Travel IndustryBooksSmarter ShoppingSports

Gift Guide: From Smartphones to Cameras to Robots, This Is the Best Tech to Gift in 2019

November 16, 2019, 11:00 AM UTC

Odds are that at least someone on your holiday shopping list is a gadget hound. And if the predictions of retail analysts are correct, you’re going to indulge those people. (Or, if we’re being honest, maybe yourself.)

Nearly three-quarters of holiday shoppers—some 186 million people—will buy a tech product this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association. But sorting out the hot items from the ones destined to end up in the clearance bin can be tough.

If you’re looking for the perfect tech gift for a friend or loved one, here are a few can’t-miss suggestions.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple_iPhone-11-Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
Apple

Apple’s latest top-of-the-line iPhone is a premium offering that is truly the best in class. Its battery can go almost two full days without a recharge, and its camera is the best on the market. With a trio of lenses, giving users a broad range of options (from ultrawide to telephoto), the Pro Max bests the competition on image quality, including in low-light and night mode. Even selfies offer higher detail (with a 12-megapixel camera versus last year’s seven-megapixel). Video is breathtaking, shooting in 4K at 60 frames per second. And the larger screen is perfect for playing games on Apple Arcade or watching any of the shows on Apple TV+. Admittedly, it’s not a cheap phone, but this is a model that will be future-proofed for years. Suggested Retail Price Starts at $1,100. (iPhone 11 pricing starts at $700.)

Oculus Quest

oculus-quest
Oculus Quest
Facebook

Virtual reality finally finds its sweet spot with this wireless headset that is both affordable and boasts a notable collection of entertaining games you’ll want to play for more than a few minutes at a time. The display is crisp. The headset is light. And it offers free-range motion that makes stepping into alternate worlds still more immersive. Must-have titles include Beat Saber and Star Wars: Vader Immortal, two games that are quickly defining how VR should work. SRP: $399

BioLite FirePit

FirePit_1
BioLite FirePit
BioLite

Tech is slapped onto a lot of objects for no discernible reason. And adding technology to a firepit might seem a good candidate for that list on paper. But BioLite makes a good case for the practice. This portable (under 20 pounds), easy-to-clean device integrates a fan to help you both quickly get a fire going and maintain the heat level you want, all controlled via an app on your smartphone. (The battery charging that fan runs for up to 26 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to get warm.) The BioLite also doubles as a hibachi. And while the device isn’t as smokeless as the manufacturer would have you believe, it’s better than an open-air pit. It’s a great option for campers and people who are looking to spend a chilly night outside on the patio with friends. SRP $200

Nikon Z6

nikon z6
Nikon Z6
Nikon

We’ve gotten used to using our phones as cameras. And, as evidenced by the iPhone 11, they’ve become quite advanced. But a full-frame digital camera offers a more well-rounded experience and, generally, superior picture quality. The Nikon Z6 is an astonishing piece of equipment. It feels solid in your hands. It takes phenomenally sharp, detailed shots thanks to a 24.5-megapixel sensor. The electronic viewfinder is a natural, handy tool. It offers an excellent stabilization system. And it shoots stunning 4K video. The Z6 is both user-friendly enough for hobbyists but also loaded with tools and features for veteran photography enthusiasts. SRP Begins at $1,699

Loupedeck+

LOUPEDECK_PLUS
Loupedeck+
Loupedeck

If you or someone you know is very serious about their photo editing, the Loupedeck+ could become an addiction. It’s a custom editing pod that works in conjunction with major photo-editing software programs. Only instead of adjusting numbers manually from a keyboard, you use this console to do so via buttons and dials. There’s definitely a learning curve, but once you get past that, it can greatly reduce the time it takes to edit an image. The controls are extremely precise, and it’s easy to reset things if you’re not happy with how the edit is going. And it’s easy to customize the console to what works best for you. SRP $249

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13
Dell

Apple cornered the market for years when it came to ultrathin laptops with strong battery life. Dell’s introduction of the XPS 13 in 2012 leveled the playing field for PC users—almost. This latest incarnation of the device eliminates that “almost.” Lighter and more powerful, it’s loaded with USB 3.0 and Thunderbird ports (and even a microSD slot). The screen is sharp and clear, and Dell has even moved the webcam back to the top of the device, offering a more flattering angle for video chats and eliminating about the only complaint people had with earlier versions. SRP Starts at $899

Correction: An earlier version of this guide included a product that is no longer available.