Gift-giving is almost never easy, whether the tastes of the person you’re shopping for are tough to nail down or you’re worried about overpaying for the latest tech, getting your hands on the best presents is by no means stress-free. Consumers have also been totally inundated with cheap knock-offs and chintzy, trend-chasing cash grabs that it can at times be tough to tell the real stuff from the off-brand fakes.
That said, gadgets and tech upgrades are so commonly sought after these days, on the other hand, that, when in doubt, the latest in digital trends is more than likely to please. There’s also tons of that kind of thing readily available for both men and women, so the ideal gift may be no more than an Amazon link away.
While most tech products aren’t traditionally gendered, it’s tough for the trend-savvy modern woman to pass up a set of stylish bluetooth earbuds or a sleek purse that can double as a phone-charging station. Men, on the other hand, tend to go crazy for hardware intended for convenience. For instance, most women have a man in their lives that could do with an automatic grill-cleaning roomba. Doesn’t that sound like the coolest thing ever?
In a decade in which analog, unplugged gifts are increasingly thought to be sentimental or retro, it’s time to upgrade our gift-giving sensibilities and catch-up on what’s hot in 2018.
22 For Women: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
Polaroid cameras were all the rage back when 8mm film was still the go-to video recording method, but in the era of smartphones, even the fanciest digital cameras are struggling to compete. Though the first camera-equipped mobile devices were little more than useless add-ons, they’ve come so far as to go toe-to-toe with dedicated photography apparatus. Yet, for those nostalgic for a simpler time during which telephones and cameras were held absolutely no association, Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 9 — a polaroid camera for the new millennium — could be exactly what you’re looking for. Ultra-wide bell bottoms aren’t coming back, though, sorry to say.
21 For Men: Executive Office Solutions Adjustable Laptop Stand
Sitting at an office day in and day out can get tiring, and the stress from poor posture and repetitive actions can wreak more havoc on the body than one might realize. To counter these issues, industrious desk-bound workers might want to elevate their game — literally and figuratively — with an adjustable laptop stand from Executive Office Solutions. Less expensive than a full-on adjustable desk, this laptop stand allows laptop users to sit or stand while working on the computer. Plus, with a set of built-in CPU cooling fans, it may even offer a performance boost for those struggling with poorly-ventilated, aging PCs.
20 For Women: Fossil Q Accomplice Smartwatch
Smartwatches may be the next big thing in tech, but most offer bland, simple designs which don’t look all that appealing on the wrist. For those interested in jumping aboard this new wearable tech trend without compromising their fashion sense, Fossil Q’s Accomplice Smartwatch packs all of the convenience of a smartwatch into a delightfully old-school-looking package. At a glance, this gadget looks like an ordinary analog watch, but it comes packed with a host of modern add-ons, and it even boasts a small camera for those who never want to be without the ability to take a selfie.
19 For Men: Nest Learning Thermostat
Just about everyone has childhood memories of their dad fiendishly defending the thermostat from a sweatshirt-clad spouse complaining that it’s much too cold in the house. Heat and AC might not come cheap, but, thankfully, the worries of our fathers need not be handed down to the same generation that invented a vacuum-cleaning robot. Nest’s Learning Thermostat can be controlled via voice commands, and it has the ability to remember your preferred temperature settings and set them accordingly given the time of day or year. Winter may still be just as chilly, but thermostat control has become much less of a headache.
18 For Women: Everpurse Kate Spade Small Harmony Tote
Smartphones may be extremely convenient and advanced enough for the population to question how we ever managed before their existence, but they aren’t perfect. They crack or break if dropped, they require expensive mobile plans, and, perhaps worst of all, they can’t hold a charge forever. Fortunately for women with an intense fear of life without their iPhones, the Everpurse Kate Spade Small Harmony Tote comes packed with two phone charging docks which may become far beyond necessary for those who spend their days out and about. The purse, of course, can’t hold an infinite charge itself, but it acts as a handy battery-life-extending tool which users are likely to find indispensable.
17 For Men: Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch
In bygone years, working men tended to carry around small beepers or rudimentary PDAs which did little more than alert the user that someone wanted to speak with them. Lagging far behind the technology of a modern cell phone, these dated fossils of the 1990s were, in a way, very early examples of the modern-day smartwatch. For those looking for a serious style upgrade or a chance to emulate the perceived prestige that came with owning a beeper during their heyday, Samsung is offering their Gear S3 Smartwatch. Stylish and commanding, it offers a pseudo-analog watch face, but it’s also waterproof, can receive and send calls and texts, and even connect to other devices via bluetooth.
16 For Women: Brainstorm SOI Handbag with Automatic Light
As most women will tell you, purses can turn into all-consuming black holes pretty quickly. Though they may provide an amount of convenience typically denied by the shallow pockets of women’s clothing, finding anything in a poorly-organized purse can be a troublesome proposition. However, for those truly unable to pull anything aside from change, used tissues, and half-melted peanut butter M&Ms out of their purses, Brainstorm offers the SOI Handbag which comes with an automatic light. Never again suffer the I’m-sure-it’s-in-there-just-give-me-a-second curse thanks to the ingenuity of the SOI. Unfortunately, it won’t locate your missing phone or car keys — you may need to develop a better memory for that.
15 For Men: SAMDI Walnut Laptop Stand
Let’s be honest, very few of us actually place our laptops in our laps when using them. It’s a total misnomer, and it’s a wonder that the ultra-heavy laptops of yesteryear didn’t put us out of the practice permanently. With that in mind, those who would like the convenience of in-lap computer usage without scorching their thighs or arching their back need look no further than the SAMDI Wood Laptop Stand. Elegant and suave, this curved stand is as attractive to the eye as it is ergonomic, and office laptop users will be able to maintain their professional sensibilities without overdoing it by way of an expensive, complicated adjustable desk.
14 For Women: August Smart Lock
Home security has become more important than ever as a new wave of Amazon package porch poachers and would-be Amazon Key thieves threaten the sovereignty of our homes. Regular locks may provide some security, but the August Smart Lock included an added layer of safety. Able to interact with Alexa and operate via personalized voice controls, this smart lock can alert owners when a door is opened, and who is entering and exiting your house. Alexa and similar in-home voice-controlled devices are often thought to be security risks in and of themselves, but the August Smart Lock definitely helps increase safety.
13 For Men: Cyclist’s Mobile GPS
Plenty of men consider themselves to be cycling enthusiasts, and, given that the Tour de France is currently underway, many more are likely to take up the hobby — for a brief period, at least. However, hardcore road riders will probably know all too well the difficulty associated with planning out a ride. It would be nice to have a fully-fledged GPS system mounted on your handle bars, but, though often accessible via smartphone, mounting something like that to the front of a bike is a bit of a risk. Fortunately, the Cyclist’s Mobile GPS provides all of the cartographic convenience of a phone without the risk of damaging your precious cell.
12 For Women: Moshi Touchscreen-friendly Gloves
Today, just about every cell phone is operated solely via a touchscreen interface. While sleek and futuristic, these input methods can be a real drag when walking around bare-handed isn’t an option. Those living in the extreme north or areas otherwise predisposed to unfriendly winter climates know just how uncomfortable it can be to fumble with a smartphone in the cold. Frigid fingers don’t make for the best user experience, and tapping out a text message in freezing temperatures is just awful. Fortunately, Moshi’s touchscreen-friendly gloves come equipped with small pads embedded in the tips of the glove’s fingers which allow for smartphone accessibility without the need to actually remove the gloves.
11 For Men: Tile Mate Anything Finder
Lost keys, wallets, and phones have been the bane of human existence since the invention of these devices. It doesn’t seem like keeping these objects on you at all times would be that difficult, but they so often end up lodged in couch cushions, car seats, or perhaps left in the pockets of a pair of pants thrown in the wash sometime last week. It’s an issue faced by some more than others, but the Tile Mate Anything Finder is a smart purchase for just about everyone. A GPS tracking device which is accompanied by a companion app, the Anything Finder can set your mind at ease or leave you rushing back to the movie theater to dig your missing smartphone out of the theater seats.
10 For Women: Universal Phone Charger
Though convenient as anything, tech can sometimes be quite picky. Lots of products are designed for use with nothing save for proprietary charging adapters and docking stations, and it can be a major pain to realize that your new iPhone won’t work with your previous phones micro-USB charger. Tech-savvy women might want to avoid these issues by way of this colorful universal charging adapter. These small devices ensure that you’ll always have the correct charger on-hand, and you’ll even be able to charge a friend’s phone should they be using a different brand of smartphone. It would be nice to see tech manufacturers one day adopt a universal method of charging, but, until that day, this is our only recourse.
9 For Men: iHome Wireless Speaker
In the early days of smartphones, built-in speakers were a neat inclusion, and few seemed to worry all that much about the awful, tinny sound quality produced by these things. As time went on, however, consumers grew tired of the subpar sound produced by most iPhones, and portable bluetooth speakers soon became a necessity. Today, mobile phone aficionados can get their hands on all sorts of smartphone-compatible speakers, but few can compare stylistically to the iBT12 flask-shaped iHome speaker. Quirky and individual, this is the perfect gift for a music lover with a sense of humor, and users will be thrilled to ditch their phone’s underwhelming on-board speakers.
8 For Women: Sonic Makeup Brush
Blending makeup can be a time-consuming, annoying task which, if done hastily, can hinder an entire day’s plans. Totally burdensome to those without the patience for more in-depth cosmetic arrangements, women of the past likely wished desperately for an easier, more automatic process. For all intents and purposes, we now live in the future, and the Sonic Makeup Brush can take the chore out of makeup blending. Automatic color blending means that users hardly need to lift a finger to complete a task which used to take up a decent amount of time. With this advent, more time can be budgeted for sleeping in.
7 For Men: Gear VR Headset
The concept of virtual reality used to seem so incredibly far-fetched and distant that it’s almost impossible to believe that it is now, to some extent, accessible to everyone. If you really want the most authentic virtual experience available, you’ll probably want to get your hands on something like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, but those with a casual interest in an augmented digital experience can pick up Samsung’s smartphone-oriented Gear VR headset. A cheaper, entry-level alternative to some of the more heavy-duty headsets, users need only plug a compatible smartphone into the Gear VR to be immersed in a world apart from their own. We may not have flying cars, but we do have VR!
6 For Women: Supersonic Hair Dryer
Hair drying is more of a science than it should be: leave your hair too wet and it becomes a sloppy, tangled mess, but dry it out too thoroughly and you’ll be left with cracked and brittle strands of broken hair. The Supersonic Hair Dryer, however, not only offers a suite of easy-to-use controls to allow for the perfect drying experience, but it also has a super neat modern design. With an appearance reminiscent of a bladeless fan, this most certainly isn’t your grandmother’s hair dryer. Adaptable to just about everyone’s hairstyle preferences, it’s time to finally ditch that gross old fire hazard of a hair dryer languishing in your bathroom drawer and step into the modern age.
5 For Men: Beats Solo3 Wireless On-ear Headphones
While some audiophiles will posit that Dr. Dre’s famous line of headphones doesn't compare to some less-recognizable brands, there’s little doubt that what the Beats series may lack in overall sound quality is made up for in stylistic appeal. Convenient and suave beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Beats Solo3 is a product designed for those who don’t want to look totally ridiculous while wearing on-ear headphones. Plus, wireless bluetooth connectivity means that users will be free of the annoying wire which tethers those listening through other headphones to their devices. These are a definite must-buy for mobile listening.
4 For Women: Eye Massager Sleep Mask
Whether for work or play, we spend way too much time these days glued to our screens. Eye strain has run rampant among just about everyone, and it isn’t uncommon for those who soak up a bit too much blue light. Fortunately, we can stave off some of the eye exhaustion caused by tech overuse with this eye-massaging sleep mask. We so often seem to lie in bed at night rubbing our overworked eye muscles, but, thanks to the unceasing march of technological progress, this process can actually be automated and performed while asleep. Put the beauty back in your beauty sleep and wake up ready to take on the day with an overnight eye massage.
3 For Men: Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaner
We really are living in the future — George Jetson may have had a robot maid and an automatic dog-walker, but we have roombas and automatic grill cleaners. Some bright spark thought to take the already-present, self-sufficient vacuuming technology and apply it to the grill. Of course, cleaning grills isn’t always the most pain-free thing, and grimy, blackened grills can be particularly burdensome to clean. The modern man, however, shall never again need to worry about proper cleaning practices or appropriate sanitization as yet another inconvenience is handled by our soon-to-be robot overlords. Should technology one day turn on us, our grilled food will certainly be the first to suffer the consequences.
2 For Women: Happy Plugs Wireless Headphones
Though some consumers still aren’t happy about Apple’s never-ending quest to make their products as thin and small as possible, newer iPhones are ditching their headphone jacks in an effort to slim down. This means that bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds are absolutely mandatory. Fortunately, Happy Plugs, a tech-accessory company, now provide Apple users with stylish, colorful ear pieces that are much more attractive to the eye than the awful, bulky boxes that come with most wireless earbuds.
For some, nothing can replace a good old pair of wired headphones, but they seem to be less and less ubiquitous as the months press on. Boost yourself or a friend into the modern era of wireless everything with this fashion-forward gear.
1 For Men: AquaAudio Cube
We all sing in the shower from time to time, but, without any actual music with which to sing along, it can get pretty awkward—especially if anyone is eavesdropping on your private concert. For all of those bathroom Beyoncés out there AquaAudio provides an elegant, simple solution. The AquaAudio Cube is a simple, wall-mounted waterproof speaker that will allow anyone to listen to their music of choice without fear of getting any of their expensive tech wet. The acoustics in your bathroom might be great, but it hardly matters if everything you bring in there short circuits in all of the mist and fog.
References: realsimple.com, brostrick.com, shoppergossip.com, popsugar.com, gearhungry.com