As odd as it may seem, 2018 is wrapping up, and that means the holiday season is upon us. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any holiday in between, it’s that time of year when we exchange special gifts with family, friends, co-workers, bosses, strangers – well, you get the point – to express our gratitude, our love, and our thankfulness for them in our lives.
Of course, that leaves one question: what do you get everyone on your list? Lucky for you, we’ve sifted through the interwebs, dug through our archives, and compiled a bunch of cool gifts you can give everyone on your list regardless of what they’re into. And since we’re a tech site, virtually every gift on this list is tech-related. But then again, who doesn’t love new technology to play with?
Without further ado, here’s our 2018 gift guide to help you find the best presents for everyone on your list this holiday season.
Phones are a quintessential part of our everyday lives, and there’s nothing like getting a new one especially during the holiday season. Here’s a list of our recommendations with highlights of features that make them worth buying.
Available in both 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch sizes, Apple’s newest flagship phones offer the best of what the company has to offer in the smartphone space. Recipients of either the XS or XS Max will enjoy snappy performance, a gorgeous OLED screen, Face ID, great cameras, wireless charging, and all-day battery life.
If you’d like to get someone a new iPhone but don’t necessarily want to spend $1,000, the XR is an excellent choice. You get the same processor and camera as the XS along with a 6.2-inch Liquid Retina LCD display, Face ID, subjectively better battery life, and a fun color all at a lower price.
Google’s smartphones have grown in popularity in recent history, and the company’s newest handsets are pretty stellar. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL come with 5.5-inch and 6.3-inch OLED displays (respectively), stock Android Pie, wireless charging, and the best cameras currently in a smartphone.
While it’s one of the most expensive smartphones on the market, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is one of the most powerful. It packs top-tier specifications you simply don’t find in lots of other Android phones along with a big 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, dual cameras, wireless charging, and a headphone jack. If you’re shopping for a power user who loves smartphones, the Note 9 is perfect.
If you’re looking for something a bit different from the traditional smartphone, check out the LG V40 ThinQ. It’s the best LG phone to date and comes with a glass design, a large 6.4-inch OLED display, wireless charging, a headphone jack, high-end audio support, and five cameras, giving users versatility when taking photographs not found in other handsets.
For those of you looking for a good, cheap phone to give someone, check out the Moto G6. It received great reviews when it debuted earlier this year for packing a feature set you don’t commonly find in sub-$300 phones. It includes a 5.7-inch 18:9 display, near-stock Android, dual cameras, a fingerprint scanner, and good performance.
Carrier support: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Project Fi
Just because this handset costs a lot less than competitors doesn’t mean it isn’t as good. In fact, the OnePlus 6T has all the same specs as a $1,000 phone along with a 6.4-inch OLED display, an in-display fingerprint reader, facial recognition, fast charging, dual cameras, and OxygenOS based on Android Pie. For a fast and responsive experience on a budget, the 6T should be considered.
Another good, cheap smartphone to consider is the Motorola One. While it does cost quite a bit more than the Moto G6, it at least gives you more phone in exchange. You get a better processor, better cameras, a larger screen, a glass design, and Android One based on 9.0 Pie. This guarantees software and security updates are delivered regularly to the device’s clean operating system which is always helpful.
Carrier support: AT&T, T-Mobile
Laptops & Tablets
Whether your friend or family member needs a new Netflix machine or something to get work done, there are lots of new laptops and tablets that are starting to hit the market. Here are some of the best that we feel confident they’ll love.
If you’re looking for just an iPad, the $329 9.7-inch iPad is the iPad for your iPad needs. Seriously, it’s just an iPad. It does all the iPad things from games to Netflix to web browsing. It includes a nice screen, great performance, iPhone-level cameras, long battery life, and a headphone jack. Plus, if you want, you can use it with your Apple Pencil.
Apple just released a new MacBook Air. So if someone on your list has the old one, this new model is gonna be a great improvement. It has a Retina display (finally!), modern processors (finally!), USB-C ports (finally!), slimmer bezels (finally!), and an updated design (finally!). Clearly, this refresh has been a long time coming, and it’s here just in time for the holidays.
For anyone looking for a much more familiar laptop-style design, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 won’t do you wrong. It has modern internals for great performance and battery life and an Alcantara-covered keyboard for added comfort and style. It also includes a touchscreen and Windows 10 with guaranteed updates.
You may have never heard of them, but Huawei actually made one of the best laptops of 2018 when it comes to the Matebook X Pro. It packs all the specifications you’d need for great performance, a comfortable keyboard, great battery life, great speakers, and a hidden webcam underneath one of the Function keys. For something a bit different, this laptop should be considered.
For those who need more than just an iPad, get the iPad Pro. Its larger screen and faster performance will aid in PC-like tasks including photo editing, video editing, and drawing. It’s available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes and features USB-C charging for more versatility and better productivity.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has always served up great, versatile devices that are great for work, play, and creativity. The new Surface Pro 6 is no exception. It comes with modern specs, a familiar detachable form factor, good battery life, and a beautiful screen. Of course, you’ll have to buy the keyboard and pen separately, but it’s an overall great device nonetheless.
Another great Windows 10-based laptop is the Lenovo Yoga C930. It offers a 2-in-1 form factor, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, plenty of RAM and storage, and good battery life. Its shining feature are the speakers which sound absolutely incredible. If you don’t purchase this laptop for any other reason, buy it because of the fantastic sound quality.
Running Chrome OS, Google’s Pixelbook is essentially a flagship Chromebook with high-end specs for amazing performance and all-day battery life. While you won’t be doing lots of heavy work on this machine, it’s perfect for casual use like writing, light photo editing, and consuming content. Plus, it comes with a great design with a 360-degree hinge.
There may not be a lot of good smartwatches on the market, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Here are some of our recommendations.
Standing as possibly the best smartwatch currently on the market, Apple’s new Apple Watch Series 4 packs a ton of greatness in a small form factor. It boasts a larger screen than the previous generation, watchOS 5, faster performance, new health features, and updated bands. It may be expensive, but it’ll be worth it if your gift recipient plans to use it every day.
If you don’t want to spend $400+ for a new Apple Watch for someone, there’s the Apple Watch Series 3 from last year. Just because it’s a year old at this point doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It offers great performance thanks to updated watchOS software, amazing battery life, and two screen sizes. Plus, it’s now way cheaper than it used to be, making it an absolute steal for the holidays.
If you’re shopping for an Android user, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is an excellent choice. It comes with a large, round display with a stainless steel body. It runs Samsung’s Tizen OS which is capable of running various different applications. It also boasts fitness features to help you get in shape for the new year.
Smart home gadgets are all the rage nowadays, and we’ve selected our favorites that will be perfect in a stocking or under the tree this holiday season.
If a friend or family member is still rocking those dollar-store plastic earbuds that only work in one ear, it’d be a good idea to consider giving them a new set of headphones this holiday season. Here are some of our favorites.