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, including tips and tricks to find the best tech gifts for the gadget lovers in your life.
Starting with the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where hundreds of smart home appliances with built-in virtual assistants were showcased, and continuing with Samsung's, Google's and Apple's smartphone releases, 2017 was an amazing year for tech. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and Note 7, featuring 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 took a step further in the development of its own smartphone line with the release of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and also expanded its line of smart speakers, adding the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini to its portfolio. A new landmark in the development of AI-enabled devices was established with the release of the Apple A11 Bionic and Huawei Kirin 970 mobile platforms.
Wireless tech grew faster than ever: most mobile devices and wearables released this year support wireless charging. The wearable tech industry has been steadily growing, having reached a value of $10 billion in 2017. The top fitness trackers and smartwatches released this year include new types of sensors, such as altimeters, barometers, and even sensors able to detect blood oxygen levels, thus offering advanced health-tracking features. This year’s new audio devices also have improved functions, offering immersive audio experiences and long-lasting battery life. With all the great devices and gadgets released in 2017, you won't have trouble finding the perfect gift for the special people in your life – whether they are music lovers, sports enthusiasts, gamers, or simply 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 with an urge to save random passersby from wearing age-old wired headphones, why not start with your loved ones this Christmas? 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. Different silicone ear tips and hooks will assure everyone gets the right fit and stability, and IPX4 water resistance ensures further suitability for sports. Finally, the Anker SoundBuds Slim headphones have long-lasting battery life, and their magnetic buds make them a perfectly safe gift for those prone to losing just about everything they carry with them. And by the way, don't feel bad about your cord-hating ways; some folks 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. This small product is a portal into the universe of Google's AI, meaning you can count on Google's Assistant to do web research, find translations in more than 100 languages, play your favorite music, set reminders, place calls and control smart home features (given that you have compatible devices). 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, and for the paranoid people out there (hey, we're not saying you don't have the right to be), active listening can be disabled, so the speaker will only respond when activated by your touch. Google Home Mini is compatible with numerous 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 impossible to miss with this gift.
In case you've been living in a cave and have never heard about Beats, a very brief summary: this is a brand focused on premium consumer audio products, founded by hip-hop legend Dr. Dre and later acquired by Apple. Featured on our list of 5 best wireless headphones in 2017, the Beats X Bluetooth earphones have magnetic earbuds and noise isolation technology, are available in various colors and come with ear tips in different sizes (though wingtips for a secure fit must be bought separately). The Beats X headphones get props for comfort, sound reliability, and for battery life (8 hours per charge); this time, it might 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, and you can even pair your portable speaker with other Wonderboom units for even more powerful music playing. This lightweight, shockproof and waterproof speaker is also floatable (ideal for Summer and to motivate pool workouts), and you easily carry it around and use its bungee cords to hang it 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. Having fun will be easy – the hardest part will be to just pick one of the UE Wonderboom's vibrant colors.
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. Among this product's numerous top-notch features are automatic audio modes tailored for a variety of situations – from loud streets to airports (when you really can't afford to miss that last boarding call) and even a mode with Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing technology for planes. The Sony WH-1000XM2 also packs state-of-the-art noise cancellation, a 38-hour battery life (30 hours with noise cancellation) and an impressive frequency range of 4–40,000Hz. If that wasn't enough for techies and audiophiles, these headphones also allow you to easily decrease sound levels by placing one hand over the right ear cup – it's the Quick Attention feature, which is very useful for brief conversations.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is one of the most affordable fitness trackers currently available, and despite the low price, it has every sensor and feature that you'd expect from a high-end device: optical heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, a vibration engine for discreet notifications, and an impressive battery life of 20 days. The design is simple and elegant, with a band made out of thermoplastic elastomer – an anti-sweat, comfortable material. The band is waterproof (IP67 rating), dust and corrosion resistant, as well as lightweight, so you won't ever feel the need to take it off. This health and fitness companion also has a 0.42-inch OLED screen that displays call notifications, fitness stats and, of course, the time (which you can check at any moment, thanks to the always-on display feature).
Garmin’s third-generation Vivosmart fitness tracker is perfect for gym-goers. In addition to a 24/7 heart rate monitor, an accelerometer and a barometric altimeter (used to track steps, distance, and floors climbed), the device features automatic activity detection. If you switch from running on the treadmill to weightlifting, the smart band will record your activities accordingly, so the user doesn't need to manually indicate this change. The device also tracks the maximum volume of oxygen transferred to the blood (VO2 Max), a highly important metric for performance athletes. VO2 Max is measured in milliliters of oxygen processed per kilogram of body weight, and it's a good indicator of endurance and training efficiency. Moreover, the Garmin Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle by tracking sleep and calories burned and by setting goals for your trainings. Besides the health and fitness features, the device allows you to keep track of emails, texts messages and 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 a great alternative to expensive wearables like Apple Watch Series 3 or Samsung Gear Sport. It's compatible with iOS, Android, and even Windows phones, and offers all the features expected from a high-end wearable: heart-rate tracking, sleep monitoring, built-in GPS. Fitbit Ionic has a high-resolution 1.42-inch diameter LCD screen, protected with Gorilla Glass 3 technology. Furthermore, this waterproof device features advanced swim-tracking functions, such as recording laps and stroke style. Fitbit definitely took coaching to a whole new level with the Ionic, one of the few wearables to offer personalized workouts (indicated on the screen) and breathing exercises. With a stylish design and a wide range of colorful bands, this smartwatch can be worn all day and might 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 the excuse that "my phone ran out of battery" doesn't cut it anymore. If you wanna avoid getting in trouble next year, or perhaps want to prevent someone else from going through this (or from using the excuse on you...), the most practical solution is to buy an insanely puissant power bank. Our recommendation is the RAVPower 22000mAh power-efficient portable charger, capable of keeping most smartphones up and running for up to a week. This product comes with two micro USB cables, a carrying pouch and lifetime warranty (!), and is a must especially 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 the era before the concept of smartphones became known to the general public, a time when the first version of the Nokia 3310 was the epitome of mobile entertainment (we're so nostalgic for the Snake II game – #neverforget). 17 years later, with smartphones and their increasingly-complex features taking over so many of our waking hours, simplicity has also become luxurious, so a phone like the Nokia 3310 (2017) may be exactly what some of 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 if you'd rather go with matte. Unlike the original, the latest Nokia 3310 supports web browsing, has an MP3 player and FM radio, as well as 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!
If you have "smartphone with a mid-range price and top specs" on your holiday shopping list, you might find exactly what you're looking for (and more) in the Motorola Moto E4 Plus. This phone's powerful 5000mAh battery that can keep things running for up to two days on a single charge – and by "things", we mean a lot! A quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 processor provides adequate performance for games, videos, and other demanding tasks; moreover, the Moto E4 Plus has a 13MP main camera and a 5MP front camera that promise sharp shots in low light conditions and bring extras such as a "beautification mode". 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 sensor for added safety, as well as water-repellent nanocoating. Now go ahead and cross this item off your shopping list!
If you want to flaunt the best Secret Santa gift of all time or just 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 the dual-pixel technology developed by Google and to numerous deluxe features, which you can check out in our article about the 9 best smartphone cameras in 2017. Running on the mighty octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, 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" – with "just black" and "black & white" versions for its higher-end sibling, Pixel 2 XL, which has a 6-inch OLED screen.