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The very best tech gifts this Christmas – for every budget

If you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet, don't worry – if you move quickly, you can still get your gifts delivered in time, and to make things even easier, we've picked out the very best tech presents for everyone.

We've recommended only the gadgets we'd love to receive ourselves, so you can rest assured everything on this list is good quality and will serve your loved ones well in 2019 and beyond.

We've also organized all our recommendations by budget, so it's easier to find the perfect gift for everyone on your 'nice' list, and found the lowest prices for every item so you don't have to shop around for the best deal.

Under $50/£50

The best gifts under $50/£50

Whether you're on a tight budget, or you're just looking for some small stocking stuffers, we've picked out some affordable gifts that anyone would be delighted to receive – ourselves included.

RHA MA390

1. RHA MA390 in-ear headphones

Affordable in-ears with good sound and universal controls

Premium build quality
Wide soundstage (for in-ears)
Excellent value
Some cable noise

Wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, but wired versions offer a better balance of sound quality and price. It's possible to find Bluetooth earphones under £50/$50, they won't sound anywhere near as good as the RHA MA390s.

Despite their modest price tag, these earphones are beautifully crafted from aliminum, with a braided cable for durability and a universal remote that works with iOS and Android devices. Great value, and special enough to make a perfect gift for the music-lover in your life.

2. Google Home Mini

A great desk buddy

Integrates with Google Cast
Offers Bluetooth support
Sound performance is weak

The Home Mini is the cheapest way of buying into the Assistant for those looking to buy into Google’s smart home ecosystem. Its weak bass frequencies makes it a better desk buddy than a standalone speaker, but it could make a fantastic gift for a student who needs their speaker to be as compact as possible and is looking for something to make those long nights of studying go by a little easier.

It's also a top gift for people who already have smart devices like smart lights, locks, and thermostats in the home, as it can be used as a hub to connect and control all of these devices, as long as they're compatible.

3. Billingham Hadley One

Something a bit special for keen photographers

Premium finish
Stylish
Fiddly fasteners 
It's not cheap

Billingham's Hadley One is a gorgeous messenger bag that's aimed at those who want to travel reasonably light – perfect for wondering round the city or a short break. The stylish, classic design of the Hadley One certainly looks the part and is beautifully crafted from a premium leather.

As well as space for a mirrorless camera or DSLR, there's also a separate 13-inch laptop compartment. If you want to treat someone to something a little bit special then the Hadley One, even allowing for its premium price, won't disappoint.  

4. CliqueFie Selfie Stick

A stocking-stuffer for the selfie-obsessed

Wireless remote for snapping shots
Extending telescopic stick
Supports all iPhone sizes
Pricey for a selfie stick

Not all selfie sticks are built equal. Sure, you can find them for less than half the price of the CliqueFie online, but are they going to be as good?

In some cases perhaps, but CliqueFie has the backing of Apple itself, and this telescopic stick reduces to a pocket-friendly size and features a fully adjustable mount that supports Apple's standard, Plus and SE iPhone variants. There's a remote for snapping pics too, meaning you don't have to reach up to your iPhone's screen to take a image.

Woman with ereader

5. Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Borrow ebooks from Amazon's vast lending library

Huge choice of ebooks
Includes magazines and audiobooks
You can't keep books forever

Amazon Kindle Unlimited works a little like a lending library, allowing subscribers to 'keep' 10 books at a time (though there are no return dates). Despite its name, it doesn't let you grab absolutely anything from the Kindle Store, but it does provide access to over a million books, plus magazines and audio narration on any device (there are free Kindle apps for Android and iOS, plus desktop software).

Kindle Unlimited doesn't let you keep books indefinitely (if your subscription expires, you lose them) so it's not the right choice if you're looking for reference books, but if you know someone who tends to devour novels then it could be the perfect option as a gift.

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Under $100/£100

The best gifts under $100/£100

If you have a little more cash to spend, these gadgets and accessories will put a smile on your loved one's face. There's something for everyone, including audio fans, PC gamers, and young tech fans making their first forays into coding.

Corsair K68 RGB

1. Corsair K68 RGB

A pleasantly tactile and coffee-proof keyboard

Responsive keyboard switches
Resists spills and crumbs 
Relatively quiet
Wrist rest could be comfier

It's hard to overstate the importance of a good keyboard, and a quality mechanical board like this will make a world of difference to both work and play. It's technically a gaming board, but is comfortable enough to use for everyday typing, too.

The Corsair K68 RGB features responsive Cherry MX Red switches, and a special rubber membrane under each key that protects the board's internals from crumbs, drink spills and other accidents. This also makes the K68 a little quieter than many mechanical keyboards (though not at the expense of pleasantly tactile typing).

2. Plantronics BackBeat Fit

Brilliant Bluetooth headphones for runners

Great fit
Improved sound
Band can get in the way sometimes

These Bluetooth sports headphones have one key advantage over many others: they simply won't fall out, no matter how bouncy your running form.

These are the second iteration of Plantronics' Backbeat Fit headphones, and offer improved sound quality (particularly in the bass range) and more tactile buttons that make it easier to change tracks on the move. There are also voice alerts that notify you when the headphones are connected, and if the battery is running low, whereas the previous version just beeped at you.

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

3. LittleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

This is the DIY droid you've been looking for

Teaches coding and electronics
Limitless customization options
Step-by-step setup guide
In-app tutorials are pretty limited

Open source platforms like Raspberry Pi have opened up DIY computing, but the learning curve is pretty steep – particularly for kids. That's where LittleBits comes in, providing kits and instructions that let everyone enjoy the fun and challenge of building their own robot.

Not only can young engineers make their own R2-D2 using instructions provided in the companion app (accompanied by the iconic John Williams soundtrack), a recent update means they can also customize and re-program it using MIT's Scratch code platform.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019

4. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019

Perfect for the enthusiast photographer

Easy to use
Helpful guided edits
Lacks some advanced features

Adobe’s latest Creative Cloud Photography plan which includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC is perfect for those wanting a host of high-end features, but the monthly subscription payment model isn't for everyone. That's where Photoshop Elements 2019 comes in.

Incorporating many of the advanced features found in the high-end version of the software, including a host of raw conversion controls, Elements 2019 still packs a punch and is perfect for the enthusiast photographer looking for a versatile photo editing program.

5. Fitbit Ace

A great first fitness tracker for kids

Easy to use
Lightweight and durable
Kids are notoriously picky

Fitbit has extended its range over the past year to create an activity tracker with kids in mind. It has all the basics that little ones would need, including activity tracking, rewards and badges, and reminders to move. 

It's also waterproof, fairly durable and boasts up to five days' battery life, making it fairly kid-friendly. This is a great gift idea if the rest of the family already have Fitbits so you can all compete and reach your step goals together. 

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Under $500/£500

The best gifts under $500/£500

A gift in this price range is a serious investment, so we've chosen the tech that offers the best value in terms of entertainment for money. Everything we've chosen here will keep your friends and family occupied long after Christmas is over.

1. Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros Ultimate

A Smashing console combo

Limited edition dock and Joy-Cons
Includes Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Game is only a download code

If you're thinking of treating someone to a Nintendo Switch this Christmas (you lovely, generous person), there are some fantastic bundles available – and this is one of the best. Super Smash Bros Ultimate collects together every single character that’s ever featured in the series, countless classic and new stages and all manner of new systems to make its local and online multiplayer matches an endless joy.

So what better way to enjoy your new gaming obsession than a limited edition console with some of the roster adorning the dock and the Smash Bros. logo emblazoned across your Joy-Cons? The game comes as download code rather than in physical form.

Anki Vector

2. Anki Vector

Part educational toy, part virtual pet, all fun

No mobile app required
Powerful built-in  processor
Great fun to use
Some features still in development

Anki Vector is a cute little robot designed to teach coding fundamentals, and act as a kind of virtual pet connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network. Unlike many similar bots, there's no need for a separate smartphone app (except for during the initial setup), so it's a great option if your kids don't have their own phones or you want to limit how long they spend staring at screens.

Vector has real personality (Anki employed an animation expert from Dreamworks to work on the animations) and is capable of learning faces and playing games. Four near-field microphones enable it to respond to voice commands, and a recent update has made it compatible with Amazon Alexa. 

Apple Pencil (2nd gen)

3. Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

A smarter stylus for the new iPad and iPad Pros

Improved new look
Wireless charging
Not the cheapest accessory 

If the person you're present hunting for is lucky enough to already own the new iPad 9.7, iPad Pro 11 or iPad Pro 12.9 (2018), then the new Apple Pencil is a great gift. It's got a new, squarer design, a magnetic body allowing it to cling to the side of slate, wireless charging and gesture controls, making it more practical and easy to use.

In terms of gesture controls, you're able to simply switch tools by tapping the side of the new Pencil. Plus, you can customize your own gestures, which should come in handy when using non-Apple drawing apps.

Apple Airpods

4. Apple AirPods

For the tech-savvy, style-conscious music lover

Simple pairing
Sound is excellent
Battery life is great
Controversial looks

Their look may be controversial, but there's no arguing that Apple's AirPods are astonishingly easy to pair, use and pack away in their charging case. These truly wireless ear buds may be tiny, but they pack a decent audio punch, with superb sound quality delivered through a now-iconic Apple design.

Another bonus is the battery life, with the AirPods capable of five hours of playback from a single charge – and pop them into their case and they'll use the internal battery in that to charge up again, keeping you away from a wall plug for longer.

5. Bragi The Dash Pro

Wireless and phone-free earbuds

Translation service
Onboard music
Disappointing battery life
No GPS

Bragi The Dash Pro is a truly wireless earbud setup that not only offers onboard music but tracking too, meaning you can train and leave your phone at home. And you do get metrics like steps, distance, cadence, heart rate, breaths and more with the earbuds alone. Bragi The Dash Pro also auto-detects activity using its movement and heart rate sensors, so you don't have to tell it you're exercising.

While the Dash Pro has 4GB of onboard storage for around 1,000 songs it can also stream music from a connected phone. It’s IPX7 water resistant and comes with a charging case that extends the five-hour battery life for multiple charges when out and about.

Over $500/£500

The best gifts over $500/£500

When you're really splashing out and treating someone, you want to be sure you're choosing the very best gift possible. All of these presents are at the very top of their class, and anyone would be astonished to find one under their tree.

Chromebooks to gift

1. Google Pixelbook

The most luxurious Chromebook to date

Sublime design
Awesome keyboard
Pen sold separately
Poor audio performance

This is – bar none – the best Chromebook that money can buy. Not only can it run Android apps natively, it's almost the most powerful and capacious of its kind. (It's also by far the most attractive and pleasant to use.) When you throw in the impressive stylus and deep Google Assistant integration, it is no surprise that the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook of 2018 – even this long after its 2017 launch.

Bear in mind that it won't run Windows or macOS software, so it's not the best gift to someone who relies on something like Photoshop, but it gives the best possible ChromeOS experience and is ideal for anyone who's invested in Google's ecosystem.

2. Epson SureColor SC-P600

Epson's top of the range A3+ printer for photographers

Stunning print quality
Neutral black and white images
Large footprint
High consumable costs

The Epson SureColor SC-P600 is a brilliant printer for the enthusiast or professional photographer. It's well made and easy to use, and the quality of the prints it's capable of producing is stunning.

Consumables are pricey though (both inks and paper), but if you want do justice to your photography (or know someone who's guilty of keeping their brilliant photos tucked away on a hard drive), then this is a stunning printer for the price.

3. Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

A high-end multi-sport watch for those serious about fitness

Very durable
Great multi-sport option
Seriously top performance
Really expensive
Poor battery for the price

Gamin's Fenix line has long been the best-in-class multi-sport option for those serious about fitness and running - and this latest version of the Fenix is about as capable as they come. 

It's packing a whole host of new features, like built-in music and contactless payments along with fully routable color topographic maps. We gave the Garmin Fenix Plus 5 nearly a full five stars in our review and found time and time again that this is a device that can handle almost all the adventures you're looking to throw it into.

4. MSI GS65 Stealth

Thin, beautiful and powerful

Beautiful, subtle design 
Excellent performance 
Underside gets very hot 

If you really want to spoil the PC gamer in your life this Christmas, then you could buy them a brand new gaming laptop. Or, you could always spoil yourself with an amazing gaming laptop instead! Either way, you'll want the best gaming laptop money can buy, which just so happens to be the MSI GS65 Stealth.

Coming in at just .69 inches thick and featuring impressive hardware like Intel Coffee Lake processors and Nvidia GTX 10-series graphics, the MSI GS65 Stealth packs a ton of power into a very svelte package.

5. HTC Vive Pro

High resolution VR at a high price

High resolution display
Blocks out light better than HTC Vive
Most expensive VR headset
Setup is difficult

The ultimate gift for any PC gamer, the newest high-end VR headset in town comes packing a lot of impressive specs, including a 2,880 x 1,600 pixel resolution offering a 78% increase in dots per inch than the HTC Vive. This means ultra-crisp visual fidelity that lets you experience textures and shadows in a way previously impossible in VR.

There's also the addition of built-in headphones and new nose guards that do a better job of blocking out light than the HTC Vive. All told, the HTC Vive Pro is a clear evolution in both design and tech on the older HTC Vive.

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