Carley Knobloch is a digital lifestyle expert and a regular contributor on the Today Show and CNN. She’s also a home automation expert and host for HGTV. We asked her to share some of the tech-focused gifts she's planning to give this season.
I know it’s a common lament, but I feel like the holidays come earlier and earlier with each passing year. I’ve barely just begun enjoying the brisk temperatures and falling leaves when it’s already time to start thinking about gift giving. Of course, I don’t mind at all— giving gifts during the season is one of my favorite things to do. I’m often on a mission to introduce people to technology that they may not otherwise have heard of, or may be doubtful they can understand or use. I get special pleasure from not only knowing that friends and family not only loved their gift, but that it made them more confident about bringing a new tech friend into their lives.
I’m kicking off the gift guide season with my pals at Reviewed.com by offering up a list of of-the-moment tech gifts I’m most excited to give this season. Whether it’s a big splurge or a stocking stuffer, these are the gadgets and tech accessories that I’ve found most exciting (or most beautiful) this year, and giving them is as much fun as getting them.
Reviewed.com is a site I go to often to read about technology I haven’t personally tested yet. They test things thoroughly and scientifically so you can make a sound purchasing decision, whether you’re buying a washing machine, a printer or a smart watch. Plus, they’re pretty serious about ethics: In a world where online media are wooed by brands to craft positive reviews in exchange for gifts, trips, and the like, they keep their reviews honest and impartial, and their favor can’t be bought. I can’t think of a time where I didn’t confer with a Reviewed article or two before I made a purchase— they know their stuff.
When they asked me to hand-pick a list of gifts for this guide, it was tough to choose! But I’m glad I got it out of the way early: Without further fanfare, here’s a list of trendy tech gadgets I’ll personally be giving this season. If you’re on my list, avert your eyes!
Canon Powershot G9 X
I love this for the discerning photographer who wants better quality photos than a smartphone can muster in a compact package. This point-and-shoot from Canon has a retro look that makes it gift-worthy, but the features steal the show: It sports a powerful zoom, an intuitive touchscreen menu and on-board Wifi so sharing photos is a snap. (Reviewed.com awarded the Powershot G9 X the “Best Point-and-Shoot” of 2016).
Canon Powershot G9 X ($479)
Native Union Luxury Marble Tech Collection
For designophiles that detest cord clutter, Native Union has created gorgeous solutions for your bedside table: An iPhone charging dock, a chic cloth-covered cable that rests on its own pedestal, and an Apple Watch charger, all with real marble accents and style for days. These accessories are for iOS devices only: For Android users, check out these cloth-covered cables from Eastern Collective, or this Qi wireless charging pad from Belkin.
Anova Precision Cooker Wifi
If you’ve got an adventurous cook on your list, they probably know all about Sous Vide— for the rest of us, this water-bath cooking technique promises to cook your dinner evenly and with little supervision. The Anova (named “Best Cooking Gadget” of 2016 by Reviewed.com) clamps to the side of a pot and keeps the water at the ideal temperature, letting you know when dinner’s ready by sending you a notification on your smartphone. Your Top Chef-obsessed friend will thank you.
Anova Precision Cooker Wifi ($149)
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
For anyone who could use a break from screen time, I adore this camera. It doesn’t cost a ton, so you’ll be more likely to entrust it to a small person (it nabbed the award for “Best Camera for Kids” from Reviewed.com), but you’ll have to teach kids that, unlike their smartphones, the film supply is finite. It comes in a rainbow of colors, and adding a film pack or two makes it a cute multi-part gift. Of course, these aren’t just for kids— anyone who remembers shaking a Polaroid picture will love them just as well.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 ($50)
Spruce & Co Wipes
Let’s be real: Your phone is gross. And so is your iPad, laptop keyboard, remotes… you get the idea. This set of 15 screen cleaning wipes is free of harsh chemicals or fragrances, and will rid your device of the germs, dirt and bacteria they harbor. Most importantly for gift-givers, they’re cute and come ready to stuff stockings in a gift box.
Spruce & Co. Screen Wipes ($9.99)
Technology Will Save Us Kits
The holidays are as good a time as any to start inspiring the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. Technology Will Save Us kits contain easy-to-follow projects that get kids aged 4-12+ excited about coding. Creative ideas captivate little engineers, like making playdough come to life with lights, building a speaker out of a balloon or, for older kids, building and programming your own game console.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
A hair dryer might seem like a ho-hum gift, but that was before Dyson threw their showstopper in the mix. It’s visually striking, and an absolute splurge, making it a perfect luxury gift for the beauty-obsessed. It’s packed with smart tech that will dry your hair faster and make it shinier (you can read about Reviewed.com’s road test here). Plus it’s more comfortable to hold through your daily blow-out, thanks to the motor being in the handle, and not the head.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399)
Raden A22 Carry-On Luggage
When you travel as much as I do, a good carry-on bag is priceless. Gifting the A22 from Raden will pay off big time for the frequent traveler: It’s light polycarbonate shell and silent spinner wheels means it’s light and nimble, the integrated battery can charge your device at the airport, and Bluetooth technology can track your bag if it goes missing. It was also one of Oprah’s Favorite Things this year. (Yes, she’s still doing that!)
Raden A22 Carry-On Luggage ($295)
This fitness tracker is among the most attractive on the market, and easy to keep wearing— it doesn’t need charging and replaceable batteries keep it going for up to 6 months. It automatically tracks steps, distance and calories, as well as your sleep patterns, and it acts as an effective vibrating alarm to wake you up (and not your spouse). Oh, and it’s a looker in fashion-forward rose gold, and a bit more manly in carbon black. Bonus: All this gorgeousness looks way more expensive than it is.
Misfit Ray ($99)