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Best Action Cam: GoPro HERO7 Black at Amazon
"Incorporates a variety of photo technologies for the best results."
Most Powerful VR Headset: Oculus Rift S at Amazon
"Has a sleek and simple design that is comfortable to wear and connects to your PC."
Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) at Amazon
"Gives users the power to control their entire smart home through a single hub."
Best Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 5 at Amazon
"Introduces a feature that Apple Watch fans have been clamoring after for years: an always-on display."
Best for Fitness Buffs: Fitbit Alta at Amazon
"A perfect gift for the health-conscious techie."
Best for Automating The Home: Amazon Smart Plug at Amazon
"Can turn almost any device in your home into a “smart” device."
Best Entry-Level 3D-Printer: Robo R2 3D Printer at Amazon
"It’s a self-leveling printer with automatic calibration."
Best Robot: Sphero Mini Orange at Amazon
"Especially great for kids."
Best Gaming Setup: Redragon Gaming Keyboard Combo at Amazon
"It has a fierce black and red design that has solid construction."
Best for Security Conscious: Google Security Key Bundle at store.google.com
"One of the most important gifts you can give a tech lover is security and peace of mind."
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.
The Oculus Rift S is a welcome upgrade from its predecessor. Everything about this VR headset has been redesigned with comfort and accessibility in mind. The lenses and display have been improved for sharper, more vivid images, and a reduced "screen door" effect that may strain your eyes. The headband has been redesigned for ergonomic comfort. You can quickly and easily adjust the size of the headband with a simple turn of the click wheel to make changes on-the-fly.
The Oculus Rift S does away with external room sensors, mounting them instead within the headset itself. This, along with the redesigned controllers and "Insight" (inside out) tracking software, helps translate your movements into VR with greater accuracy for a more immersive experience overall. Positional audio has also been built right into the headset, so no matter where you’re facing, you can hear teammates calling shots or enemies sneaking up behind you.
Whether you’re playing one of the hundreds of games available or watching a movie, Oculus Rift S is the ultimate PC-connected VR headset.
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 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.
To some extent, it goes without saying that the Apple Watch Series 5 is one of the best gifts for techies. If someone in your life has been wanting an Apple Watch, this is the perfect opportunity to jump in. Even if they already have an older model, the latest version introduces a feature that Apple Watch fans have been clamoring after for years: an always-on display.
While the display stayed off on older Apple Watch models to preserve battery life, waking up only when you raised your wrist to check the time, the Series 5 display is on all the time — so you can check the time when you're carrying around a cup of coffee — without sacrificing any battery life at all.
It also has advanced health sensors (including an ECG app for monitoring health), cellular connectivity so you can leave your iPhone behind and stay online, and a plethora of third-party apps thanks to Apple’s App Store, which you can now, for the first time, install directly without the help of your iPhone.
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.
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.
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.
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 features six buttons, making makes this budget pick an even better deal.
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.
We bought a top-rated gift for techies and our reviewers tested it for 10 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this product, from its connectivity to its price. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Smartwatches - Look for a smartwatch that’ll work with the gear your techie already has. If they’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, look for an Apple Watch. If they prefer Android devices, go for a watch that has Google’s Wear OS installed.
3D printing - Desktop 3D printing is here, and a compact 3D printer will make a great gift for the techie in your life. Look for an easy-to-use option that allows you to print from a wide variety of sources, like USB, your phone, or the cloud. Stay away from printers that have bad reputations for clogged nozzles and touchy setup procedures.
Virtual reality - A virtual reality headset is the ultimate gift for any tech enthusiast, but most of these headsets don’t work on their own. Choose either a Vive, Oculus Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality headset for the best experience — but only if the person you’re buying for has a computer that’s powerful enough to handle it. If they don’t, consider an Oculus Go or a headset that’s designed to work with their phone.