Who says a last-minute gift has to be a bad gift? Certainly not us. There are many great, easily accessible tech gadgets that not only make fantastic holiday presents, but can be picked up at your local electronics store or ordered to arrive on your doorstep the next morning. (Seriously, how did we ever do holiday shopping without Amazon Prime?)
From smart home devices to Apple accessories, here are 10 of our favorite last-minute gift ideas for tech lovers.
1. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo is new this year, and it’s one of our favorite gadgets of the season. The Bluetooth-connected speaker can play your favorite tunes, answer questions like a personal assistant and control smart home gadgets including Philips Hue lights, WeMo and Samsung SmartThings devices.
2. Moshi Battery iGlaze Ion
Never underestimate the importance of the backup battery case, especially when traveling or at a conference that requires constant tweeting. Let’s be honest: There’s nothing worse than coming up with the perfect Instagram caption only to have your smartphone die on you, which is why Moshi’s iGlaze Ion — a battery case that slides onto your iPhone when it needs a little extra juice — makes the perfect gift.
3. Nest Cam
Whether you’re new to the smart home game or already have an elaborate connected home setup, a Nest Cam is a good investment. The Wi-Fi camera, which can be set up to monitor your home while you’re away, includes a build-in speaker and microphone so you can tell the kids to stop watching Netflix and do their homework from across the house. Perhaps more importantly, the device’s cloud-connected recording feature can capture video of a home invasion and store it remotely, ensuring you have evidence even if the camera is stolen or damaged.
4. Apple Watch bands
If you’re shopping list contains any Apple Watch owners, a selection of watch bands make for excellent last-minute presents. Apple keeps a number of styles in stock at its stores, including calf leather, stainless steel mesh and alloy links, all of which have the power to give your loved one’s favorite tech accessory an updated look.
Price: $49 and up
5. Philips Hue Starter Kit
Philips Hue lights, which can be controlled via app or Siri voice control, make fun home accessories for starter techies. The lights allow users to create fun and personalized lighting schemes, adjusting colors and brightness levels as necessary.
6. Apple TV
Apple updated its Apple TV, making the new version the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Those who were a fan of the first model will appreciate the upgrade, while those who haven’t hopped on the connected television bandwagon just yet will surely appreciate the video features, Siri-powered remote control and ability to run apps and games just like a traditional console.
7. GoPro Hero4
Just like previous GoPro models, this latest version is a tiny camera that straps onto your helmet when you’re biking, mounts on the hood of your car when you’re off-roading or attaches to the front of your surfboard before you hang ten. Unlike previous models, the camera captures 4k video and has new settings for night video and photography.
When connected to your home television, Chromecast allows you to stream content from your smartphone or tablet onto your television. In other words, you can watch all your favorite Netflix, Hulu and Google Play shows on the big screen. This year Google also released a similar device for audio, so you can wirelessly stream your favorite playlists from your smartphone to speakers in your home.
9. Dodocase Google Cardboard
Virtual reality is still in its early stages, but it can be a lot of fun. A number of companies are developing cheap virtual reality tool kits that include cardboard mounts capable of transforming your smartphone into a virtual reality player. One good option is the Dodocase Google cardboard kit, which is available on Amazon. If you have trouble finding it there are quite a few comparable options on Google’s cardboard homepage.
10. Gift cards
Gift cards often get a bad rap, but under the right circumstances they can make thoughtful presents. Personalize the card by making a few suggestions on what the recipient may want to spend it on. An Amazon gift card, for example, could come with a note reading: “This movie made me think of you, so I wanted you to watch it.” Likewise, an iTunes gift card may include a note that says something like: “This app made me so much more productive, and I think you’d love it too.” Touches like these go a long way in transforming a generic gift into a personal one.
Price: Any value