It’s about time to start worrying about what you’re going to get all your friends and family for Christmas, if you’re into that sort of thing. You undoubtedly have a better idea of what kind of stuff they’re into than we do, but that won’t stop us from showing you some stuff that’s just objectively cool, and maybe you’ll find something in this list that’s suitable for one of your loved ones. Let’s get cracking, shall we?
First up, let’s talk about audio. You undoubtedly know someone who’s a bit of an audiophile, and you might be thinking of getting them some sort of audio gear for Christmas, but you know that they know more about audio than you do. What a quandary. Of course, you could get them a pair of Beats, or some sort of hokey Bose system, if you want them to dislike you for the rest of your natural life, but we’re assuming that you actually want to maintain an amicable relationship with the person in question.
What you should get them instead is a pair of Grado Labs SR80i headphones. Grado makes probably the best headphones in the world at this price point, and they also make really great stuff at both higher and lower price points. A pair of SR80i’s will run you around $100 on Amazon, and they’ll sound better than most headphones that are twice as much money. You can also step up to the SR125i, or down to the SR60i, if you want to spend more or less of your hard earned dollars on your audiophile friend.
What’s that you say? Your friend isn’t into headphones, but needs some quality audio gear for their home? And they just bought an iPhone 5? Well then, you should probably get them a JBL OnBeat Venue LT. It’s the new Lightning-compatible audio dock from the audio wizards over at JBL. It has two full-range drivers, two tweeters, and 30 watts of power, all packed into a sleek-looking bubble. You can’t grab one quite yet, but JBL says they’ll be available in time for Black Friday. Retail price will be somewhere around the $200 mark.
What if you have a loved one who didn’t get an iPhone 5? Well, you should pat them on the back for making a wise decision, and get them a Samsung Galaxy S III for Christmas. Sure, you could go with the new Nexus 4 instead, but it doesn’t have LTE, and Samsung has been pretty good about bringing Android updates to their flagship in a timely manner anyways. The S III has all the goodies you need in a smartphone (8 megapixel camera, LTE, 720p display, etc.) and some that you probably don’t even need yet (NFC? Wireless charging?). Off-contract, it’ll still run you a hefty $650 for the base model, but if your gift recipient is up for a new contract, most carriers have these phones for around $200.
There’s always a chance that someone on your gift list has a horrible aversion to the Android operating system, though. What might you get your Android-hating friend who’s in need of a new smartphone? Why, the Nokia Lumia 920, of course! It has an absolutely fantastic camera, a great looking screen, and it runs the new Windows Phone 8 operating system, which is actually pretty slick. Again, it will cost an arm and a leg if you’re getting it off-contract (around $800 for the Lumia 920), but get it from a carrier and it’ll only run you a couple hundred bucks.
Let’s assume at this point that all your various gift recipients have their smartphone situation under control. What other gadgetry might you find for them?
If they’re a reasonably tech-savvy person looking for an interesting gadget, why not preorder them one of those Lockitron Bluetooth-powered door locks? It won’t arrive until May of 2013, but when it does, it will let them unlock their front door with their smartphone! These things are seriously cool, and will be highly enjoyable for any of your fellow tech nerds.
Finally, what about your gamer friends? If you have a console gamer on your gift list, there’s a whole bunch of amazing games that came out in the last couple months. From Forza Horizon, to Assassin’s Creed 3, to Dishonored, there’s something for everyone in this Fall’s videogame release lineup. Console games are $60 these days, so grab some for your Xbox and PlayStation-bound friends.
Of course, not everyone’s a console gamer. If you’ve got a PC gamer to buy for, they probably get all their games digitally, from Steam or another digital distribution service. Fortunately, they’re PC gamers, so they always need some sort of hardware upgrade or peripheral; you can still get them a physical gift that they’ll enjoy. This Christmas, perhaps you can grab them a Logitech G500 gaming mouse. It has all the features a gaming mouse needs, like adjustable DPI, onboard memory for saving settings, and a host of extra buttons that are user-assignable. The best part is, it doesn’t have any of the usual garish LEDs or overwrought designs of many gaming mice; it just looks like a mouse. You can grab one at any decent computer store for about $70.
There it is, folks. A selection of fine gadgetry for you to give to your friends and family this Christmas. If you have more ideas for techie Christmas gifts, please post ‘em in the comments down below. We hope this guide helps you find cool things for all the relevant individuals.