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Holiday Gift Ideas for Techies

A family uses a tablet, a good gift idea for techies.

For those who go gaga for gizmos, these gifts are as much fun to use as they are useful.

Go to Consumer Reports’ 2018 Holiday Central for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

1
Eufy 30C
Eufy 30C

    Eufy 30C

    The Eufy 30C is an extremely quiet vacuum. Our testers note that they couldn’t tell it was on or running, which makes it a great choice for those who are sensitive to noise. The Eufy 30C earns an Excellent rating for bare floors. Like a few other robotic vacuums in our ratings, this vacuum is compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa; you can also program the robot through the manufacturer’s app.

     

    Check our buying guide and ratings for vacuum cleaners.

    2
    Dyson V8 Absolute
    Dyson V8 Absolute

      Dyson V8 Absolute

      On the surface, it might seem difficult to justify the purchase of a stick vac that costs two or three times what you would spend on a top-rated full-sized vacuum. Though no stick vacuum can fully replace the performance of an upright or a canister, it’s what the Dyson V8 Absolute can do that makes it such a standout in our ratings. It offers exceptionally powerful suction, which helps it earn perfect scores on bare floors, carpets, pet hair, and edges in our tests. It’s also among the quietest of comparable models and runs an impressive 21 minutes on a single battery charge—long enough that you might be surprised at how infrequently you’ll need to lug around a heavier, full-sized model.

       

      Check our buying guide and ratings for vacuum cleaners.

      3
      Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC)
      Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC)

        Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC)

        The Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC) is the highest-rated wireless router currently in our ratings that costs less than $200, with retailers such as Amazon carrying it for as low as $150 this holiday shopping season. It uses the latest wireless networking standard, known as 802.11ac, which means you can expect a strong and fast connection—unless you happen to have a particularly large house. (And if you do have a large home, you might want to consider a mesh router, such as the Eero. Mesh routers are better than traditional wireless models at covering large spaces.) It also has four built-in local-area network (LAN) ports, which are useful for connecting gadgets, such as printers, that can then be shared by the computers in your home. That the firmware can automatically update itself, helping protect your data from would-be hackers, is an added bonus.

         

        Check our buying guide and ratings for wireless routers.

        4
        Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm)
        Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm)

          Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm)

          This model gets top marks for both its step-counting and heart-rate-tracking abilities. And its display is easy to read in both bright and low light. The watch can connect to WiFi and has a built-in GPS tracker. Just a heads up that it can be tough to measure your heart rate in real time, especially when you’re moving. It takes about 9 seconds to get a reading.

          Check our buying guide and ratings for smartwatches.

          5
          Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)
          Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)

            Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation)

            The newest version of the Amazon Echo Show illustrates how truly useful a touch screen can be on a smart speaker. The second-generation version of the Amazon Echo Show is a much more useful product than the first: A larger touch screen makes it great for reading a recipe or watching a quick how-to video, tasks that you might otherwise consign to a phone or tablet. But the Show sits on the counter at an easy viewing angle, and with its voice-command capability you can avoid touching it with messy or busy hands. The Show is also the best-sounding smart speaker that Amazon has ever brought to market.


            Check our buying guide and ratings for smart speakers.

            6
            Apple iPad Mini 4 (4G, 128GB)
            Apple iPad Mini 4 (4G, 128GB)

              Apple iPad Mini 4 (4G, 128GB)

              Even though it was released in 2015 (practically an eternity when it comes to tech), the $400 Apple iPad Mini 4 is still the best small tablet you can buy. It offers great performance and a sharp, accurate display, as well as access to thousands of high-quality apps on the iOS App Store. Consumers on a tighter budget may want to consider the $80 Amazon Kindle Fire 8 HD, which may not be as powerful as the iPad Mini but is still great for consuming content such as streaming video and e-books.

               

              Check our buying guide and ratings for tablets.

              7
              nest Cam IQ Indoor NC3100US
              nest Cam IQ Indoor NC3100US

                nest Cam IQ Indoor NC3100US

                The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is a fantastic security camera, receiving strong ratings in our tests for picture quality and response time. It also performs quite well in our new data privacy and security tests, earning a Very Good rating for data security. This model gives you a 4K image sensor (which means you can zoom in on part of an image without losing image quality), built-in Google Assistant for controlling the camera (as well as other smart-home devices), voice control via Amazon Alexa (through another device, not built into the camera), person detection, and a rolling 3 hours of motion-triggered snapshots (not video clips). With a Nest Aware subscription, you can get 24/7 continuous video recordings, facial recognition, and monitoring zones.

                 

                Check our buying guide and ratings for home security cameras.

                8
                Ring Video Doorbell Pro 88LP000CH000
                Ring Video Doorbell Pro 88LP000CH000

                  Ring Video Doorbell Pro 88LP000CH000

                  Video doorbells add a sense of security to any home by putting a camera at a prime location: right at the front door. When it detects motion or someone presses the doorbell, the video doorbell sends an alert to a smartphone and saves a video clip of the activity to the cloud.


                  We recommend the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which offers the best video quality of any video doorbell we’ve tested. This Ring model requires a hardwired connection via doorbell wiring and works with most existing mechanical and digital chimes. If your home doesn’t have doorbell wiring, you can go with a battery-powered model such as the $100 Ring Video Doorbell.

                   

                  Check our buying guide and ratings for home security cameras.

                  9
                  JBL Everest Elite 150NC
                  JBL Everest Elite 150NC

                    JBL Everest Elite 150NC

                    This wireless in-ear model from JBL earns an Excellent score for active noise-reduction and a Very Good score for sound quality; it is a decent choice for the more critical listener for both music and movie soundtrack playback. These earphones feature an integrated variable noise-canceling control that lets in more or less ambient sound. They have a reported 14-hour battery life with noise-canceling turned on and a free app that adds functionality, such as a 10-band graphic equalizer.

                     

                    Check our buying guide and ratings for headphones.

                    10
                    Brother MFC-J680DW
                    Brother MFC-J680DW

                      Brother MFC-J680DW

                      This inkjet printer is a great gift for the family photographer. The Brother MFC-J680DW quickly prints very good photographs on glossy paper (only fair on plain paper) and has a separate tray for snapshot-sized photo paper. Its 1.3-inch touch-screen display lets you preview the images on a memory card reader. It also prints two-sided copies and has scan and fax functions and built-in WiFi networking.

                       

                      Check our buying guide and ratings for printers

                      11
                      HP X2 12-F014DX
                      HP X2 12-F014DX

                        HP X2 12-F014DX

                        Released earlier this year, the HP X2 Chromebook ranks behind only the Google PixelBook in our ratings but costs just more than half as much: $600 to the PixelBook’s $1,000. Despite the price difference, the X2 is still a top-notch performer, powered as it is by an Intel processor and equipped with 4 gigabytes of memory. It has only 32GB of storage (which is on the small side), but because it’s a Chromebook the expectation is that you’ll be saving most of your work, such as spreadsheets and text documents, in the cloud. You can even detach the keyboard from the display to use the X2 as a tablet.

                         

                        Check our buying guide and ratings for computers.

                        12
                        LG gram 15Z980
                        LG gram 15Z980

                          LG gram 15Z980

                          Weighing only 2.4 pounds, this 15.6-inch LG computer is the lightest laptop of its size that CR tested. It’s also one of the highest-rated computers overall. The machine comes with two 512-gigabyte solid-state drives—giving it a speedy response time while you work and plenty of storage space for files. In addition, its portability rating is Excellent; indeed, its battery life lasts a long 13.5 hours in CR’s tests.

                           

                          Check our buying guide and ratings for computers.

                          13
                          Apple 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Display MNDY2LL/A
                          Apple 21.5-inch iMac with 4K...

                            Apple 21.5-inch iMac with 4K...

                            The 21.5-inch iMac MNDY2LL/A from Apple has a 4K display with a resolution of 4096x2304. The display is bright, and colors display accurately. The monitor has a wide viewing angle with very little glare, and you’re able to watch 4K videos full-screen. Performance is excellent, and the dedicated graphics card allows you to run more graphics-intensive tasks, such as video editing and midrange gaming, at top speed.

                             

                            Check our buying guide and ratings for computers.

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