20 Cool Gadget Gift Ideas For Techies: 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

CRN’s annual holiday guide presents options for gifting that will have you plugged into the latest trends with plenty of options for different budgets.

Whether you’re shopping for someone you love, or trying to leave buying hints around for your loved ones – holiday gadget shopping is always fun. Our gadgets provide a welcome distraction (and sometimes a helping hand) in our daily lives.

So, it’s no shocker when the search engines light up around this time of year with gadget guide requests. We all want to get a handle on the latest and greatest tech to enhance our lives and our workspaces.

But a tough economy may have many of us pinching those extra pennies. According to a report from ShipStation, 58 percent of U.S. consumers expect to cut back on non-food spending this holiday season, which could spell a $30 billion overall consumer spend this year. “We believe successful retailers will be those who double-down on their value proposition and who use data-led marketing to sensitively communicate festive joy during these difficult times,” Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, said in a statement.

Don’t let inflation sour your holiday spirit, though. If you’re going to spend, do it wisely and joyfully on these top picks for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa gifts from CRN:

Nebula Capsule II

Why go hunting for a big screen when you can take the big screen experience with you wherever you travel? The Nebula Capsule II from Anker combines a powerful 720-pixel projector with immersive audio to give you a compact entertainment system to use just about anywhere. The system uses DLP technology to create a 200-ANSI-lumen image ideal for use in low-light environments, offering a 100-inch max image to stream movies, TV, or any of the endless video options currently available. The unit uses Android TV 9.0.

Retail price direct: $529.98

Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones

In a crowded headphone and earbud market, Bose still stands out as a leader in wearable audio. The company’s QuietComfort 45 headphones take portable excellence to new extremes with noise cancelling, high-fidelity audio, noise-rejecting mic system, aware mode, adjustable equalizer and up to 24 hours of battery life. These handsome headphones are available in classic black, midnight blue, eclipse gray, and white smoke.

Retail price: $329

Ember Smart Travel Mug 2 (355ml)

It’s a brave new world of smart devices and our need for a morning cup of coffee is joining the digital revolution thanks to devices like the Ember Smart Travel Mug. The mug lets you set an exact drinking temperature and keeps it there for up to three hours to let you enjoy that perfect cup longer. The device features a new touch display, built-in three-hour battery, auto sleep and a temperature range up to 145 degrees Farenheit. The mug can be controlled via App on your smartphone or directly.

Pricing: $199.95

Amazon Echo Show 5

Amazon’s Echo line of devices have proven popular, providing an easy access media device that was (mostly) aimed at audio. But the Echo Show 5 ups that game to include a display and camera device, making it the perfect multi-media bedside companion. Use as an alarm clock, smart home management device, video calling with built-in camera or play TV shows and more on the 5.5-inch screen.

Price $84.99

AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

This year’s new AirPods Pro were reengineered for richer audio experiences, improved active noise cancellation and adaptive transparency to reduce more external noise. Spatial audio gives users a more immersive experience and new touch controls add manageability with a swipe. Better power performance means up to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge. The company says its new H2 chip uses computational algorithms to deliver smarter noise cancellation, superior three-dimensional sound, and better battery life all at once.

Price $249

iPhone 14 Pro

It’s the latest and (second to) greatest new iPhone from Cupertino, Calif.-based powerhouse Apple. And because of COVID-related production delays, you might want to grab one while you can. Unlike the entry-level iPhone 14 models, the Pro and Pro Max use the new A16 chipset, delivering better performance along with some new features, including better low-light photography, increased battery life and more. But Apple is heading into this holiday season with a supply chain disadvantage – saying it will likely ship about 3 million less units than previously thought. If you’re looking to upgrade that iPhone, do it before limited supplies run out.

Price: $999

Logitech Pop Keys Mechanical Keyboard

There’s something undeniably fun about new tech with a retro vibe. And the Logitech Pop Keys mechanical keyboard will really dial up the nostalgia with its round keys and typewriter aesthetic. But you’ll still be able to sync up to your desktop wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.1 with a range of 10 meters. The keys provide a satisfying old-school click and come in three fun colorways. Nobody said typing needed to be boring.

Price: $99.99

Apple Watch Ultra

The company that undoubtedly popularized the smartwatch jolted the industry at its Far Out event in September with the release of the monster Apple Watch Ultra. This new entry is the crown jewel of the Series 8 lineup with a whopping 49mm rectangular titanium case. That beefed-up case also provides 100 meters of water resistance. Apple is really going after the outdoor and dive enthusiast market with this one, with new functions that focus on recreational diving. The watch features an Apple S8 chip and 32 GB of internal memory.

Price: $799

Lenovo Smart Clock 2

Bedside tech lets you start and end your day on a positive note. The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 lets users play music, find information, manage schedules, control your smart home and more. Featuring a 4-inch touch screen that showcases time, weather, photos, the device also features a charging station for your mag-enabled wireless devices. You can control other smart devices in your home and listen to music or podcasts on the front-facing speakers. Smart Clock 2 integrates with your mobile, PC, or other Google-enabled device.

Price: $34.99

Sony PlayStation Classic Console

Again, it’s really hard to beat the combination of tech and retro styling. The iconic Sony PlayStation gets a reboot with a smaller clone with built in games with this fun mini console. The original console worked with CDs, but there’s no need here as 20 pre-loaded games will give you plenty of play time. Titles include Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and more. Save space with this unit that is about 45 percent smaller than the original console.

Price $99.90

DJI Avata Drone

DJI’s Avata Pro-View Combo is the company’s immersive drone experience that combines the fun of drone flying with a virtual reality (VR) headset. This first-person view drone gives an immersive HD flying experience that may just be the closest thing to experiencing what a bird does. Add in 4K video and you have a serious productivity machine for creatives. The combo contains the Avata drone unit and the motion goggles and remote control.

Price: $1,388

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung pretty much owns the foldable market at the moment with its Fold series and its flagship Fold 4 is the epitome of next-generation mobile tech. The Fold 4’s use of Samsung’s excellent AMOLED displays give extra gravitas to the foldable experience. Where the Fold 4 really shines over its predecessor (the Fold 3) is in camera upgrades. The Fold 4’s three rear cameras include a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 10-megapixel 3 x optical zoom telephoto camera. On the cover, you get a 10-megapixel f2.2 aperture camera and on the cover, a 4-megpixel camera. That’s a ton of photographic firepower borrowed from Samsung’s excellent S22 Ultra.

Price: $1,799

iPad Pro with M2 chip

The world’s love affair with tablets undeniably started with the first iPad. The lastest and greatest tablet from Cupertino Calif.-based Apple offers the same blazing chip as its powerful MacBook Pro – the M2 Arm-based chip set. The iPad Pro comes in an 11-inch or 12.9-inch size and is available in silver and pace gray finishes with up to 2 TB of hard drive space. The new tablet utilizes iPadOS 16 and supports multiple connectivity possibilities with Wi-Fi 6E and 5G available.

Price starts at $799 (for 11-inch base model)

Lululemon Studio Miror

Mirror, mirror on the wall… you know the rest. What you might not have known was that this mirror from Lululemon can help you achieve health goals, servings as a cardio class, a yoga studio, a boxing ring – it’s really a personal trainer posing as a bedroom accessory. Workout anonymously or turn on the camera for live interactions from instructors. The mirror features surround sound using four 15-watt high-fidelity speakers with 6 drivers and two woofers for a full studio effect. The LED 1080p display gives a 178-degree wide viewing angle. You’ll need a separately sold membership to take advantage of all the mirror’s options.

Price (just for mirror) $799

Gocycle G4 Electric Bike

Get around town in style and a little electric push with the Gocycle G4 Electricle Bike, which folds up for convenience and storage. The impressive tech found on the bike include the all-new G4drive motor, an integrated USP port for phone charging on the go, and low energy Bluetooth for improved phone and Gocycle app connectivity. This is a splurge gift, but would be a great surprise for any urbanite with a need for a convenient and portable travel option.

Price starts at $3,999

NightWatch Magnifying Clock for Apple Watch

Here’s a simple accessory that gives you another option for your Apple Watch. A patented display lets you wake the watch with just a touch on top of the magnifier. Integrated sound channels amplify the alarm so you’ll never miss a wakeup call again. Magnetic drop in charging lets you charge wirelessly while the face instantly converts to nightstand mode while displaying the full clock face.

Price: $99.99

Transparent Speakers

Here’s a high-fidelity audio option that can also serve as a conversation piece with its post-modern styling. The Transparent Speaker is a wall-mountable speaker using high quality inner components that can be viewed through its tempered glass panels. The 140-watt speakers are tuned to a true reproduction close to the actual recording from the studio, the company says. The speaker offers both Bluetooth and wired options and weighs 11 kilograms. It’s also compatible with Apple AirPlay, Sonos, Amazon Echo and Google Cast.

Price: Starting at $550

Flare Calmer Headphones

Calmer headphones from Flare Audio will help you clear your head by reducing noise related stress and sensory overwhelm without isolating you from the sounds you want to hear. This stress-reducing gadget works by reducing stressful frequencies without muffling sound. Especially useful for people with high noise sensitivity, the earbuds are a discreet way to tone down your environment.

Price: From $23

ZENS charger

The ZENS 4-in-1 modular charging station is a convenient and sustainable charing solution delivering quick charging to all your Apple devices. The main station charges your iPhone, AirPods and iPad. The modular Apple Watch extension can be magnetically connected to the main station and is powered via the power adapter.

Price: $99.99

Fender Mustang Micro

Rock out without waking the neighbors with the Fender Mustang Micro, a complete personal guitar amplifier featuring a wide selection of Fender amp tones. Plug Mustang Micro into your guitar, connect your favorite wired headphones and pick your settings for a jam session at home or on the go without lugging around cumbersome gear. You can even record your sessions using the unit’s USB-C output.

Price: $119.99