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6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore
Being a geek? Believe me, it ain’t always been easy. Just ask Just ask Steve Urkel, Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe — to name a few — they all get where we are coming from. The good news is that our embrace of modern technology has seemingly flipped ‘nerd’ status on its head. Talk about your ultimate Revenge of the Nerds!
Today many folks, including many of us at Android Authority, proudly wave our geek status cards. Being a ‘nerd’ or a ‘geek’ no longer means you have to be total social pariah. In fact, geek culture has spread to all corners of the globe and that means geek toys are no longer just for us nerds either.
With that in mind, here’s just a few epic gift ideas that might be a little bit on the nerdy side, but just about anyone on your holiday shopping list will appreciate them!
A robot smart assistant might sound a tad bit geeky, but the reality is that it’s a really useful thing to have in your life. While your phone already likely has some form of digital assistant onboard, a smart speaker is the best way to take things to the next level. Today’s smart speakers can answer your questions, relay upcoming calendar events, set alarms, control your smart home, tell jokes, and so much more.
If you’re in the market for a smart speaker there are two common routes most consumers will take – going with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant. Within these two platforms are a growing number of choices. Still, if you’re buying a smart speaker as a gift, the best way to introduce the concept of a smart speaker to a friend or family member is to go with either the Google Home mini or the Amazon Echo Dot.
Powered by Google Assistant, the Home Mini is perfect if the person you are buying for already is heavily invested in the Google ecosystem. And it’s only $50.
Meanwhile, the Echo Dot is similar to Google’s Home Mini but is powered by Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. Just like the Mini, it can play music from various streaming services, tell you what the weather is like, and answer any weird questions you might have. The device can also read audiobooks from Audible and lets you control Amazon Video on Fire TV, among other things.
This makes it the perfect gift for those who use a lot of Amazon’s services. It’s also affordable, as it will also only set you back $49.99.
Ultimately, both devices can do a lot of the same things, but if the person on your shopping list does a lot of Amazon buying, the Echo might be the best choice. If the person is a major Android/Google fan, then go Home Mini. if you aren’t sure which is right? We’d personally recommend the Google Home Mini, but you really can’t go wrong with either. For even more smart speaker ideas be sure to check out our full guide to the best smart speakers on the market.
Tracking things with Bluetooth might sound like a complicated, nerdy affair, but it’s actually pretty easy and super useful. If you know someone who is constantly losing their stuff, a Bluetooth tracker could be a godsend. Most trackers are designed to fit in wallets and/or clip to your key chains. They also can be attached to just about anything with the help of something like velcro. There are a number of different options on the market, but we really recommend the Tile. it’s cheap, stylish, and compatible with both iPhone and Android.
The Tile Sport and Style are Bluetooth trackers are the latest models from Tile, and are essentially the same thing. The big difference is one is designed with looks in mind, the other is a bit more rugged. In addition to using the smartphone app to find the Tile, the two devices can also help you find your smartphone with a press of a button.
You can get one for $34.99, while a two-pack costs $59.99.
Media streaming devices
Making your TV smart might sound nerdy, but it’s pretty much the norm in 2017. Media streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast are great ways to cut the cord. They offer easy access to Netflix, Hulu, and much more. They are also pretty affordable, making for great gifts. Even if you know someone with a Smart TV, media streaming devices are generally faster and more frequently updated, making them a great addition to almost any living room.
There are lot of options on the market but if you’re looking for an affordable gift choice, we’d highly recommend the Roku Express. The Roku Express is a streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and gives you access to 500,000+ movies and TV episodes across thousands of paid or free channels.
It can stream in 1080p quality, comes with a remote, and is the cheapest device is Roku’s lineup with its price tag of just $29.99.
While the Roku Express is a great choice for those that want a full UI, the Chromecast is also an excellent option. Google’s streaming device allows you to watch YouTube videos, your favorite Netflix shows, and content from a bunch of other services on your TV. Unlike the Roku Express, it doesn’t have a central hub on a TV, so you have to cast content from YouTube and other apps to the big screen with the dedicated button from all your favorite apps on your Android or iOS device.
If your loved one spends a lot of time watching YouTube videos or is subscribed to a service like Hulu, the $35 Chromecast is a gift worth considering. Especially true if they always have their smartphone by their side.
Of course those are just two choices. There are plenty more platforms ranging from as cheap as $20 to as high as $100+. For a full list of all the best media players, check out our full guide.
The idea of a smartwatch is to bring notifications and other useful information to your wrist. That might sound a bit nerdy, but in recent times smartwatches have become increasingly popular as a way to find out what’s happening at a glance, without having to reach for your phone. Of course smartwatches are bit too expensive to just give to a friend as a gift, unless you don’t mind dropping $150 to $300 (and higher in some cases) on your buddy. If you are one of those folks, I’d love to be your friend.
For a full list of all the best smartwatches on the market, you’ll want to check out our full guide. But if you just want to introduce a friend or family member to the world of smartwatches on the cheap? You might want to consider the Martian Notifier. While many smartwatches have a digital display that acts as a second window to your phone, the Martian Notifier is a traditional watch with a small notification window that delivers to you all the most important notifications from your phone.
It’s compatible with Android as well as iOS devices and allows you to configure custom vibration patterns to help you distinguish between different notifications without looking at the device. It can also be used to remotely control your smartphone’s camera and packs a battery that good for up to six days of use.
The Martian Notifier is also super affordable with pricing starting at around $40.
Smarten up your buddy’s home
Magically controlling your lights, air conditioning, and appliances has always been a little bit cool — and a lot bit complicated. This has made it a thing reserved for us nerds. No longer. Now just about anyone can put together a basic smart home setup. Even better, you can help your buddy or family member get started on their smart home journey without breaking bank.
The cheapest route is with a smart plug. We have a full guide on smart plugs here, but we highly recommend the WeMo smart plug from Belkin. This plug connects to your Wi-Fi network to provide wireless control of lamps, heaters, fans, and other devices — no hub required. It’s also very affordable at just $29.99.
You can turn devices on and off with the help of the dedicated app as well as support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. That means you could buy the Mini or Dot mentioned above and pair it with this for an epic holiday gift package.
The Belkin WeMo switch also offers a handy “Away Mode” that will turn the lights on and off randomly to make it look like you’re home when you’re not. It’s a great gift that allows people to smarten up their home and gives them more control over various everyday devices on a budget.
The Philips Hue smart light bulb can be controlled via the dedicated smartphone app or with voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can turn it on or off, even when you’re away from home. The white variant retails for just $15, although you do need the Philips Hue Smart Bridge that’s sold separately to use all the features.
It’s a great gift that can introduce people to the smart home experience on a budget. If you’re willing to spend a bit extra, you could get your loved one the starter kit that contains two light bulbs and the Philips Hue Smart Bridge for just $69.99.
Just like the Philips Hue, the LIFX smart light bulb can be controlled with the dedicated app or via voice assistants including Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. You can turn it on or off, and change the color to something more lively to get the party started.
Even better — It connects to your Wi-Fi network, so there’s no hub required. The LIFX smart light bulb retails for $53.99 and is a fantastic gift for those who want to make their home just a little bit smarter.
Up their grilling game
Weber’s iGrill thermometer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and notifies you when the burger or steak reaches the perfect degree to serve. It’s a bit nerdy, but it’s also really pretty cool.
It has a range of 150 feet, a battery that will last up to 150 hours, and a smart LED that shows progression without you having to lift the lid of the grill. The iGrill comes with a magnetic mount and retails for $49.99.
If you want to put a smile on the face of a self-proclaimed grill master, this is the gift you should consider.
These are just a few ideas for gifts that might be a bit on the nerdy side but make great new toys for just about anyone this holiday season. Know of any other great ideas? Let us know about them in the comments below.