Here it is, the end of 2019 and time to buy gifts for the Holidays again. I go shopping, and I find a thousand things I want to put on my list but struggle to find gifts for others. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what are the hottest tech gifts this year, so I’ve decided to do some research and throw my hat into the ring. Here are some of my favorite gifts for everyone on your list.
1. Smart Speakers
Either a Google Nest (formerly Google Home) or an Amazon Echo is an absolute must-have. If you don’t already have one, I strongly urge you to try one of them. If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, the Echo can help you with that. If you’re an avid Android user, as I am, you’re already plugged into the Google ecosystem, and the Google Nest is a better way to tap into some of Google’s most-used services. This device is excellent for playing music, keeping me up to date on my calendar, answering questions, and even telling jokes. If the person you are buying for already has one of these devices, then it’s time to add the fun stuff.
2. Smart Home Tech
What fun stuff could I possibly be talking about? Smart Plugs for starters! These little guys can automate anything that you plug into it. You can set various devices to turn on and off with a timer or by commands. There are a variety of these plugs and can vary in compatibility with your current devices, so be sure to look at the specs. One of my favorites is the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet. It can be controlled from within your home or remotely with the app. Kasa also carries a variety of light switches and bulbs that can all be controlled wirelessly. Having the ability to start dinner or turn the lights on before you even get home, quickly becomes priceless.
3. LED Strips
Accent lighting is another fun way to spruce up your home. LED lights are a fantastic way to add energy-efficient accent lighting to your home. Inside or outside, LED lights can make the ordinary look extraordinary. LED lighting has become incredibly inexpensive and full of fun ways to use them. Many strings have physical controllers and/or apps to change the lights to a solid color to set them up to change color. LED lights look great along an entrance walkway, under stairs, behind pictures, under your bed, and just about anywhere else you may need a little light to guide your way. Needing a guiding light leads me to my next top pick: the RainBowl.
4. More Fun Lighting
What is a RainBowl, you ask? Well, it is the one nifty product I am super excited about. The RainBowl is a little motion sensor light that illuminates your toilet. In the middle of the night, you can make your way to the restroom and be greeted by the warming glow of your toilet. Whether this is a gag gift or this is something you genuinely like, it won’t break the bank and will surely put a smile on someone’s face. What doesn’t make me smile is losing things. My next gift put that worry in the past.
5. Item Trackers
Question for you: if you added together the amount of time you have spent over the course of your life looking for your keys, your wallet, your remotes, your kid’s favorite stuffed animal, etc.—how much time would that be? Tile makes a variety of small Bluetooth devices that you can attach to your most needed possessions to track their whereabouts when you misplace them. The Tiles are easily tracked by your smartphone. Use the Tile app to ring your Tile if it’s nearby; just tap the ‘Find’ button. But what if it’s your phone that you can’t find? They work both ways: double press the button on your Tile and your phone will ring, even if it’s on silent. But what if the device is out of range? When you’re far away, you’ll see the last time and place it was updated. And if your Tile is truly lost, just activate the Tile community and every phone running the Tile app can help you find it. It creates a mesh network to keep track of your things. The more people that are using the app, the better the range and chance of finding your item. I absolutely love these devices.
6. Last, but Not Least
External hard drives: back your stuff up, people! Now, I know a hard drive probably sounds like a boring present to give someone, the tech equivalent of giving someone socks or a towel. However, unlike socks or towels (things you use literally every day), hard drives are something you also use every day but take for granted. It’s 2019, the best gift I think you could give someone is a tool to keep their data safe. One of the most common problems we see coming into the shop are failing or corrupted hard drives, and most people do not have a backup. All hard drives fail, eventually; phones have accidents. You need to make sure that you have all of your data backed up—either to the cloud or to an external drive (preferably, both). You can get a portable 2TB external hard drive for less than $60, which is more than enough space for the average person to store the data from all of their devices. If you’re willing to spend a little more, we recommend an SSD external drive. They’re smaller, faster, and more resilient than traditional hard drives because they have no moving parts. Saving someone you love from losing all of their first child’s baby pictures, important financial records, the hassle of installing and reconfiguring all of their programs and settings on a new hard drive, etc., could keep you on the top of their Christmas list for years to come.
If you were looking to buy me a gift, any of the above-listed items would put a smile on my face. If you are shopping for someone hard to buy for in your family, give these items a chance to make them smile. Here at Armor, we are here to help install, configure, or back up any of your gadgets and devices. We offer in-home service to get your smart home set up and have techs in the shop to help answer any of your questions.