12 of the Best Tech Gifts To Give This Year

Surprise everyone on your list with these fun tech items that make great gifts.
Surprise everyone on your list with these fun tech items that make great gifts. / Apple / Kodak / Amazon; Justin Dodd, Mental Floss (background)
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Christmas is coming up faster than you may think, and each year that passes, it feels harder and harder to pick out presents for folks on your list. When everyone’s already got their hands on the next big thing, then what do you do?

Luckily, there are plenty of neat tech products on the market. Available at a variety of price points, these are unique and thoughtful items that your friends and family may not have stumbled upon themselves. From the newest Apple accessory to gaming must-haves and beyond, here are 12 of the best tech gifts this year. 

1. Apple Watch Ultra; $799

Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch Ultra / Apple / Amazon

The Apple Watch Ultra has everything you love about the original series, but is built to serve those who are harder on their equipment. Great for athletes, first responders, or others who work extended shift times, the Ultra model has a battery lasting up to 36 hours, or up to 60 hours on low-power mode. Additionally, the corrosion-resistant watch face is made with a titanium casing and features more accessible buttons, plus it offers up to 100 meters worth of water resistance. 

Several apps have been upgraded as well, including the GPS, compass, and workout app, which now features “advanced metrics” like Heart Rate Zones and Running Form. Every single model has the option to add on cellular service, too. Anyone for a run through the woods?

Buy it: Amazon

2. Holy Stone Foldable GPS Drone; $250

Holy Stone Foldable GPS Drone
Holy Stone Foldable GPS Drone / Holy Stone / Amazon

There’s really nobody on earth that couldn’t have fun with a drone. Featuring a 4K camera built with image stabilization, this gadget offers everyone from professional videographers to curious kids the chance to shoot footage from the sky. Your giftee will be able to check out the neighborhood from new angles, up to 3000 feet high! 

The drone comes with a GPS so that you’ll never lose it, and it returns to you on its own when the battery runs low. Better still, it’s foldable, making it easy to transport to and from wherever you’re looking to explore. 

Buy it: Amazon

3. LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle; From $99

LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle / LARQ / Amazon

What’s better than an aesthetically pleasing water bottle to cover in all of your favorite stickers? One that also sanitizes itself, for starters. This self-cleaning bottle uses ultraviolet (UV) light to sanitize the water inside and neutralize bacteria on the inner walls—all you have to do is tap the button to start the process, but it activates itself every couple of hours, too. Batteries should last you up to a month, but they’re easily rechargeable with the included MicroUSB cord.  

The stainless steel bottle comes in six different colors and two different sizes (17 ounces and 25 ounces, respectively), but each combination is double-walled and insulated to keep your water cold for an entire day (or hot for up to 12 hours, if you’re into that kind of thing). 

Buy it: Amazon 

4. Official Creality Ender 3D Printer; $189

Official Creality Ender 3D Printer
Official Creality Ender 3D Printer / Creality / Amazon

When it comes to innovative tech, 3D printing really is the future. College students are out here printing prosthetics for kids, scientists are experimenting with artificial organs, and good Samaritans are designing medication aids for Parkinson’s patients. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are tons of fun little projects families can come up with, too.

With a resume function, this 3D printer will never lose a project due to a power outage. The company also offers a lifetime of technical support in case you ever need it. 

Buy it: Amazon

5. JBL Pulse 4 Portable LED/Bluetooth Speaker; $250 

JBL Pulse 4 Portable LED/Bluetooth Speaker
JBL Pulse 4 Portable LED/Bluetooth Speaker / JBL / Amazon

JBL is rated very highly across the board on Amazon and they offer portable speakers at a variety of price points, depending on what you’re looking for. While this one in particular is on the higher end of things, it’s well worth it for the customizable light display it comes with.  

Your gift recipient can control the color of the LED light display with the accompanying app, or let the light show change with the music, then sync several speakers together to really get the party started. Plus, there’s no need to worry about getting rained out or sitting too close to the splash zone, as these speakers are waterproof for up to 3 feet. 

Buy it: Amazon

6. Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook; From $30

 Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook
Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook / Rocketbook / Amazon

For the students or other furious notetakers in your life, this sustainable notebook comes in 14 different cover colors with reusable sheets. Using the specialized pen and companion app, you can upload your notes to any cloud service of your choosing, and then wipe the pages clean to start fresh again. 

With 42 pages total across seven different layouts (including a task list, planner, calendar pages, lined sheets, and more), you’ll be able to track whatever you need easily, without wasting trees to do so. 

Buy it: Amazon

7. Bluetooth Beanie Hat; $28

Fulllight Bluetooth Beanie Hat
Fulllight Bluetooth Beanie Hat / Fulllight / Amazon

For the outdoorsy types in your life, this beanie is a thoughtful choice. It comes with Bluetooth headphones inside of it, making it a great accessory to have on hand for chilly winter hikes or early morning runs. And the headphones are removable, making the hat easily washable. Another reason to appreciate it? The batteries are good for up to 20 hours of use. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Novium Hoverpen; From $99

Novium Hoverpen
Novium Hoverpen / Novium / Amazon

The price on this nifty pen varies quite a bit due to the various materials you can choose from. While a bit expensive for a pen on its own, the basic (available in four different colors) and 18-karat, gold-plated models are available for between $99 to $129, and the engineering behind them make it worth the splurge.  

Magnets keep the pen suspended in its cradle, offering a futuristic design that will elevate the desk space of any science nerd. For space lovers specifically, consider upgrading to the Hoverpen with pieces of actual meteorite embedded in the body for a near one-of-a-kind collector’s piece. 

Buy it: Amazon

9. Game Boy Color - Atomic Purple; $116

Game Boy Color - Atomic Purple
Game Boy Color - Atomic Purple / Game Boy / Amazon

The Amazon Renewed store refurbishes previously used technology, like this older generation gaming system. The Atomic Purple Game Boy Color is an incredible call back to earlier consoles and classic video games for those who grew up on it, but it also makes a great vintage gift for newer gamers.

Buy it: Amazon

10. She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm; $30

She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm
She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm / She’s Birdie / Amazon

This keychain doubles as a little alarm system that your gift recipient can carry around wherever they go. If they ever feel unsafe, they just need to remove the top pin to activate a loud siren alarm and a strobe light to both draw attention from passers-by. Silencing the alarm is as simple as replacing the pin, and each set of batteries should last your giftee for about 40 minutes in total.

She’s Birdie is available in five different colorways, and five percent of the profits are donated to organizations supporting women’s safety.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro Portable Instant Camera and Photo Printer; $160

Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro Portable Instant Camera & Photo Printer
Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro Portable Instant Camera & Photo Printer / Kodak / Amazon

Talk about an all-in-one! This miniature digital camera allows your giftee to print photos on demand, import them to their phone via Bluetooth, or cancel altogether if the shot wasn’t what they were hoping, rather than wasting the film. Using the Kodak AR App, they can edit all their images—and add fun stickers or other effects—prior to saving or printing anything. Once it’s all set, recipients can print photos from their phones and select a bordered option for that classic Polaroid feel. 

Buy it: Amazon

12. The Original Rubik’s Connected; $60

The Original Rubik’s Connected
The Original Rubik’s Connected / GoCube / Amazon

This Bluetooth-equipped Rubik’s Cube pairs with an app to help your giftee finally learn how to solve the seemingly never-ending puzzle. The app will show them the orientation of the cube in real-time and tracks their stats as they progress. 

It also comes with mini-games, going above and beyond the old fashioned Rubik’s experience. Once your gift recipient has upped their game, they can also opt to connect with other players around the world and compete against them to see who can finish first.

Buy it: Amazon