December 1, 2019
If the unrelenting march of the Christmas season has got you in a gift-buying panic, don't worry. Tech makes for great presents, and we're sure you'll be able to find something to suit everyone this year, regardless of your budget.
From gaming to smartphones, we all love unwrapping the latest gadgets come Christmas morning, and we've collected some of the best choices for your friends and family that are bound to impress.
Read on for our guide to the best tech gifts.
Best Fitness Trackers for Christmas
Christmas is the time of year where excess rears its ugly head, and January sees a rush to gym as we try to undo our festive indulgence. Exercising can be hard to kickstart and stay with, especially for anyone who's just indulged that little bit extra over the holidays. Naturally, tech comes to the rescue, and there are a great range of options for anyone that wants some help with their new years resolutions.
See our guide to the Best Fitbit to Choose
Apple Watch Series 5
There's a reason that Apple is the biggest smartwatch manufacturer in the world. The Apple Watch series 5 is testament to the feature-rich, customizable potential of smartwatches.
The Apple Watch doesn't just let you read your phone messages on your wrist, or toggle through a range of pleasing watch faces, though. It's also a powerful fitness tracker, with the ability to monitor your exercise, send workout reminders, and check your heart rhythm. You can even set it up to compete with friends if you need an extra push, and for elderly or vulnerable users, it can even detect falls and alert named carers.
Of course, it can also do the other things you expect from an Apple device – listening to music, paying for items and letting you read messages. It even tells the time.
Fitbit Charge 3
If you can't stretch to an Apple Watch, then don't fear. The Fitbit Charge 3 might not have the extensive features of Apple's device, but it's considerably cheaper, and won't disappoint come Christmas morning.
The FitBit Charge 3 is comfortable to use and has a great battery life, making it an excellent starting point for newbies. Like the Apple Watch, it also connects to your smartphone, so you can catch up with calls and messages on the go.
Garmin Forerunner 645
The Garmin Forerunner 645 is aimed at the serious fitness enthusiast. It's necessarily the first device you might pick for style, but it has all the features that any budding athlete would want, such as training routines, custom workouts, and a clear display that's easy to read.
Of course, it's not all about sport, and it can also be used as a music player, or to make payments. Battery life is a healthy seven days, meaning that you can get your week's workouts done without worrying about the Forerunner dying on you.
Best Smartphones for Christmas
2019 was a good year for smartphones. Yes, there was the usual line up of new releases from the likes of Apple and Samsung, with updates versions of their popular iPhone and Galaxy S ranges. But, we also saw a lot of innovation happening along the way.
This was the year that folding phones became a reality, with Samsung's Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X making it to market. Motorola are getting into the game too, with the folding Motorola Razr due to drop in 2020. However, we're not recommending folding phones for your loved ones at Christmas. They're too expensive, and need a bit more time to iron out the creases (quite literally, in Samsung's case). Instead, consider these excellent models:
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
For the Android fan in your life, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is hard to beat. With its beautiful bright curved screen and punch hole camera, and excellent battery life, it's a real treat. Even iPhone owners will look on longingly.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus isn't lacking in power – it's one of the fastest phones on the market right now, and will breeze through your tasks with buttery smooth efficiency.
Google Pixel 3a
If the S10 Plus is a bit too rich for your blood, you can do a lot worse than Google's Pixel 3a, or the Pixel 3a XL if you're after a larger screen. Don't let the smaller price tag throw you – the Pixel 3a is a brilliant phone, with its ace in the hole being a seriously impressive camera. You'll get some great holiday photos on this thing after it's unwrapped on Christmas morning.
In terms of sheer processing power, the 3a can't quite compete with the S10 range, but in day-to-day use, it more than pulls its weight, with apps fast to boot up and a responsive interface.
Google Pixel 4 XL
As the name suggests, the Pixel 4 XL is a large smartphone, with a 6.3-inch display which boasts a 90Hz refresh rate. If you want to impress as you pass it around at Christmas, this essentially means that scrolling and video on the device are smoother than standard 60Hz displays, improving everything from gaming to watching you favorite shows.
In terms of power, there's enough tech under the hood to keep everything running slickly, and demanding mobile titles, such as Call of Duty, will run without any real issues.
Best Tablets for Christmas
I know what you're thinking – just get an iPad. Well, it's a good point, and there's a reason that Apple has dominated the tablet market for nearly a decade. However, the lineup is now wide and varied, so which iPad to choose? Also, iPads don't suit all budgets, so you might want to consider a cheaper alternative. Amazon comes to the rescue here, with its excellent line up of budget-focused tablets:
Apple iPad 10.2
2019 saw Apple finally give its classic iPad model a serious overhaul, upgrading the 9.7-inch screen to 10.2-inches. The bigger display is welcome, and makes it even harder to turn away from your Netflix binge.
The standard iPad remains the best value model in the line-up, and retails for around $329. It's not the cheapest tablet on the market, but for the amount of tech you get, it's a great deal, and you're bound to make someone happy when they pull back the wrapping and see that iconic Apple logo.
Apple iPad Pro 11
The Pro range is Apple's premium iPad line up. With powerful processors and serious RAM, these tablets have real firepower, and are favored by designers and creative types that need a certain degree of tech muscle. With high resolution displays that pop with color, it's hard to hold one in your hands and come away unimpressed.
Available as 11 or 12.9-inch models, there's no denying that these models are pricey. But you get what you pay for, and you're sure to get a very heartfelt thank you from anyone lucky enough to receive one.
Amazon Fire Kids Edition
If you're after a tablet for the little ones this Christmas, look no further than the Fire Kids Edition. Designed specifically for younger tablet users, it's essentially the standard Fire tablet, but with some nice child-friendly additions. Most important of these is the two-year “no questions” warranty. Should your young protégé smash, crack or demolish the tablet, Amazon will replace it with a new one, no questions asked.
It also comes with a bumper case to mitigate any knocks, as well as extensive parental controls that can viewed on a separate app.
Best Gaming Gifts for Christmas
Christmas and gaming go hand in hand, and you can't beat the thrill of tirelessly explaining to your uncle that he has to press the X button to punt the ball down field, while his character waves his arms around like he's dancing with an invisible bear. If you want to get into the gaming spirit this Christmas, there are plenty of bargains to be had, and there truly is something for everyone out there, for those that want family focused titles, to bloody battlefields:
Nintendo's console can do something that the PlayStation and Xbox can't. It can be be used as a handheld, or be displayed on the TV. This is a great feature, especially around Christmas, when relatives are using the main TV to watch It's A Wonderful Life yet again.
Being a Nintendo console, its library consists of some serious stalwarts of gaming – Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There's also the recently released Ring Fit, a game/fitness device that aims to get you trim by playing a colorful RPG.
Sony PlayStation 4
A giant in the gaming space, Sony's PlayStation offers serious graphic power and a huge library of games, including must-have exclusives like Uncharted, Spider-man, God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn. It may not be quite as family friendly as the Switch, but there's plenty of excellent entertainment here for older members of the family.
It's also the only games console that offers a full VR solution with the PSVR, which can be a good entry point into VR for those on a reasonable budget.
Microsoft Xbox One
For the Halo fan in the house, the Microsoft Xbox One is the obvious choice. As well as a software library that's filled with big name games, it also has an impressive line of exclusives like Sea of Thieves and Gears of War.
There are a number of Xbox One models in the line up, including the more powerful Xbox One X, and the disc-less All Digital edition. It's also compatible with large number of Xbox 360 titles.
Virtual Reality headsets make for great gifts, thanks to the wow-factor and the way that everyone wants to have a go. While initially prohibitively expensive and demanding a dedicated PC, VR has become affordable fairly quickly, and there's no better example than the Oculus Quest.
Totally self contained, with no wires and a two/three hour battery, the Oculus has a great selection of VR classics that will get everyone ducking and diving on Christmas day, including Beat Saber and Super Hot.
Yes, there are other ebook readers, but the Kindle is a good safe choice for a Christmas gift, given the brand recognition, and Amazon's worldwide dominance. Save yourself the headache of explaining to your mom that you've bought her something like a Kindle, by simply buying a Kindle in the first place. Trust us, it'll pay off. There aren't too many models in the Kindle range to choose from, but whether you want a budget Kindle, or a blowout one, there's a device for you.
The entry-level Kindle, this model is a great first foray into e-books for the uninitiated, offering a simple interface and a few neat features, such as a front lit screen for reading in the dark or poor light, as well as the ability to listen to audio books via Bluetooth.
The six-inch screen is a comfortable size to read, and the slim profile make this a great device for slipping into your pocket.
Sure, it doesn't have the standout features of later models, but it's hard to argue with the price tag for the amount of tech you get.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite is the middle-child of the Kindle family, but it shouldn't be overlooked. In fact, we think it's the best one available. It managed to strike the right balance of features and value. Like the standard Kindle, it has a six-inch screen, but adds a backlit display, and is also waterproof, making a safe choice for bath time readers.
It also has a higher resolution screen than the standard model, making text sharper to read, and comes with plenty of storage space for e-books, meaning that even the most voracious reader is unlikely to fill it up.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
If you really want to treat the special reader in your life, consider the Kindle Oasis. This is the premium Kindle, as its features and price tag show.
The Oasis offers a larger screen, at 7-inches, as well as physical buttons, which might appeal to those that don't like to use a touch screen to turn the page of their favorite novel (although you can still do this too, if you want).
While we think it's a great Kindle, in terms of value it doesn't really offer much above the Paperwhite, especially for the price. This is the Tiffany necklace of Kindles – only buy it if you're looking to seriously impress.
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!
Sorry about that. Try these articles instead!