I have this friend. You probably know him, or someone like him. He was the first guy in town to own a Palm Pilot and an mp3 player, and still cultivates a love for classic gadgets. He’ll be the first one to live in a smart home and replace his dog with a robot. His favorite words are “hey, watch what this can do.” This is the gadget guru, and he loves his toys, whether they’re cutting-edge or vintage.
The gadget enthusiast takes pride on having the best stuff, usually before anyone else does. So how do you shop for them without climbing in the DeLorean with Doc Brown and traveling to the future? Never fear — we’ve got you covered with our list and gift guide that will help you find the perfect gift for a gadget guru.
1. Portables and Wearables
If you know a gadget guru, you know they’re rarely content to leave their gadgets at home. The best technology is the kind that can be taken everywhere and shown off as a conversation piece. They may already own an activity tracker or a smartwatch, but even if they do, they might not mind getting another — gadget lovers adore redundancy, comparing features and choosing favorites.
If your guru owns enough wearables, you still have lots of on-the-go tech to choose from, like a portable laser keyboard or a smartpen that sync handwritten notes to your smartphone. When buying for a gadget guru, don’t get hung up on whether a gift is practical. If it’s cool, you’re already halfway there.
Drones have changed the world. They’re delivering food and medicine, monitoring wildlife, gathering scientific data, and even helping fight crime. But let’s face it, they’re also the high-tech spiritual heir to the remote-controlled cars of yesteryear. A copter drone with a built-in HD camera could be ideal for father-son bonding on a chilly holiday morning. Don’t worry if they already have one — they’ll plow it into a tree soon enough.
3. Smart Appliances
Home automation technology has exploded in the last year. The good news is, you don’t have to buy an entire smart home at once. Many smart appliances are surprisingly affordable, like smart bulbs that save energy while learning your movement patterns, or keyless entry systems that let you lock and unlock your door remotely with your smartphone. Why would you need such a thing? When buying for a gadget enthusiast, don’t think “need,” think awesome.
4. 3D Printing
The replicators of Star Trek are here… or soon will be. 3D printing is poised to revolutionize manufacturing in the coming decades, and affordable 3D printers are already hitting the consumer market. These remarkable devices can replicate just about anything, from machine parts to entire homes. Your favorite gadget hound will probably not be printing off entire houses with the 3D printer in their garage… but they might need some replacement filament or other supplies.
5. When All Else Fails, Accessorize
If you don’t have the budget (or the patience) to seek out the latest high-tech devices, don’t fret! There are still lots of inexpensive gifts that gadget gurus will love. Consider these frugal, yet thoughtful gift ideas:
- A new case for their smartphone, laptop or tablet
- A USB drive or SD card (not exactly cutting edge, but gadget gurus own a lot of legacy devices)
- An adjustable laptop table
- A new stylus for their tablet PC
- Some portable wireless speakers
Need more help getting started? Have a look at our holiday gift guide for even more shopping ideas!