There's no shortage of amazing tech gadgets available these days, but narrowing down which one's your tech-savvy friends will like can be tough -- especially if you want to get them the perfect gift and show them you know a thing or two about the latest technology.
To help you start your search, here are eight gadgets that are sure to delight the most hardcore techies you know. Whether they're looking for drones, smart home products, wearable tech, or a myriad of other gifts, this list is sure to have something to make them smile.
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Google Home Max
Let's start with something small yet packed with tech wizardry: the new Google Home Max smart speaker. This is the high-end version of Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Home speaker. Not only can it answer nearly any question you throw at it, but it knows how to drop the beat.
The speaker comes with two 4.5-inch woofers and two tweeters (for low- and high-frequency sounds, respectively), a far-field voice recognition mic (so it can hear your requests from across the room), and special software that adjusts the sound based on its surroundings and what you're listening to.
Google Home Max comes with Google Assistant, the voice-enabled virtual assistant that can answer questions, control other smart home devices (like a Nest thermostat or adjustable lights), change the speaker's volume, tell you a joke, play song requests, and much more -- all through simple voice commands. It's easy enough for anyone to use, but for a tech-savvy person who uses a lot of apps and has a few smart home devices, the possibilities are endless.
The Home Max will sell for $399 and will come with 12 months of ad-free YouTube Music. It's not available just yet, but you can join a waitlist to be notified as soon as it's for sale.
The Apple Watch Series 3
Sure, Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) smartwatch has been out for a few years now, but the new Series 3 adds cellular connectivity for the first time -- something technophiles have been wanting from the Apple Watch for a while. The cellular connection allows you to make calls, stream music, and use Siri to send text messages without tethering the Watch to an iPhone.
The Watch is also water-resistant to 50 meters and comes with an array of motion sensors, an ultra-fast Apple W2 processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, and an 18-hour battery life. The 38 mm Watch with GPS and cellular starts at $399, while the 42 mm version starts at $429.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
Drones are all the rage these days, and the new DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is one of the best portable drones on the market.
The Mavic Pro Platinum is foldable, making it perfect for traveling. It has a 12 megapixel camera that records video in ultra-high-definition 4K. The remote control has a range of up to 4.3 miles, and the battery will last for up to 30 minutes of flight -- that is, if it's not in "sport mode," where it can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.
The Mavic Pro Platinum also comes with the DJI's FlightAutonomy technology, which allows the drone to see obstacles up to 49 feet away and avoid them autonomously. All of these features and more are packed into a drone that measures 13 inches across (when not folded) and weighs 1.6 pounds.
Of course, drones of this caliber don't come cheap, and this particular model costs about $1,099. That makes the Mavic Pro Platinum a good gift for a dear loved one who is both tech-savvy and adventurous enough to appreciate its impressive capabilities.
Xbox One X
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) says its new Xbox One X is the most powerful gaming console ever made, and the device has the specs to back that claim up.
The console has 4K Ultra HD video graphics and high dynamic range (HDR) technology for superior colors, which means you can play games and stream movies or TV shows with some of the highest video resolutions and color ranges available today. You can also play Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs on the console, but keep in mind that you need a 4K TV to get the full experience.
The Xbox One X is a huge leap forward from its predecessor, with a new eight-core AMD processor, double the memory, and a far more powerful graphics processor. An optional headset enables you to give voice commands to Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant, which can open games, scroll through menus, and play back video, and more. Expect to shell out about $500 for the Xbox One X right now.
Apple's newest iPhone has garnered lots of attention for its $999 base price tag, but the cost comes with some remarkable features. First is the edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch OLED display. Pushing the screen out to all of the iPhone's edges is a first for Apple, and it allowed the company to expand the screen without making the phone itself much bigger.
The iPhone X's second killer feature is its FaceID facial recognition. You can unlock the device just by looking at it, and third-party developers are already creating new apps to take advantage of the technology.
The newest iPhone comes packed with Apple's new A11 processor, which delivers better-than-ever speed, graphics, and computing power. Its 12 megapixel camera has both a wide-angle and telephoto lens (with portrait mode), as well as the ability to shoot video in 4K. The iPhone X is pricey, but all of these features back up its hefty price tag.
If you're looking for a great pair of high-tech wireless earphones, but you don't want to bust your holiday budget, then the $99 BeatsX earphones are a great bet.
The BeatsX comes packed with Apple's W1 chip -- the same one found in Apple's more expensive AirPods -- which allows the BeatsX to pair with an iPhone much faster than it would through a Bluetooth connection (though Bluetooth is still available if you don't have an iPhone). The chip also helps improve battery life: The BeatsX can last for eight hours of continual use, and a five-minute charge will get you two hours of playback.
These earphones received solid reviews from both The Verge and CNET this year, and testers have praised its sound quality, comfort, design, and value. The neckband style (it has a wire that connects the two earphones together) may not be for everyone, but the device's internal specs are sure to please any tech-savvy person on your list.
There's already a gaming console on this list, but the Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY) Switch deserves to be here just as much as the Xbox One X. No, the Switch doesn't have high-end 4K video resolution, but what it lacks in visuals it makes up for in portability.
That's because the Switch is designed to transform from a home gaming console to a handheld device in just seconds. It's essentially a 6.2-inch tablet that has detachable controllers that slide onto either side of the Switch when you're on the go. When you get back home, the tablet slides into a docking station and switches (get it?) into a full-fledged HD gaming system.
Aside from its ability to morph into a portable gaming system, the Switch is packed with tons of other cool tech features. For example, the wireless controllers have motion cameras that can detect shapes, movement, and even how far away an object is, making interactive gameplay more realistic. And let's not forget that Nintendo has already released two games for the Switch that have become instant classics. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has enjoyed rave reviews and blockbuster sales, while the just-released Super Mario Odyssey is already being hailed as a masterpiece.
The Switch costs $300, which is a great deal for such a versatile gaming system.
Roku Streaming Stick+
Finally, if you're looking for an inexpensive way to give your friend's TV a huge tech upgrade, then you should take look at Roku's (NASDAQ: ROKU) $70 Streaming Stick+. The device is small enough to take on trips, it streams video content in 4K, and it's compatible with HDR images for superior color quality.
The great thing about Roku's streaming device is that you get access to the usual content suspects -- Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc. -- but you can also tap into thousands of other streaming apps as well.
Roku's Streaming Stick+ comes with a quad-core processor, it discreetly plugs into the back of your TV, and the voice-enabled remote allows you to search for shows just by talking to it. You can also control the power and volume on your TV right from the Roku remote (no more searching for separate remotes!). If all of that isn't enticing enough, Roku is taking $20 off of the Streaming Stick+ price during the Black Friday weekend.
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