We know there’s an electronics shortage out there. But there are some electronic bits and bobs that are out there and could be fun to put in a stocking. Or in a wrapped present. Or wherever you want to put them (but ensure you get consent first).
Most of these gifts are under $/£50 and at most $/£100. I’ll try and give a couple of examples of each gift. If you get your skates on, they should be in stock and you should get them in time for the big day… or for a New Year’s gift.
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Trackers and Finders
Nothing says I love you when you can’t find your keys during the holiday and you’re spending hours digging through your home for them. Trackers are great for this purpose.
If you live in the Apple ecosystem, consider AirTags to give as a gift to the person who can’t find their keys. Or wallet. Or whatever they can stick an Airtag onto.
Although if you buy an Airtag for a keyring, ensure you spend the money saved on an AirTag holder. It seems Apple forgot to install a loop for that purpose
Apple Airtags start at US$29, £29. Four Packs are around $99/£99 and custom engraving are available at Apple.com (although don’t expect the custom ones to show up for the big day)
I’ve been a longtime user of Tile’s – and the newer generation of Tiles has one important feature – you can change the battery on them (mostly).
They’ll work on both iOS and Android – making them perfect to attach to your keyring (and yes – they will fit on a keyring easily).
Tiles are in the shops, starting at £37.99. There’s also a sale page at https://tile.com/en/deals
A decent quality charger never goes amiss – least of all, it will allow you to fast-charge your device if it supports it.
Personally, I recommend the Anker Nano family of chargers if you’ve got a phone from the past couple of years to fast charge. If you person is travelling, look for a decent multi-prong adaptor.
You can also get the higher-rated ones which will also power laptops as well.
They’ll thank you at the other end of their journey – especially if they have to plug a phone in.
Yes. give them a couple of USBs to whatever their phone connect to cables – that will go down a storm.
How many world adaptors do you have? Righttttt.
But can you find them right now? I mean right now?
I’ve personally preferred the ones by Skross, with the USB outlets in them.
I don’t recommend the crap ones that are sold in the airports in the UK airports. Invest in quality one.
I’m seeing a lot more that are earthed these days, which is good to see from a safety viewpoint.
Or if you’re feeling cheap go to Poundland for a straight adaptor. Just don’t plug your most important electronics in them.
Pro tip: You can always plug a straight converter into a 3 or 4-way extension with a surge protector for your electronics safety…
The usual excuse of “I’ll go to the gym in the new year” is one we’ve all heard and said more than once. Fitness bands and trackers could be a fun gift. There are few in the under the bracket.
The Xiaomi SmartBand 6 is the one I’m daily driving, with an AMOLED screen and a feature list a mile long. But a steal at £32.99 or so – providing you’re prepared to hand over your data.
If you prefer to give your data to Google, Fitbit has their Ace3 https://www.fitbit.com/global/uk/products/trackers/ace3?sku=419BKRD starting at £69.99.
If you want an Apple Watch… you’re in the wrong place. Too expensive for this roundup 😉 (or you can go for an Apple Watch SE or a second-hand unit).
Personally, I’d stick with a brand that has been around for a while – you will need the software support if you intend to link it to your phone and take advantage of the features.
Entry-level smart-speakers have never been so cheap, with Google Nest Mini starting at £18. Just Google it for the best prices. 😉
If Amazon is your bag and you want to give Jeff Bezos all the money so he can ride into space again, his Echo Dot start at £17 a pop.
If you’re married to the Apple ecosystem, then the HomePod Minis are out in funky colours. They’ll still set you back £89/$99 a pop.
At the low-cost level, you’re getting devices that make some sort of passable noise as opposed to rich balanced sound.
If you love bass, I’ll point you my default headphone of choice – the SkullCandy Ink’d.
If you like to look like you’ve been shopping at Cybus industries, I can’t say bad things about the Flying Tiger Wireless earbuds.
At the moment – I’m daily driving both of these depending on my mood. Or what’s charged, as I don’t like losing expensive earphones on the bus anymore.
Noise Cancellation fans will need to open their wallets for the Apple Airpods Pro/OnePlus Buds Pro/Pixel Buds/Samsung Buds Live/Pro/2).
Or just buy Bose QC35’s and be done with it. Just be paranoid about losing them forever.
Laptops and other high-value electronics
If you’re thinking about buying a loved one a laptop or a computer I have some very simple advice
Please, please, please. Don’t skimp when buying laptops. If you buy cheap, you’ll get cheap.
This is the one time I’ll say hold onto your wallet and the contents of it.
It is FAR too easy to be lured into a headline price thinking “that’ll be good enough”, to discover within a year, the device you’ve brought is heading to the e-Waste pile – and a lot of “new” laptops at the bottom end of market meet this description.
And I urge you to spend a little bit more on a laptop or look to reconditioned laptops (ex-corporate laptops are great for this purpose – if you’ve noticed I’ve covered a lot of corporate devices because when they are sold off, it’s the perfect time to buy a reasonable device on the cheap).
This goes equally for computing devices too. The graphics card shortage has messed up the entire industry – along with the chip shortage in general (I have been advised by those who buy me laptops in the 100s that my wait time is currently 12 weeks minimum for some of the stock I’m waiting on – I’m waiting on a batch of Microsoft Surface devices that are now in week 20 of waiting for them).
I know of one company that makes network switches giving quotes for an 80-week turnaround.
I know I sound like an old record at this point but check the review sites out there. Here are a few I personally trust.
- Linus Tech Tips – high and mid-end shenanigans, with a Canadian and his team.
- Dawid does Tech Stuff – low-end shenanigans with another Canadian who enjoys prebuilds as well as what you can do with old corporate boxes
- Gamers Nexus – if you’re buying a pre-build, this is mandatory viewing with some of the reviews that have been carried out.
- JayTwoCents has a great guide for the holiday too for not getting scammed.
Please. Don’t buy cheap at this point of the game. I know you want to get a Playstation/Xbox/Switch/Gaming PC for a loved one – you’ll have to wait it out like we did last year. It’s going to be a long wait until the chip shortages get a little easier, and the supply chains ease somewhat.
And don’t pay a scalper. No point feeding those who want your money and nothing else.
Shop Smart this holiday season
With supply chains yanked hard and availability more than a little tight, I’d strongly suggest going small for the holidays if you can. Sometimes, it’s appreciated and understood.
And everyone loves a little tech in their life. If they choose to admit it or not.
Just don’t go to the supermarket to get tech items (apart from the higher ticket items).
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