When it comes to tech tools, toys and gadgets, you might love them or hate them, but there’s no escaping them.
This holiday season, Santa has a sleigh full of cool tech stuff for everyone on your shopping list – from gamers who want more storage space to aching geezers who need a back massage.
The below list comes from CNET’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find everything from audio speakers and smart watches, to computer keyboards and posture trainers. There’s even a device that helps you locate your missing TV remote.
All items are roughly $100 or less and can be found at Best Buy, Amazon and other outlets. Comments are from CNET product reviewer David Carnoy.
Top 12 Tech Toys for 2019
- Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Wireless Headphones. AirPods or other name-brand wireless headphones can cost $160 and up. The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 earbuds deliver solid sound quality for less than $100. The second-generation model offers USB-C charging, better battery life and call quality. It’s available in black or white.
- Upright Go 2 posture trainer. You stick this little device onto your back between your shoulder blades. It monitors your posture and vibrates when you’re slouching. Using the companion app for iOS and Android, you can set up training regimes and keep track of your progress. This new second-generation version is 50 percent smaller than the original. Additional adhesives cost $10 for a 10-pack but some people use double-sided tape to save money.
- Hyperice Hypersphere Mini vibrating massage ball. Hyperice’s original Hypershphere massage ball ($150) is powerful but a bit on the large side and requires its own power adapter. The new smaller Hypersphere Mini ($99) is about the size of a softball (3-inch diameter) and charges with a micro-USB cable. It works better for rolling out your muscles (three speeds to choose from) and also travels better.
- WD Black P10 portable gaming drive. It’s easy to fill up the storage space on your gaming console, which is where an external drive like the WD Black P10 comes in. Starting out around $85 for the 2TB version, this compact drive attaches to the USB port on your PlayStation 4 or XBox One and immediately gives you a lot more room to store your games (and not worry about deleting titles as you add new ones). Can also be used with PCs and uses a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface.
- Tile Sticker 8-pack with free Google Nest Mini. The ultimate gift for someone who’s always losing things, Tile Stickers are little round trackers that pair with your phone. To find one, you just tap the app to make it ring. But you can also use a smart speaker, hence the inclusion of the free Nest Mini. Now, instead of having to find your phone before you can find your other stuff, just tell Google to help you locate the missing thing.
- Amazon Echo Show 5. If you’re looking for a video-enabled Echo device for your nightstand or kitchen, this is the most affordable option.
- Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse. Logitech’s earlier MX Master and MX Master 2S mice shared the same design. For the MX Master 3, Logitech’s engineers have made some upgrades to both the design and the mechanics of the mouse, most noticeably to the scroll wheel, which is driven by electromagnets and is buttery-smooth to operate. Fast and quiet – you can zip through literally thousands of lines in seconds when you switch from ratchet to free-spin mode.
- Bose SoundLink Micro Speaker. Delivers impressive sound for its size and is fully waterproof. It’s been out a while and frequently gets discounted, particularly during the holidays.
- Roku Video Streaming Stick Plus. Netflix, HBO, Hulu and every other streaming video service under the sun – Roku has it all. This $60 HDMI stick delivers all those channels at up to 4K resolution. An included remote controls the TV’s power and volume, too. A great gift idea for grads, who don’t want a traditional cable package in their first apartment.
- Logitech MX Keys Computer Keyboard. Arguably the smartest low-profile Logitech keyboard yet. It has spherically dished keys that cradle the tips of your fingers. The keyboard is responsive and tactile. The keys light up as your hands approach. There’s a sensor that adjusts the illumination according to the lighting conditions. You can also turn off the light if you want to save battery life. The dual layout is designed for both Mac and Windows users. Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android systems.
- Amazfit Bip Smartwatch. If you want a smartwatch within a sub-$100 budget, this is your best bet. Despite the low price, it’s got an always-on display, water resistance, heart rate tracking and battery life that blows away the Apple Watch.
- Kindle Paperwhite Ebook Reader. Yes, the Kindle app is available for free on phones and tablets. But if you’re buying for a book lover, the Kindle Paperwhite beats a phone app because it offers distraction-free reading. Readable in full sunlight or in a darkened bedroom, fully waterproof and its battery lasts days or weeks, not just a few hours.