The speed at which new gadgets enter the market can be overwhelming, making our devices feel out of date hardly a year after we buy them. The upside, though, is that new gadgets provides ample gifting opportunities for the techies in our lives every time a birthday or holiday rolls around.
Here are our top picks for the best tech gifts right now, from earbuds and phone accessories to Bluetooth speakers, VR headsets and more.
Best tech gifts for 2022
Gadgets are not only fun but can make your life easier in so many ways. And these days, you hardly need to be tech-savvy to own one. Whether you're shopping for a gamer, an adventure seeker, an avid reader or a coffee drinker, there’s a gift here that they will truly appreciate.
Can’t bear to be without your game library while away from your PC? The Steam Deck is a must-buy for any committed PC gamer who wants the flexibility of a portable console — the handheld gaming machine packs in your entire Steam library and lets you take it on the go. However, this is new hardware and some games will be more optimized than others, so you’ll want to check out Valve’s official ‘Verified’ list to make sure your favorite games are covered.
You simply won’t get a portable speaker better than the Sonos Roam for the price. With characteristically strong sound from Sonos, useful smart home connectivity and a bass-heavy output that helps it stand out amid noisy outdoors settings, this affordable speaker is a great gadget to buy as a gift. IP67 water and dust resistance protects it from rain, sand and even brief, 30-minute dips in the pool. It's compatible with wireless charging, with a nine- to 10-hour battery life, according to the brand.
These Sony headphones are the pinnacle of comfort, audio quality and active noise cancellation for over-ear headphones. Their beefy 30-hour battery life will last a day in the office as well as a long-haul flight, while the incredible frequency range (4Hz-40,000-Hz) means you won’t miss a note of the music you’re listening to. The noise cancellation can block out unwanted background chatter, although a dedicated ambient mode also records outside noise via external headphones and plays them back to you through the speakers, in case you want to be clued in to your surroundings.
Apple’s latest AirPods Pro earbuds match the price of the previous model while upping audio performance, improving battery life to a total 30 hours (with the charging case, that is) and offering standout noise cancellation in a compact form factor, according to the brand. You’ll also get Spatial Audio for a slight surround sound effect.
For Apple enthusiasts, this phone combines the best of all the Apple phone releases at an affordable price point. Users can enjoy a faster A15 processor and a higher-resolution camera for regular and macro photography, so they can snap portraits and more detailed photos. And for the TikTok enthusiast, a cinematic mode shoots clear videos with a 120Hz refresh rate, so they can enjoy playback without any video lag. It also has an incredibly long battery life with up to 28 hours of video playback, according to Apple. While we’ve since seen the release of the iPhone 14, last year’s iPhone 13 Pro is generally a better bet, given its enhanced camera capabilities and heightened 120Hz refresh rate.
The Wallet Slayer is both a phone case and card wallet all in one, reducing the number of objects in your pocket while keeping all your valuable items together. With a durable rubber case and a relatively slim design, it’s everything your iPhone 13 needs — and there’s a reason we recommended it earlier this year. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to use it in tandem with a wireless charger or MagSafe accessories.
If you miss the compact style of ‘90s flip phones, you might want to check out Samsung’s foldable handset — it has the full-sized screen expected from a premium mobile but in a foldable form factor that pivots on a hinge halfway down the display. The "cover screen" lets you see notifications, take selfies and pay for items even while folded, while IPX8 water resistance, an aluminum frame and some eye-catching colors make this a unique premium phone for modern tech lovers.
The DXR-8 is an award-winning portable baby monitor that’s easy to carry around the house. It provides a continual video feed with up to 700 feet of visual range, according to the brand, and a camera you can control from afar — meaning you can pan, tilt and zoom to your heart’s content. With a maximum 10-hour battery life, it’ll last you well through the day (or night) and ensure you’re never far from your child.
This new Kindle tablet from Amazon takes the comfortable reading experience of an e-reader and couples it with a magnetic pen you can use to make annotations, scribble notes, make lists and journal entries and generally doodle as the mood strikes you. The 10.2-inch Paperwhite display is easy on the eyes for long reading sessions as you browse the Kindle library, while the Scribe charges over USB-C with a battery life that’ll last months of use, according to the brand. The pen upgrade couples with a digital eraser and shortcut button, too.
This upgraded smartwatch is both stylish and sturdy and will make a great gift for a fitness nut who likes to keep on top of their walks, runs and exercise performance in a sleek, color-customizable smartwatch. The new screen is the star of the show here, thanks to a sapphire crystalline structure that’s 1.6 times stronger than that of the Galaxy Watch 4, according to Samsung. A health app lets you track important biometric data (protected by Samsung’s security software), and shoppers can choose between 40mm and 44mm sizing, case colors in silver, graphite or pink gold, and a variety of different bands.
If you’ve exhausted all options for getting yourself or a loved one an impressive gadget, consider this virtual reality headset from Oculus. The Meta Quest 2 (formerly the Oculus Quest 2) offers the pinnacle of VR entertainment, with a high-resolution display, comfortable wireless play and a generally reasonable price point for such next-gen hardware. For your first VR game, we recommend Beat Saber – a fun rhythm action game in the style of Guitar Hero but with lightsabers.
This premium smart water bottle is perfect for forgetful hydraters. A discrete LED rim will flash at regular intervals to remind you to drink, and you can connect the Equa bottle to a smartphone app to track your water usage throughout the day. With a sleek stainless-steel exterior, it’s heftier than the average plastic bottle but endlessly reusable and durable.
Always losing your keys? Or does your pet keep running off? The Apple AirTag is a cost-effective and reliable way to never lose sight of your commonly misplaced items again, allowing you to track the location of the AirTag wherever you put it. Like many Apple devices, you can get it engraved for free for personalized information, too.