The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

20 best tech gifts for Christmas – from AirPods to smartwatches

Skip the chocolate and perfumes this holiday season and opt for a nifty gadget instead

David Phelan
Friday 16 December 2022 17:14 GMT
Not all devices have to cost a fortune
Not all devices have to cost a fortune (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

There’s not much time left now until Christmas, so if you haven’t sorted out a present to put under the Christmas tree, you’d better hurry.

To stop you from scrambling wildly around on Christmas Eve, as usual, we’ve been testing the best tech-focused gifts for every person in your life.

Whether someone wants the latest smartphone, the punchiest headphones or the coolest wearable, a gadget could be the ideal stocking filler, plus there are budget items you can choose so nobody is left out.

Choose wisely and you can find a gift that will last a long time, perhaps providing much more satisfaction than chocolatesperfume or another pair of socks.

How we tested

We’ve tested a lot of gadgets this year, and here is a wide cross-section of them. The tech fan and the technophobe alike will find an item that will appeal, and there’s something for every pocket, too.

We tested according to the needs: listening, watching, wearing, reading, brushing, shaving and riding as appropriate. We’ve tested for easy set-up, efficiency of performance, excellence of battery life and value for money. Across the board, these are the best of the best. Something for everyone, then.

The best tech gifts for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Apple AirPods pro: £249,
  • Best health gadget – Oura ring: From £239,
  • Best over-ear headphones – B&W Px8: £599,
  • Best smartphone – Apple iPhone 14 pro: From £1,099,
  • Best home appliance – Vax platinum smartwash: £300,
  • Best music gifts – Ruark Audio R2 mk4 smart music system: £479,
  • Best in-ear headphones – Bose quietcomfort earbuds II: £229.95,
  • Best fitness gadget – Therabody theragun mini: £174,
  • Best portable speaker – Devialet mania: £690,
  • Best affordable gadget – Apple AirTag: £35,
  • Best phone for photography – Huawei mate 50 pro: £1,199.99,
  • Best ereader – Amazon Kindle paperwhite: £104.99,
  • Best wearable – Apple Watch series 8: From £419,
  • Best toothbrush – Philips sonicare 9900 prestige: £290,
  • Best men’s grooming gadget – Braun series 9 pro shaver: £279.99,
  • Best iPhone accessory – Anker 622 magnetic wireless portable charger: £49.99,
  • Best electric bike – Ampler stellar: £2,440,
  • Best charging gadget – Ugreen 65W USB C charger: £49.99,
  • Best Apple charging pad – Nomad base one max: £95,
  • Best laptop – Apple MacBook air: From £1,249,

Apple AirPods pro

Apple AirPods pro.png
  • Best: Overall
  • Product features: Active noise cancelling, up to six hours battery, water resistant AirPods and chaging case

The latest AirPods Pro – the second-generation model – arrived just a few weeks ago. They built on the brilliant audio quality of the first wireless in-ear headphones by taking already excellent noise-cancelling and significantly improving it. Now, there are four silicone ear tips to choose from so you can be sure of a perfect audio seal.

The active noise-cancelling is now better than ever, with more of the real world left outside. It also offers personalised audio just by letting your iPhone camera take a gander at the shape of your ear. Battery life is also improved and the case, which includes a loop for a lanyard for the first time, can also make a sound to help you find it when it goes missing. Chic, comfortable and highly effective, the AirPods pro second-generation makes a perfect gift.

Read the full Apple AirPods pro 2 review

  1. £249 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Oura ring

Oura ring.png
  • Best: Health gadget
  • Product features: Water resistant, sensors monitoring sleep, activity, recovery, temperature, heart rate and more

The Oura ring is a slim, lightweight and discreet health tracker. The titanium ring weighs 4g, so there’s no problem wearing it 24 hours a day. It has sensors that touch against your skin on the inside. The Oura measures heart rate from the arteries in the finger and has a temperature sensor, too. Every morning it gives you a readiness score, based on how well you slept, even drilling down into the quality of your sleep and night-time heart rate. This is great for athletes who need to know whether they should push themselves in today’s exercise or take it a bit easier.

But it’s just as useful for the rest of us, for anyone who wants to stay on top of how they’re doing. There are some metrics and insights which require Oura membership, which is free for the first six months, and then attracts a monthly fee. There are two designs: Heritage with a distinctive flattish side and the new Horizon which is completely circular but with a discreet dimple on the underside.

Read the full Oura ring review

Back to top

B&W Px8

Bowers & Wilkins Px8.jpg
  • Best: Over-ear headphones
  • Product features: Wireless, noise cancelling

These headphones are not cheap, but the sound is sensational. The looks are pretty great, too, being classy, solid and luxurious with soft leather on the headband, earpads and earcups. The aluminium build means the headphones are light enough for lengthy listening. There are four microphones on board, for noise-cancelling, plus an extra pair for voice calls. The noise-cancelling is very good and while it’s even better on some headphones, the overall sound quality here, that is, including when noise-cancelling is off, is very hard to beat. The audio is clear and rich, with faithful detail whatever you’re listening to. There are cheaper headphones, but they just don’t sound as good. Choose from black or tan finishes or, for £100 extra, a special-edition midnight blue pair called the 007 edition.

Read the full B&W Px8 review

Back to top

Apple iPhone 14 pro

Apple iPhone 14 pro.png
  • Best: Smartphone
  • Product features: Crash detection, satellite function, 48 megapixel sensor and two 12 megapixel cameras

The latest Pro iPhone looks gorgeous (especially in the new Deep Purple colour) and has the best camera on any iPhone, including a 48-megapixel sensor that excels in low light alongside two 12-megapixel cameras. See also the best phone for photography, the Huawei Mate 40 pro, below. The cut-out at the top of the display where the forward-facing camera sits has been shrunk, though it cleverly changes shape and size when needed, showing a thumbnail of album art when you’re playing music, for instance.

New features include two safety measures: crash detection means that if, heaven forbid, you’re in a car accident, the iPhone will know and can alert emergency services of your location. And, from December, if you’re in trouble outdoors, in a spot with no connection, you can send an emergency text message using satellite. Battery life is strong and while the 6.1-inch display will be enough for many, there’s also the iPhone 14 Pro Max which has a 6.7-inch display and lasts even longer.

Read the full iPhone pro 14 and 14 pro max review

  1. £1,099 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Vax platinum smartwash

Vax platinum smartwash.png
  • Best: Home appliance
  • Product features: 3.5l clean water capacity tank, 1.9l for dirty water, 9m cord and 2.5m hose

Let’s be clear, you maybe shouldn’t give an appliance as a gift unless you’re certain the recipient wants it. It looks like you’re saying they’re not doing something right. But if you know that an uptick in cleanliness is on the agenda, then the top-flight Vax carpet cleaner is tremendous. Push it forward and the Vax washes the floor. Pull it back again and it dries it. If you want it to dry more than it washes, you can press a button for that, too. The dirty water tank fills up satisfyingly, to show you exactly how much dirt it’s found. It has accessories to peek into the tiniest corner or to massage deep stains out of a carpet.

  1. £300 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Ruark Audio R2 mk4 smart music system

Ruark Audio R2 mk4 smart music system.png
  • Best: Music gifts
  • Product features: Dual alarm, Bluretooth and wifi connectivity, DAB, DAB+, FM with RDS and internet radio

Ruark is known for beautifully crafted players, especially radios, with elegant sound. Its R2 speaker is now on to its fourth-generation model and it has had quite the design update, with a handsome slatted-wood grille beneath the clear colour display which can show the track you’re listening to or the radio station’s logo. It’s also a slimmer design so it’ll fit into more places in your home.

What hasn’t changed is Ruark’s trademark circular controller, which is simple and satisfying to use. There’s a DAB radio, of course, and the speaker will also stream music easily from Spotify Connect, Deezer and Amazon Music. The Bluetooth connection means you can easily stream from your phone or tablet as well. You can also charge your device from the speaker.

Back to top

Bose quietcomfort earbuds II

Bose quietcomfort earbuds II.png
  • Best: In-ear headphones
  • Product features: Up to six hours battery, adjustable quiet and aware modes, noise cancellation, touch controls

Active noise-cancelling is that magical audio feature where the sound of the outside world fades to nothing as soon as you turn it on. The thing is, it’s often not as good as it should be. And doing noise-cancelling effectively in in-ear headphones is tougher still. The new Bose quietcomfort II earbuds are astonishingly good, with great tone and musicality matched by jaw-dropping noise-cancelling which means you can listen in peace on the noisiest commute, for instance. They are comfortable to wear, even for extended periods, thanks to ear tips that come in three sizes. The audio is tuned for your unique ears, by making a sound that the earbuds listen to and adjusting the output accordingly.

  1. £229 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Therabody theragun mini

Therabody theragun mini.png
  • Best: Fitnss gadget
  • Product features: Three speeds, three attachments, 120 minutes battery

If you’ve pulled a muscle working out, for instance, or have camps, knots or other muscle tension, a percussive therapy tool like this can pleasantly massage you to help. The Mini is a petite triangular device but packs a deceptively powerful punch. This new, second-generation model is smaller and lighter than before and is very quiet, making it less intrusive if you’re watching TV while you treat your aching muscles, for instance. There are three speeds to suit the chosen muscle and three attachments are included for extra versatility. The new Mini is now compatible with the excellent Therabody app which can create automated routines. Choose from black and desert rose colours.

Back to top

Devialet mania

Devialet mania.png
  • Best: Portable speaker
  • Product features: Wifi, Bluetooth, Spotify connect, Airplay 2

The French hi-fi brand makes outstanding and usually very expensive speakers. This is the first portable from the company and while it’s not cheap, it’s not nearly as expensive as Devialet’s top-flight models. It’s small and highly attractive, but its size is deceptive: music is room-filling, there’s lots of bass and effective 360-degree sound. It has microphones inside which can work out the kind of the room it’s in and adjust the sound accordingly. You can control the audio from the companion app or by talking to the device as it has Alexa built in. There’s a lot of power here, even when playing it at full volume, which is considerable. The handle at the top of the speaker is useful for when you’re moving it from room to room.

Back to top

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag.png
  • Best: Affordable gadget
  • Product features: Free personalisation, connectivity with Find My app

Electronic tags are nothing new, but Apple’s is different. It looks great, for a start, with a shiny plastic and stainless-steel design. You can stick one in a suitcase or attach it to a key ring. It connects wirelessly to your iPhone or iPad, and you can name it “luggage” or “keys” or whatever you like in the Find My app which will show where it is on a map.

If it’s at home, say, but you just can’t find it, the app can make the AirTag tweet musically to help you locate it. It’s quick and simple to set it up. If you lose the item it’s attached to, you can use the Find My app to put it into Lost Mode. Then, the AirTag will transmit a signal that is picked up by any passing Apple device (there are over a billion worldwide). This is then silently passed to your iPhone, to show you its last location with nobody in between knowing the message has been sent. It works with effortless simplicity and the battery lasts for more than a year. You can even buy a four-pack for £119.

Read the full Apple AirTag review

  1. £35 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Huawei mate 50 pro

Huawei mate 50 pro.png
  • Best: Phone for photography

Huawei’s smartphones have dazzling design and outstanding cameras that match striking innovation with real photographic capability. There are three rear cameras here, including one which does something completely new: it has an adjustable aperture so you can manually change the depth of field and, thereby, how much of the image is in sharp focus and how much of the background elegantly blurred. The camera software uses artificial intelligence to recognise what’s in the scene and adjust the exposure, for instance, accordingly.

Huawei uses a particular version of Android that does not include the regular app store, favouring its own App Gallery instead, which lacks many key apps. There’s no Google Maps but the Huawei alternative, Petal Maps, built in conjunction with TomTom, is splendid.

Back to top

Amazon Kindle paperwhite

Amazon Kindle paperwhite.png
  • Best: Ereader
  • Product features: 8GB, 6.8in display, adjustable light

This is the Goldilocks of ereaders: the right balance of advanced features and good value. The display is bigger than many readers at 6.8 inches and the high-resolution screen means the text is sharp and easy to read. It has a front light (unlike a tablet, there’s no backlight shining at your eyes, making it more restful) and you can even adjust how warm or cold the light is. It’s also waterproof, so reading in the bath is an option. Battery life is very strong, measured in weeks rather than hours, and it’s light and comfortable in the hand. Amazon’s ereaders continue to dominate the market thanks to the neat design, plentiful features and strong value.

Read the full Amazon Kindle paperwhite review

Back to top

Apple Watch series 8

Apple Watch series 8.png
  • Best: Wearable
  • Product features: Crash detection, contactless payment, measuring ECG and blood oxygen, heart rate and more

The latest Apple Watch is the perfect balance of useful health and wellness features and gorgeously designed wrist candy. It can forward notifications from your iPhone to your Watch so you don’t need to dig in your bag for your phone. It works to give you directions so you don’t need your phone in your hand late at night, for instance. Like the iPhone 14 pro above, it has crash detection built-in. You can tap it on a card reader to make a payment. And then there’s the health stuff: you can take an ECG or measure blood oxygen levels from your wrist. It monitors your heart rate in the background so if it spots it go unexpectedly high or low, it will notify you. It even tells the time, with consistent accuracy to a fraction of a second. Choose from two sizes, two metal finishes and several colours.

Read the full Apple Watch series 8 review

  1. £419 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Philips sonicare 9900 prestige

Philips Sonicare 9900 prestige indybest.jpg
  • Best: Toothbrush
  • Product features: Five modes, sense IQ, pressure sensor, USB charging case, travel case

The Sonicare range is superb, offering excellent brushing to ensure optimum dental health, with multiple settings and a companion app that can tell you how well you’re doing as you go, warning you if you press too hard or miss a bit. The brush head is bigger than on some rivals and has angled bristles to improve plaque removal. It’s a sonic toothbrush, which means it vibrates so fast plaque is dislodge more easily. There’s a charging base where the toothbrush stands and a travel case which charges by USB. This is great for holidays, though the battery tends to last more than a week anyway.

Read the full Philips sonicare 9900 prestige review

Back to top

Braun series 9 pro shaver

Braun series 9 pro shaver.png
  • Best: Men’s grooming gadget
  • Product features: Up to six weeks of use from single charge, includes electric shaver, power case, cleaning cartridge, cleaning brush, smart plug

First up, this shaver is very effective: shaving close first time and with an excellent long hair cutter. It has five shaving parts to the head, including a trimmer that lifts tough hairs to make them easier to cut. But the Series 9 Pro has more going for it. There’s a case which has a battery in it so you can be sure you won’t run out of juice when you take it away on holiday, say. The case extends the battery life by half. For use at home, there’s a charging station which cleans. lubricates and fragrances the blades while it charges, leaving the shaver with a pleasant lemon aroma.

Back to top

Anker 622 magnetic wireless portable charger

Anker 622 magnetic wireless portable charger.png
  • Best: iPhone accessory
  • Product features: For iPhone 14 and 13 series, USB-C charge cable

Power banks are the ideal solution to battery anxiety, plugging into a smartphone or tablet when it’s running low: ideal if you’re away from a power source. Some power banks, like this one, include wireless charging capability and this one has a ring of magnets that means it snaps into place on the back of an iPhone 12, 13 or 14. You can use it for other wireless-chargeable phones too, though it won’t stick as satisfyingly in place. There’s a thin back panel which folds out to turn it into a stand. This is handy if you’re doing a FaceTime video call, for instance, and you don’t want to hold your phone. It’s light and highly portable, and comes in a range of colours: blue, green, white, black and purple.

  1. £49 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Ampler stellar

Ampler stellar.png
  • Best: Electric bike
  • Product features: Nine gears

Bicycles with motors aren’t cheating. In fact, they may encourage you to get more exercise, tipping the balance to spur you into cycling on the days you can’t quite face that hilly commute. Where Ampler does cheat, though, is in hiding the battery, so your pedal assist looks like a regular bike. The battery, which helps a rider glide away from traffic lights or uphill with minimum knee stress, is cunningly tucked away inside the bike frame itself.

The Stellar is a great all-rounder with its step-through frame and relaxed riding position – you sit pretty much upright. It’s an extremely comfortable ride. Lighting is built in, as is advanced anti-theft protection, controlled from a companion smartphone app. There’s also built-in GPS location, in case you forget where you parked.

Back to top

Ugreen 65W USB C charger

Ugreen 65W USB C charger.png
  • Best: Charging gadget
  • Product features: USB-C charger, USB-A charger, can charge up to three devices at the time and compatible with iPhone 14/13/12, MacBook air pro, Galaxy S series, Pixel series and more

Sometimes there aren’t enough plug sockets to go round, don’t you find? This is a fast wall charger with three inputs. It’s powerful enough to charge a laptop and you can charge up to three devices at once. Two of the inputs are the newer, faster USB-C connectors and the other is USB-A. Great versatility, then. Even better, it comes with three removable plug fittings, so it will work in the UK, US and Europe (and lots more places). This means it’s the perfect travel accessory, so you can leave multiple charging plugs at home and just take this one.

  1. £49 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Nomad base one max

Nomad base one.png
  • Best: Apple charging pad
  • Product features: Mfi MagSafe charging, compatible with Apple Watch and Qi devices

Wireless charging is highly convenient: no longer when your phone is charging on your desk do you need to unplug it every single time you want to check something. Apple introduced a ring of MagSafe magnets to ensure a secure and strong connection between charger and phone, but these pads are often so light they can stay attached. However, Nomad’s handsome, well-built charger is heavy enough to stay put, however quickly you grab your phone. A rubber base means it doesn’t slip and you can choose between a subtly dark carbide or eye-catching silver, plus a limited edition golden finish.

If you have an Apple Watch as well, then the Base One Max has a charging pad for your smart timepiece, too, but there’s also a version, the Base One, that’s for iPhones only. Nomad does not supply a charging plug, believing that many of us have more power adapters than we know what to do with. Note that this needs a 30W adapter as a minimum.

Back to top

Apple MacBook air

Apple MacBook air.png
  • Best: Laptop
  • Product features: M2 chip, 8GB memory, 256GB SSD storage, MagSafe 3 charging port

The latest Apple laptop is a MacBook air with a completely overhauled design. Since its launch in 2008 when then CEO Steve Jobs revealed it by sliding it out of a manila envelope to show how thin it was, the Air has had tapered edges. Now, the lid is flat and the edges are sharper, making for a machine that’s thin all over. It’s lighter than the model it succeeds and has a bigger display, 13.6 inches against 13.3 inches on the older model, though the laptop is hardly any bigger. It also has a highly comfortable keyboard.

This laptop also includes a popular feature: MagSafe charging. This is the connector Apple invented so that if someone trips on the mains lead, it effortlessly detaches instead of sending the MacBook Air flying. If you don’t need the extra power and new design, the older Air is still available, and a lot cheaper. But the new one looks great and includes two new colours, Midnight, a near-black with blue notes (though a bit of a fingerprint magnet) and the gorgeous Starlight which is mostly silver but glints gold in the right light.

Read the full Apple MacBook air review

  1. £1,249 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

The verdict: Tech gifts

Tech can help make it a merry Christmas, whether that’s by providing the perfect accessory to charge your iPhone, like the Anker 622 wireless charger or the best way to ease an achy muscle with the Theragun mini. And there are plenty of options above to make sure the holidays sound good, with the Ruark Audio R2 mk 4 among the best of these audio options. Happy Christmas shopping!

Treat the woman who raised you to the best gifts for mum this Christmas, or take a look at the best beauty gift sets

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
£100 off all bookings over £1000 - TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
20% off everything with this ASOS app discount code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
Cult Beauty Discount Code
Up to 20% off all orders over £40 - Cult Beauty discount code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in