The Top 10 tech items to look out for this Christmas

Catching up on your favourite Netflix series just got a lot easier thanks to the newest streaming sticks on the market. Image by freestocks.org on Pexels.

2020 has proven to be a year like no other and as we head towards its end, it’s time to treat the loved ones in your life (or possibly even yourself) after what is sure to be one for the history books. The tech world is constantly changing so compare the latest editions of products with older ones to see if what you’re looking for is compatible with the devices you already have and remember to shop around. Also, keep in mind when buying tech items this Holiday season that shipping times could possibly be delayed and plan ahead for stock that might be reduced or move quickly online, remember most of us are still at home! So save yourself from going down a Youtube rabbit-hole and find some great tech suggestions below:

TV Streaming Sticks

While most TVs that have been made in recent years come with smart tv functions  pre- installed, there are some cheaper options that do not. TV smart streaming sticks offer the full capabilities of a conventional smart tv, but for a fraction of the price. Using a HDMI port and a WiFi connection, viewers have the ability to stream all their latest favourites on Netflix, Amazon Prime and more.  Browse the web or even stream their favourite tunes, all via their otherwise standard tv. Some of the most popular editions this year are the Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick and Firestick from Amazon which usually retail for anywhere between €25-€75.

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers have been around now for a few years. While at first many were put off by their reduced capabilities or lack of interactivity, they now fill a gap in the tech market . They act as an extra hand around the house, providing useful information and facts, such as recipes and streaming music and radio or casting from a device to a TV, all through short voice commands (made possible by a WiFi connection). Popular brands to look out for this year include the Google Nest  and Amazon Echo Dot, which all retail for between €35-€160, depending on the model.

 

Home Hub

Similar in nature to the smart speaker (in fact sometimes these items fall under the same category in the tech world), home hubs offer all of the same capabilities of a smart speaker but more commonly they come with a screen that increases their functions. Home hubs such as the Google Nest Hub Max can connect with wireless security cameras and apps like Google Duo that can make both visual and audio calls, to those nearest and dearest this Christmas season. Here is a list of 10 recommendations.

 

Smart Plugs and Bulbs 

To top off the list of possible smart accessories that you can get this Christmas season, connect all your smart home appliances and smart-enabled devices to smart plugs and bulbs. Simply by using voice commands users have the ability to turn on and off lights, set timers and more all without lifting a finger. Find popular brands below:

 

True Wireless Headphones and Ear Buds

With many popular phone brands ditching the headphone jack in recent years, bluetooth headphones have become an essential item for streaming your favourite tunes on the go. Apple has taken first place with their Airpods, for the most mainstream true wireless headphones. Although, in recent years competitors have increased competition, both driving down prices and increasing the styles and variety available.

 

An at Home Projector

While many are still staying home as Coronavirus cases continue to rise worldwide, one industry that has truly suffered a major setback is that of the film world. The majority of cinemas still remain closed and it is still uncertain when they will reopen. So why not bring the big screen to your home! Home projectors only need a power source, plain wall or tarp to project on to and a device to cast or connect to, to bring all your favourite Hollywood classics to your own back garden or sitting room.

 

Game Consoles

What is now almost considered an old classic in terms of Holiday gifting, games consoles such as the PS5 or XBox Series X launched only this past month. Most definitely one of the more mainstream items to buy this year, the PS5 sold out in a matter of minutes at many online retailers. So when next available be sure to grab one or run the risk of not being able to find one at all this side of Christmas. Other popular games consoles include the Nintendo Switch or older versions of both the Xbox and Playstation. 

Minimalist Phones

Most definitely one of the newest tech trends to emerge over recent years, minimalist phones provide a more basic alternative for the screen addicted smartphone user in your life. Many brands are not quite there yet in terms of providing a complete alternative to the traditional Android or Apple device, although two popular alternatives in recent years, to go alongside your regular device, the Palm and the Light Phone ( and Light Phone II) have recently seen increased popularity. Both retail for just under $300 (US). 

Record Player

Yes a record player isn’t the most techie of devices, but many are increasingly returning to the old way of listening to audio (remember when we didn’t use smartphones?), via the bog-standard record player. Used records and record players can be cheaply found online and in many tech stores, however, brands such as Crosley have been making reproductions in recent years that have risen to the mainstream, offering a cheap alternative to what were once considered luxury items. 

Be Sustainable and Buy Something Refurbished

Many may say that used tech doesn’t have the same snazzy appeal as something fresh out of the box.  However, in a world that is increasingly more aware that we are destroying our planet, one way in particular of reducing waste is to buy used tech.  This can help to reduce the mining of precious minerals, which are usually used for our smartphone batteries.  Buying used or refurbished is not only a cost effective way to gift this Christmas but also a more climate conscious one. Look online through sites such as eBay, Swappa and Gazelle.com to see if you can snap up a last minute buy for a fraction of the cost.

Remember – try to shop local where possible. This isn’t always easy to do when purchasing the newest and flashiest tech, but shop around and you might be surprised at the bargains you can get on your own front doorstep. Also, there are many legacy editions of old tech that now can be seen as vintage or rare.  Again this is a more climate conscious option and you may possibly get to relive part of your childhood!

About Adam Thibault 4 Articles
I am a final year Communications and Media Production (Journalism) student at Griffith College Dublin. I'm a dual-citizen that loves to travel. I spend most of my time in Dublin (Ireland), Rhode Island (USA) or globetrotting elsewhere, exploring all the treats of other cultures.

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