What makes for a great Christmas gift? Well, we thought we would find some clues on Q&A forum Quora. But instead of a-ha answers, we stumbled upon a string of questions on this topic, including one that grapples with the problem of giving a gift to someone who already has everything. If you know someone who fits the category, one cute option is to gift them your time and attention.
The bottom line is that everyone has a different take on what a Christmas gift should be. So here’s our formula: a Christmas gift is something that feels good to give, is useful, and you won’t have to sell your kidney to buy it. And oh, since we are on a tech blog, it is something techie.
Zoomer Pet Dalmatian 2.0
Here is something to play with, without having to feed it or clean up after it. The 2.0 version of Zoomer claims to be twice as smart and funny, while loaded with twice the number of tricks. Besides, you can teach it a few more. Though Zoomer is already a pro at wagging its tail, following you around with those big eyes, responding gleefully when you scratch its belly, rolling over and doing cute little things real doggies usually do. Except for chewing up your slippers or tearing up the pillows.
How Things Work
While targeted at kids, this National Geographic book should also be an interesting read for adults who love science and technology. It looks under the hood of some of the most amazing inventions, and comes packed with trivia, biographies, diagrams and illustrations. The book claims to dissect everything from rubber erasers to tractor beams. Moreover, this is something to pick if you “ever wanted to take apart the microwave to see how it works or crack open your computer and peek inside”. After all, reading about it before actually opening up your computer does sound like a sane idea.
eBamboo wired keyboard and mouse set
If your job involves spending hours in front of a computer, the devices you interact with most are the keyboard and the mouse. So this eBamboo product should make for a nice and thoughtful gift. It claims to be made from a fresh bamboo material that features good elasticity and a comfortable feel. It is also water-resistant and spill-proof. The life span of the keys is rated at more than five million cycles. Besides, it stands apart from standard keyboards.
Fitbit Charge 2
We’re usually wary about recommending fitness gadgets as gifts, since they have the potential to send out the wrong message — are you hinting that the recipient is woefully out of shape? However, we think the Fitbit Charge 2 should not lead to paranoid thoughts, since you can pitch it as an all-day activity and sleep tracker that also includes a heart rate monitor. And yes, it can pull call, SMS and calendar events from your phone. The display on this version is bigger than before, and you can customise the device with interchangeable bands.
Eero Home Wi-Fi system
A new type of technology called mesh networking is shaking up the router market. Instead of clunky devices, mesh networks rely on small plug-ins that blanket every corner of your home with a Wi-Fi signal, without compromising on speed or security. Besides, you can add extra nodes any time you want. The Eero system comes as a pack of three, or you can buy one and add more later. Each node is capable of covering a 1,000-sq-ft area and delivers gigabit speeds. Moreover, instead of a clunky web interface, you can set up the network and control it via a smartphone app.
Dh1,909 (pack of three)
Warm, fuzzy, nostalgic and dreamy — turntables are back in vogue and should make for an unconventional gift, especially for an older audience. One of the most popular and affordable brands is Audio-Technica. You can pick up the AT-LP120USBHC (Dh1,399 on Souq), which comes with a direct drive motor and selectable 33-1/3, 45, and 78RPM speeds. The S-shaped tone arm includes adjustable counterweight, anti-skate feature and height adjustment. While hardcore turntable fans may turn their nose at this, you can hook up the turntable to a computer and record the audio. Meanwhile, those with a tighter budget can look at the Dh699 AT-LP60-USB model.
LIFX Wi-Fi bulb
Feeling gloomy and dull? Well, snap out of it with a dose of colour therapy. The LIFX is a Wi-Fi-enabled bulb that offers 16 million colours, and you can control it with a phone app. Besides, the bulb comes with a collections of presets such as Peaceful, Intense, Relaxing, Energising and Tranquil. There is even a Santa option that turns the room bright red. LIFX is energy-efficient and consumes between 0.2W and 17W depending on the adjustable brightness — apparently, it is four to eight times more efficient than a 75W incandescent bulb.
Nurturing a plant can often be a zen-like experience. Or at least something that brings a smile to your face. The Parrot Pot is a smart flowerpot that has four sensors to monitor temperature, light, soil moisture and fertiliser levels. Meanwhile, a built-in irrigation system waters the plants if you forget to do so or are out of town. The pot comes with a smartphone app that lets you monitor the plant’s health in real time, offers tips and provides access to a database of more than 8,000 plants. Parrot Pot can be used indoor or outdoors.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung has been dabbling in smartwatches since 2013, and the general consensus is that the company has finally managed to whip up one that packs in a bevy of features while also staying fashionable. The Gear S3 comes in two options: a traditional-looking Classic model and the more rugged Frontier version. Both include heart rate sensors, built-in speaker, onboard 4GB of storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC. The watches are also waterproofed and you can personalise them with additional bands.
Sony recently released its flagship noise-cancelling headphones in the UAE, with the big claim that they offer the best noise-cancelling tech in the market. And most reviewers agree — the MDR-1000X can certainly take on what Bose, the king of NC tech, offers in the QC35. Besides, Sony has packed in innovative features that allow you to listen to certain sounds — such as announcements at an airport — without having to remove the headphones. Similarly, you can chat with those around simply by placing your palm on the right speaker cup.