10 gifts for Android fans this Christmas


Do you have Christmas present anxiety? Can you visualize the moment a loved one opens up your gift, their face sinking as they quietly say "do you even know me at all?" 

The dog lies down in the corner with a whimper. And you are sure it means "you've ruined Christmas again" in doggie dialect.

Let's avoid those Christmas nightmares with some solid gold present picks for anyone who owns and loves an Android phone or tablet.

There's more on offer than just silicone cases and screen protectors. They may do the job for a stocking filler, but we're on the hunt for something a little more exciting.

Here are our top 10 present ideas for Android fans.

Samsung Wireless Fast Charge Qi Pad

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People sometimes get upset when a phone doesn't have wireless charging. But do all those people end up buying and using a wireless charger? We'd bet not.

Free your friends from nerdy hypocrisy with the Samsung Fast Charge Qi pad. It's made by Samsung, but you don't have to use it with a Samsung phone. Just make sure the phone in question definitely supports Qi.

It outputs up to 9W for faster charging. And while some no-brand makes do claim higher output, when you buy a Samsung product your loved one won't quietly think you bought it for peanuts on eBay.

Jam Heavy Metal

This bar speaker has been on our recommended list for affordable present ideas for a couple of years. But it's aluminium, sounds great and the price is low. 

Like just about every model in this class, it's a Bluetooth speaker, and will connect with any phone. Or you can use the aux input if your phone still has a headphone socket. At this price, you can't go wrong.

If you want something a bit newer, smaller and cheaper, consider the Anker SoundCore. It's a tiny (coat) pocket rocket with surprisingly deep bass, up to 15 hour battery life and an almost stocking-filler-style price.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless

There are many, many pairs of wireless earphones to consider. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless are a great all-rounder. 

They have fast charging, good sound and great comfort. They also work well as gym and running earphones, as they don't wobble about as you move.

We found battery life isn't quite up to the promised eight hours in real-world use if you like to crank up the volume. But these are otherwise top performers for the money. The earpieces also stick together magnetically. You can happily wear them around your neck when not listening.

Google Home Mini

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Google got a lot of things right with the Home Mini. So right, in fact, the latest Amazon Echo Dot "borrowed" its basic styling, and improved its sound to compete.

It's a fabric-topped puck of smart speaker that is affordable, and doesn't look too much like a techy gadget. Google Home also has the smartest speech recognition of all the smart home systems. As such, it feels the most natural to use.

And, like any smart speaker, it can be used to control other connected equipment as well as a music control box, and general trivia and reminders machine.

Gamesir G4

We are beyond relieved Nintendo has managed to prove that there's life left in traditional portable-style games consoles, with the Switch. However, you can get a bit closer to the handheld console experience with your phone too. 

You just need a pad like the Gamesir G4. This is a Bluetooth gamepad for Android phones that has a flip-out holder to keep your phone in place. Neat, right?

Yes, not every Android game is better with a gamepad, but hundreds do work with one. Top picks include Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Dead Trigger 2, Minecraft PE and Asphalt 9. You can also use the Gamesir G4 with a PC, Gear VR or Oculus.

Anker PowerCore Speed 20000

Anker makes many great, keenly priced external batteries for your phone and tablet.

However, only a few offer support for QuickCharge 3.0, the tech that lets you get charging speeds similar to those of the power plug if you have a higher-end phone. The Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 does.

Capacity is huge too. 20,000mAh is more than six times that of the Samsung Galaxy S9’s own battery. You lose some of that power through heat and other inefficiencies, but you’ll still be able to charge most phones 5-6 times, and a tablet twice.

This battery is 166mm long: make sure that won't be too large. Anker offers plenty of smaller capacity alternatives if you’re after something easier to stash. 

Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT

If you have all the money in the world to spend on gifts, sure, you could buy the Sony WH-1000XM3. They are brilliant headphones with killer active noise cancellation.

However, if you'd like to split that spend in half, check out the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT. This is the new wireless version of one of our favorite pairs of reasonably priced full-size cans, based on an original pair intended for DJs and studio engineers.

And that, folks, is why they sound so good. You get a massive sound stage and clear imaging, a clear step above most at the price.

Nanoleaf Rhythm

The Nanoleaf Rhythm is one of the coolest-looking pieces of smart home tech in existence. It's a modular smart light system that links up triangular LED panels to create an arty installation across your wall. Who needs canvases of people strolling across a beach in their living room?

Its app lets you choose color profiles, from chilled out scenes and serene ones to the smart light equivalent of a club. The Rhythm version also has an extra module that slots in, and lets the Nanoleaf panels react to any music played in the room. You get nine light panels with the starter kit, and can link up to 30.

If you want something a bit more "normal", to let a loved one dip their toe in smart home waters, consider a LIFX bulb. They are brighter than Philips Hue models, and don't need a hub.

Google Daydream View

WARNING: the Google Daydream View is a great way to make a boring Christmas day much less dull. But don't blame us if it's left gathering dust for much of the rest of the year.

This is the fate of many VR kit. And it's a shame, because there's absolutely loads of fun to be had with the Google Daydream View, the "official" Android VR headset. You put your phone in the front, and then use the controller to play games and interact with apps.

If your phone has a good screen, the experience isn't light years away from that of an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. And, well, it's much cheaper. Top experiences to try out include Netflix and YouTube VR, the BBC's charming The Turning Forest, Blade Runner: Revelations and multiplayer favorite Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.

Google Play Voucher (and more)

Welcome to the land of boring Christmas gifts: vouchers and subscriptions. Yes, there are no jaw-dropping reveals here, but if your gift-ee is a bit of a mobile gaming nut, some store credit may be the best possible present.

Other good options include a voucher for Netflix or Spotify. Or perhaps one of the more left-field streaming choices. How about a MUBI subscription for the cineastes? There are only 30 films to stream at any one time on MUBI, but they’re all carefully curated and a new one is added each day.

Horror fans shouldn’t miss Shudder either. It's a Netflix-a-like just for scary movies, and deserves more attention.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.