Steer clear of these 25 terrible tech gifts (free PDF)

Among all the great tech gifts out there, you’ll run across some serious losers. They may be overpriced, poorly designed, needlessly complicated, or completely useless. Here’s a batch of items you might want to avoid, so that your well-intentioned presents don’t wind up in an endless cycle of re-gifting.

From the list:

Facebook Portal
Facebook’s video chat smart screen, Portal, may seem like a great gift idea at first glance—until you think of who is getting camera and microphone access to your home: Facebook.

Facebook has been pushing the Portal’s privacy features hard, though its record on user privacy is abysmal, with hacks of millions of accounts and illicit data harvesting seemingly becoming the norm.

Gift the Portal at your own risk. For starters, it’s available only to preorder right now. And if you care about your loved one’s privacy, it might be better to go with a non-Facebook video calling product, like the Echo Show, instead.

Apple AirPods
There are several reasons to avoid gifting a pair of Apple AirPods. The most obvious is the price: $159, which is bordering on ludicrous pricing for a pair of earbuds. Second, and much less well-known, is the fact that AirPods don’t support the newest standard in Bluetooth audio: aptX.

aptX gives wireless headphones more range, better sound quality, and less latency, and while it can be argued whether it’s a necessary feature of Bluetooth earbuds, it can’t be argued that Apple is charging aptX prices for a product with inferior sound quality. iPhones aren’t compatible with aptX, so aptX-compatible headphones won’t improve iPhone sound quality.

Do your gift recipient a favor and get them a cheap pair of Bluetooth earbuds if they have an Apple device.

Smarter iKettle
Is there a tea lover on your list who can’t stand waiting for water to boil? If so, they would love the Smarter iKettle, right? Maybe not.

This $150 kitchen gadget connects to a smartphone app so you can boil your water right from your phone no matter where you are. If you don’t mind subjecting your gift recipient to potential tech hassles, like having to port scan their network to get the kettle online, this is a great gift to consider.

If you want to pay a similar price for a water boiler that doesn’t need a smartphone app or Wi-Fi connectivity to keep water hot, go with a Zojirushi instead. I have one and I love it, despite the fact that I have to operate it like a technological primitive.

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