Welcome to the 2018 edition of The Tech Wizard’s top tech gift ideas for the holidays. Our suggestions are for those loved ones who are yearning to get a little technology upgrade for their life.
Our homes are getting more intelligent all the time. Smart home devices can help with both safety and accessibility concerns and make life just a little easier in general. Smart home devices are the core of our list this year.
There are so many options that it can be hard to figure out where to start. If you are thinking about buying smart home products for your loved one, it is best to start them small. More options can be added on as they adapt to and learn to integrate the technology into their use.
Smart Speakers: At the top of the list for those looking to dip their toes into home automation are smart speakers. These devices continue to improve in speaker quality and voice assistant ability, which makes them more practical for everyday tasks and activities. Amazon has dominated the market with its Echo and Dot, but Google Home and the new Google Home Hub have moved up in the competition and are well worth your consideration.
Smart speakers are the core of creating a smart home. Many of the devices mentioned below can be integrated with Alexa, Google, and Siri, so you can initiate management using voice commands for a wide variety of household elements such as lighting, thermostats, security systems, cameras, doorbells and more.
Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats can help you easily control the temperature in your house while saving money. Nest and Ecobee both have great options at several different price points. You can program a set temperature range, change the temperature from your phone or use more advanced motion detection features that adjust the temperature in response to movement in the room. Almost all models work with smart speaker assistants like Alexa and Google, so you can also use your voice to change the temperature when at home.
Smart Lighting: The Lutron Caseta Dimmer Switch Starter Kit can help you automate home lighting. You can schedule the lights to toggle on and off, or dim, at certain times or based on sunrise and sunset. It also allows you to control your lighting from an app on your phone from anywhere in the world if you have a connection to the internet.
Video Doorbells: The Ring video doorbell lets you see, hear and speak to anyone at your door, all through an app on your phone. Whether you are on your couch or on a cruise, you know who is at your door and can have a conversation with them, if you choose. All you need is an active Wi-Fi connection to the doorbell itself.
Smart locks: The Kwikset Kevo smart locks allow you to unlock your door with a touch of the hardware if your phone is with you using Bluetooth technology with military grade encryption. Smart locks enable you to distribute “eKeys” to see who comes in and out of your home and what time.
Streaming video continues to evolve and as services like Hulu and YouTubeTV expand into live TV and local channels, streaming it is going to make it much easier to cut the cord with cable. According to AARP, in 2017, for the first time, traditional broadcast TV viewing declined among 50- to 64-year-olds, and Internet-connected TV watching in the same audience grew by 45 percent.
Having the right media streaming devices is essential to having a good experience when cutting the cord. The Roku provides a tremendous budget-friendly option, and Apple TV delivers a premium option that integrates nicely with all your Apple devices if that’s your platform of choice for technology.
For the bibliophile in your life, an eReader such as Kindle Paperwhite is a great gift. While it might take some time for them to get used to not having a paper book in their hand, the convenience of reading anywhere and ease of purchasing on a whim is a game changer.
The Apple Watch has been around for a few years, but the latest model, the Series 4 is a definitive upgrade from the previous model. The Series 4 not only has a larger screen, and a faster processor but it also has upgraded health functionality that offers twice the dynamic range capable of detecting falls. Updated heart rate sensors can now give alerts for low heart rate, irregular heart rate, and track electrocardiogram data.
For the techie in your life that already has all the gadgets, it might be best to buy them more practical gifts to help them with the devices they already have.
A multi-port charging station or dock like the Juicy Power 7-port Station allows for an organized and neat way to charge multiple devices at one time efficiently. Also, a UPS system with battery back-up and surge protected outlets such as the CyberPower UPS System will safeguard computers, networking devices and home entertainment equipment against electrical surges, storms or other unexpected events.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get the techie (or wanna-be-techie) in your life something that will help make their holiday last beyond the present opening. Happy shopping!