Make shopping for the mobile user in your life easy with this handy and geeky gift guide, which includes stocking stuffers. You'll find laptops, headphones, portable chargers, and more in this list.
The holidays are here, and it's jingle all the way. Your gift giving has scaled beyond previous years, and you need ideas fast—fortunately, TechRepublic is here to help with that task. In this case, we're talking mobility. Here you will find gift ideas for those on your list who are constantly on the go.
Without further "ho, ho, ho," let's dive into the list.
SEE: Gift Guides for Techies (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
Laptops, laptops, laptops
First we'll take a look at laptops. There are plenty of laptops that are sure to make your tech-centric recipient break out into a whirlwind of thank yous, though I'm focusing on three options. Why? Because I can.
Pixelbook Go: Let's go full-on Google with the Pixelbook Go. It's light, it's blazing fast, and it's pure Chrome OS. With a reported 12 hours of battery life (though it's actually more like 10), this laptop could quickly become their go-to device when needing to work with the Google ecosystem. You could go for the base model at $649 or spring for the top tier i7 model with 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage at $1,399.
System76 Galago Pro: The System76 Galago Pro is a Linux laptop, brought to you by one of the greatest open source hardware companies to have ever existed. This laptop offers a 14" 1080P Matte Display with a 10th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU and up to 64 GB of dual channel DDR4. The Galago Pro is also one of the first systems to ship with the System76 Coreboot open firmware. If you're looking for a seamless amalgam of Linux and hardware, you simply cannot beat Pop!_OS and System76 machines. The Galago Pro starts at $949 and can be topped out at $2,445 with an i7 CPU, a 2 TB NVMe main drive, and a 2 TB secondary SSD drive.
Peakago 7" Windows 10 laptop: Quite some time ago, the tiny laptop seemed to reach critical mass interest, but then it died away—it looks like it could be making a comeback. Unlike those cheaply made tiny laptops of old, we now have the likes of the tiny Peakago 7" Windows 10 laptop, which is built like a tank. The laptop weighs just 539 grams, but the second you hold it in your hand, you know this baby is built to last. And for developers on the go, this pocket-sized laptop might be considerably more useful than trying to program on a smartphone. Right now the Peakago laptop is in pre-launch, but hopefully it will be on sale before the holidays; if not, consider it as a late-holiday gift for your on-the-go geek. A note on specs and price. The specs for the Peakago are:
- Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB
- RAM: 4 or 8GB
- CPU: Intel Cherry 8350
- Display: 7" IPS 1920*1200
- SIM: Micro SIM
- USB: 1 USB 3.0
- Headphone jack: 3.5 MM
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Camera: 0.3MP
Other than the usual package offerings, there are three models:
- Lite version: $269
- Standard without 4G: $339
- Standard with 4G: $399
Unlocked Android phones
These Android phones are some of the best devices on the market, and they can be used on nearly any carrier network. Spring for one of these Android devices, and you're sure to get a hug or a handshake or two.
- Pixel 3 (Pixel 4 is not on this list because of its battery life and lack of fingerprint sensor.)
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- Sony Xperia 5
- Asus Zenfone 6
- Razer Phone 2 (If a good camera is at the top of your recipient's list, skip this like it were a Windows update, and you have a pressing deadline.)
Who can't use a good pair of headphones these days? Since many devices no longer offer standard headphone jacks, you're looking for Bluetooth only or devices that either use USB-C or can work with a USB-C dongle. Beyond that, you need to consider how the recipient of your gift will use the headphones. Let me offer up two of the most popular choices.
Audiophile: Even audiophiles like to listen to music on the go (though their on-the-go hardware won't even come close to the systems they have at home). The Focal Stellia headphones will set you back over $3,000, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better sounding pair of mobile-ready cans. The one caveat is that the Stellia uses a 3.5 mm headphone jack, so you'll also have to purchase a USB-C dongle if their mobile device doesn't include a standard jack.
Exercise fanatic: The HELM True Wireless Headphones are simply fantastic. These in-ear buds have no wires (they connect to one another—and your device—via Bluetooth) and have one of the most painless pairing processes I've ever experienced. But what sets these truly wireless buds apart from others is the incredible sound. Given the $99 price, you'd think these headphones would skimp on the base or the treble, but that is not so; in fact, the HELM earbuds are probably the single best sounding "exercise-minded" earbuds I've ever used--bar none.
We'll forget the Apple Watch, or that Google purchased Fitbit, and focus on practicality. I've tried a number of fitness devices, and none of them have topped the Amazfit Stratos for function, form, and price. If you're looking for a watch to also integrate with Alexa, go with the Amazfit Verge. This $159.99 watch offers all the usual bells and whistles to track your fitness and sleep routines, and it includes 12 sport modes, GPS tracking, and the ability to make and receive calls. The Amazfit Verge offers a five-day battery life for a single charge.
If your recipient is a die-hard Apple fan, you have no choice but to get them an iWatch. Have fun with that.
It's a rare for a flagship device to make it through a really busy day on a single charge, which is why mobile users need a portable charger. For my money, you simply cannot beat the $59.99 Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD. This charger is a high-capacity power delivery bank that can charge your phones or your tablets.
If you need serious charging power for any type of mobile device, go with the $499.99 Anker Powerhouse2. This charger can fill up your smartphone 24 times, your tablet 10 times, or your laptop 6.5 times. It's pricey, but when you need this much power, you'll be glad you bought it for that friend or loved one.
A gimbal for video makers
For those on your list who are video makers, consider a gimbal. What is a gimbal? I'm glad you asked. A gimbal is a device that smoothes out movement when filming. If your loved one or friend has been doing film work with their smartphone and is tired of shaky videos, a gimbal is just the thing to solve that problem. Of all the gimbals you can get, the DJI osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal is probably the best on the market. The DJI osmo uses built-in sensors and brushless motors to ensure stabilization. Even better, with up to 15 hours of battery life, the osmo can also charge your smartphone while connected. The cost for the osmo is only $119.00.
On the off-chance you need more gifts to fill the hearts and stockings of your recipients, here's a list of ideas.
- Charging cables: Look for any cable made by Anker.
- USB-C dongles
- Waterproof cases: Otterbox is always a safe bet.
- Screen protectors: amFilm is a good brand to look for.
- Google Play or App Store gift cards
- Smartphone-controlled awesome paper airplanes by Powerup
- Game of Phones card game is crazy phun
- Ember Ceramic mug--keep your hot beverage hot in the geekiest way possible
- Bluetooth speaker: I recommend the Sonos Move.
- Tripod: Ffor those who want to shoot photos at night with their smartphones, consider the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit with Universal Smartphone Clamp.
- Wireless charger such as the Anker Powerwave Stand 10
- Selfie Ring Light like the QIAYA Selfie Ring Light for the social media influencer in your life
There you go, my friends. You're all ready to shop for the mobile lovers in your life.
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