headsets

sony-playstation-vr

Sony Playstation VR

While there are VR headsets that offer even more advanced technology, we highly recommend the Sony Playstation VR for those that want to dive deeper into VR than mobile can provide, but are looking for something that’s easier to set up and more affordable than the PC-based HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. The Playstation VR requires a Playstation 4 and Playstation camera to operate, and stands out from the competition in that it has much better support from AAA gaming studios with titles such as Batman Arkham VR and upcoming games like Resident Evil 7.

Available from Amazon starting at $399

Gear VR

If you own a Samsung smartphone going back to the Galaxy S6, the best virtual reality experience you can enjoy is with the Gear VR. The headset features an improved fit, includes room for most eyeglasses, and comes with extra padding for a more comfortable fit. You will have a great virtual reality experience when watching movies, playing games, or anything else, with the Gear VR. The international version is priced at $43, but if you are looking for warranty in the US, the price will be $60.

Available on Amazon for $43

gear-vr

November spring VR headset

This VR headset comes with PMMA lenses that are easier on the eyes and bring a stronger sense of immersion. It accommodates smartphones with display sizes between 4-inches and 6-inches, and the headset comes with ventilation holes to allow for heat dissipation, and as well as you plug in headphones and the charging cable. The headset comes with a remote to navigate across the various VR apps.

Available on Amazon for $26.99

vr-park

View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack

The View-Master VR Starter Pack is a nice, kid-friendly, and affordable way to enter the world of virtual reality. The Starter Pack includes a preview reel that features short samples of 360-degree immersive environments including Space, Wildlife, and more, and Experience packs can be bought separately. The device also supports the Google Cardboard app that can be downloaded on your smartphone. The View-Master VR Starter Pack is priced at $16.99.

Available from Amazon for $16.99

viewmaster

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Headphones

audio-technica

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

If you’re looking for great sound without paying a fortune, the ATH-M50X will give you the kind of audio experience you’d expect to find from a headphone set that costs double the price. With balanced sound and a comfortable design, there’s a lot to love here. At just under $150, they aren’t exactly ‘cheap’, but still within the realm of affordability for those looking for that perfect gift for a loved one.

Available on Amazon for $149

CB3 Fit

If you are looking for an affordable pair of wireless earbuds, the CB3 Fit are a great choice. The earbuds come with on-ear hooks that hold them in place, and the earphones also feature an IPX4 rating, making them rain and sweat proof. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and the 150 mAh built-in battery allows for up to 7 hours of audio playback. The CB3 Fit is priced at $39.99.

Available from Amazon for $39.99

cb3-bluetooth

Sony MDRZX110NC headphones

The Sony MDRZX110NC is one of very few headphones available that come with noise cancelling at under $50. The sound quality is good, and while this isn’t the best noise isolating headphones out there, it gets the job done. Priced at around $30, the Sony headphones are a great option, but if you aren’t looking for noise cancellation, there are some other choices available as well, which you can find in the link below.

Available from Amazon for $30

sony-mdrzx110

CB3 Metal in-ear headphones

If you are looking for an affordable pair of durable earphones, the CB3 Metal in-ear headphones are the one for you. As the name suggests, the earbuds feature a metal build, and the cable is braided to to make it last longer. The sound quality is good, and there is a built-in microphone and controls to play/pause your music and answer calls. The CB3 Metal earphones are priced at just $19.99.

Available from Amazon for $19.99

cb3-inear

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Speakers

creative-iroar

Creative iRoar Intelligent Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

The best-all around speaker on the market right now is arguably the Creative iRoar. The iRoar has three drivers and two passive radiators inside that provides a nice full sound. Bass is deep and highs are detailed without ever becoming piercing. Battery life is spec’d at around 20 hours and there are touch sensitive controls on the front of the speaker so you can control the audio without reaching for your phone.

Available on Amazon for $299

Anker SoundCore

The Anker SoundCore is one of the best options out there if you are looking for an affordable Bluetooth speaker. The sound quality is good, offers up to 24 hours of battery life, a Bluetooth range of 66 feet, and also comes with a mic to easily answer any calls that come through without needing to reach for your phone. The Anker SoundCore is priced at just $35.99.  

Available on Amazon for $35.99

anker-soundcore

 

Omaker M4 Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker

The Omaker M4 Bluetooth speaker offers a sound quality and feature set that goes far beyond its price point. This rugged portable speaker comes with an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance, and features a build that makes it shockproof. It can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or NFC, and comes with a 33 feet range, and up to 12 hours of playback time. The Omaker M4 speaker is currently priced at $24.59.

Available on Amazon for $24.59

omaker

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:

Drones

phantom-pro-4

DJI Phantom Pro and Pro+

Built on the same iconic quadcopter frame as the reamining DJI Phantom, line, a design emulated by many competitors, the Phantom 4 Pro is a rreceently announced drone that takes putting a camera in the sky very serious. Packing a full 1-inch camera sensor for 4K video capture and 20MP stills, the Phantom 4 Pro packs high speeds, 5-direction collision avoidance and stable flight into a familiar package.

In addition to the enhancements over the Phantom 4 previous, there is a new controller available as well, packing it’s own 5.5-inch display in the Phantom 4 Pro+ package. Save your phone battery, fly using this 1000 knit brightness touch panel for up to 30 minutes of air time and collision avoidance up to 31 mph.

Available on Amazon starting at $1499

ImmersionRC Vortex 250 Pro

The ImmersionRC Vortex 250 Pro is a high speed FPV (First Person Flying) racing drone that is a lot of fun, but doesn’t cost a fortune. Equipped as the Vendetta above with a small front mounted camera that serves the live stream back to the pilot, get some practice first, this drone competes with the 70+ MPH racers as an almost off-the-shelf kit.

Available on Amazon for $499

vortex-250-pro-drone

 

 

 

 

 

Symca X5C

They Symca X5C is a great choice for the beginner drone flyer. Up to 7 minutes of flight time is possible, with 360 degree spins and flips at the touch of a button. You can also capture video using the 2 MP camera that is capable of recording at 720p. There are even LED lights to allow for night flight. The basic model is priced $42.99.

Available on Amazon for $42.99

syma-drone

 

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Fitness Trackers

vivosmart

Garmin vívosmart HR

The best fitness tracker you can buy right now is the Garmin vívosmart HR. While the Plus variant adds a few extras features, the combination of low pricing and great features still makes the Vivosmart HR very easy for us to recommend. Some of the key features here include a waterproof design, automatic step goal creation, and more.

Available on Amazon for $120

Misfit Shine

Some folks want tons of features and extras baked into their fitness trackers, others are looking for simplicity. If you fall into the latter of these groups, you’ll really like the Misfit Shine. This elegant tracker looks great while keeping things simple, with a halo of lights that emit to show you how far you are in your progress towards your daily goal. It also tracks a variety of activities including running, biking, and swimming.

Available on Amazon for $43

misfit-shine-gift

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is a great choice if you are looking for a fitness tracker in the sub-$50 category. You can track the number of steps, distance traveled, calories burned, as well as your sleep, and it also comes with a heart rate monitor to track your resting heart rate. The device features an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and comes with a battery that lasts up to 20 days on a single charge. The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is priced at just $24.99.

Available on OppoMart for $24.99

mi-band-2

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Battery packs

Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 mAh

If you are looking for a power bank to charge a smartphone that features Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 support, the Anker PowerCore Speed is the one for you. The device offers an impressive capacity of 10,000 mAh that should fully charge most smartphones at least twice, and is surprisingly compact and portable as well. It is currently priced at just $29.99.

Available for $29.99

anker-battery

Anker Astro E1 5,200 mAh

If you are looking for an external power bank that is light, portable, and compact enough to easily fit in your pocket, the Anker Astro E1 is a great choice. With a capacity of 5,200 mAh, you can comfortably get a full charge for most smartphones, and at $15.99, is one of the more affordable options as well.

Available on Amazon for $15.99

anker-battery-pack

Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

The Anker PowerCore+ Mini is an ultra-portable power bank featuring a lipstick design that will easily fit in your pocket. It doesn’t offer the highest capacity, but the 3,350 mAh should be enough to get close to a full charge with most smartphones. This power bank is available in a variety of color options, and is priced starting at $12.99.

Available on Amazon for $12.99

anker-powercore-mini

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:


Miscellaneous

iOttie Universal car mount

The iOttie Universal car holder features a one touch mount system that lets you lock the device in place and release with just a press of a single button. Sticky gel pads allows for the holder to be stuck to most surfaces, and comes with a telescopic arm to allow for closer viewing of the screen. The holder can accommodate almost every smartphone, with the allowed width going up to 3.5-inches. The iOttie car holder is priced at $24.95.

Available on Amazon for $24.95

iottie

CHARGED USB Type-C QC 3.0 wall charger

For a single device solution to charge all your smartphones and tablets, you should check out the CHARGED Wall Charger. The charger comes with six ports, including a USB Type-C port, a Quick Charge 3.0/2.0 port, and four regular USB ports to charge all your devices. The charger comes with protection from overcharge, overcurrent, and overheating. This wall charger is priced at just $29.99.

Available on Amazon for $29.99

charged-charger

AUKEY Ora lens

The AUKEY Ora lens is a camera extension that clips on to your smartphone. It comes with a macro lens, that allows for a 10x zoom for extreme close ups, and a 140 degree wide angle lens, to capture more of the scenery, landscapes, and more. If you are looking to get the most out of your smartphone photography experience, this is a great device to have. The AUKEY Ora lens is priced at just $24.99.

Available from Amazon for $24.99

aukey-lens

VicTsing Bluetooth FM Transmitter

If your car does not have an AUX port, the VicTsing FM Transmitter provides a simple and easy way for you to stream music from your smartphone via Bluetooth and enjoy hands free calling. The device plugs into the cigarette lighter/charging port of the car, and you can set it to a station frequency that is free on the radio. The VicTsing FM transmitter is priced at $19.99.

Link: http://tyvm.ly/wnvYJx

victsing

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our other guides including best gifts under $50 and under $25:

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
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