Last updated: 20th November 2017
As technology keeps on getting better, everyone loves upgrading what they have. Be it getting an upgrade of something old, or getting something shiny and new altogether, getting a new piece of tech never fails to put a huge smile on a loved one’s face. It could be a phone, a tablet, a computer, or a cool accessory, you can never go wrong with a techie gift.
One beautiful thing about technology these days is that no matter what kind of person you’re finding a gift for is, there is a cool piece of tech out there that’s perfect for them. To help you find the perfect one out there, here are some to open your eyes on what is available on the market out there.
Although the smart wear market is currently dominated by wrist-based tech, it is foolish to think that it won’t go uphill from here. The most common wearable smart tech on the market are smartwatches. These are watches that are basically tiny screens attached to a wristband.
These smartwatches typically link to your phone via Bluetooth and can become quite an interesting extension of your mobile device. Aside from functioning as a simple watch, a smartwatch connects to your phone which then allows you to get notifications directly to your wrist for a more integrated experience.
Imagine having notifications on your wrist from text messages, calls, calendar reminders, weather forecasts, alarms, and much more. Smart watches have also entered the health sector by having enough technology in them to become reliable biomonitoring devices which can be used to acquire information like your heart rate. Although many phone brands have already come up with their own proprietary smartwatch devices, the more common smartwatches come from the two tech giants Apple and Samsung - the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear.
If you are looking for a gift for a health nut who wouldn’t need all the fancy bells and whistles of a fully-functioning smartwatch, then a Fitbit might be a perfect choice. Also under the category of wearable tech, a Fitbit is a bit more on the fitness tracker side rather than the smartwatch side although that distinct line may be a bit blurry now.
A Fitbit is different because it is specially customized and marketed as a wearable fitness tracker, a device that can track steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, and other health-related information. The device connects to its own app which records and analyzes the data from the wearer’s activities.
Wearable tech is such a perfect gift right now because firstly, it’s a sector in technology that is not as ubiquitous as mobile phones yet so not everyone has them but no one can deny how useful they are once they have them.
Another reminder that the future has arrived is the fact that home-based smart technology is slowly but surely picking up the pace and finding its way in everyone’s homes. Smart home technology is a way to make use of the network you probably already have in your house or apartment, and take it to the next level. Have you ever seen a sci-fi movie where people can just talk to their houses and have their requests answered? Well, smart home technology is a step in that wonderful direction which makes this the perfect gift for anyone, even yourself, who wants to upgrade their way of living.
Smart home technology maximizes the use of your home network and the devices in your home that can probably connect to it as well. This allows you to control certain aspects of your home with a simple command from your smartphone or even with a simple voice command. Fortunately, there are quite a number of devices available on the market that can send a regular home to the technologically advanced future.
One of the most popular smart home devices one could get for that technological transition is a product by Amazon – the Echo The Echo is a small device with a powerful purpose, to connect users to everything you can through the internet and the network running through your home. Now you might be asking, “what can Echo specifically do?” The simple answer is a lot. However, let’s get into the different things Echo can do to make your life a whole lot better.
Firstly, Echo is compatible with your favorite music streaming services such as Amazon Music and Spotify. Since Echo connects devices across your home network, one would be able to stream music from their phone or computer to any other connected device they want such as speakers or even a smart TV.
Echo is also compatible with any smart technology you may have (or most likely purchase after getting Echo). These devices range from simple light bulbs, locks, kitchen appliances, and even a smart TV. This means that from your phone or computer, you can control other smart devices from anywhere in your home. Turn off the lights when you want to sleep without getting up to turn off the switches. Control your TV through your phone. Unlock rooms with your mobile phone. That’s right, you’re living in the future.
You may be thinking that Echo already has so much to offer but it’s way more. It is essentially a personal assistant with an AI component named Alexa. This means that as long as you’re in range of the Echo, you can literally just ask a question out loud and Alexa will answer. You can ask Alexa anything you would ask Siri or Bixby. Questions such as facts, information, weather, news, and much more.
Currently, the market is offering a full-sized Echo and smaller versions called Echo Dot. While the full-sized Echo is the more powerful device, one can opt for the Echo Dot when living in a smaller space. The Echo Dot can also be used in collaboration with a full-sized Echo to act as range extenders. Currently, Echo Show is the product version that is the most expensive since the product already comes with its own screen and webcam thus offering more features such as video calls and video streaming.
Another way to integrate smart technology into your home is through Nest. A simple yet innovative home-based smart technology which controls a specific aspect of your home: the thermostat.
Through Nest, one wouldn’t only be able to control the temperature settings from their phone but the intuitive programming of Nest can actually set the thermostat on autopilot, adjusting itself to specific conditions. This feature can actually even end up paying for Nest and more because you can set the thermostat to go lower when you go off to work, leaving the house empty, then turn back up when you’re on your way home. It’s even compatible with Echo which means you can then manually control the temperature via a simple voice command to Alexa.
Smart door locks are also getting more and more popular for homeowners, especially those with a lot of friends coming over. Smart locks can be controlled remotely through the phone which means you don’t have to hand your keys to anyone who needs access to your home.
How many times have you forgotten your keys? Even in the event that you’ve forgotten your keys, you can still easily unlock your doors with your phone. Smart locks are also usually compatible with Echo, allowing you to easily make sure all the locks are secure before going to bed with a simple voice command to Alexa.
Although it is undeniable that anyone would be over the moon when given a smart car, the more affordable gift option is a smart car accessory. For those who have smart cars, you can never go wrong with gifting them smart car tech because the very reason they got a smart car in the first place is for the integration features of advanced technology in a vehicle.
Another reason why smart car tech is a wonderful gift to give is that not all smart cars are built with the same features, which means you can always supplement a smart car with additional accessories. Here are some gifts that may be perfect for a smart car owner.
Since 1996, all cars have been required to have an OBD-II port, an accessible interface which allows access to important information about the car. Due to this access to information, many smart devices are capable of plugging into this port to access and make use of the car’s important information.
One of the more common smart car devices is a product from Verizon: The Hum. Once plugged in, the device sends the vehicle’s information directly to the app on your mobile phone. With Hum, you have access to information such as top speed, fuel mileage, and other health reports from your vehicle to make informed decisions about maintenance and such. This is also a perfect gift for parents to keep an eye out for their children’s cars, making sure they don’t break any speed limits or boundaries.
Do you know a family or friend who tends to forget where they’ve parked their car? If so, then maybe the Nonda ZUS is the right gift for them. As opposed to the Hum that is plugged into the OBD-II port, the ZUS plugs in the cigarette lighter. Although the ZUS offers a wide variety of functions, it is mainly used for locating your parked car.
Even if your car is parked and the engine isn’t running, the ZUS is able to transmit information right onto the app on your mobile device. With this information, you can simply use your phone to lead you to your car. Gone are the days of the aimless walking around dark parking lots. Aside from this, the ZUS can also provide certain vehicle information such as battery life and can even act as a USB port to charge mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
One thing most car owners love is control over the entertainment system of their vehicles. Although some cars have dedicated screens, most cars just come with audio systems and for most, it’s enough to drive along the highway listening to their favorite hits. While most smart cars already come with audio systems that are either Bluetooth capable or has an AUX port, there may be some that don’t. If you know someone with a smart car that lacks an audio system with these features, then head over to Xshop because they sell stereos specifically with these features.
Aside from convenience, if there’s one thing to look forward to advanced smart tech, it’s definitely entertainment. The entertainment sector has unsurprisingly made their own innovative takes on smart technology that would be perfect to give to friends and family as gifts.
A common avenue for smart technology to be integrated into is the everyday flat screen TV. Smart TV’s are able to connect to the internet and do various tasks. Add in a smart-home device such as the Echo and you have yourself a fully functioning Smart TV with even more features than it had before.
If you have a TV that isn’t so smart, then maybe consider getting the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This device by Amazon is a little plug-in that is compatible with your TV’s HDMI port. Once connected, the TV would be able to connect to the net and stream from your favorite video streaming sites and more such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, etc. The Fire TV Stick also allows the TV to stream from music streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and so much more.
Coming from Amazon, the Fire TV Stick also comes with Echo technology. It means getting the Fire TV Stick, you’re also getting Alexa! Use Amazon’s excellent software to give voice commands such as turning up the volume and changing channels. If you’re not a fan of voice commands, then be comforted by the fact that the Fire TV Stick comes with its own remote control.
There are some people not comfortable with brand associations and may be more comfortable with a different brand other than Amazon. For those people, then maybe try the Roku Streaming Stick instead. The Roku Streaming Stick is more or less the same as the Fire TV Stick. It offers similar features but instead of coming with a remote control, the Roku Streaming Stick can be controlled through the app on your smartphone.
These convenient devices are perfect gifts for those who loves maximizing their home devices. Why stick with a basic TV for simply watching shows when you can do so much more? With these devices, you can also easily mirror your phones and computers to a smart TV which means you can stream movies and shows from your phone and computers directly to your smart TV without the need of cables and wires.
Of all the places in the house smart technology can be easily integrated, who knew the kitchen would be such a perfect place? It all makes sense. Of all the rooms in the house, a kitchen can easily be the room with the most electrical devices in it. From the refrigerator to the microwave, there are tons of appliances in the kitchen that is just waiting to be integrated into your smart home network.
One culinary technique that has been gaining popularity over the years is called sous vide, a technique where you place a piece of meat in a plastic bag and in hot water. Through this technique, the meat gets perfectly and thoroughly cooked in the water and all that’s left to be done is a little searing. The process involves timing and specific temperature conditions which makes the process perfect for easy automation through smart technology.
The perfect gift for self-proclaimed chefs, the Anova Culinary Sous Vide cooker gets the job done in the easiest way. Cooking meat sous vide style with the Anova will only require a pot, water, a plastic bag, and the Anova itself. The device connects to an app on your phone which you can then set the temperature and time so that you can relax and use your time to do other things while your next meal is being prepared on autopilot in the other room. Another similar device is called the ChefSteps Joule.
The Joule works in a similar manner and also works via a mobile app but the Joule takes it a step further by having more settings to allow more customization. With the Joule, you can even set as to how you want the meat to look according to your preferred cooking intensity.
If you like multitools, then here’s something you would want in your kitchen. The instant Pot 7-in-1 smart cooker has a multitude of functions under its belt including as a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and much more. How is this a smart tech device? The Instant Pot has an interface that you can set depending on your recipe and the device can also be controlled via your mobile phone.
Every generation says they have unlocked the secret to parenting but if you can travel back in time and ask them what they would want to help with the daunting task of parenting, it would always be smart technology. Parents have it rough. It’s true that they have been blessed with a whole new human being but a human baby is nothing but hard work and long nights. Parents will accept help from anywhere they can and if smart technology can help, they’re going to get it.
Firstly, every new parent should get an Owlet Smart Sock. The Owlet is a smart wear that fits snuggly on the baby’s foot that can read the baby’s vital signs such as the heart rate and the oxygen levels. The information is then transmitted to the parent’s smartphone and with the data, the parents can take a deep breath and sleep a little bit better at nights. This is metaphorically, and literally, a lifesaver. There’s nothing else parents are more concerned about than their child’s safety and the Owlet takes care of this. A 24/7 monitoring system that works best for both the baby and the parents.
Another thing that can give parents a good night’s sleep is when their babies are actually sleeping as well. If someone you know has a baby who has problems with bedtime, then maybe the Fisher-Price Smart Projection Mobile might be the perfect gift for them. The smart mobile can get any child to sleep by playing lullabies and projecting light shows that result in a soothing and calming environment perfectly conducive to sleep. Aside from music and lights, the smart mobile also gathers data from the environment such as alerting the parents once any unusual noise or sound has been recorded.
You know it’s a big market when there’re a lot of products available. Another useful smart device for parenting is a good old-fashioned humidifier. In this case, the humidifier doesn’t need all the bells and whistles as long as it does its job.
Another smart device that parents will find perfect for their new roles is the Nest indoor security camera. Somewhat like a simple webcam, the Nest indoor security camera can transmit data both ways because aside from watching and listening to the baby, the parents can also speak through the microphone of their device and into the Nest’s speakers. This is perfect for many situations. The video and audio input can prove to be useful because you can observe your baby from anywhere in the world as long as your phone is connected to the internet. Then, you can use the speakers to speak to the babysitter or anyone in the room taking care of the baby for further instructions. The Nest is also foremost a security camera with features such as night vision and motion detect alert.