One of our favorite things to do each year during the holiday season is comb through the innovations of the last 12 months and pull out the best ones for gift ideas. Here's a guide to the top 25 tech gifts of 2016, curated by our team of technology experts.
If you need help deciding what to get or setting up any of these items once you have them, feel free to give us a call!
Smart Home Devices
1. The Amazon Echo Dot: Amazon recently released the Echo Dot, a much smaller and more affordable version of its popular Echo. The device gives you access to Alexa, Amazon's personal assistant, for controlling devices in your home, playing music, getting information, and more.
2. Ring Video Doorbells: Ring's video doorbells allow you to check who is at your door from your smartphone, wherever you are.
3. Ecobee3 Thermostat: This smart thermostat, which can connect to Amazon's Alexa for voice control, uses room sensors all over the house to pinpoint when and where the temperature needs to change, boosting both comfort and efficiency.
4. WeMo Switch Smart Plug: This smart switch allows you to turn lights and appliances off and on from your smartphone, or through voice control with Amazon's Alexa.
5. ChromeCast Ultra: The Chromecast Ultra allows you to stream up to 4K Ultra HD video from your phone, tablet, or computer, or from apps for popular streaming services such as Netflix and HBO Now.
6. ChromeCast Audio: The ChromeCast Audio allows you to stream music wirelessly from your phone, tablet, or computer to your favorite speakers.
7. Canary All-In-One Security: Canary's home video devices allow you to look into video feeds of your home at any time from your phone, and can even send you alerts when there is activity in your home while you are away.
For Kids and Teens
8. The Piper Computer Kit: If your kid or teen loves Minecraft and has an interest in computers, this could be the gift for them. Here’s the description from Piper’s website: “Piper is a computer kit that kids assemble themselves, advance through a Minecraft Story and learn physical engineering and electronics in the process.”
9. Safeguards for Phones, Tablets, and Computers: If you're planning on getting your kid or teen a phone, tablet, computer, game system, or any other internet-connected device, make sure you're putting safeguards in place to keep them safe from exposure to pornography, cyberbullying, and other dangers.
Laptops and Tablets
15. Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Microsoft's Surface may be the best hybrid between a tablet and a laptop out there. The Surface Pro 4 is the latest and best in this line. It includes a full version of Windows 10 for real computing.
16. iPad Pro: The iPad Pro is Apple's most powerful tablet yet. And now it's available in the standard 9.7" size as well as the extra-large 12.9".
17. Google Chromebook: Looking for an inexpensive laptop for surfing, email, and word processing? Check out the wide array of Google Chromebooks available.
18. Dell XPS 13: If you're looking for a powerful Windows laptop with a great display, the Dell XPS 13 is a great choice.
19. HP Spectre: This is an incredibly thin, extremely light, and very powerful Windows laptop.
Other Great Gadgets
20. TrackR: Do you know someone who is prone to losing their phone, keys, wallet, or anything else important? The TrackR is a small device that you can attach to valuables to help you locate them with the help of a smartphone app and locator device.
21. HooToo TripMate Elite Travel Router and Charger: This small gadget combines numerous functions necessary for those who love to take their devices when they travel. It contains a battery for charging your devices, storage for your files, and also acts as a WiFi router on the go.
22. Photojojo iPhone and Android Film Scanner: Know a photography-enthusiast who shoots 35mm film? This is the gift for them. This scanner allows the user to digitize photos from film with their iPhone or Android smartphone.
For the Tech Enthusiast
23. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B: If you're not a technical person, this small, single-board computer may not look like much to you, but trust us -- your techie friend will thank you!
24. Amplifi Mesh WiFi Router System: These wireless router systems help expand great WiFi coverage over a large area. That means they're actually a great gift for anyone, but you may need a tech expert to help you set it up.
25. Intel Compute Stick: Intel has created a computer the size of a USB stick. This would be a great gift for a tech lover who needs an extremely portable computer.