There’s a good chance someone in your life has one or two tech gifts on their holiday wish list. The good news is there’s a dizzying array of items merging technology with smart design to choose from now, whether it’s for the home theater enthusiast, the brainiac whiz kid, the budding audiophile, or the aesthete first adopter. We’ve been check-marking tech designs all year for this end of the year gift guide – so, here’s our design-friendly picks to entertain, educate, nourish, and even decorate the home all with technology integral to the experience.
Gantri 3D Printed Table Lamp \\\ starting at $148
A few months ago we spotlighted the emergence of this San Francisco-based company for their intriguing 3D printing and on-demand manufacturing platform. Their catalog of wildly futuristic dimmable LED accent, area, and task lamps has since grown into a tempting selection of shapes and purposes, perfect to gift the person who lights up your life.
For the futurist aesthete.
DOIY Le Videpoche \\\ $41
Having a place to drop all the contents of your pockets at the end of the day could mean the difference between always knowing where your phone, wallet, and keys are or having to purchase one of these. Now if they only would make this with wireless charging built into the tray for the new iPhone X…
For the perpetually organized (or forever forgetful).
TRNTBL \\\ $499
It’s the first wireless turntable designed to play nice with two of our favorite streaming audio tools right out of the box – Spotify and Sonos. Every deck is hand assembled in either creme or black, and is equipped to identify every record played on its platter, generating a playlist to keep or share via Spotify. It’s the best of both worlds: the sound of analog with the convenience of wireless streaming.
For the vinyl lover who already owns Sonos speakers.
JLA M1 \\\ $995
The best technologies lay low, stay invisible until you need their service. That’s why we think this speaker disguised as a side table equipped with an 8″ ultra-low distortion woofer and a 1-1/8″ optimized silk dome tweeter inside a minimalist modern housing is almost a two-for-one bargain.
For the audiophile who believes speakers should be heard, not seen.
ANICORN Series 000 Watch \\\ $410
Elegant. The fashionable combination of grey and rose gold adorning the latest Series 000 Watch is a refreshing revamp of a watch formerly available in various shades of black. Beyond the new sophisticated finish, the triple-zero model still comes equipped to keep time accurately via automatic Japanese movement. Three concentric discs turn with every second, minute and hour. The Series 000 is also imprinted with the Swiss font Numeral designed by Dinamos, is water resistant with a 5 ATM rating, protected by an anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass, and operates without a battery. But we’ll admit it, we want it for its looks, not its time-keeping dependability.
For the horologist with a thing for typography.
Rylo 360-Degree Camera \\\ $499
Don’t let its small size fool you, this mighty bit of imaging equipment is capable of capturing big, seamless, and immersive 360-degree 4K video through its pair of 208-degree f2.8 lenses. An image stabilization system smooths the frosting, removing bumps and shakes for buttery smooth video playback of action. A gamut of iOS app-based controls invites further experimentation, offering a variety of different editing and focus modes, including subject locking and variable speed playback. It’s also manufactured with a confident heft that promises it can take a ding or two without even noticing.
For the adventurer who wants to see the bigger picture in life.
Xbox One X \\\ $499+ The Frame 43” \\\ $1299
We’ve already waxed poetic about The Frame, Samsung’s television designed to double up as a 4K, ultra high definition digital art platform, but we’re excited about this smaller 43″ option because it seems an ideal pairing for the new XBox One X, the most powerful gaming console available today. The +X console is more than capable of showcasing all the merits of 4K resolution HDR technology: games run faster, smoother, brighter, with vivid clarity, yet they’ve somehow reduced the physical size in comparison to its previous incarnation. The combination of power, resolution, and compact size makes the tandem a pretty compelling home entertainment system for the bedroom, den, or home office.
For the art lover who with a strong affinity for the artistry of gaming.
Optoma UHD60 4K Projector \\\ $1999
We’ve tested and owned several HD projectors (including a couple of Optoma models) throughout the years, but nothing so gloriously satisfying as this even clearer and brighter 4K UHD 2160p resolution DLP UHD projector. It’s simply badass, for the lack of better words honestly reflecting our opinion. Whether watching movies through Apple TV or XBox, streaming Netflix series, playing video games, or even playing Drawful across a 92″ screen with friends, the pictures put out from the UHD60 never disappoints. It’s the closest we’ll get to an IMAX experience in our modest sized living room.
For the cinephile who wants an execeptional picture at a reasonable price.
Nanit Baby Monitor \\\ $364
My friends just welcomed a newborn into their lives, so they seemed ideal candidates to test the Nanit. A few days after handing over the monitor, they emailed back with the following: “Nanit now and forever! The quality is light years ahead of our old video monitor. I used to have to stare at our child for a solid five minutes to detect breathing (as a new mom, you are constantly checking in on their breathing). With Nanit, you can ZOOM IN. The area that the camera covers is also really cool – an overhead shot lets you see so much more than we previously could. It even does a synopsis of the day and night via timelapse video so I can get a snapshot of it all. So not only is it informative, it’s really fun to watch.”
For the parents whose favorite channel is BabyTV (aka every parent).
Nespresso Expert \\\ $329
We’re all about the ritual of grinding our own whole beans for a cup of Aeropress or Chemex brewed coffee. But we recognize many drinkers appreciate the convenience and ease of capsule systems. If so, the neo-Art Deco industrial design of this latest Nespresso coffee brewing machine is the most pleasing expression of drop-press-and-brew coffee. A pair of simple dial controls offers satisfying clicks with every turn, allowing users to dial in temperature and intensity with an old audiophile equipment-like feel. The Bluetooth app-connected controls aren’t necessary, but offers a cool additional way to customize a cup of espresso with a swipe and a tap. Pssst, you can always switch to refillable capsules to pack with your favorite local roasts too.
For the coffee drinker looking for an elegant and compact design, and who wants to stop drinking from the gross communal carafe in the break room.
Sneakers \\\ $16 + Hex Calibre Sneaker Backpack \\\ $149
They’re calling this new 320 page tome dedicated to the business of sneaker design the “new sneaker bible”, its pages packed with photos and insight about the culture of collectible kicks. Pack a copy inside the dual compartment backpack from one of our favorite tech carry-all accessories maker, Hex and you’ve got business up top, party down below.
For the commuter and sneaker freak who wants to carry their laptop and sneakers everywhere they go.
CARY42 \\\ $3029
With just 50 of these portable retro gaming systems slated to be made, these arcade in a box are likely to become an offbeat rare collectible amongst gamers rather than a realistic gift idea. But by chance you’re a hardcore Street Fighter II devotee, this solid American walnut case with a 12″ LCD screen flanked by two 10w stereo speakers and loaded with 100 classic game titles should make it clear you’re always ready to 1-up.
For the rich gamer who just has to HADOUKEN at any given moment.
Kano Pixel Kit \\\ $79
I gave a Kano Pixel Kit to my neighbor’s daughter, and a few hours later her mom texted me back a video of her child having what appeared to be the time of her life exploring light and sound. The secret to everything Kano designs is the intuitive features that make learning a byproduct of curiosity and play. The Pixel Kit’s miniature screen is comprised of giant LED pixels capable of reproducing a spectrum of 16 million colors, and programmable using an easy block-based coding language…simple enough for Luddite parents to understand, complex enough for children to want to master.
For the kid who doesn’t want to just play games, but code the next Minecraft one day.