Looking for the best products to gift — and to get — this holiday season? Check out Underscored’s Holiday Guide here.
With the holidays nearly upon us and shopping season seemingly kicking off earlier than ever before, it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts for all your loved ones. Throughout the year, we’ve been testing and trying all sorts of gadgets — from Apple watches to chargers — to find the very best ones that are actually worth your money.
No matter if you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want to deal with hassles of a complex setup, someone who might be a bit clumsy when it comes to new tech or even someone who doesn’t know what they want, we have you covered. Check out the best tech gifts you can give this holiday season.
Yootech Wireless Charger ($14.99; amazon.com)
While you might not give a phone this season, why not give the gift of wireless charging? This circular Yootech charging pad not only has a cool design with a pop of color, it also supports the Qi standard for wireless charging and can deliver power at up to 10 watts.
Apple AirTag ($29.99; amazon.com)
If the person you’re shopping for (or you!) is constantly losing things and uses an iPhone, AirTags might be the perfect gift. These not only easily pair with your Apple devices, but they’ll let you track down things in a jiffy. Newer iPhones will even make finding things fun with AR directions. Check our full review of the AirTag here.
Xbox Game Pass (starting at $9.99; microsoft.com)
Not sure what to get the gamer in your life? You really can’t go wrong with an Xbox Game Pass subscription. With various plans that start at $9.99 a month, Game Pass gives players access to hundreds of titles that include big blockbusters like Halo, Forza and Star Wars as well as beloved indie fare like Hades and It Takes Two. These games can be played on Xbox consoles, PCs and even smartphones and tablets via the cloud, meaning even folks without dedicated gaming hardware can still get a lot out of the service.
Case-Mate Power Pad Pro 3 in 1 ($100; case-mate.com)
Charging your iPhone, earbuds and Apple Watch can be a real pain — especially when you consider all the cables. Give the gift of removing clutter with the CaseMate Power Pad 3-in-1 wireless charger. It can charge your phone, earbuds and watch along with a USB-A port on the back that can be used to charge anything else.
Anker Nano II Charger ($33.99; amazon.com)
It’s a safe bet that whoever you’re gifting to this year has a bevy of devices to charge. And whether it’s an iPhone or Android, Nintendo Switch OLED, fancy laptop or even a pair of earbuds, this charger is quite possibly the best piece of tech to have in their kit. The Nano II wall plug comes in three flavors — 30-watt, 45-watt and 65-watt — with a single USB-C port on the front. Just bring a cable and you’re off to the races.
Apple MagSafe Charger ($34, originally $39.99; amazon.com)
Know someone with an iPhone 12 or newer? The MagSafe Charger is an excellent gift, along with a Nano II wall plug, to make wireless charging a snap. It magnetically attaches to the back of the phone and can fast charge at 15 watts. It’s a great accessory that can go on a nightstand, desk or even be brought along for travel.
Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger ($39.99; amazon.com)
As our top-rate portable battery, this Anker PowerCore can help keep any gadget or gizmo you might have alive for a bit longer. It’s ideal for charging a phone, tablet, earbuds or even a portable console like the Switch.
Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard ($39.99; logitech.com)
Having a great keyboard is key to staying productive, whether you’re at home or finding your way back to the office. If the person on your list needs a new one, the $39 Logitech K380 is one of the best we’ve tested for the price. This attractive, compact wireless keyboard feels great to use, and while it’s built to pair effortlessly with Apple devices, it’ll also work with your Chromebook or Windows PC. Better yet, you can switch between your Mac, iPad and iPhone on the fly, making it a perfect companion both during and after the workday.
Amazon 4th-Gen Echo Dot ($49.99; amazon.com)
For $49.99, the Echo Dot acts as a speaker, a helper and — depending on the color you choose — some nice home decor. It’s our budget pick for a smart speaker for good reason. The 4th-Gen Echo Dot has a functional design that offers rich, crisp audio and easy access to Alexa for all sorts of asks. If you’re cool with more basic sounds, the 3rd-Gen Echo Dot is a more affordable option at $24.99.
Custom Pet Portrait Phone Case ($50; westandwillow.com)
Shopping for someone with a pet — or let’s be honest, have a pet — well, this is a perfect phone case that will be customized with your gorgeous animal on the back. Best of all, they will illustrate your pet via a photo you provide.
Fire HD 8 Plus ($54.99, originally $109.99; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for a basic tablet that can handle web browsing, streaming, video calls, e-reading and even some light gaming, then the Fire HD 8 Plus deserves a look. It’s our pick for a budget tablet and is a seriously impressive device. Better yet, it’s discounted to just $54.99.
Casetify Clouds Phone Case (starting at $40; casetify.com)
Regardless of which phone you have, it’s safe to say that a case is important, so why not choose one that can put a smile on your face? Casetify’s Cloud case (available for a bevy of iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices) pairs a clear or shiny back with a gorgeous set of inspiring clouds. Better yet, it’s made from recyclable materials and delivers drop protection from over 6 feet.
Legend of Zelda Game and Watch ($49.99; bestbuy.com)
The Legend of Zelda Game and Watch is both a miniature games console and a cool souvenir for Nintendo fanatics. This tiny handheld packs three all-time classic games in The Legend of Zelda Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening, and doubles as a fun interactive clock when you’re not out saving Hyrule.
Logitech C920S Pro HD Webcam ($69.99; logitech.com)
Is your loved one still using their crummy laptop webcam for Zoom calls? Do them a favor and get them the Logitech C920S. Our pick for the best webcam you can buy, this camera offers excellent picture quality under any lighting condition, and can be customized to your heart’s content via the Logitech Capture software. Trust us, their coworkers will thank them.
Razer Pro Click Mini ($79.99; razer.com)
Whether the person on your list is re-entering the office or getting ready for another year of working from home, they can almost certainly use a good mouse. Razer’s Pro Click Mini is one of the best wireless models we’ve tested, with a compact, comfortable and truly silent design that won’t disturb your roommates or colleagues when you’re rapidly clicking away.
Homall Gaming Chair ($89.89, originally $149.99; amazon.com)
The Homall Gaming Chair isn’t just a great gaming chair for the price — it’s also an excellent purchase for anyone who simply needs a high-quality seat for their home office. We’ve personally used this model for close to three years, and it’s kept us comfy throughout long workdays at home and marathon gaming sessions alike.
Apple AirPods Pro ($159.99, originally $249.99; amazon.com)
Apple’s flagship earbuds are down to the lowest price we’ve ever seen: $159.99. For the price, you get an outstanding pair of earbuds with great sound, solid battery life and active noise cancellation.
Apple HomePod Mini ($99; apple.com)
Apple’s HomePod Mini is our runner-up best smart speaker and the perfect gift for any Apple user. It comes in fun new colors — yellow, orange and blue — that can pop in your space and offers incredible sound in a super-small build. Seriously, the HomePod Mini is about the size of an apple. You get instant access to Siri, easy smart home control and an easy way to play music.
Backbone One controller ($99.99; amazon.com)
The Backbone One controller turns your smartphone into a portable gaming console, making it a great way to play your favorite mobile games or tap into popular streaming services such as Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia. And unlike the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it’s both affordable and easy to find.
Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with MagSafe ($149.99; belkin.com)
If you’re shopping for someone who has the Apple Watch Series 7 and a MagSafe-capable iPhone, this 3-in-1 charger from Belkin fits the bill. It’s one of the only combination devices to support fast charging for the Apple Watch, along with a MagSafe spot and Qi-enabled spot for AirPods. It also has a modern flat design that won’t take up much space.
Aura Carver Smart Digital Picture Frame (starting at $169; amazon.com)
The Aura Carver Picture Frame gives this classic accessory a smart 2021 upgrade with WiFi and Alexa compatibility. The 10.1-inch display cycles through family photos with ease and high-quality resolution. It also made Oprah’s Favorite Things list for the year.
Sonos Roam ($179; sonos.com)
The Sonos Roam is a Bluetooth speaker that goes the extra mile. Yes, it’s waterproof and fairly rugged for adventures, along with a strong Bluetooth connection for listening while on the go, but it also is a full-feature multi-room speaker thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s just as versatile as any other Sonos speaker, with rich sound quality that can be customized to your liking.
Apple AirPods 3 ($154.99, originally $179; amazon.com)
If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want to block out the world and prefers a more open design, the AirPods 3 deserve a look. These keep an open-ear design with no ear tip, simply resting in your ear. They feature Adaptive EQ, hands-free access to Siri and long 6-hour battery life from a single charge. Of course, they also integrate effortlessly with all Apple devices.
Beats Fit Pro ($199.99; apple.com or amazon.com)
If you’re looking to gift a pair of high-quality wireless earbuds this holiday, it doesn’t get much better than the Beats Fit Pro. These sporty buds offer excellent sound, a secure and gym-friendly fit and all of the same smarts as the AirPods Pro — including active noise cancellation and Transparency mode for staying on top of your surroundings. They’re also $50 cheaper than the AirPods Pro, come in some great colors and work great with both iPhone and Android devices.
Nomad Base Station Pro ($199.95; nomadgoods.com)
Know someone with a multitude of devices who seemingly can’t keep them all charged? Nomad’s Base Station Pro might be the solution. You can charge several devices wirelessly by laying them anywhere on this leather and aluminum pad. It’s super sleek and the tech powering it fades into the background.
WD My Passport SSD (starting at $84.99, originally starting at $119.99; amazon.com)
While not flashy, the gift of an external hard drive is one that can come in handy. Not only can it save someone from dreaded data loss, but it can also breathe new life into an aging laptop by offloading some larger files. This WD My Passport SSD isn’t just quick with data transfers, but also looks pretty darn sleek.
Oculus Quest 2 ($299; amazon.com)
If you want to show the tech lover on your list what virtual reality is all about, the Oculus Quest 2 is the way to go. This fully wireless VR headset is a breeze to set up, and gets you access to hundreds of great experiences that run the gamut from immersive games like Beat Saber and Star Wars: Vader Immortal to entertainment apps that give you the best seat in the house for virtual concerts and sports games. We’ve also found the Quest 2 to be a great way to stay active, thanks to a plethora of great fitness games and built-in activity tracking.
Xbox Series S ($299.99; bestbuy.com)
Of all of the new gaming consoles out there right now, the Xbox Series S is the cheapest — and the easiest to actually find in stock. And while it’s not quite as powerful as the Xbox Series X (which is designed for 4K gaming), this adorably tiny machine has most of the same great features, including zippy load times and a handy Quick Resume option for jumping between multiple titles at once. When you combine it with an Xbox Game Pass subscription that will let you play hot titles such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 right out of the box, you’ve got just about the best overall value in console gaming.
Apple 9th-Gen iPad ($329; amazon.com)
The gift of a tablet is one that keeps on giving — and the entry-level $329 iPad is an excellent gift. It has a sizable display that is great for FaceTiming with family, browsing the web, streaming “Ted Lasso” or even playing a game. Here’s the secret though — it has a powerful-enough processor inside to make the most out of iPadOS 15 and tackle nearly any task.
Nintendo Switch OLED ($349; amazon.com)
The Nintendo Switch OLED is the best version of Nintendo’s popular gaming console yet, with a gorgeous 7-inch OLED display that will make your games look bolder and more colorful than ever. It also features a much-improved kickstand for impromptu Mario Kart sessions. The Switch OLED is a little hard to find in stock these days, but the standard $299 Nintendo Switch is still a great buy for those who want the full experience, while the smaller handheld-only $199 Switch Lite is perfect for younger players and those who mostly play on the go.
Samsung The Frame Smart TV (starting at $449.99, originally starting at $599.99; samsung.com or starting at $797.99; amazon.com)
Samsung’s The Frame doesn’t have the best picture quality or the best interface, but it can display art and be the centerpiece of a room even when you aren’t watching TV. You can pair it with a wooden frame — to make it look like a piece of art — and pick a photograph or work of art to display on the screen. That way even when it’s off, it’s doing something useful.
Apple M1 Macbook Air ($999; apple.com or bhphotovideo.com)
Gifting a computer isn’t a small feat, but we’re here to make it a little easier. As our top choice for an Apple laptop, the latest MacBook Air pairs a classic modern design with the latest processing power. It can last for days on a charge and the Apple-made M1 processor is good enough for nearly any task. Best of all, there is no fan inside.
Sony A90J OLED TV (Starting at $2,798; amazon.com)
If you’re shopping for an entertainment lover who wants to see all the details of a TV show or movie, we’d splurge on Sony’s A90J. Yes, it’s an expensive OLED TV but it offers the best picture quality we’ve ever tested and packages it in a jaw-droppingly sleek design. The visuals literally go to the very edge of the screen.