There may be people you know who have a certain difficulty when it comes to learning new pieces of tech. This can make gifting them something tech-related tricky; you want it to be useful but easy to understand—not something you’ll need to troubleshoot for them every other week. Fortunately, there are options out there that strike that balance, and these products do exactly that.
A Smart Display: Google Nest Hub
Google’s Nest Hub is a great entry point for getting into a smart home, but it’s also a great option for those who may not even be interested in smart homes. It’s basically just a portal to use Google Assistant, view data like the weather, and have a cool way of displaying photos. It can also play YouTube videos or content from Netflix, stream music, display recipes, set timers, and a lot more.
The real appeal of the Nest Hub is its simplicity—it’s part of what makes it so good. It’s perfect for setting up in the kitchen or living room and can add a nice touch of convenience to everyday life. It’s also available in two colors: Chalk and Charcoal.
Smart Bulbs: Wyze Bulbs or Philips Hue
Smart bulbs are pretty useful, and since they’re also relatively simple to set up, they’re perfect for this list. They’re even better if you pair them with a Nest Hub for voice control!
- Wyze Bulbs: These bulbs are going to be enough for most people. They handle the basics extremely well: They’re white LED lights, you can adjust their strength via an app (Android/iOS), and you can turn them off with the app remotely as well as schedule them to go off at certain times. And since these just connect to WiFi, there’s no need to have any form of hub set up in the home.
- Phillips Hue: But if the Wyze Bulbs are missing out on anything, it’s color. That’s where the Phillips Hue bulbs come in, as they’re able to display every color of the rainbow including your standard white LED light. You manage these through an app (Android/iOS) and like the Wyze bulbs, there’s no need for a hub here.
Smart Plug: Wyze Plug
Wyze Plugs are simple in nature but incredibly useful in practice. They allow users to easily control the power to devices directly from the Wyze app (Android/iOS) or with a digital assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant. You can turn the plugs on and off on the fly, or schedule them to go on and off at certain times. It’s important to note though that the Wyze plug is only recommended for indoor use.
Wyze Plug, 2.4GHz WiFi Smart Plug, Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, No Hub Required, Two-Pack, White
Gain greater control of your plugged-in devices with the smart plug.
True Wireless Earbuds
Regardless of a person’s tech-savviness, music is something everyone can appreciate. And in that case, there are few things better than a pair of true wireless earbuds.
- Skullcandy Indy Evo: With full media controls, 6 hours of battery life (with the charging case supplying 30 total), and high-quality audio, the Indy Evos certainly impress at under $100. These earbuds pack in plenty of features for the price and manage a secure and comfortable fit as well. They’re also rated with an Ingress Protection rating of IP55 meaning they’ll survive small amounts of water and sweat (important for exercising).
- Airpods: The Airpods are great pairs of earbuds, especially for the iOS camp (but they also work fine with Android). They’re extremely easy to set-up, allow you to access Siri, and the audio quality is also great. The earbuds last for about 5 hours on their own but that can be boosted to 24 with the charging case. If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, the Airpods Pro are the way to go. They’re a bit more expensive, but make up for the price bump by adding ANC (Active Noise Canceling), Transparency Mode, and an improved fit.
A Tablet: iPad
The latest generation of iPads are here and Apple has further cemented itself place as the best company to buy tablets from. The newest 10.2-inch standard iPad now comes with the impressive A12 Bionic processor and the latest version of iPadOS. What does that mean? It means the user experience is smooth and the tablet will rarely buckle under the pressure performance-wise. And accessories like the Apple Pencil only expand the utility even further.
Regardless if this is going to be used to browse the web, check emails, or watch movies, the iPad is a great all-around computing device that manages a simple and friendly feel throughout. It’s powerful enough to make a decent laptop replacement (especially if you pair it with a keyboard) for users who don’t need a full computer but still simple enough to easily navigate.
The iPad is available in three colors: Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.
2020 Apple iPad (10.2-inch, Wi-Fi, 32GB) - Space Gray (8th Generation)
A friendly and simple tablet that can be used for a variety of tasks.
Streaming Device: Chromecast w/Google TV
The Chromecast has always been a simple way to turn any TV into a pseudo smart TV, and that’s only been strengthened with the new Chromecast with Google TV. With a complete UI loaded onto the Chromecast, including the ability to install all your favorite streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, the Chromecast is the ultimate streaming machine. The new Google TV interface is all about curating content you actually want to see, and the universal voice search will help you find the flick you’re looking for regardless of what service it’s on. The new remote also makes things a snap to navigate with Google Assistant powering it all.
The Chromecast with Google TV is available in three colors: Snow, Sunrise, and Sky.
An eReader: Amazon Kindle
When it comes to reading digitally, nothing beats a Kindle. Having a dedicated device for reading has plenty of advantages, and it mainly boils down to the display. The Kindle’s display manages to feel similar to real paper even in direct sunlight (so there’s no annoying glare to deal with), while still being bright enough to see in the dead of night. The UI is built to make reading as simple as possible, and the compact six-inch display makes it easy to hold in one hand or take out of the house. On top of all of this is an extremely long battery life that should last weeks on a full charge.
Kindle - With a Built-in Front Light - Black - Without Lockscreen Ads
This compact eReader makes reading as simple and smooth as possible.
A Simple Tracker: Tile
There’s nothing more frustrating than losing your wallet or keys, but Tile can make sure that never happens again. These small and slim trackers come in a variety of sizes from cards to keychains, and you can view where they’re located via the Tile app (Android/iOS). These trackers work off of a vast Bluetooth network, and as long as you had your phone on you when you lost the item (and assuming it hasn’t been moved) finding it should be a snap. This functionality works both ways, too—you can hold the button down on the Tile to sound an alarm on your phone if you happen to misplace it.
There’s also the Premium Tile subscription, which comes with a few perks like free battery replacements for your trackers (battery life differs between different trackers ranging from 1 year to 3 years) and “Smart Alerts” that ping you before you even have the chance to leave something behind. The premium subscription is $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year.
Tile Essentials (2020) 4-pack (1 Mate, 1 Slim, 2 Stickers) - Discontinued by Manufacturer
A small kit of various smart trackers so those important items stay with you.
Wireless Charger: CHOETECH Dual Wireless Charger
Plopping your phone on a wireless charger is just pure convenience, and this charger from CHOETECH supports two devices at once. It works with any Qi charging enabled device and delivers 10W charging for Android devices and 7.5W for Apple devices.
Portable Battery: RAVPower 20000mAh Portable Charger
Your phone, tablet, or laptop dying while you’re out of the house is never fun, but this portable charger should help mitigate that pain. With a 20,000 mAh battery, USB-A and USB-C ports, and fast charging this battery should cover all your portable charging needs.
Durable Charging Cables: Anker Powerline+
Cables can be surprisingly fragile, so if you want to give someone a more durable cable then it’s hard to think of a better option than the Anker Powerline+ cords. Not only are these from Anker who have plenty of experience in this field, but these cords are also braided for enhanced durability and come in a variety of lengths. There are also plenty of options when it comes to plugs: lightning, USB-C to lightning, USB-A to USB-C, USB-C to USB-C, and USB-A to Micro USB.