The holidays are galloping closer — which means it’s time for Techonomy’s annual gift guide. No matter how challenging the people on your shopping list, we’re here to help.
For the Shutterbug
Camera technology continues its impressive pace of innovation, including in our smartphones, so there are plenty of fun new gift options. This remote smartphone shutter($8) lets you snap photos without jostling the phone or getting an inadvertent shot of your finger, while this clip-on lens($16) lets you add premium features like macro and wide-angle photography to just about any phone’s repertoire. For people who could use a way to shoot video without a camera, this 1.5” tall mini video camera($45) is weather resistant and comes with plenty of accessories. The price of digital capability just keeps dropping.
Of course, all those great photos have to be displayed somewhere. We like this smart digital frame($595) that makes every image look like it’s on canvas. For people who don’t have their own pictures to show off, an added subscription ($50/year) allows them to choose art from the company’s selection of famous paintings or prints.
For the Gamer
We love that consumer-targeted virtual reality headsets are moving beyond the need to rely on a smartphone or computer. The Oculus Go($199) is a standalone VR headset, no tether needed. It finally brings the virtual world within easy reach for either dedicated or casual gamers.
For the Household Organizer
Your favorite meal-packing maestro will be a hero with a monthly subscription to SnackCrate($14 to $49, depending on crate size), which sends a box of fun snacks from all over the world. Each month brings an array of food from one country. And make those packed lunches a little more environmentally responsible with reusable straws — check out the collapsible FinalStraw ($25 on sale), which comes with its own carrying case, or these color-coded bent and straight straws($8), which come with two cleaning brushes. For the perfectionist on your list, try this fan-favorite custom bread maker($250).
To make the household executive’s life easier, tap into the growing number of voice-activated gadgets. This trash can($200) opens on command, avoiding fingerprints and all that extra hand-washing. And this smart plug($17), paired with a phone app, works with Alexa and Google Assistant to make devices plugged into it controllable by voice.
For the Far-Flung
One of the things we love most about technology is its ability to bring people together no matter where they live. Amazon’s Echo Show 2ndGen($230) allows for video calls, plus streaming HD TV and movies, in addition to the usual Echo features.
For people who aren’t as tech-savvy — or just prefer things to look more old-fashioned — check out the Lovebox messenger($100), which sits on a counter or table. You can send your loved one a message via smartphone app, and it’ll show up on the screen inside the box; a spinning heart on the front of the box alerts the user to a new message.
Worried about your friends and family traveling all over the world? This anti-theft backpack($95) has hidden pockets and is made of blade-resistant fabric so thieves can’t easily cut their way in.
For the Aspiring Diva
We all have someone in our lives who dreams of seeing her name in lights. Make it happen with the color-changing cinema lightbox($25 to $100, depending on size). And help make sure your loved one is ready for primetime with the futuristic Dyson supersonic hair dryer($399), complete with magnetic attachments.
To improve his or her morning routine, check out the Sensorwake alarm clock($59 for starter pack), which wakes you up gently with scent, smell, and sound. Cap it off with the self-rolling smart yoga mat($90), which works with Amazon Alexa to talk you through a workout. Who said the internet of things was coming slowly?
For Anyone Else
We know, we know. There’s always someone on your list who’s just exceptionally hard to shop for (hi, Dad). Try the book Year of Yes($11 to $35, depending on version) from Shonda Rhimes; it’s a fun, breezy read that will give just about anybody a more optimistic view of the world. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always homemade holiday fudge.
Happy holidays to all from the Techonomy team.