It is the holiday season, and that means CGMagazine has hand-selected the best tech gifts for you or that special person in your life.
With countless gadgets released every year, it is hard to know what to buy and which devices are really worth the money. That is why we have consulted the editors at CGMagazine and conducted countless hours of testing to ensure every gift idea on this list works as expected and will make a great addition to your household.
Editor’s Note: All gifts on this list have been hand tested by the editors and writers of CGMagazine. If we ever feel something failed to live up to expectations or has caused an issue due to a recent update, we reserve the right to remove items at our discretion.
Virtual assistants are in every part of our lives in today’s world, from your phone to the new Bluetooth speaker you picked up for your mother. Of course, it’s pretty nice to see that assistant come in the form of a little robot full of attitude.
The successor to Cozmo (a selection on last year’s buyers guide) Anki has released the follow-up robot, Vector, and since setting him up, he has made himself a staple of the CGM offices. Whether finding the weather or just being an enjoyable companion, Vector is a fun and rewarding gift for anyone on your gift list.
While perhaps not as much fun as many of the other choices on this list, home security is something everyone needs to think about. Whether you are living in a condo or a house, the ability to keep your family safe is something we all have in the back of our minds. This is why Safe by Hub6 made our list for 2018.
The simple yet exciting concept of Safe by Hub6 is that it taps into the pre-existing system you may already have in your home. A few simple wire hookups and you can have the peace of mind of knowing your phone is protected while ensuring you are not paying exorbitant fees to a security company. The simple app makes checking in on your house a snap, and with the integration with other smart devices, Hub6 has managed to build quite a well-rounded device. It should be noted that while you can step away from your current provider, you do need to have a system already installed that Safe can tap into.
No longer is gaming a hobby reserved for children, it has become a pastime for everyone—provided you are physically able to use the controller that is. For a while now, that has been the biggest barrier to entry for many who suffer from the lack of ability to use standard input devices. Microsoft has recently made my list of most innovative companies for 2018 thanks to their efforts with the Adaptive Controller.
Looking like a modern DJ Hero controller, the device allows for countless styles of inputs, from foot pedals to any other accessibility input you can think of, and with the Xbox, it is all just plug and play. Configure how you want the different control methods to work in the game, and you are ready to play. Costing under $130, the Adaptive Controller is a fantastic gift for anyone struggling with conventional control methods.
The Stream Deck was one of our top choices for streamers. It offers a professional-level control deck that pairs perfectly with software such as XSplit or OBS. While it managed to offer a lot, it also came at a higher price tag. Elgato listened and has released the Stream Deck Mini.
This little deck features all the bells and whistles of its bigger brother, just with a smaller footprint and lacking some of the buttons. Our reviewer found this made for a perfect compromise, giving all the power you need at a price you can’t beat. With six of your favourite tasks at your fingertips, the Stream Deck Mini is a great gift for the streamer in your life.
Sonos is known for great sound, and the Sonos Beam is no exception. This small soundbar is a fantastic balance of quality and size. It fits well under most modern television sets and far exceeds what you can expect from most offerings in the world of TV audio.
Being a Sonos device, it also connects in with all the audio services you know and love. From Play Music to Spotify, the Beam will play it all with flair. If that were not enough, continuing the trend seen from the Sonos One, the Beam also features Alexa, making it a great addition to your smart home. The $499 price tag will set you back much less than the Playbar, while still providing a level of audio that your new 4K set deserves.
Roku has long stood as the king of streaming, and in 2018 the company managed to hold that crown despite growing competition. With devices like the Streaming Stick+ it is no wonder. This small streaming stick managed to address all of our concerns with the previous generation. From a stronger Wi-Fi signal to 4K streaming, the Streaming Stick+ remains one of our favourite choices for streaming in 2018.
With more services launching, and the market so fragmented, it is good to see Roku managing to maintain the lead with a slew of apps. While not everything is currently available on the platform, in our testing it maintained the lead with the most options above all other platforms. At a price of well under $100, the streaming Stick+ makes a great gift for the media watcher on your gift list.
I am a sucker for good audio, and the V-Moda Crossfade 2 managed that feat with ease. The stylish modern headphones offer both 3.5mm connections as well as Bluetooth for all the modern phones out there. If that were not enough, they also have plenty of accessories to ensure you can use them even when gaming.
While not cheap, the Crossfade 2 is a fantastic set of headphones, and while they will not beat out the studio-level headphones from high-end brands, they will blow your Beats by Dre out of the water. If you or anyone on your wishlist are looking for an audio upgrade, the V-Moda Crossfade 2 will make a great choice.
Every year there are countless wearable gadgets that pair with your phone and 2018 is no different. Through the slew of devices, the Muse 2 stands out as a truly innovative concept that actually works.
While it may not be for everyone, if you want a gift that promotes mindfulness, the Muse 2 has you covered. With a range of meditation exercises that help bring our stressful holiday mind to rest, it has managed to not only impress the editors of CGM, but also help with the stressful job of working at a magazine during the holidays. Costing $299, the Muse 2 makes a great last minute gift for anyone looking to unwind this holiday season.
Routers, although important, are often the last thing purchased for a new setup. With the need for fast, consistent internet all the more important in the connected world, a good router is even more important, especially if you want to gain as much advantage as possible in your latest Fortnite match. This is where the Razer Sila comes into play.
This stylish black box will fit in with most gamer gear. But above all, the Razer Sila is a genuinely good router. We’ve been using it at the CGM offices for testing over the past few weeks, and it has proven itself time and time again with low latency and the ability to prioritize traffic when needed. If that were not enough, it also works as a mesh router system for when wired is simply not an option. Currently selling for $349.99, the Razer Sila is a perfect gift for the gamer that thinks they have everything.
With the latest iteration on the console lineups, the Xbox One X, and the PlayStation 4 Pro, 1080p capture simply is not enough for today’s modern streamer. This is where the AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K comes into play. Costing less and offering more than the competition, the Live Gamer 4K has quickly become the CGM office’s card of choice for 2018.
As Cole Watson explains in his review, “While Elgato was focusing on their lineup of broadcasting gear and Stream Decks, AVerMedia took the chance to innovate further on 4K gaming capture cards and deliver them at a cheaper price than the leading competition. The AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K is simply the best 4K capture card currently on the market, both for its amazing set of features and the ease of use it offers to professional and amateur content creators alike.”
Atari Speaker Hat
Everyone remembers the classic Atari logo. It was for a generation synonymous with gaming. Sadly, that age of the company has come to an end and no longer does Atari reign supreme in the living room, but for the price of $129.99, it can still have a place in your heart and on your head.
The Atari Speaker hat is exactly what it sounds like: an iconic Atari image on a hat that also has speakers. While it may not be for everyone, there is something oddly enjoyable about playing music from your hat. Despite how odd it may seem, it also works surprisingly well. It is a neat piece of nostalgia and is just plain fun to wear. For the nostalgia loving music fan on your list, you can’t go wrong with the Atari Speaker Hat.