10 Best Gifts of 2021 That Tech Lovers Will Appreciate
By Stephanie Barnes
Finding the perfect holiday gift for the wonderful people in your life can feel like a daunting task—one that’s especially tricky to navigate when it comes to tech gifts because there are just so many highly rated options to sort through. Plus, this year has brought a major chip shortage, which has caused delays with deliveries and limited product availability for companies like Apple and Microsoft.
Luckily, the “chip Grinch” won't steal all the joy this year. Despite the setbacks, tech giants still managed to drop a host of new products in 2021. We got new AirPods, iPads, and there’s also that coveted Nintendo Switch with the upgraded OLED screen to consider. So, yes, there are still plenty of amazing products that will delight the techie in your life.
Below are 10 of the best tech gifts of 2021, from laptops to record players, so there’s something for all your tech-obsessed loved ones this holiday season.
1. For The Gamer: Nintendo Switch; From $369
If you’re shopping for the gamer in your orbit, consider the Nintendo Switch. The Switch has become super popular over the years, and for good reason. It offers hours and hours of fun for both kids and adults, and can be used as a handheld device (think Game Boy), as an on-TV console, and in tabletop mode. Your gamer will have access to some of the biggest and best titles, including Super Mario Odyssey and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
If you do decide to pick up the Nintendo Switch, you’ll have a couple of options. You can go with the classic model, the lite model, or, if you can get your hands on it, the new OLED model for $485 (keep in mind though, it's been selling out everywhere, so supplies are limited). No matter which option you choose, your giftee is in for something great.
Buy Them: Nintendo Switch Lite,Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch OLED
2. For The Binge-Watcher: Roku Streaming Stick+; $30
Getting—or in this case, receiving—a Roku Streaming Stick+ is an awesome way to bring new life to any home entertainment system. This would make a great gift for any tech lover who doesn’t already have a streaming setup, but it’d be particularly useful for an older friend or family member. Roku products are simple to install and the user interface is friendly and intuitive, making hosting movie nights or binge-watching TV in 4K/HDR easier than ever. With the streaming stick, your giftee will have access to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Twitch, and more. There’s also an easy-to-use remote and voice control.
Buy It: Amazon
3. For The Music Lover: New Apple AirPods; From $175
If your giftee has been longing for a pair of truly wireless earbuds, then look no further than the new Apple AirPods. AirPods have been one of the best-selling earbuds since their inception and they just keep getting better. The 3rd Gen AirPods bring a more pro design with better audio quality and easier charging, thanks to its MagSafe capability. However, if noise cancellation is important to your giftee, then consider opting for the latest AirPods Pro. The Pro models have also been upgraded with MagSafe and come with a more comfortable fit, thanks to the silicone-tipped buds.
Buy Them: Apple AirPods (3rd Generation), New Apple AirPods Pro
4. For The One Who Likes Chatting It Up With Alexa: Amazon Echo Dot; From $25
Speaking of voice control, the Amazon Echo Dot is the way to go if you’re shopping for a general tech lover or someone who just enjoys chatting it up with Alexa. The tiny speaker is budget-friendly and integrates with your giftee’s Amazon account, which makes ordering and getting shopping recommendations a total breeze. Alexa will also drop the occasional joke, weather update, and play their favorite music at request. The 3rd Generation Dot is a little small to fill big spaces with sound, so if you’re looking for all the same features with a bigger speaker, then consider the Echo Dot (4th Generation).
Buy It: Echo Dot (3rd Generation), Echo Dot (4th Generation)
5. For The Avid Reader: Kindle Paperwhite; $140
Give the reader in your life a major upgrade with Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. Your giftee will be able to store thousands of stories, comics, and PDFs all in one place. The Paperwhite is waterproof, which makes it the best beach day companion, and it comes in multiple colors, storage options, and a battery that lasts for weeks at a time.
Buy It: Amazon
6. For The Apple-Obsessed: Apple Pencil and iPad Mini; From $95
Apple’s mighty Mini finally got a redesign this year, which puts it high on the list of best tech gifts for 2021. If your techie is always on-the-go or just prefers a smaller tablet, then you can’t go wrong with the iPad Mini and its 8.3-inch liquid Retina display. It comes with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, up to 256 gigabytes (GB) of storage space, and updated cameras for all those Zoom and FaceTime calls. The new Mini is also compatible with Apple’s 2nd Generation Pencil, just in case you’re feeling extra generous this year.
Buy Them: Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), Apple iPad Mini (2021)
7. For The Vinyl Collector: Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable; $228
It’s commonly said that vinyl recordings just sound better than digital audio, but we’re not here for that debate. We are here to tell you that the Sony PS-LX310BT turntable would make the ideal gift for a young or old vinyl collector who needs a new record player. Sony has brought a modern take to its turntable, making it fully automatic. With the press of a button, the turntable will lower the tonearm, find the groove, and get the music flowing. There’s also the option to easily connect to your music via Bluetooth.
Buy It: Amazon
8. For The One Who Always Needs A Charger: Poweroni Charging Station; $31
No tech setup is complete without a charging station, and the Poweroni charging station is top-notch this year. The tech fan in your life will likely already have several devices and all these gadgets will need charging, so why not give them the option to do it all in one place? The Poweroni charging station can power up to six devices via USB ports. Your giftee will also get seven charging cables, ranging from USB-C to micro-USB to Lightning, so this really covers all the bases.
Buy It: Amazon
9. For The One Who Likes Over-Ear Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones; $348
No tech gift guide would be complete without the mention of Sony's WH-1000XM4. These amazing headphones have managed to snag the position of the best over-ear, budget-friendly, noise-canceling joints you can buy this year. Not only do they produce stunning sound, but they’re also lightweight, comfortable, and totally wireless. If your giftee is a music lover who prefers headphones to earbuds, these will absolutely make their holiday a little brighter.
Buy It: Amazon
10. For The One Who Wants A Nice Laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio; From $1596
If money isn’t an issue for you, then picking up the new Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a no-brainer. If your giftee needs an upgrade in the laptop department, then you can’t go wrong here. The Surface Laptop Studio is a high-performance laptop with a Haptic touchpad, with multiple ways to use it. It can be used in a typical laptop position, angled and used for docking, and even pulled completely flat for a more tablet-like look and feel. The 14.4-inch screen is fantastic for creative tasks, plus it also boasts up to 19 hours of battery life, refresh rate up to 120 hertz (Hz), 1080-pixel high-definition camera with improved skin tone accuracy. Of course, you can tweak the specs to your liking but even at the base model with 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive (SSD), and an Intel Core i5 processor, it’s a solid machine.
Buy It: Amazon