As inflation and interest rates continue to rise, and a potential recession lingers around the corner, people are watching their holiday spending budgets this year. That doesn’t mean you can’t add some high-tech fun to your list, though. And you can get a lot of these items on sale after the holidays if you’re not in a rush to buy for a specific day.
Here are some of our top 2022 picks for the techie in your life.
For the person on the go
If you’re shopping for a person on the go, Apple has you covered with its recently updated line of watches and earbuds.
While the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Apple Watch Ultra are aimed at more of a hardcore fitness crowd, the 2022 Apple Watch SE is perfect for most people’s needs. It tracks basic exercise goals, notifies you of alerts from your phone, can detect low and high heart rates and irregular heart rates, and can detect falls and crashes (you can even use it as a remote for your iPhone camera). The 2022 Apple Watch SE starts at $329 for the 40mm GPS version and goes up to $439 for the 44mm GPS + Cellular model.
Apple’s 2nd generation AirPods Pro are also a great gift for people on the go as the active noise cancellation and adaptive transparency help block external sounds so you can listen to your music, podcast or audiobook in total peace, or conduct a Zoom meeting when your kids are around. With four pairs of different-sized silicone tips to choose from in the box, you will also be able to find the perfect fit for your ears so your AirPods Pro stay put even during a vigorous exercise routine. The 2nd generation AirPods Pro also come with a wireless charging case to make it easy to always have them charged up for when you need them. The 2nd generation AirPods Pro retail for $329.
Help the person on the go keep all their devices charged up with the ESR HaloLock 3-in-1 wireless charging stand. It can charge an Apple Watch, AirPods in a wireless charging case and an iPhone with MagSafe capabilities all at once. It also fits nicely on a nightstand beside the bed. The ESR HaloLock 3-in-1 wireless charging stand retails for $87.99 on Amazon.
For the gamer
For the gamer on your list, some newer titles for the Nintendo Switch worth picking up include Mario Strikers: Battle League, Mario Party Superstars and Pokemon Violet. Nintendo Switch Sports also has a brand new free update that adds golf to the game, making it even more fun to play with family and friends. All games are available for digital purchase from the Nintendo eShop.
Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 2, which works for the Xbox Series S, X and Xbox One consoles, Windows PC and mobile devices with Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth, allows gamers to fully customize their gameplay with interchangeable parts and special button settings. It’s a must-have for serious gamers. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 2 is available in two versions, retailing at $159.99 for the Core (white) model and $229.99 for the full package.
For the LEGO enthusiast
LEGO has come a long way from being just a building block for kids and there are more sets aimed at adults than ever before. Three we feel a techie would appreciate include the LEGO Atari 2600 set, The Mighty Bowser set and The Office LEGO set.
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Retro gamers will enjoy taking a trip back to the 1980s with the 2,532 piece LEGO Atari 2600 set that lets you create a replica console along with game cartridges and a joystick. Three additional mini builds depict themes from popular Atari games Centipede, Asteroids and Adventure, and there’s a hidden 1980s scene to build. The Atari 2600 LEGO set retails for $299.99.
For fans of the hit TV show The Office, you can now build familiar areas of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office in LEGO. The 1,164-piece set includes 15 LEGO minifigures, including Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert, and Pam Beesly, plus lots of accessory elements referencing moments from the show. The Office LEGO set retails for $149.99.
With the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. movie, The Mighty Bowser LEGO set is sure to excite both older kids and adults alike. This 2,807-piece set allows you to create and display a fully poseable model of Mario’s biggest enemy, the King Koopa himself, Bowser. The Might Bowser retails for $349.99.
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For the home entertainer
There are lots of great gift ideas for the person who wants to stay home and entertain. For the living room, the new 4K Apple TV is a solid streaming device that offers bonus features like a voice-activated remote with Siri built-in, support for Dolby Vision and the ability to send audio to AirPods so you don’t disturb anyone while watching a movie or show late at night. You can also play games on it via the Apple Arcade service. The new 4k Apple TV retails for $179 for the 64GB WiFi version and $199 for the 128GB WiFi plus Ethernet model.
If you just need to update the sound on your TV, the Sonos Ray is a nice, compact home theatre soundbar that really packs a punch. It supports Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround decoding, can be fully tuned via the Sonos app and can stream music from Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music. It can also be wall-mounted to keep it out of the way. The Sonos Ray retails for $349.99 at Best Buy.
If home entertaining is more in the kitchen, the Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread Maker along with the Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Stand Mixer are a great pair for the casual baker or pizza maker.
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Along with 14 different programmed cycles, including bread, dough, jam and cake, the Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread Maker offers three loaf size and crust options, an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, and a delay timer. It comes with a dishwasher-safe pan and kneading paddle, a measuring cup and spoon, and a paddle-removing tool. It retails for $149.99.
The Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Stand Mixer is essential for all your baking needs. It comes with dishwasher-safe attachments, including a flat beater, dough hook and whisk, as well as a 3.5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl. It retails for $194.99.
For the creator
The reMarkable 2 is perfect for the writer on your list. It’s the only tablet that feels like you’re writing on paper thanks to the e-ink technology it uses. You can select which digital writing tool you’d like to use on the device, including a ballpoint pen, fineliner, marker, pencil, mechanical pencil, paintbrush, highlighter or calligraphy pen and you can keep endless amounts of notes, lists or sketches. Using the Connect service, which is available for a year-long trial, allows you to store your notes in the cloud and share notes between the reMarkable 2 tablet and your PC or other mobile devices. The reMarkable 2 starts at $678 with a regular stylus pen (which they call the Marker) and no folio case. To get the upgraded Marker Plus, which allows you to flip to erase with it as well, the price jumps to $758 without a folio case (folios range from $119 to $239 depending on style and material you choose).
For content creators and influencers, the Sony ZV-1F vlogging camera and the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 smartphone stabilizer are must-have items.
The Sony ZV-1F takes beautiful photos and stunning 4K video. The camera will keep you in focus as you’re moving around in walking-talking videos, and there’s a start timer so you can position yourself in frame when shooting alone (you can also flip the screen to see yourself). The Sony ZV-1F comes with a rechargeable battery, wind screen and windscreen adapter. It retails for $649.99.
If shooting on your phone is what you prefer, the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 smartphone stabilizer will help up your game. It’s compact, easily foldable and also acts as a selfie stick and a tabletop tripod. It’s great for tracking and action shots and will help give your content a more professional feel. The DJI Osmo Mobile 6 works with most iPhone models from the 8 to the 14 Pro Max as well as phones from Samsung, Google and Huawei. It retails for $215.99 at Best Buy.
For the outdoorsy techie
Techies who enjoy camping know it can be hard to go without power for multiple days. That’s where the Bluetti EB70S Portable Power Station and the EcoFlow River 2 come in. Both are portable battery generators that can keep your phone, tablet, laptop and cameras fully charged for multiple days.
The Bluetti EB70S is a serious portable battery solution that offers 716Wh capacity and 800W rated wattage. It has two USB-A and two USB-C ports, four 110V AC outlets and a 15W wireless charging pad, among other inputs and outputs. It can be charged via solar power, AC power or from a 12V car adapter and has a handle for easy carrying. The Bluetti EB70S Portable Power Station retails for $699.
The more compact and light EcoFlow River 2 offers 256Wh capacity and 300W output. It has two 110V AC outlets, two USB-A ports and an input/output USB-C port. It can be charged via solar, AC power or from a 12V car adapter, as well as via the USB-C port. The EcoFlow River 2 retails for $299.