10 tech gifts for the holidays

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By Justin Huang, Co-Student Life Editor

Gift-giving is a classic tradition during holidays that goes hand-in-hand with the newest tech that’s released each year. It comes as no surprise, then, that people naturally enjoy seeing shiny boxes of useful gadgets when they rip open the wrapping paper covering their gift. But with so many options, how do you choose? Here’s a list of 10 possibilities that you’ll enjoy—either as the gifter or the receiver.

1. Amazon Echo / Echo Dot

Smart homes have been all the rage, and the Echo takes the spotlight for the best in the market. Since its conception, the Echo and its artificial intelligence (AI), Alexa, have pushed for ways to interact with more and more third-party equipment or services. If you want complete control over your lamps and certain security cameras, Alexa has your back. One cool feature is that Alexa simplifies shopping on Amazonone simple voice command and your item’s already shipping. Pick up the Echo for $80 or the Echo Dot for $30 this holiday season.

2. Google Home / Home Mini

On the other side of the spectrum is Google’s latest attempt at monopolizing your technological life—its smart home entry. The Google Home offers a top-of-the-line AI with its frankly-named Google Assistant, which is both more interactive and more responsive than Alexa. Though Alexa boasts a wider range of features, they’re not necessarily for everybody. If you’re a simple person that just needs pizza deliveries and Uber rides, you can purchase the Google Home and Home Mini for the same respective prices as the Echos.

3. Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL

Speaking of Google, their smartphone is also one of the best on the market right now. Although it has a plastic-like coating, it’s very comfortable in the hand, and its display is satisfying, although some people have experienced problems with the XL’s screen. The Pixel 2 has two major strengths: its software and its camera. “Stock Android,” provided by Google, gives the user an unabridged experience with Android’s personalization and clean use. The camera’s quality produces clear and crisp pictures, and doesn’t struggle in low light. It’ll cost you $650 or $850, depending on the size that you prefer, but there’s a good guarantee that you’ll enjoy your experience.

4. Apple iPhone X

This is almost an obligatory addition to the list. Apple’s latest flagships in its mobile lineup are the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, celebrating the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. The iPhone 8 received a powerful processor upgrade and wireless charging compatibility, but the real talk is with the iPhone X. With a brand-new design from Apple, lack of a home button and a huge price tag, the iPhone X has certainly generated controversy and criticism. Some people don’t like its obtrusive “notch” at the top of the display, but others deal with it. Honestly, though, the iPhone X represents the newest direction that Apple will take its phones, and although it costs more than a thousand dollars, it’ll make a worthwhile gift.

5. Anker Power Banks

The universal problem with all phones is its source of power. I hate low-battery notifications. You hate low-battery notifications. Everybody hates low-battery notifications. With power banks, you can make them less annoying, because whenever you’re on the go, you’ll still be able to charge your electronic devicesprovided that your power bank is also well-charged. Nobody would hate receiving one of these. Anker’s got the reputation, the brand promise and the quality to justify buying power banks from them, so consider buying from them this season.

6. Amazon Fire TV

If you’ve got a dumb TV at home and want to watch Netflix or Hulu on the big screen, you don’t have to splurge on a fancy smart TV. Instead, Amazon Fire TV would be effectivesimply plug it into your TV and enjoy your freedom with streaming services. Alternatively, you could use the Roku Streaming Stick or Google Chromecast, but Amazon’s solution has Alexa built into the remote to help you browse for a low price of $35. Amazon might be trying to take over every aspect of our life, but at least they do it well.

7. Nintendo Switch

Considering how their sales have reached almost 8 million units worldwide, nobody can really contest with the Switch’s popularity. And it’s no wonder whythe concept behind the Switch as a portable, multiplayer-friendly console is attractive. The games behind the Switch are just as captivating, especially “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” with a huge roster planned for the near future. Though it’ll set you back by $300, there’s a lot of potential in Nintendo’s newest addition to its consoles.

 

8. Keurig Coffee Maker

I have a confession to makeI’m addicted to caffeine. There are a lot of students that have developed this habit from all the early mornings of school and late nights of school work, so it’s certainly transitioned from the adult world to high school culture. Keurig coffee makers may not create fine coffee, but when I’ve got so little time to waste in the morning, I need their convenience. For the holiday season, you can pick one up for $70, depending on where you look and what model you buy.

9. Ultimate Ears Boom 2 – Panther Edition

UE Bluetooth speakers are one of the best in the industry, far surpassing the efforts of other brands in terms of sound quality and price. If you want to jam to your favorite tunes on the fly, one of their speakers certainly helps. For the holiday season, the UE Boom 2 has been cut to $80, although with a single black color scheme, but it’s quite the deal.

10. HP Spectre (2017)

Lots of people buy Macbooks for their stylish looks and quality design, and then jump onto the Apple bandwagon. It might surprise them, then, that they’re being completely cheated in terms of price value and power. If you’re trying to throw your money into a laptop then sure, go for it. Windows always has the upper hand, though. Ever since its original appearance, the HP Spectre has fascinated users with its sleek, stylish, thin design and eye-catching color schemes. Who knew how well black and gold went together? It has some of the best features from Macbooks, including its slim build and beautiful design, and combines it with the functionality of a Windows system. For $1,300, despite being somewhat expensive, you won’t regret the purchase.