Choosing the right tech gift can be tricky, fun and pay off big time both for the giver and giftee. People remember good gifts. We bandwagon products based on previous experiences with a company (or if they’re vetted by someone we admire), but sometimes realize that beyond the hype there are purposeful tech products worth checking out too. On this list we’ve got tech manufacturers entering new spaces, devices that help with security, some with sound, some with both, and naturally we had to include a game in the mix, but not just any game. Gander below.
The sixth installment of the franchise comes with five additional characters such as Ken (Street Fighter) and Isabelle (Animal Crossing), joining Mario, Donkey Kong, Peach and the rest of the gang in Super Smash Bros., exclusive to Nintendo Switch. Get ready for 103 stages and over 900 songs, which you can listen to in portable mode just like an iPod. The game requires 13.6 GB of space and those buying the physical copy will need to download a day one update that fixes the replay system. Digital owners do not need to download the patch. You can play with up to eight players, so more characters, more players, more battles. According to Nintendo Versus, to date, Ultimate is the best pre-selling game of the series as well as on Switch.
Belkin now allows QI-enabled smartphones to charge using the BOOST↑UP 10W Stand, which is a new product this year. Apple users with iPhone models 8 and later are compatible, yes, but now Samsung users can get in on the 10-watt wireless charging as well. LG-ers too. Using the stand as a prop too, you can look through videos, music and photos on your phone in an easier manner than when you’d use a wall adapter. Belkin’s standards also ensure that precious phone cargo is being protected while it’s charging. You don’t have to remove your back casing to charge the phone either—it works against up to 3 mm of plastic casing. There’s thermal sensors there also, helping monitor the heat impact. Compatible with iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S9, S8, S7, Galaxy S9+ / S8+, S7 edge, Note 8 as well as Qi-enabled devices from Sony and LG. Available in black and white.
This year the acclaimed MSI name is stepping outside of the gaming sphere when it comes to computers, offering its first ever ultrabook geared to creatives and professionals that are non-gamers. We’re into a couple of them, but based on budget and what we’re needing it for (mainly work), we’re selecting the PS42 Prestige as our top choice. It’s sleek and lightweight (1.19 kg, 15.9 mm), powered by a 8th-Gen Intel® CoreTM i7 processor, made of aluminum (not accompanied by the traditional red and black aesthetics seen before with MSI) and is truly portable and priced reasonably for the market it’s entering. It comes with a 14″ 1920x1080px display, two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, a full HDMI port and SD card slot. If you’re looking to venture away from the mainstream computer cluster, this is your knight in shining armour.
Portable speakers are a dime a dozen and there’s a wide spectrum to choose from, but if you’re looking for a simple, clear and pretty seamless device that can bring you from the boardroom to the bedroom, this is for you. The Beoplay P2 gives you 10 hours of play time, options to customize (by shaking it), smart charging (via a USB-C cable) and a built-in microphone, all within a robust anodized aluminum frame.
D-Link is in the business of connecting people through technology. The company has been a trusted name in computer networking for 25 years; chances are you’ve got a D-Link router in use. This D-Link WiFi camera functions with a full HD 1080p video resolution with night vision so you can receive alerts for sound or motion that’s picked up to 16 feet of complete darkness. Cloud recording or local recording to an SD card are both available for storing the footage. Free cloud reporting and paid recording options are available. The free option provides all of the video recorded in the last 24-hours at no charge. The paid options offer extends recording times and price varies. The camera also works with other IFTTT supported devices to connect the home further, if that’s your thing. You can set scheduled recordings and engage in two-way audio conversations with people inside the home while you ‘re away.
Beats continues to live up to the hype and we’re all about this eye popping (product) red pair, which comes with class 1 Bluetooth (fewer drop-outs and spotty connections) and has 22 hours of wireless playback with Beats’ tech, the proprietary Pure ANC (Adaptive Noise Canceling) on. Turn ANC off and expect up to 40 hours of continual playback (in lower power mode, mind you), and a 10-minute fast charge via the Micro-USB cable gives you up to three hours of juice to play your tunes. Control your calls, song selections and volumes from right within the on-ear headphones. Available in white, red, blue, matte black, crystal blue, shadow grey and more.
We like the Sonos Ones, but this year our eyes have darted to another offering from the company. If you’re someone who likes a more intimate listening experience, Sonos Beam might be your ticket. Optimized for small to medium rooms, the Beam can be utilized for all your audiovisual needs—from TV audio to streaming music (it supports 66 music services) or podcasts, you’ll be impressed with the punch the Sonos Beam delivers. Unlike the Sonos One, it has an HDMI ARC input and control so you can hook up your TV to it. If you’re looking for more from your TV audio, grab this.
It’s time for your friend to finally get around to doing that podcast they’ve been promising since 2013. This mobile USB microphone is built to give 24-bit studio quality sound and simple functionality, plus it can be linked up to PC, Mac, iPhone or an iPad. It also comes with an Internal Audio Diffuser (a patent-pending IAD we should add) helpful for leveling out acoustics and minimizing noise in the space. It’s small enough to carry wherever so you’re not hauling big equipment on your way to that big break.
This TV will give you four times more pixels than seen with 4K Full HD, so four times the resolution. It can be synced to the Samsung Cloud to keep hold of all your vital photos which then can be viewed on a larger mounted scale, and you can tap in and browse selections easily using your phone. Guaranteed you’ll make use of the UHD dimming feature, further optimizing the viewing experience.
Last but certainly not least is Google’s Pixel Slate, which is a mashup between a tablet and computer, however, you have to purchase an external Pixel Slate Keyboard which runs about CAD$350. The keyboard is backlit and the keys are Hush Keys™ to keep typing quieter. There’s also another keyboard ($40 cheaper) coming out. Depending on your preferences such as how much RAM you need, you can choose between Pixel Slate types and they start at CAD$849. The lowest model offers 4GB of RAM and you can get up to 16GB of RAM should you go with the most expensive. The Google Pixel Slate comes with two mics to help with noise cancellation, a fingerprint sensor for recognition and security, two USB-C ports, a 12.3-inch Molecular Display (among the best out there), 10 hours of battery life and an overall build that is anything but cheap looking. At this price we’d hope not. If you’re looking for a high performing two-in-one (Chrome) and ready to pay willingly for Google’s ask, this is a choice worth trying out.