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6 Gadgets You Shouldn’t Buy This Holiday Season

And the gifts you should buy instead.

Little girl unhappy with Christmas gift.
MNStudio/Shutterstock.com

The holiday shopping season can be stressful when you’re finding the perfect Christmas gift for family members or friends to throw under the tree. And while it’s tempting to buy the latest gadget like headphones, drones, game consoles, streaming dongles, tablets, or a pet camera, you should avoid some of those items.

Warning: We no longer recommend security cameras manufactured by Wyze and eufy. We’re currently evaluating replacement options and will update this article when suitable alternatives are available.

Don’t just get a gift card, either. Get something fun, but make sure it’s worth buying. So, take look at our list below to ensure it’s not on it before you wander into stores or add stuff to your cart.

Pet Cameras

Cheap pet camera on Amazon.
Amazon

I get it. Everyone loves their pets, myself included. For whatever reason, cheap pet cameras are all over Amazon during the holidays. Don’t buy one. They’re often overpriced, lacking in features, and don’t offer anything more than a basic indoor or outdoor security camera.

While there are fun pet cameras that come with treat dispensers, the price goes up even more without delivering any other noteworthy features. Some of them don’t work all that great, could lead to pets fighting over snacks, and you don’t want to over-treat your fuzzy family member.

Instead, you could get a cheap wired indoor security camera like the Wyze Cam v3 or an Amazon Blink Mini. These are affordable, work great, and are good for more than just checking on a sleeping pup. And, if you want to track them around the house, consider the Eufy indoor rotating camera.

Budget-Friendly Camera

Wyze Cam v3

Keeping an eye on your fur baby is easy and affordable with this indoor camera.

Apple AirPods 2

Apple's second-gen Airpods 2
Apple

Apple’s second-generation AirPods are a tempting gift idea that everyone can appreciate, especially with some discounts we see during the holidays, but don’t do it. For those unaware, these actually came out back in 2019, and far better options are available these days.

I know the AirPods were a big deal when they first came out, but now you can get far more features for under $100 from other brands. A prime example is the Anker Soundcore Life P3 earbuds. They’re only $80, often on sale for around $55, come in several colors, pack tons of bass, and you’re getting features like active noise-cancellation at the same time.

And if you don’t want stems sticking out of your ears, the Anker Soundcore Space A40 is a good option, and the Nothing Ear 1 buds are pretty compact.

Another great alternative is the newer AirPods 3 from late 2021. They’re only $50 more, have a significantly better sound profile, longer battery life, wireless charging, and a smaller and more stylish design, not to mention the latest Apple features like Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ.

Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

Apple's third-gen AirPods 3 are an excellent gift. They're relatively new, pack plenty of features, and sound great all for $179.

Don’t Buy Cheap Drones

DJI Mavic Mini Close Up
Justin Duino / Review Geek

Every year, we see people buying cheap drones at Walmart or on Amazon, then complaining about everything from video quality to app issues and pilot controls. Most of those people end up purchasing a DJI drone later.

I know it’s tempting to buy one of those cheap $149 drones you’ll find online, but this is another one of those popular holiday items you’ll want to avoid. Cheap drones aren’t worth the money, and whoever gets one won’t love it.

While drones are still pretty expensive, the days of spending over $1,200 for a good experience are long gone. DJI, for example, released the Mavic Mini a few years back for $399, and it was an instant success. We loved it in our review.

Now, you can always find the Mavic Mini 2 on sale. Or, the latest Mavic Mini 3 Pro has a slew of excellent features, like a rotating camera for portrait-mode social media video capture. It’s a bit more expensive, retailing for nearly $700, but it’s one of the best small drones on the market. Get yourself one today, and if it’s a gift, don’t go with a cheap no-namer.

DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone

The new DJI Mini 3 Pro is still 249g but more capable than ever. Get yours starting at $669.

The Amazon Halo Rise Sleep Tracker Thingy

Halo Rise sleep tracker lit up.
Amazon

In September, Amazon announced the Halo Rise device to track your sleep without any cameras, and it’s contact-free, meaning you don’t have to wear it. And while it sounds somewhat helpful, thanks to using sensors to capture your motion and breathing at night, reviews online aren’t all that positive.

Unless someone has a specific need, you probably shouldn’t buy any weird standalone sleep-tracking devices. They rarely work as advertised and aren’t all that helpful, either. Plus, you’re paying a lot for something that only serves one purpose.

You’re better off buying a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Get the watch or wearable you were already going to get, and it’ll track sleep too. It’ll have multiple functions, and you can use it out of the bedroom. There are several fabulous wearables available, so choose one below.

The 7 Best Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers of 2022

Fitbit Versa 3
Best Overall
Fitbit Versa 3
Garmin Venu 2
Another Great Option
Garmin Venu 2
Wyze Band
Best Budget
Wyze Band
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Best for Android Phones
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Apple Watch Series 7
Best for iPhone Users
Apple Watch Series 7
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Best for Runners
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Garmin Forerunner 745
Best for Multisport Athletes
Garmin Forerunner 745

Meta Quest Pro VR Headset

A front view of the Meta Quest Pro headset
Dave McQuilling/ReviewGeek

I’m not sure where to even begin here. For one, I’m certainly not buying anyone a $1,500 gift for Christmas, and if so, the Meta Quest Pro VR headset isn’t at the top of my list. It shouldn’t be on yours either.

Our own Dave McQuilling reviewed the Quest Pro and found it lacking features, unsuitable for gamers, unpolished, and expensive. I’m sure some teenagers really want one, but you’re better off finding a different gadget to get them for Christmas. You know, like a PS5 or the Meta Quest 2.

The Meta Quest 2 is the VR headset you want to buy this holiday season. Even though it’s not brand new, has a few shortcomings, and recently received a price increase, it’s still in acceptable Christmas gift price territory.

Meta Quest 2

The most affordable self-contained VR headset is about to become more expensive. Grab one now while you can.

Cheap Android Tablets

Cheap Lenovo Android tablet with the screen on.
Lenovo

Last but not least, we have to mention those cheap Android tablets that surface every holiday season. And unfortunately, we might be too late, as some of you probably bought one during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Big box retailers still have terrible and outdated Android tablets on shelves from brands like RCA, Contixo, or even Walmarts “onn.” brand. You should absolutely avoid buying these, and some would even argue you shouldn’t buy any Android tablet.

If you still want to go Android instead of getting an iPad, you’ll want to stick to Samsung or Kindle Fire. Even some of Lenovo’s cheap tablets aren’t all that great.

Furthermore, Apple’s iPad Mini for $500 isn’t a good deal, nor is the new 10th-generation iPad (2022) that’s $450. If you’re looking for an affordable tablet, skip the latest 10th-Gen and get the older 9th-Gen model that’s still only $329. That’s the best tablet to spend your money on, making it an excellent gift.

iPad 10.2-inch (9th-Gen)

If you’re looking to buy someone a tablet for Christmas, get the entry-level iPad for $329. It’s your best bet.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »