We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.
Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Switch gamers | 4: Xbox gamers | 5: PS4 games | 6: Retro gamers | 7: PC gamers | 8: Lego fans | 9: Music lovers | 10: Mobile gamers | 11: Home cinema dreamers | 12: Home cooks | 13: Smart home starter kit | 14: Tech for kids | 15: Fitness fans | 16: Creatives | 17: Runners | 18: Working from home
2020 truly was the year of working from home. Offices around the world closed early on, and for many of us, still haven't reopened – such is the profound effect of the pandemic over the past 12 months. It's led to webcams selling out at retailers in many countries, and a massive increase in demand for office chairs, among other key items.
Still, in this gift guide, we're not really focusing on that heavy work stuff – it's been a tough year, and besides, we've already got advice on the best hardware for working from home. In this piece, we're focusing on fun bits and pieces that will make great gifts for either yourself or a loved one.
So, with that in mind, here are a few gift ideas to help keep you happy at home.
Want to catch up on the latest dark fantasy or true crime books, but don't have the energy to read after a day at work? Or maybe you're going for a walk at lunchtime to the store, and you want a little escapism. Either way, Audible is the perfect gift for yourself or someone else you know working from home. You can gift up to 12 months of membership (click here if you're in the UK), and the monthly subscription fee is a reasonable $15/£7.99.
As well as picking one book a month to listen to, you get access to Audible's range of original podcasts, which includes fiction and documentaries. The archive of audiobooks on offer is pretty vast, too, with everything from classics like The Great Gatsby to audio versions of the more recent Star Wars books.
Seriously, what's harder when you're working from home than staying fit? In 2021, the home worker in your life might want to take up running – so it's worth considering the Honor Band 5, which is among the best cheap fitness trackers around due to its sheer number of features. They include a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, a week of battery life, a nice color touchscreen, plus it can track a whole variety of exercises.
If you know you want to get fit next year when you're spending a lot of time at your desk, this is a good starting point for the price.
Read our full Honor Band 5 review.
If you're stuck at home, you're probably spending most of your time in two places: at your desk and in front of the TV. This portable-only console means you can take high-end Nintendo games anywhere in your home, or even outside if the weather is good.
It's fair to say this is the best Nintendo console in a long time. Check out our list of the best Nintendo Switch games if you need recommendations, but you'll want to pick up the latest 3D Mario and Zelda games, Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, to really get the most out of this machine. Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers some pleasing escapism if you're spending a lot of time indoors right now, too.
While you do get some internal storage with the Switch, you'll want to consider getting a memory card too, so that you can load it up with downloaded titles.
Check out our review of the Nintendo Switch Lite.
It's hard to think of getting through 2020 without a Spotify Premium subscription. Having all that music at your fingertips without ads is the ultimate gift when you're working from home – but of course, Spotify isn't just about music these days. With rich content deals, it's also the home of some phenomenal podcast content, which is just what you need when you're exercising or finding ways to take your mind off of work.
On the TechRadar team this year, we've particularly enjoyed shows from The Ringer, like The Rewatchables and The Big Picture, which are both film podcasts. Then, of course, you can download our own Noise Cancelling podcast on the service.
With 30 hours of battery life, these wireless headphones will last for even the lengthiest commute, and the improved noise cancellation compared with the already excellent XM3s should make those long journeys more bearable, too. Manufacturer Sony also boasts that users can get five hours of playback time from just 10 minutes of charge, so if the commuter you know is rushing out in the morning, they can quickly top up their cans for the trip ahead.
At just 254g, they're also nice and lightweight, and now include multi-device pairing and auto play/pause functionality. They're not exactly a budget option, but for quality audio on extended journeys they're our wireless headphones of choice.
Check out our review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones.
It's not the cheapest iPad in Apple's refreshed range, but it is the best for most people. The entry level iPad is cheaper, of course, but we think it's worth paying the premium for that gorgeous new all-screen design and powerful internals that rival the much pricier iPad Pro. You might think an iPad is better suited to commuting than working from home, but honestly? Reading comics and watching movies in bed is a treat on this device.
Of course, as with any iPad, it's a portal to all kinds of entertainment: combine the iPad with a streaming service subscription, and it's possible to download shows and movies from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for watching on the go. Sure, it's possible to download Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content to a phone, but the larger screen size here makes all the difference.
If you're working from home and need a break, check out the games line-up on the Apple Arcade, which offers access to a whole host of titles for a subscription fee.
Check out our iPad Air 4 review for more information on this model.