The 10 Best Gifts to Buy for Techies in 2018

Here are our favorite items the techie in your life will for sure love

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Holiday shopping can be hard, especially if you aren’t up to date on the latest and greatest in technology. But never fear! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite new releases so that you can surprise that special techie in your life. From 3D printers and VR headsets to GoPros and fitness trackers, we’ve included a little bit of something for everybody.

Our Top Picks

01
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Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4
 Apple

The newest Apple Watch is the perfect gift for the person who always has the latest device. Running on a new S4 dual-core 64-bit CPU, the Apple Watch Series 4 continues to redefine what we expect from smartwatches, reviving the features of Apple Watches past and introducing new ones, including Walkie Talkie mode and a bottom made of black ceramic and sapphire crystal for better cellular reception. However, its real claim to fame is the introduction of an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, the first of its kind integrated into a smartwatch or fitness tracker. The sensor can monitor heart health, including slow or irregular heartbeats, alert you if anything seems abnormal, and store the data to share with a doctor. Both the accelerometer and gyroscope have been improved, which is useful for those hitting the trail and for everyone who wants an extra layer of safety: if you fall and are motionless for 60 seconds, the Watch will contact emergency services and your emergency contacts.

02
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Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

Once the techies in your life get their hands on the Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Generation, they’ll be hooked. The key highlight is, of course, the built-in Alexa assistant. This gives users the power to control their entire smart home through a single hub. Just ask Alexa to switch on smart lights, turn up the thermostat, lock your doors, and more.

If smart devices aren’t your thing, Alexa still has you covered. Ask Alexa to play the music of your choice with compatibility for Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and more. With the Dolby Play 360 speaker (a three-inch neodymium woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter), vocal audio sounds incredibly crisp with dynamic bass.

If you want more than music, Alexa can check the weather, call someone, read the news or answer millions of search queries. Set timers, add to a shopping list, or even make a purchase from your Amazon wish list, all using voice commands. Noise cancellation, beamforming technology and seven microphones ensure you can be heard from anywhere in the room. 

03
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Fitbit Alta

Today’s techies aren’t just nerds who geek out over games in their parents’ basements. In fact, you’ll find plenty of techies getting active outside. But the giveaway? They likely have a wearable around their wrist. The Fitbit Alta is a perfect gift for the health-conscious techie type because it tracks steps taken, distance traveled, floors climbed, calories burned, time spent active and sleep patterns. It will even send you reminders if you aren’t moving enough.

By syncing it up with your smartphone, you can log meals, record workouts and view trends over time. And while it’s about $100 more than the Fitbit Flex, you’ll find that its ability to track sleep, send calendar alerts and monitor your heart rate are worth every extra penny.

04
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Amazon Smart Plug

 

Amazon’s Smart Plug can turn almost any device in your home into a “smart” device. It’s extremely simple: Just plug it in, open the Alexa app on your smartphone, and add the Smart Plug. An LED light on the front indicates it’s active. You now have the ability to set timers for that device and turn it on and off remotely. If, for example, you want to create a morning routine that turns on a light or a coffee maker, the Smart Plug can do that. You can also connect it to a humidifier, fan, baby monitor, Christmas tree lights, and so much more.

The beauty of the Smart Plug is that no additional smart home hub is necessary — you can just control it form your phone. Plus, at a compact 3.2 x 1.5 x 2.2 inches in size, it is small enough to keep the second outlet free. The Smart Plug works on a 2.4GHz, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi network. Notably, however, there’s no support for 5GHz networks. 

05
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Robo R2 3D Printer

If you’re ready to delve into the world of 3D printing, the Robo R2 is a great entry point. It’s a self-leveling printer with automatic calibration, which means you won’t have to meticulously adjust it every time you make a small change to the printer. It has a five-inch color touch screen and its Wi-Fi connectivity enables you to print from USB, phone and tablet, or from cloud libraries. It can print items up to 8 x 8 x 10 inches at a build speed of up to 16mm^3/s. It also includes a second extruder, which lets you print with two materials at the same time; more than 30 materials are supported. Still not convinced? Robo offers a one-year parts replacement warranty and 24/7 phone support, which includes repair help with a technician via Skype.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best 3D printers

06
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Sphero Mini Orange

The Sphero Mini is an app-controlled robot the size of a ping pong ball. You can play fun, pre-installed games, invent your own and even drive it around using Face Drive, a feature that uses facial recognition technology to let you steer with your face. Equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope and LED lights, creativity takes hold as you discover new ways to play. While the Sphero is designed for people of all ages, it’s especially great for kids because the Sphero Edu app lets them experiment with coding by writing their own Javascript for the robot.

07
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Redragon S101 Gaming Mouse and Keyboard Combo

As with most budget keyboards, the keys on the S101 are not backlit; however, it does have a few light-up sections as a reasonable consolation prize. It also has swappable WASD and arrow keys, plus 12 media keys (which require simultaneously pressing the F key) and 19 keys without conflict. Although it isn’t a mechanical keyboard, it has hybrid membrane switches, which are actually comfortably close to mechanical switches when it comes to tactile feedback. It has a fierce black and red design that has solid construction despite being plastic, and is spacious to game with, though it lacks a dedicated wrist rest.

The Redragon S101 also comes packaged with a mouse, which makes this budget pick an even better deal. As one Amazon reviewer put it, it far exceeds most expectations given the price, but it’s still a budget option so “don’t be disappointed if you are expecting this thing to walk your dog.”

08
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Oculus Rift VR Headset

Plunge into the immersive world of VR with the Oculus Rift. Whether you’re playing one of the many supported games, watching a VR movie or navigating a location on the other side of the Earth, you’ll instantly forget where you are. The Rift has a sleek and simple design that is comfortable to wear and connects to your PC via a cable that runs behind your head. And while you can buy the Oculus Rift on its own, we recommend springing for this package, which includes two Touch controllers that let you interact naturally with the virtual world.

To get the most out of your Oculus Rift, you’ll need a computer that can handle it, so before you purchase this for your favorite techie, check compatibility on the Oculus website.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best virtual reality headsets

09
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GoPro HERO7 Black

If you’re searching for the perfect gift for the adventurous techie in your life, the GoPro HERO7 Black is a great choice. Wrapped in a rugged and waterproof body, the GoPro can go underwater up to 33 feet. On the inside is the same 12MP camera as the prior generation, and the photo results are excellent. To help distinguish the HERO7 from last year's model, GoPro introduced SuperPhoto, which incorporates a variety of photo technologies for the best results GoPro has been able to produce to date.

And the video is just as good — if not better — than the still photography capabilities. With 4K video capturing at 60 fps, the HERO7 Black produces phenomenal footage. This model also includes HyperSmooth technology, which adds gimbal-like stabilization to video capture so the results are less jumpy and jittery.

Last but not least, sixteen voice commands make it easy to work all of the most important functions including capturing photos and videos — tell GoPro to start recording and you can operate it hands-free.

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

10
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Google Titan Security Key Bundle

Google Titan Security Key Bundle
 Google Store

One of the most important gifts you can give a tech lover is security and peace of mind. With so many popular services having their passwords hacked and many phishing scams out there designed to trick you into giving up your password, tech geeks will likely love the gift of a Google Titan Security Key. This “key” acts as another line of defense when you log into an online service, requiring that you insert the key into a USB slot as a physical verification of your identity after you type in your password. The Titan Security Keys are compatible with the Advanced Protection Program, which is Google's strongest security offering. You’ll also notice that this package comes with a Bluetooth security key, and this key is designed to act as a backup if you ever lose the USB key. Outside of tech geeks, other professionals that might want a Titan Security Key include business executives, politicians, and journalists.