It’s been another great year in the world of consumer tech, with the smartphone market continuing to boom, smartwatches increasing in popularity and wearables in general steadily infiltrating our everyday lives.
With us now in the holiday season, there are plenty of useful and entertaining gadgets that deserve a place on yours and your loved ones’ Christmas lists. With that being said, here’s Crave’s guide to the best tech presents the year has had to offer.
2015 Gadget Gift Guide
2015 Gadget Gift Guide
Nyrius Aries Home+
If you've ever found yourself arguing over what to put on the TV, then the Nyrius Aries Home+ offers a simple solution to that everyday problem by allowing you to stream HD video from a source in one room to a TV or projector in another.
The Home+ allows movies, TV shows and video games to be streamed in HD quality between rooms, with it offering connectivity of up to 100 feet and also allowing for 3D compatibility.
With it able to transmit signals from your Blu-ray/DVD player, digital cable box, satellite receiver, laptop, or gaming console, the Nyrius Aries Home+ will
finally bring an end to those evenings spent fighting over the TV remote.
Buy it here Image Credit: Nyrius
Google made bold steps into Sonos' territory with Chromecast Audio, a device that allows users to stream music to any of their existing speakers.
Available for a budget price of just $35, Chromecast Audio allows users to stream their music via wi-fi, connecting to the audio input of their speaker. It'll also eventually support multiroom playback in an update later this year.
Chromecast Audio will make a great gift for the music lover, allowing them to stream audio from apps such as Spotify without having to buy a brand new speaker in order to do so.
Buy it here Image Credit: Google
Sphero BB-8 Droid
The release date of
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just around the corner, and come Christmas it will have already made its way into theaters. For fans of the sci-fi series, this BB-8 droid from Sphero will make the perfect gift.
The remote-controlled gadget operates just like the droid we've seen in commercials for the blockbuster sequel (though it's app-enabled, which is presumably not how it functions in J.J. Abrams' movie), and also boasts voice-recognition software and the ability to record video.
Buy it here Image Credit: Sphero
After overlooking their digital media player for far too long, Apple announced in 2015 that they had gone back to the drawing board with Apple TV and were going to re-introduce a new, revamped device that would revolutionize the way we view TV.
While it will arguably struggle to achieve the latter it still ranks among the very best streaming devices on the market, with its Siri-operated voice-recognition system allowing for easy navigation of services such as Netflix and Hulu. It's also the first digital media player to boast universal search, which means that you won't have to scroll through its various apps in order to find the show/film you want to watch, minimizing the amount of time you'll spend browsing in the hope that you'll stumble upon something you'll want to watch.
Combine these features with an emphasis on gaming and a trackpad remote control that feels like a dream to use, and the Apple TV is one of the most appealing digital media players on the market. If you know someone who is in the market for a streaming device, you don't need to look much further than this.
Buy it here Image Credit: Apple
LG Watch Urbane
Smartwatches were a pretty big deal in 2014, and for the individual who's looking to jump on the bandwagon but who perhaps isn't interested in the Apple Watch, the LG Watch Urbane an excellent, less expensive alternative.
While LG hasn't made much of an impact in the smartwatch world, the Urbane is arguably the company's best crack at that market yet, with it essentially being an improved G Watch R with a premium look and feel.
With a design neatly occupying that coveted space between techie and timeless, the LG Watch Urbane is an ideal present for the fashion conscious gadget lover.
Buy it here Image Credit: LG
GoPro HERO4 Session
For your more active friends and family, the GoPro HERO4 Session is a particularly unobtrusive addition to the action-cam family that can capture video footage and audio without having the user have to strap a bulky camera to themselves.
Surprisingly durable given its small stature, the GoPro HERO4 is water-resistant and also boasts a healthy battery life, allowing users to record themselves whenever, wherever. Roughly half the size of other iterations in the GoPro line, the HERO4's 8-megapixel camera can record up to 1080p, 60fps, making it a capable and extremely portable recording device for the thrill-seeker.
Buy it here Image Credit: GoPro
We've already covered Google's Chromecast Audio in this guide and how they're encroaching on Sonos' territory, but if you want speakers with built-in wi-fi streaming capabilities that pack a significant audio punch, then the Sonos Play:5 will satisfy your needs.
Like previous Sonos models its compatible with all of the streaming apps you'd expect, such as Spotify and Pandora, though it also boasts significantly improved sound in comparison with its predecessors. Simply put, it's the very best Sonos speaker on the market today, and while a little pricey it's the ideal gift for those who want to listen to their vast library of music with speakers that can do it justice.
Buy it here Image Credit: Sonos
Nest Learning Thermostat Third Generation
The Google-owned Nest is a leader in the smart-home domain, and its third-generation Learning Thermostat improves upon previous models with a sleeker design, a better display and a far-field sensor.
The Learning Thermostat can control the heating and cooling of your home, while the new sensor allows you to see both the temperature and time from across the room, which is helped by a display that is 40% bigger than the previous Nest Thermostat.
A thermostat would typically be a dull gift, but Nest has made the technology much more appealing over the years and this third-generation device ups the ante in that regard. For the individual who's forever upgrading their smart home, this is essential.
Buy it here Image Credit: Nest
Microsoft Surface Book
Though it certainly falls into the more high-end spectrum of gift-giving, Microsoft's first ever laptop certainly does not disappoint, with the Surface Book being twice as fast as Apple's latest Macbook and a stellar alternative as a result.
The Surface Book excels in its ingenuity, with its muscle wire lock allowing its display to be removed and used as a tablet. The display can then be reattached and swiveled around in order to use the keyboard as a prop, perfect for watching media using the laptop.
Boasting a 12-hour battery life, an Nvidia GeForce GPU and running Windows 10 straight out of the box, those looking for a new laptop should consider the Surface Book a sound investment.
Buy it here Image Credit: Microsoft
Plantronics BackBeat Sense
Headphones are a fool-proof gift for tech lovers, though purchasing one is a minefield given that their pros and cons are decidedly less obvious to the average buyer, and you could quite easily be convinced into buying something overpriced and underpowered by virtue of brand name and design alone.
The Plantronics BackBeat Sense is therefore a great gift option, with it retailing for under $200 and offering wireless Bluetooth connectivity along with excellent sound. With a lightweight design, impressive battery life and an included carrying case as a neat little addition, these are headphones that you likely wouldn't buy yourself, but would be very impressed by if they were purchased for you.
Buy it here Image Credit: Plantronics