Countless tech products cross our desks at CNN Business throughout the year. So when it comes time for the holiday shopping season, we’re extra choosy about what we buy and give to friends and family.
Here’s what impressed our editors, reporters and producers the most – and in some ways, helped us survive 2019.
Do you have a friend like me? Someone who goes to Disney World twice a year? Someone who has an “Empire Strikes Back” poster hanging in their house? Are all of their waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse? If so, there’s no better gift in streaming this year than Disney+. The company’s new service features all the new and classic movies and characters the Magic Kingdom has to offer: Iron Man, Buzz Lightyear and, of course, Baby Yoda. Disney+ is $6.99 a month – or half the price of a Netflix subscription. – Frank Pallotta, Media Reporter
The first thing I learned after our baby was born is that sleep is mostly just a dream for parents. The second thing I learned is that there is absolutely no end to the list of stuff you need to buy for your sweet cooing financial sinkhole, including a camera to surveil your stupidly fragile nugget while they sleep. You could spend $300 on a Nest Cam or $400 on an Owlet Cam – or you could buy the Wyze Cam for $25. It was built by a group of former Amazon employees, covers most of the basics of what you need (Video feed? Check. Accessible on your phone? Check) and, best of all, leaves you with a couple hundred extra bucks to spend on diapers and baby food. – Seth Fiegerman, Tech Editor
Google Nest Mini
I bought the Nest Mini speaker on sale for $29, and it was one of the best, smartest purchases I’ve made. Google jam-packs this thing with all kinds of kids’ entertainment: Frozen stories, Halloween jokes, Mickey Mouse choose-your-own-adventure, Stranger Things games, freeze dance, mad-libs. My kids are obsessed with it, and they’re interacting (and not using a screen)! And for me, I get access to the entire internet, asking Google random facts with my voice instead of pulling my phone out all the time. It’s a decent little speaker for music and podcasts, too. – Dave Goldman, Assistant Managing Editor
I’m always looking for ways to reduce my single-use plastic consumption. I recently became hooked on Blueland, which makes cleaning products in reusable packaging. (It costs $40 for the starter kit with several glass bottles; you add water and a tablet to form the mixture. Replacement tablets are $2, so you save a ton in the long run.) Their hand soap is amazing, smells great and foams so well – it’s like a little cloud in your