The 7 Best Tech Gifts to Buy for Non-Techies in 2018

Not sure what to buy the tech non-conformist in your life? We can help.

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Buying a tech gift for a non-techie is a balancing act. You risk shelling a lot of cash for something that will go unused or unappreciated, but you don’t want to play it too safe and get a boring present that totally underwhelms. These products are exemplars of user-friendly design, combining functionality with ease of use in a way that is sure to please someone of any comfort level. Whether you are shopping for a music-lover in desperate need of better gear or a homeowner who needs a little help around the house, these gifts are sure to please.

Our Top Picks

Best Home Assistant: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

The Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Generation is instantly easy to set up and use, making it the perfect gift for a non-techie. This ultra-popular digital assistant plays music, answers questions, finds movie times, and so much more, all without lifting a finger. There are no complicated user interfaces to navigate, and it won’t add yet another unwanted remote to your collection — instead, everything is done with your voice. Want to make a phone call or send someone a message? Just ask Alexa. There are seven microphones inside the device that pick up your commands wherever you are, even while music is blasting. And you’ll want to play music, because the speakers sound great. Vocals are crisp and clear while the deep bass far outpaces what you might think the hardware can do.

The Echo Plus makes an especially good gift for anyone with a smart device or devices already in their home. It serves as a control hub for all those different gadgets (smart locks, lights, thermostats, and more), so users can simply ask Alexa to turn up the heat, dim the lights, or lock the door from wherever they are. If your non-techie friend doesn’t have any compatible devices, Amazon sells the Echo Plus in a bundle with a free Philips Hue Smart Bulb, so they can try out some smart home functionality at no extra cost to you (and yes, the bulb is especially easy to set up). Once they see how simple and convenient it is, they might just jump on the smart home bandwagon.

The Echo Plus 2nd Generation comes in three tasteful shades of gray. The soft mesh covering looks more “homey” and less “high-tech” than previous iterations, with a sleek silhouette that blends in seamlessly with any kind of décor. 

Best E-Reader: Kindle Paperwhite

Even diehard paperback defenders will learn to love the Kindle Paperwhite, a convenient and essential sidekick for any bookworm. While nothing quite replaces the feel of a physical book to some people, the Kindle makes sense for long vacations and bulging backpacks, a supplement to the physical book collection. This e-reader gives access to thousands of classics for free or next to free, while new works are available instantly for affordable prices.

The high resolution display is easy on the eyes and is glare-free, working in bright or dim light. A balanced ergonomic design makes the Kindle comfortable to hold and allows you to switch pages with ease, a definite advantage over burdensome physical books while reading door-stoppers such as War & Peace. And there’s no need to worry about constant recharging, as the battery will last months at a time without needing to be rebooted. Finally, the Kindle comes with a removable leather cover that adds a bit of old world refinement and a nice tactile feel.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best e-readers

Best Speaker: Sonos PLAY:1

Help someone transform their home into a music-lover’s dream with the Sonos PLAY:1, an easy-to-use wireless speaker with room-filling sound. With no cords, outputs or even Bluetooth to bother with, this Wi-Fi-powered speaker is about as easy as it gets. It connects to the house’s Wi-Fi network and can be controlled from your phone, streaming over services such as Apple Music and Spotify. The small speaker is powerful enough to fill an entire room with sound, thanks to two Class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers that can be meticulously tuned to fit the acoustics of any surrounding. If they love the Sonos PLAY:1, then they can pair it with other speakers in the Sonos family to create a truly epic home theater experience.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best speakers​ can help you find what you're looking for.

Best Headphones: Sennheiser PXC 550

You don’t have to like technology to enjoy these high-tech wireless headphones by Sennheiser. The PXC 550 are a huge upgrade over those basic earbuds or cheapy plastic headphones, providing wireless technology via Bluetooth and adaptive noise cancelation to ensure peace and quiet at work or on the road.

The premium headset is compact and designed for travel, ergonomically engineered to be comfortable and stylish.They have a fold-flat collapsible frame, rotating earcups and a padded headband to achieve a luxurious and portable frame. Sound quality is balanced, exceptionally clear and adaptive to different forms of media, whether you are listening to classical music, on a conference call or watching an action movie. The battery lasts up to 30 hours on one charge and corrects to smart devices easily via Bluetooth 4.2.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best headphones

Best Smart TV: TCL Roku Smart LED TV

People who are skeptical about new technology are often afraid that learning the features and functionality will be confusing and time consuming. In reality, it often makes the experience easier and less frustrating. Take the Roku Smart TV for instance. Instead of having to deal with a bunch of remotes and hooking up media via cables, you can deal with all viewing needs in one HD package.

Available in sizes ranging from 28 to 49 inches, the modern sleek design looks great mounted on a wall or on an entertainment center. The award-winning intuitive smart interface gives access to over 4,000 streaming channels, cable TV, music and other devices without having to flip through a variety of menus. Searching is even easier when you use the connected Roku mobile app, though the simple remote pares down the number of buttons to just the essentials. This smart TV is sure to convert any tech skeptics!

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best smart TVs

Best Camera: Canon EOS M10 Mirrorless Camera Kit

The Canon EOS M10 is a great gift for anyone who has expressed interest in taking better quality photos, but is intimidated by the complex mechanisms of higher-end products. This mirrorless camera contains the same advanced CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor that are found in bulky DSLR cameras, but at a much slimmer and more portable size. Eighteen Megapixels capture wide variety of footage in even challenging lighting conditions, while Hybrid CMOS Auto-Focus II delivers speedy and precise image adjustment to help frame the perfect shot.

An intuitive and easy-to-use three-inch tilt LCD monitor helps demystify the shooting process, showing and composing shots right on the screen. Wi-Fi and NFC make transferring photos a breeze, while Creative Assist will come to the rescue during the shooting process by allowing for easy adjustment of brightness, blur, contrast, warmth and other features.

Best for Animal Owners: Dyson V8 Animal Cord Free Vacuum

Non-techie or not, any animal owner (or just about anyone) will welcome this space-age vacuum cleaner into their home. Winner of the J.D. Power “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Stick Vacuums” award, this cordless vacuum is so easy to use that it almost makes vacuuming fun. Part of the satisfaction is the ease of use. The V8 lasts for 40 minutes on a single charge, is lightweight and maneuvers with ease in any area that needs cleaning. The other part comes from how well it works. The powerful suction and two-tier radial cyclones work to increase airflow and capture fine dirt and pet hair. A power motor inside drives nylon bristles into carpet to remove dirt and pet hair. The vacuum also improves air quality, with a HEPA filtration system that captures allergens and emits cleaner air, perfect for anyone who has a pet and bad allergies. The bin is easy to remove and empty, making it even easier to want to clean your home.