December 11, 2020

Tech Gift Giving Guide for Everyone on Your List

By Nicole Hopper

As the holiday season approaches, we've rounded up a list of the best tech gifts for everyone on your list. From the traveling techies, to the smart-home desirers, to the young ones, we have ideas to suit even the hardest to buy for.

Sony’s LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker
Sony’s LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker, photo courtesy:

For the at-home Techie

As 2020 was the year of staying home, it's no surprise that home device purchases have been on the rise this year. For those just starting to enter the smart-home world, the Brilliant Controls device panel provides a one-stop-shop for controlling all your smart-home devices, while adding remote-controlled light switches and a built-in camera that can be used for home security or room-to-room video chats. Also in the smart-home market, Adafruit's PyPortal is a DIY smart-home kit providing the user with a touchscreen display and basic computing platform. With this kit, a person can build a smart alarm, smart display, or Amazon Echo clone.

For the stay-at-homers not as into the smart-home route, Sony's new glass sound speaker is a cool-looking device that resembles a vintage lantern and offers 360 degrees of sound with 32 levels of light from flickering candlelight to bright LED. For the gamers on your list, the Backbone One controller attaches to an iPhone, converting it to a handheld gaming device.

For that hard to shop for person in your life that already has every device, give them a quick and easy way to charge all their devices at once. The ChargeHub X7 is a seven-port USB charging station that charges up to seven devices at once using just a single outlet. Using Limitless’ SmartSpeed® Technology, it can charge basically any USB-enabled device, such as phones, tablets, speakers, and more.

Mophie’s Juice Pack Connect wireless charger
Mophie’s Juice Pack Connect wireless charger, photo courtesy:

For the Traveling Techie

After months of staying inside, 2020 also saw a spike in camping in America. As the pandemic put many people off hotels and planes, socially distanced outdoor vacations experienced a surge over the summer months.

It is likely we'll see this surge again this coming spring and summer, making now the perfect time to gift tech designed to make traveling easier, like the Mophie Juice Pack Connect. The removable and portable wireless charger clips onto the back of any mobile phone to provide 70% extra battery life, perfect for when you won't be near a charger—or even electricity—for days.

Another charging option from Limitless, the ChargeHubGO+ Power Bank, makes charging on-the-go easy with a 5000 mAh battery equipped with two built-in charging cables compatible with most phones, tablets, and speakers. The power bank can quickly charge up to four devices at one time and takes around four hours to be charged itself once drained of battery.

littleBits’ At-Home Learning Starter Kit
littleBits’ At-Home Learning Starter Kit, photo courtesy:

For the Jr. Techies

It's never too early to introduce the kids to STEM, and this year there is a whole slew of tech gifts to choose from. Many of the top STEM gifts this year fall into the build-it-yourself box, or monthly subscription categories.

Some of our favorite box set gifts this year include the littleBits At-Home Learning Starter Kit that introduces kids to basic electronics through interactive learning activities like building circuit kits and designing and inventing new creatures, and Ubtech's ScoreBot Kit that allows users to build their own code-controlled robot with memory programming.

Botley’s 2.0 Coding Robot Activity Set
Botley’s 2.0 Coding Robot Activity Set, photo courtesy:

In the subscription category, we like the NextMaker Box, a monthly delivery of hardware projects and coding courses focused on robotics, coding, and engineering concepts and design work. Another fun option is the Electro Explorers Club. This monthly box covers a range of tech, science, and design concepts including simple robotics and programming, electronic circuits, multi-line algorithms with conditions, character design, and physics. As the months progress, the recipient develops a toolset of components to continue expanding their learning. When it comes to STEM toys, one of our favorites is the Botley 2.0 Coding Robot Activity Set, a rolling-and-sensing programmable robot with remote control for coding directional sequences. For the younger crowd, Pai Technology offers a similar option with its Botzees Go! – Dino Set, a block-based construction set that introduces movement with a remote control kids can use to bring the bot to life after building it.

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