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Best Budget Camera: Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 at Amazon
"Doesn’t disappoint when it comes to quality."
Best for Keeping Track of Keys/Belongings: Tile Slim at Amazon
"As thin as two credit cards, it slides easily into your wallet."
Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) at Amazon
"This makes a fantastic starter kit for someone who’s been wanting to set up their own smart home."
Best Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum at Amazon
"It maneuvers your unique floorplan, avoiding clutter and stairs -- and pets."
Best Smart Thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat at Amazon
"Looks cool and is environmentally friendly."
Best Gaming Keyboard: Corsair K95 RGB at Amazon
"It’s not only a masterpiece to look at, but one to use as well."
Best for Photo/Videographers: GNARBOX Editing System at Amazon
"You can edit clips on the go."
Best Drone: Holy Stone HS170 Predator at Amazon
"This amazing little quadcopter is the perfect gift for a first-time drone flyer."
Courtesy of AMazon
We love the PowerShot ELPH 360 for its compact form factor that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to quality. It comes in blue, red and black and weighs just under five ounces, making it easy to slip into your pocket. It features a 20.2-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor plus a DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, which together deliver top-notch image quality. It also captures HD video in 1080p HD and has 12x optical zoom, plus an optical image stabilizer.
It has a limited ISO setting limit of 3200, which means it lacks performance in low light settings, but its beautiful three-inch, 461,000-pixel LCD screen might distract you from this fact.
Protect your valuables with Tile Slim, a handy Bluetooth tracker. As thin as two credit cards, it slides easily into your wallet, attaches to a laptop (adhesive not included) or coat pocket. If the item goes missing, you can use the free iOS or Android app to ring it or see the last place you had it. On the flip side, you can use the Tile Slim to ring your misplaced phone, even if it’s on silent. While the Tile Slim only works for items in a short to medium range of distance, you can access the Tile community’s global network consisting of more than five million Tiles to locate missing objects. The non-replaceable battery will last you up to a year, after which you can replace it with a new Tile at a special member price.
If you’re looking for a gift that your friend or family member can actually use every day, check out the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation). With the built-in Alexa assistant and an ever-growing set of skills, this pint-sized device is the perfect hub for their smart home. Ask Alexa to play music and it will stream their favorite songs from a whole host of music streaming services (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc.). The speakers on this little powerhouse are also 70 percent louder than previous models, but users have the option to connect external speakers via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio cable if they prefer.
The Echo dot also makes a perfect gift for people with packed schedules who could use a little hands-free help with their daily to-do list. Alexa allows users to add items to a shopping list, check the weather, create calendar events, and much more, all with simple voice commands. The Echo Dot is also compatible with an ever-growing list of smart home products, so if there’s someone on your gift list with a Nest thermostat, Ring doorbell, Philips Hue lightbulbs, or any of these other popular devices, this hub gives them voice control over all of them. Amazon even sells the Dot in a bundle with the new Amazon Smart Plug, which turns any plugged-in lamp or appliance into a “smart” device that can be controlled via Alexa. This makes a fantastic starter kit for someone who’s been wanting to set up their own smart home.
For those who hate vacuuming, the Roomba 650 is a godsend. Its three-stage cleaning system “agitates, brushes and suctions floors,” and once its job is done, it automatically docks and recharges. Using iAdapt Responsive Navigation, it maneuvers your unique floorplan, avoiding clutter and stairs -- and pets. Its suitable for all floor types, including carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate, and at less than four inches tall, it can sneak under beds sofas and other furniture. While newer models of the Roomba are available, the 650 will certainly get the job done, and for about $500 less.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of our favorite gifts to give, not only because it looks cool and is environmentally friendly, but because it will actually save the recipient some cash. Simply use it for a week as you normally would, and the smart device programs itself according to your family’s habits. If you like to sleep at 68 degrees, for instance, it quickly learns that you’re regularly in bed by 10 and will automatically drop the temperature at that time.
With the Nest app, you can control settings remotely and even access a daily Energy History report and monthly Home Report. Independent studies show that the Nest saves an average of 10 to 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills, which means it covers its cost in about two years. Best yet, it integrates with Amazon Alexa so you can use voice controls to adjust the temperature.
The beauty of the Corsair K95 RGB is that every key and button is backlit and can be programmed to glow any color you can imagine -- a rare feature among even the best gaming keyboards. It has 18 dedicated macro keys and 16.8 million colors. Gamers will love the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE), a dashboard for customizing all the macros and colors, which also lets you add effects such as changing colors after a keystroke or color waves across the keyboard.
The keyboard is one of the most solid you can find. It’s made of aircraft-grade anodized-brushed aluminum and comes complete with a removable and textured wrist rest that is a treat for your hands. It has Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches, which give you satisfying tactical and audible feedback, plus 100 percent anti-ghosting full key rollover. It’s not only a masterpiece to look at, but one to use as well.
Funded by more than 3,000 Kickstarter backers, the much-anticipated Gnarbox hit shelves in summer 2017. The device lets photographers and videographers back up, edit and share their RAW photos and 4K videos from DSLRs, GoPros and drones without having to lug around a laptop.
On the outside, the product looks like a rugged hard drive but in lieu of a spinning drive, it packs an integrated 1.92 GHz Intel Quad Core, four GB of RAM, 128 GB flash-based SSD, Wi-Fi and a 4000mAh battery that’ll last you up to seven hours. It also has several ports, including a USB 3.0, a micro SD slot and a charging port. Using the accompanying app, you can edit clips on the go, and while it’s not powerful enough to replace more powerful editing programs, it’s not really meant to.
This amazing little quadcopter is the perfect gift for a first-time drone flyer. It’s tough and rugged, meaning it can withstand the occasional crash and its six-axis gyro stabilization system helps the drone recover after stunts and sudden moves. The Predator also uses a headless flight system, which means its orientation remains fixed relative to the pilot, making it easier to fly. All in all, this drone is a great pick for its responsiveness, ease of flying and impressive price point.
We bought one of our readers’ favorite tech gifts that our reviewers tested for four hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this product, from compatibility to overall value. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Interests of the Giftee - There are all kinds of fun tech gadgets you can give as gifts, but it’s also important to customize the gift to the person you’re giving it to. Make sure that whatever tech you choose aligns with their interests or lifestyle; that way you’ll be the most popular person around after they open it.
Photography - Camera-centered gifts are always a good bet because photography is a popular hobby these days. Whether it’s a point-and-shoot camera, which can come in handy for quick snaps, or a portable backup and editing device for those long days behind the camera, if you’re not sure of what tech gift to buy someone, then check out the photography-oriented items on this list.
Home tech - If your giftee recently moved into a new place, or just constantly likes tinkering with the tech they have around their home, then we have quite a few gift suggestions for them. From a Nest Learning Thermostat to a robot vacuum, there are definitely a few items on this list that will be a great fit.
Easy to use
High-quality photos and video
Wireless transfer of photos
Good battery life
Setup is confusing
This camera came highly recommended by our testers for its affordability and functionality. “It’s inexpensive, easy to use, very compact, and produces better photos and videos than most mid-range smartphones,” raved one of our reviewers. In fact, the only real downside, according to our testers, is the confusing setup. However, one of our reviewers said the ability to wirelessly transfer photos to your phone makes this product worth it: “The process is pretty unintuitive to set up and takes some getting used to, but this feature is exponentially more convenient than having to put the SD card into your computer first,” she explained. While one of our testers warned this camera isn’t for professional-level photography, she found it “more than suitable for everyday use and sharing on social media.”