The 8 Best Tech Gifts to Buy in 2018

These are the presents that the tech guru in your life has wanted all along

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Christmas sweaters just don’t do it anymore. When it comes to unwrapping a gift beneath the tree, it’s the tech gifts that elicit the wide eyes and smiles. But with so many gadgets out there, where does one even begin? We’ve compiled a list to get you started. And don’t worry about tech getting too pricey; all these gifts check out for under $300.

Our Top Picks

01
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Tile Slim - Phone Finder. Wallet Finder. Item Finder

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.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best key finders​ article.

02
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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

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. 

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

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iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum with Manufacturer's Warranty

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.

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

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Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

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.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best smart thermostats article.

05
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Corsair K95 RGB Gaming Keyboard

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.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best gaming keyboards article.

06
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GNARBOX - Portable Backup & Editing System for Any Camera

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.

07
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Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone

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. Reviewers on Amazon knock it slightly for its cumbersome controller, but it still earns a commendable star rating due to its responsiveness, ease of flying and impressive price point.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best drones article.

08
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Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

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.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best digital cameras under $200 article.