Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming. Christmas, it’s never too early to start uttering that nine-letter word, humming your favourite festive tune and splashing out on those special people in your life.
That sentiment has never rung quite as true as it will do this year, with warnings of an impending present shortage (not caused by Santa). Shoppers are being urged to start early due to a lack of shipment containers, fewer HGV drivers in the UK and a continuing scarcity of semiconductors, which power the most sought-after electronics.
But while we’re still being starved of next-gen videogame consoles, like the PS5 and Xbox series X, with both frequently being out of stock, 2021 has still seen a dearth of hot new gadgets capturing our undivided attention. From new wireless headphones and earbuds to wireless speakers, new phones and smartwatches, like the iPhone 13 and the Samsung Galaxy Z fold 3, we’ve been spoilt for choice this year.
Plus, everyone knows that a new gadget is better than a bottle of whiskey or a pair of new socks. A year later that smart rower, fancy electric toothbrush or tablet you just bought is still going to be going strong. You can’t say the same about a box of chocs, snarfed down in one sitting, can you?
How we tested
To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled a list of the best techie Christmas gifts, ideal for your loved ones. They’ve all been tested extensively by us. We’ve listened to them; typed and gamed on them; sat on our bums, one controller in our hands, for hours, playing Sea of Thieves; ran with them on our wrists; brought them out to the park; lost and found items with them; and called people from across the world with them. Basically, we can guarantee that everything you find here is top quality.
We’ll be continuously testing and reviewing the latest new gadgets right up until the big day itself, so check back if you don’t see something you think your loved one will like right away.
So, without further ado, here are the best tech-focused gifts for Christmas 2021.
The best tech gifts for Christmas 2021 are:
- Best overall – Xbox series X: £449.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best games console for kids and families – Nintendo Switch OLED: £309.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best Android smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: £269, Argos.co.uk
- Best Bluetooth speaker – Bang & Olufsen beosound explore: £169, Johnlewis.com
- Best item tracker – Tile mate and Tile slim combo pack: £68.78, Amazon.co.uk
- Best Alexa smart display – Amazon Echo show 8, 2nd gen: £119.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best laptop – Huawei matebook X pro: £1,399.99, Johnlewis.com
- Best wireless earbuds – Sony WF-1000XM4: £250, Johnlewis.com
- Best item tracker for iOS users – Apple AirTag, 4 pack: £99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best Google smart display – Google nest hub: £102.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best wireless Apple headphones – Apple AirPods max: £549, Apple.com
- Best webcam – Logitech C920: £74.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget wireless earbuds for Android users – Google Pixel buds A-series: £99.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best portable Sonos speaker – Sonos roam: £179, Amazon.co.uk
Xbox series X
Want to pick up the latest games console this Christmas? You’d better start shopping now, because the Xbox series X is one of the most sought-after pieces of electronics this year. Launched in 2020, this is the best Xbox ever made. It’s already backwards compatible with all of your existing games, and has an expanding catalogue of unmissable titles to dive into including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Best: Games console for kids and families
The Nintendo Switch OLED is the company’s latest and greatest gaming console, and it ticks off almost everything handheld and tabletop Switch gamers were begging for. There’s a bigger and more handsome 7in OLED screen, an improved kickstand, it’s more solidly built, and you might even appreciate the enhanced speakers. It’s just an all-round great system. If you’ve ever wanted to buy a Nintendo Switch, now is the time to do it, while stock lasts. It officially releases on 8 October.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Best: Android smartwatch
The closest thing Android has to an official smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy watch 4 is an elegant and sophisticated wearable packed with so many biometric sensors and health-tracking features it would make a cardiologist blush. The newest in the series can measure body fat, track workouts, monitor your sleep quality and even tell the time.
Bang & Olufsen beosound explore
Best: Bluetooth speaker
A Bluetooth speaker built for the great outdoors, the Beosound explore makes the perfect gift for a loved one or friend whose idea of fun involves hanging around the poncho section of Decathlon. It’s classy, rugged, waterproof, sandproof and designed to survive heavy impacts while sounding great and lasting for days between charges.
Tile mate and Tile slim combo pack
Best: Item tracker
Attach one of these inconspicuous Bluetooth trackers to your keys, your bag, or anything else you don’t want to lose, and you can then use your phone to see its location and trigger a helpful (and loud) jingle. These are real life-changers, and put an end to frantically searching for your belongings when you’re already running late. The combo pack can be customised to include the super useful, credit card-sized Tile slim, which is designed to fit inside a wallet.
Amazon Echo show 8, 2nd gen
Best: Alexa smart display
“Alexa, what should I get for Christmas?”. The Amazon Echo show 8! It’s the company’s latest smart display and it only costs £119.99, so you get a heck of a lot of bang for your buck. There’s an ambient sensing display, a home-monitoring feature, an upgraded processor and a better 13MP camera which has less intrusive panning and zooming tracking features than the Echo show 10. The second-generation Echo show 8 is now the go-to device for those looking for an Amazon smart display.
Huawei matebook X pro
Our laptops have proved the unsung heroes of 2021, enabling many of us to work from anywhere we could find a wi-fi connection, a power socket and a ready supply of coffee. If you know someone whose device is on its last legs, how about a festive upgrade to the fastest and most stylish Windows laptop we’ve tested this year? The Huawei matebook X pro is a real powerhouse: speedy, comfortable to use and ready for any task you throw at it.
Best: Wireless earbuds
Launched this summer, Sony’s latest earbuds not only sound great, but are packed with a slate of genuinely useful and clever features. Noise-cancellation adapts to your surroundings and movement, tuning out public transport noise while sitting on the train, but dialling in car engines for safety when walking down the street. When you speak, the earbuds will pause your music and tune into voice frequencies, so you can hold a conversation without removing them. A stylish set of luxury earbuds, these make the perfect gift for those returning to the commotion of the daily commute.
Apple AirTag, 4 pack
Best: Item tracker for iOS users
Got a loved one who is constantly losing their stuff? Meet the Apple AirTag, a disc-shaped tracker that slots neatly around your keys, into your wallet or around the strap of your backpack. Thanks to ultra-wideband technology, turn-by-turn directions lead you straight to your stuff if you’re in range, with just the use of your iPhone, complete with handy vibrations as you get closer. The only issue? You’ll probably need to buy an AirTag accessory, if you want to hook it onto anything. It’s a very Apple product, you see.
Google nest hub
Best: Google smart display
The main dashboard of the connected smart home, the Google nest hub can be used to control lighting, raise and lower blinds, lock doors and set reminders. It’s powered by the Google Assistant, meaning it does everything your phone’s virtual assistant does and a little more. In the bedroom it can use radar to monitor your sleep schedule and suggest improvements, but the nest hub is at its most useful in the kitchen for setting hands-free timers, controlling music and displaying recipes and cooking tips.
Apple AirPods max
Best: Wireless Apple headphones
Did someone say they needed a new pair of headphones? Apple’s new AirPods max over-ears are an absolute dream for any audiophile. They sound stellar – both rich and full – thanks to the 40mm dynamic driver. But our favourite feature has to be spatial audio. The feeling of your favourite tunes coming from all directions around your head is absolutely mind-blowing. And with soft knitted earcups and a knitted headband, you won’t want to take them off.
Anyone who’s been working from home lately will know what a difference a decent webcam can make. The Logitech C920 has you looking your best at Zoom meetings, with software that can track your face to keep you in frame, automatic focusing and colour balance, and adaptive exposure to stop you looking like something from a Japanese horror film when sitting in front of a bright window.
Google Pixel buds A-series
Best: Budget wireless earbuds for Android users
Ever felt left out when you’ve seen those Apple guys walking around with white stalks hanging out of their ears? Look on in envy no more, because Google has released the Pixel buds A-series, a true rival to the standard Apple AirPods. They’re comfy to wear, pack in a bunch of smarts and look almost invisible in your ears. Better yet, they’re not only the cheapest Pixel buds out right now, but they sound pretty darn good as well.
Best: Portable Sonos speaker
The roam is Sonos’s smallest and cheapest speaker and is the company’s first specifically designed for taking out with you on your own little adventures. It’s light, waterproof and as small as a plastic water bottle. But despite its dinky size, it’s still an ultra-powerful speaker, in both tech terms and sound. With features like sound swap, auto trueplay and booming, far-reaching bass, this is your go-to picnic speaker – but it’s also perfect for your bathroom
The verdict: Tech Christmas gifts
The best tech Christmas gift happens to be the most in-demand console around right now – the Xbox series X. It’s the best Xbox that Microsoft has ever made and is an absolute powerhouse. For audiophiles, we’d recommend picking up Bang & Olufsen’s beosound explore or Sonos’s roam speaker – both are accomplished portable devices.
We’ll be continuously adding to this list as we inch closer to Christmas, so if you don’t see something you like right now, check back soon.
For the latest discounts on the best bits of tech and other Christmas presents, try the links below:
Want to have a great countdown to Christmas? Have a read of our reviews of the best advent calendars
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