Mobility

6 best Android gifts for the 2018 holiday season

The gift ideas below will please even the most hard-core Android users on your holiday shopping list.

androidshoppinghero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

Do not even attempt to hide. The holiday cheer is upon us, and there's not one thing you can do about it. So pull your head out of that server rack, put on your cheeriest hat, and start spreading joy. You probably have a number of Android users on your to-buy list, each of whom would appreciate some new tech in their stockings. But what do you do if you're the sort who couldn't buy a happy-inducing gift to save your data center servers? You check lists—twice even—in the hopes of finding just the right gadget.

For those Android fans in your sphere of influence, you'll find six really keen gift ideas below. So continue on reading and prepare to shop.

SEE: Tech gifts under $50: The top holiday picks (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. A new phone

Let's face it, if you're going to give an Android-flavored gift, nothing says "Huzzah" better than a new phone. But don't bother with some mid-level device. Make friends and family really light up with the likes of a Pixel 3 or a OnePlus 6T. Both devices are top notch in build and specs. I've used a Pixel 3 as my daily driver for a few weeks now, and I can attest it's just as impressive as the initial reviews stated. It's fast, beautifully built, a one-handed user's dream come true, and includes the single best phone camera on the market. The portrait photos alone (Figure A) are enough to make any denier choke on their doubt.

Figure A

Figure A

A portrait photo of yours truly taken with the Pixel 3.

2. A wireless charger

Many Android devices (such as the before-mentioned Pixel 3) support wireless charging. In some cases, the wireless charging is not only convenient but incredibly fast. Take, for instance, the Pixel 3 stand (Figure B). I reluctantly purchased one for my Pixel and have not regretted that purchase for a single second. Place the phone on the stand and in a few quick minutes, the phone fully charges. The Pixel 3 is pricey, but the extra features (such as quick access to Google Assistant and the picture frame option) makes it a great gift.

Figure B

Figure A

My personal Pixel 3 stand.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Bluetooth headphones

Most new flagship (and lesser) phones no longer include a headphone jack. This is a huge disappointment to those who frequently use their devices for music. To that end, getting a quality pair of Bluetooth headphones is always a smart move. The type of headphones you should buy will depend upon the type of user you're buying them for. For those who employ their Android phones during exercise, get a pair of Aftershokx bone-conducting headphones. I've used a pair of Titaniums (Figure C) for about three years now with zero problems. Because they allow external noise to reach your ears, it's much safer to run and bike with these types of headphones (especially over the noise-canceling variety). The Aftershokx headphones also allow you to take calls, so they're not just for the athletic at heart. And these headphones scoff at sweat (in a way most other headphones cannot match).

Figure C

Figure C

Aftershokx Titaniums are my go-to headphones for exercise.

Image: Aftershokx

If those on your list are of the audiophile type, look no further than the Audio Technica ATH-DSR9BT. These babies cost about $550, but the quality of sound is worth it to audiophiles.

SEE: Gifts for gadget lovers: Top picks (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. Google Home Hub

Those who have used the latest iterations of Android, already know the power of Google Assistant. And where better to employ that power than with a Google Home Hub. Not only do you get the power of Assistant in your home (without having to hunt down your phone), but you can control various smart devices, from a single point of entry. The Google Home Hub is designed to not get in the way (Figure D), yet is always ready to assist the user. And when you're not using it, it'll act as a photo display for any photo collection you configure from Google Photos.

Figure D

Figure D

The Google Home Hub.

Image: Google

5. Smart Watch

Personally, I don't bother with Android Wear for my watch needs. Because I am a very active person, I opt to go the Fitbit Versa route. The watch itself is smartly designed (Figure E), allows me to easily change the watch face (and choose a face that displays the exact data I want), and is quite accurate with steps, miles, calories, minutes active, and more. With the help of the Fitbit Android app, the watch can interact with your smartphone to capture GPS data and send you notifications. If you have a loved one or friend in need of motivation to get active, you cannot go wrong with Fitbit.

Figure E

Figure E

The Versa Fit.

Image: Fitbit

6. Light up those photos

If your friend or loved one fancies himself a mobile photographer, what better way to help improve his craft by giving their subjects a bit more lighting. One of the best options out there is the Lume Cube Kit (Figure F). Not only does this come with a very powerful lighting source, but also:

  • DSLR Camera Mount with Light-Stand Adapter
  • Light-House + 3 LEE Filter Diffusers
  • CTO Warming Gels (4 pack)
  • Diffusion Bulbs (4 pack)
  • RGBY Color Gels (4 pack of Red/Green/Blue/Yellow)
  • Honeycomb Gels (2 pack of 10º and 40º)

Figure F

Figure F

The Lume Cube light.

Image: LumeCube

For any Android user looking to capture the best photos, the Lume Cube is an outstanding solution.

SEE: Gift guides for techies (TechRepublic Flipboard magazine)

Keep on shopping

The possibilities are endless for the Android fans on your list. But this small selection of options is sure to please even the hard-core Android users you know.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox