Christmas is just around the corner, and there's not much time left for shopping. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the coolest gadgets of 2017: smartphones, wearables, speakers, headphones, and more. We've also shared tips and tricks to find the best tech gifts for the gadget lovers in your life.
2017 was a fantastic year for tech, starting with January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in which hundreds of smart home appliances with built-in virtual assistants and other major releases were showcased. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 7 smartphones. They all feature Bixby, the company’s brand new smart assistant. Apple celebrated 10 years since the launch of the first iPhone by releasing the innovative iPhone X, the world's first smartphone with advanced facial recognition. Google announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones and expanded its line of smart speakers, adding the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini to its portfolio. Finally, the release of the Apple A11 Bionic and Huawei Kirin 970 mobile platforms established new possibilities for AI-enabled devices.
Wireless tech grew faster than ever: most mobile devices and wearables released this year support wireless charging. The wearable tech industry has been steadily expanding, having reached a value of $10 billion in 2017. The top fitness trackers and smartwatches released this year include altimeters, barometers, and offer advanced health-tracking features via blood oxygen levels analysis. The latest audio devices also have improved functions, offering immersive experiences and long-lasting battery life. With so many new gadgets, you won't have trouble finding the perfect gift for the special people in your life – no matter if they're music lovers, sports enthusiasts, gamers, or tech enthusiasts. Our holiday gift guide has suggestions for every budget; from affordable power banks to high-end audio devices, you'll definitely find the inspiration you need.
If you're a cord hater, why not save your favorite people from the horrors of age-old wired headphones? Whether you're on a tight budget or there are too many people you'd like to introduce to wireless bliss, the Anker SoundBuds Slim Bluetooth headphones will do the job. On the affordable end of our holiday gift guide, these lightweight headphones are perfect for workouts and everyday use. Various silicone ear tips and hooks will assure everyone gets the right fit and stability, and IPX4 water resistance ensures further suitability for sports. The headphones also have long-lasting battery life, and their magnetic buds make them a safe gift for those prone to losing just about everything. And by the way, don't feel bad about your cord-hating ways: some of us at Versus are just like you!
Tiny, quite affordable, impressive. Google Home Mini may not be the most powerful of our chosen speakers in terms of sound, but it surely is in terms of functionalities. Thanks to this small product, you can count on Google's Assistant for research, translations, music, reminders, calls, and smart home features. All you need to do is use your voice and hands for different functions – for instance, you can adjust the volume by sliding a finger through the side of the speaker. Available in three colors (chalk, charcoal, and coral), Google Home Mini is equipped with LED lights that indicate different actions. The device is compatible with diverse music, video and smart home services – such as Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, Philips Hue, Netflix, and YouTube. Endlessly useful for very few bucks, it's hard to go wrong with this gift.
The premium consumer audio brand released wireless earphones with magnetic earbuds and noise isolation technology. The Beats X headphones are available in various colors and come with ear tips in different sizes (though wingtips for a secure fit must be bought separately). The product gets props for comfort, sound reliability, and battery life (8 hours per charge). It could be worth it to believe the hype and treat others – and why not yourself too? – to the rave of Beats X.
Playful, resistant, booming. Ultimate Ears' Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers are perfect for indoor and outdoor fun. The product's rounded body provides a 360-degree audio experience, with two 40mm drivers and 86db of sound pressure level. If you don't think that's enough, you can pair the speaker with other Wonderboom units for even more robust sound. The lightweight, shockproof, and waterproof speakers are also floatable, and you use their bungee cords to carry them around and hang them wherever you'd like. The UE Wonderboom lasts up to 10 hours on one charge, and its Bluetooth range of 30 meters definitely surpasses most people's expectations.
In case you're in full-on splurge mode and want to find the ultimate gift for an audiophile, look no further. Recently released to raving reviews, the Sony WH-1000XM2 over-the-ear model has a well-deserved spot on our list of 5 best wireless headphones. Our favorite feature is the automatic audio mode change. These are modes for several situations: from loud streets to airports (when you really can't afford to miss that last boarding call) and an Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing mode for planes. The Sony WH-1000XM2 packs state-of-the-art noise cancellation, a 38-hour battery life (30 hours with NC), and an impressive frequency range of 4–40,000Hz. If that wasn't enough for techies and audiophiles, these headphones also allow you to quickly decrease sound levels by placing one hand over the right ear cup, which is very useful for brief conversations.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is one of the most affordable fitness trackers currently available. Still, it has every sensor and feature that you'd expect from a high-end model: heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and an impressive battery life of 20 days. The design is elegant and straightforward, with a wristband made out of thermoplastic elastomer (an anti-sweat material). The band is waterproof (IP67 rating), corrosion-resistant, and lightweight, so you may not feel the need to take it off. This health and fitness companion has a 0.42-inch OLED screen that displays call notifications, fitness stats, and of course, the time (which you can quickly check with the always-on display feature).
Garmin's third-generation Vivosmart fitness tracker is perfect for gym-goers. It offers automatic activity detection, a 24/7 heart rate monitor, and a barometric altimeter to track steps, distance, and floors climbed. If you switch from running on the treadmill to weightlifting, the smart band can record your activities accordingly, so the user doesn't need to manually indicate this change. The Vivosmart 3 also tracks the maximum volume of oxygen transferred to the blood (VO2 Max), a highly valuable metric for performance athletes. Measured in milliliters of oxygen processed per kilogram of body weight, VO2 Max is a good indicator of endurance and training efficiency.
he Garmin Vivosmart 3 also helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle by tracking your sleep and by setting goals for your trainings. Besides the health and fitness features, the product allows you to keep track of emails, texts messages, and other notifications. It has a large OLED display measuring 0.38" x 0.76" (9.6mm x 19.2mm) and a battery that can last for up to five days on one charge.
Fitbit's latest smartwatch is an excellent alternative to expensive wearables like Apple Watch Series 3 or Samsung Gear Sport. Compatible with iOS, Android, and even Windows phones, it offers all the features expected from a high-end wearable: heart-rate tracking, sleep monitoring, built-in GPS. Fitbit Ionic has a high-resolution LCD screen, protected with Gorilla Glass 3, is waterproof, and features advanced swim-tracking.
The Ionic is one of the few wearables to offer personalized workouts and breathing exercises. With a stylish design and a wide range of colorful wristbands, this smartwatch can be worn all day. It could also come in handy when you don't have your wallet with you, as it supports Fitbit Pay for contactless payments via NFC.
It's 2017, and "my phone ran out of battery" doesn't cut it anymore. If you want to avoid getting into trouble next year or want to prevent someone else from using the excuse on you, you should buy a powerful power bank. Our recommendation is the RAVPower 22,000mAh power-efficient portable charger, capable of keeping most smartphones up and running for up to a week. It comes with two micro USB cables, a carrying pouch, and a lifetime warranty (!). It is a must if you're on the road; with three ports, you can simultaneously charge your phone, tablet, and Bluetooth headphones (or other gadgets) for a stress-free week.
This one takes us right back to a time when the first version of the Nokia 3310 was the epitome of mobile entertainment. 17 years later, with smartphones taking over so many of our waking hours, simplicity has become luxurious, and a product like the Nokia 3310 (2017) may be what your loved ones need. This no-frills redesigned classic is available in four vivid colors: red and yellow for a glossy finish, as well as dark blue and gray matte options. Unlike the original, the latest Nokia 3310 supports web browsing, has an MP3 player, FM radio, and a MicroSD card slot to add up to 32GB of extra internal storage. Now the icing on the cake: the phone comes with a preinstalled Snake game to remind you of the "good old days."
If you have a "smartphone with a mid-range price and top specs" on your holiday shopping list, you might find what you're looking for in the Motorola Moto E4 Plus. The 5,000mAh battery can keep things running for up to two days per charge, and a quad-core Snapdragon 427 processor provides adequate performance for games, videos, and other demanding tasks. Moreover, the Moto E4 Plus has a 13MP primary camera and a 5MP front camera that promise sharp shots in low light conditions. Available in gray and gold versions, the Moto E4 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, can shoot videos up to 1080p at 30fps, and has a fingerprint scanner for extra security, as well as water-repellent nanocoating.
If you want to flaunt the best Secret Santa gift of all time or want to treat yourself to one of the best smartphones out there, the Google Pixel 2 is the way to go. This dustproof and IP67 water-resistant phone is a top-notch photography device, thanks to Google's dual-pixel technology and other deluxe camera features. Running on the mighty octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, the Google Pixel 2 features 4GB of RAM and can be found in 64GB and 128GB versions. This smartphone has an aluminum unibody and a 5-inch AMOLED screen protected by Corning's most advanced technology to date, Gorilla Glass 5. Google Pixel 2 is available in three colors: "just black," "clearly white" and "kinda blue."