20 Cool Gadget Gifts For Techies: Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Smart speakers, wireless earbuds and tablets are among the CRN-recommended gifts for this holiday season.

The Season For Tech

The holidays are pretty much guaranteed to be a frantic time. But why not make things a bit easier for yourself this year? After all, it's a golden age of tech gadgets right now—even aside from the ubiquitous smartphone, hardly anyone is going without at least a few additional devices these days. And that means it's a no-brainer to hand out cool new gadgets as gifts this year.

To help with your gift list this year, we've compiled some of 2019's coolest holiday gift recommendations—from smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo Dot (with integrated clock), to tablets such as the new Apple iPad Mini and Microsoft Surface Pro X, to earbuds, accessories and more. It's not just gifts for techies—because in 2019, just about everyone is now a techie.

What follows are 20 great gadget gifts that are worth checking out this holiday season.

Amazon Echo Dot With Clock

The popular, compact-sized version of the Echo smart speaker has gotten a bit more functionality in time for this holiday season. The third-gen Echo Dot now has the option of including an LED display that shows the time (or the outdoor temperature or a timer, if you'd like). Plus, to snooze an alarm, you can now tap on the top of the Echo Dot. Otherwise, the Echo Dot keeps the same minimal size (3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches) and voice control via the Alexa assistant.

The third-gen Amazon Echo Dot with clock is currently priced at $44.99. The standard third-gen Echo Dot is currently priced at $34.99.

Philips Hue White and Color Smart Light Bulb Starter Kit

For anyone on your list who might be looking to dabble in smart home technology (which can often work with a smart speaker), a smart light bulb is a great place to start. One leading brand for smart bulbs is Philips Hue, and its White and Color Smart Light Bulb Starter Kit is a solid entry point. The two-bulb starter kit lets users create the ideal ambiance for any setting, and custom color settings can be chosen within the Philips Hue mobile app. The lights themselves can be controlled using an app or by voice with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri (via Apple HomeKit).

The Philips Hue White and Color Smart Light Bulb Starter Kit is currently priced at $113.40 on Amazon.

Apple iPad Mini

The iPad Mini, Apple's most compact-sized tablet, made its triumphant return this year with a major update for its fifth generation. Key enhancements in the iPad Mini include the first-ever addition of support for the Apple Pencil stylus (sold separately) and improved performance. The 7.9-inch display also offers the "highest pixel density of any iPad," Apple said, and the display is now 25 percent brighter than in the past. The iPad Mini measures a quarter of an inch thick and weighs just two-thirds of a pound—making it easily the most portable iPad available.

The Apple iPad Mini is available for a starting price of $399 for the WiFi-only model, or $529 for WiFi and cellular connectivity. The Apple Pencil is priced at $99.

Microsoft Surface Pro X

The Surface Pro 2-in-1 tablet also got a big refresh this year, making it an excellent gift option for the highly productive professional on your list. With the Surface Pro X, Microsoft has introduced a new 13-inch display for the device, versus the 12.3-inch screen on other Surface Pro models. But, the tablet's display still fits onto a 12-inch chassis thanks to having slim bezels around the screen. The Surface Pro X is also thinner than the Surface Pro 7 and, even with its larger display, has the same starting weight of 1.7 pounds. Another key addition with the Surface Pro X is the ability to store the optional digital stylus inside the keyboard itself—while Microsoft's custom SQ1 processor helps enable "always on" functionality as well as LTE connectivity.

The Microsoft Surface Pro X has a starting price of $999 (tablet only). The standard Surface Pro X keyboard is priced at $139.99, while the Signature keyboard is priced at $269.99. The Surface Slim Pen costs $144.99.

PhoneSoap 3

Here's something most people don't want to think about: the potentially unsanitary condition of their smartphone. But that's exactly why the PhoneSoap 3 could be such a good gift. The PhoneSoap 3 promises to kill 99.99 percent of germs (including cold and flu viruses) on a smartphone using UV-based technology. The device can safely sanitize both a phone and case, and even charges the phone in the process. The PhoneSoap 3 also promises to fit all smartphone sizes, and includes an audio amplifier so users can hear their notifications and alarms, too.

The PhoneSoap 3 is priced at $79.95.

Upright Go 2

Techies are rarely known for having good posture habits—so the gift of improved posture (via a connected gadget, of course) might be very welcome this holiday. The Upright Go 2 is a small device that's worn on the upper back to combat perennial slouching. The device works by training users to sit or stand up straight, using a gentle vibration as a reminder when slouching occurs. The gadget also connects to a mobile app that creates a personalized training plan for building upper back and core strength. Notably, the Upright Go 2 is 50-percent smaller than the previous version and designed to be more comfortable, while offering 30 hours of battery life.

The Upright Go 2 is priced at $99.95.

Oculus Rift S

The world of virtual reality just keeps getting better. With the Oculus Rift S, released earlier this year, there are some big improvements to the VR experience. The Oculus Rift S headset includes enhanced tracking technology for better gameplay, a higher-resolution display and improved colors, and a more-comfortable design. The headset also includes a feature called Passthrough+, which lets users get a glimpse of the "real world" without removing the device.

The Oculus Rift S is priced at $399.

Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor

Speaking of gaming, the gift of a superb gaming monitor could be an excellent option for the gamer on your list. The Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor offers improved field of vision and immersion with 1800R curvature and QHD resolution. Gamers can also benefit from refresh rates of up to 165Hz. Low-latency high-dynamic range gaming is enabled by the inclusion of AMD Radeon FreeSync 2 HDR technology.

The Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor is currently priced at $419.99 on Dell.com.

Samsung Galaxy S10

For the gadget lover in your life who's always looking for a top-notch phone camera, Samsung's Galaxy S10 could fit the bill. The smartphone includes a new ultra-wide lens for capturing large scenes, offering a 120-degree field of view. And for those that prefer fingerprint log-in over facial recognition, the Galaxy S10 offers an "ultrasonic" in-display scanner for easier log-in; the scanner just appears on the unlock screen to show users where to place their finger, and then disappears afterwards. Another key new feature of the Galaxy S10 is Wireless PowerShare, which offers the ability to wirelessly charge other Qi devices by placing them on the back of the S10. For the display, the Galaxy S10 features a 6.1-inch AMOLED screen and QHD+ resolution.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 (unlocked) currently has a starting price of $699.99 on Samsung.com.

Mighty Purse

This leather wristlet has an extra feature that the gadget lover on your list should appreciate: the ability to charge a smartphone on the go. The purse features a 4,000mAh battery that can charge both iPhones and Android smartphones. (Android phones must be able to connect over USB-C, and the purse comes with a Lightning adapter to charge iPhones.) Meanwhile, the Mighty Purse is made from 100 percent genuine leather and features an internal zipper pocket and credit card compartment.

The Mighty Purse is currently priced at $90 on Amazon.

Belkin Boost Charge Power Bank 5K With Lightning Connector

If your loved one's iPhone always seems to be in need of a charge, they might just appreciate this handy accessory from Belkin. The 5,000mAh Boost Charge Power Bank offers up to 35 hours worth of battery life per charge, and won't add much heft with a weight of just a third of a pound. For iPhone users, it also has a big advantage over other power banks: it can actually recharge itself using a Lightning cable. That means users can recharge the Boost Charge Power Bank using the same Lightning cable they use to power his iPhone.

The Belkin Boost Charge Power Bank 5K With Lightning Connector is currently priced at $39.99.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple's latest update to the AirPods line is the AirPods Pro, which offers Active Noise Cancellation, enhanced sound and a new design that includes three different silicone ear tips. The AirPods Pro also includes Siri voice control and "transparency mode" for being able to listen to music while also hearing the sounds in your environment. You'll probably have to act soon to get them in time for the holidays--delivery windows are already lengthy.

Apple's AirPods Pro are priced at $249.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

If you aren't able to get your hands on the AirPods Pro, Samsung's Galaxy Buds could be a great alternative as a gift this holiday. Key features include top-notch audio quality from AKG and "enhanced ambient sound" that allows users to remain aware of the environment while still experiencing great audio. The Galaxy Buds also include a dual microphone setup for clear delivery of your voice and up to six hours of battery life.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are priced at $129.99.

Lenovo Smart Display, 7-Inch

In time for this holiday season, Lenovo has launched a more compact-sized—and affordably priced--version of its voice-controllable smart display. The newest Lenovo Smart Display pairs the Google Assistant with a 7-inch SD display, 5-watt speakers and dual-array microphones. Supported services include HBO Now, CNN, Spotify, Nest, Philips Hue and Wemo, and key features include an RGB light sensor for automatic adjustment of display based on the room's lighting.

The Lenovo Smart Display, 7-Inch, is currently priced at $99.99 from B&H.

HP Tango X

While so much of our lives is going digital, plenty of people--even techies--still appreciate having a printer available for those times when one is called for. And HP's Tango X printer is a terrific choice. The printer features a compact size for fitting into any room, as well as a stylish design; the Tango X sports a fabric cover that makes the printer resemble a book when closed. The Tango X also serves as a scanner and copier, and comes with voice control capabilities for voice-activated printing.

The HP Tango X is currently priced at $199.99.

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700

For busy techies and non-techies alike, noise-canceling headphones can be a big help. Noise-canceling headphones from Bose are always a solid choice, and Bose recently introduced its new Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700. Along with wireless connectivity, the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 offer improved noise cancellation with a six-microphone array that can block even the most disruptive sounds. Meanwhile, two microphones are included for improved voice pickup. The headphones also offer voice control with Siri, the Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa assistant, and feature an impressive 20 hours of battery life.

The Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 are currently priced at $399.95.

DJI Spark (Fly More Combo)

No tech gift list should go without a cool drone, and the DJI Spark is one worth considering if you're looking to delight the techie in your lift this holiday. This mini drone can fly for up to 16 minutes and can continue transmitting video from up to 1.2 miles away. The Spark also offers a number of features for improved photo and video taking such as stabilized video; "intelligent flight modes" for easily creating impressive aerial videos; and automatic object recognition for improved tracking of objects.

The DJI Spark (Fly More Combo) is currently priced at $649 on Amazon.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

If you're looking to give a cool new laptop this year, Dell's recent update to the XPS 13 2-in-1 is worth a look. The new XPS 13 convertible more than doubles the performance in a thinner form factor and provides up to 16 hours of battery life, thanks in part to Intel's new tenth-generation Core processors. Dell said the XPS 13 2-in-1 continues to be the smallest convertible notebook available on the market, thanks in part to the small-bezel "InfinityEdge" display. The screen also comes with Dell's EyeSafe display technology for reducing blue light, and the laptop camera is (thankfully) now located at the top of the display.

The new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a starting price of $999.99 on Dell.com.

GoPro HERO7 White

For the adventurous techie in your life, you might consider giving a GoPro for capturing the biggest moments. The GoPro HERO7 White shoots video at 1440p resolution and photos at 10 megapixels. The pocket-size HERO7 White is waterproof in waters as deep as 10 meters (about 33 feet); includes video stabilization and voice-control capabilities; and offers features such as vertical capture and a photo timer for group photos and selfies. The GoPro HERO7 White also comes with a 2-inch LCD touch screen featuring a redesigned user interface that delivers smartphone-like simplicity.

The GoPro HERO7 White is currently priced at $159.99 on Amazon.

Amazon Kindle

This might be the year to help some of the people your list to go digital with an e-reader. That would be great timing, too, because Amazon just refreshed the Kindle earlier this year. The biggest new feature for the Kindle is the addition of a front light, which lets users adjust the display brightness for more-comfortable reading. That includes during nighttime reads indoors or outdoors in the bright sun. The Kindle features a 6-inch 167 ppi display for reading e-books, along with the ability to play Audible audiobooks—and, notably, the Kindle lets users easily switch between reading and listening to the same book.

The Amazon Kindle is currently priced at $59.99 (with "special offers" advertising) or $79.99 without ads.