Topical Tech Gifts for The 2018 Holiday Season
It's that time of year again—a time filled with friends, family, and (unfortunately) cold and snowy weather. It's also a time of tradition, community, and, maybe most recognizably, gift giving. Finding the perfect gift for those special people in your life can be an absolute headache. Between not knowing what to get someone, or not knowing the right places to look, this can and usually does cause a lot of stress during this season—but that's where we come in! The Armor Techs have curated a list of tech gifts sure to leave that techie in your life happy, content, and ready for 2019.
Ryan's Pick: The Nintendo Switch / Pokemon: Let's Go
If you're anything like I am, you probably enjoy video gaming. Furthermore, you've probably been invested in the Pokemon franchise for what seems like forever. Both of these wrap up into my recommendation for this holiday's best tech gift—the Nintendo Switch and Pokemon Let's Go. The Switch is easily the top pick this season for so many reasons: the ability to pick up and take your gaming wherever you'd like, several classic franchises are being reimagined and updates for this console make it an easy staple for the gaming cabinet, and overall Nintendo has yet to disappoint over this console.
If you're looking to get a Switch, I recommend also picking up Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee (LGPE). A modern take on a classic world, Pokemon LGPE takes the classic world of the original Pokemon Yellow and brings it to full 3D. Incorporating a ton of features from the mobile hit Pokemon Go, this game tailors to the busy lifestyle of the modern gamer—allowing you to pick it up for short periods of time and feel like you're making progress, while also not slowing you down with the lengthy process of grinding that is basically synonymous with the older entries in the franchise.
You can pick up a Nintendo Switch, or one of the many console bundles (like the one bundled with Mario Kart 8) at basically any store, or online for around $299.99. Be aware, however, that the Switch is one of the hottest gifts of this season, so you might be looking for longer than you expect. Check it out at Walmart, or on Amazon.
Kevin's Pick: Positive Vibration 2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
After spending hours scouring the internet, I noticed an odd trend in wireless headphones: either they are ridiculously expensive or they're cheap garbage. I wanted to find something quality made, but I'm not spending $200 on a pair of headphones. I also have very specific specifications that I was looking for: I dislike the way earbuds sound, and I have had a problem with over-the-ear headphones. As a glasses wearer, I find that they are always uncomfortable, and no matter how much I adjust the headband, I end up getting a headache. Not with these, they are comfortable and fit right on my ear, the headband is comfortable and snug enough that it doesn't apply too much pressure on my head. They are small and lightweight. The sound quality is good and the bass is surprisingly deep. As an added benefit, the company is also concerned about the environment.
- FSC Certified Wood: FSC forests are managed with consideration for the environment. FSC guarantees the trees harvested are replaced and regenerated naturally.
- Recyclable Aluminum: recyclable aluminum earcups conserves natural resources, saves energy and contributes to cleaner manufacturing, creating less mining waste and water usage.
- Regrind Fabric Headband: 30% reclaimed organic cotton, 30% reclaimed hemp, 40% recycled PET. They weave a unique blend of recycled materials into a durable high-quality fabric.
- Comfortable On-Ear Design: plush ear cups, lighter, softer shape, more padding.
- Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity: using 4.2 BT profile pairing is fast and easy. Phones and other BT enabled music devices are quickly and easily recognized.
- Enhanced Battery Life: up to 12hr of music playtime from a single charge. Industry standard micro USB allows for a convenient and quick charge.
These are available on Amazon if you'd like to check them out for yourself!
Stephen's Pick: Google Home Automated Assistants
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that digital assistants are dumb. But people are also dumb so we kind of go hand in hand. Which is my way of saying I broke down and got one, a Google Home Mini. Historically, I've been against devices like this, especially when linked to more... dangerous aspects of home automation (if its purpose is generating heat it shouldn't be connected to the internet, don't @ me).
But now that I have a little CIA spy in my house, I can tell you that it is upsettingly convenient. All of these devices double as a Bluetooth speaker, so the apps that don't support the Google Cast API can still benefit from your new nosey friend. Set up was a breeze, and with the voice recognition system (which isn't always 100%, but you can tell it's trying) my fiancee and I can each access our own connected media accounts. The only real downside is that, like any petulant child, you have to be very exact with what you want it to do or you'll just get a smart answer back. I would recommend for the voice timers and reminders alone, but the speaker quality is good, and the integration with large services like Netflix and Spotify means I'm never more than a quick "Hey Google" from whatever binge media I'm feeling. They're on sale for the holidays, and you can buy them directly from Google here.
Ben's Pick: The Anker PowerCore 20100 Power Bank
If you spend a lot of time traveling, whether for vacation or work, you may find that you keep running out of power on your phone or tablet as the day goes on, and without an outlet in sight, what will you do? Well, worry no more as the Anker PowerCore 20100 has come to help. This portable charger features two USB ports able to supply up to 2.4A per port, allowing for fast charging of two devices at the same time. It also features a battery indicator, letting you know much charge it has left so you won’t be left without power. Add in a battery capacity that is enough to charge an iPhone 7 almost 7 times and its compact design, and it’s hard to find a reason not to get one.
You can purchase the PowerCore 20100 online or in some stores for around $39.99-$49.99 down from a standard $79.99, so pay attention to prices if you decide to buy one as not all retailers are currently having a sale on them. Check it out on Amazon.
Jeremy's Pick: The GoPro Hero7 Black
This is for all you kayakers, hikers, black diamond skiing, base jumping adventurous types out there who enjoy capturing the experience on camera. GoPro's new Hero7 Black captures hyper smooth videos and amazing still images that in this guys opinion are the best out there. If you’re already an experienced GoPro-er, the stabilization of the Hero7 Black is similar to that of using a Gimble with the Hero6 Black. It boasts 16 voice commands which can be used to control the device when in those precarious situations you may find yourself in where BOTH hands are preoccupied. For you screwdrivers, snorkeling enthusiasts, and water sports fanatics, the Hero7 Black is completely waterproof down to 33 feet.
It also has features for you vloggers and social medialites! Take advantage of the TimeWarp and/or Video Live Streaming features to speed up or slow down sunsets or actions shots which can then be streamed to Facebook Live or posted on other platforms. Even inside its casing, the audio pickup is pretty good, but you can easily connect a quality external microphone for better sound.
At $399.99, the GoPro Hero7 Black is a bit on the expensive side, but the quality of the camera is worth it. Full disclosure, there have been instances where people have reported problems with battery or software updates. Generally, changing the memory card will fix the issue or you can contact GoPro to exchange for another one. I prefer purchasing directly from the GoPro website, they have a decently priced protection plan you can purchase. For those of you like me, that's a good thing, because I tend to be pretty rough on my electronics.
Miles's Pick: The PlayStation Classic
A great gift this holiday season for a gamer in your life might be the new PlayStation Classic. The PlayStation Classic is Sony's take on the hottest gifts the past 2 years: the NES classic and the SNES classic. The PlayStation Classic is 45% smaller than the original PlayStation and comes with 2 controllers and 20 preloaded games. Some of the games included are the following: Final Fantasy 7, Resident Evil: Directors Cut, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto, and Twisted Metal. This IGN article has the complete games list and a few extra goodies. The PlayStation Classic released 12-3-18 to the price of $99.99 as should be sold be most retailers that normally sell video games, including Amazon.
Armor's Holiday Gift to the Community
No matter what variety of tech, from gaming to outdoor adventuring there's something for everyone this holiday season. If you're not looking to buy new tech for the holidays, Armor Techs is also running a promotion where you can bring in old toys and games (excluding game consoles) before the end of the year and we'll do what we can to fix them for you—free of charge! You can also bring in your old devices for us to recycle and get an in-store credit for them—which can be used to fix your modern electronics, buy accessories for the new tech you just got, or even pick up a computer for those special people on your list for the holidays.
As a footnote, I would like to take a moment to thank the wonderful techs, designers, writers, and everyone else working at Armor Techs for taking the time to produce their sections of this post. Curating content on topical items like this takes a ton of research, and we couldn't have gotten it to our readers without them! Happy Holidays to Everyone!