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Holiday tech gift ideas for geeks

Holiday gifts for those who love everything tech and aren't afraid to be early-adopters.

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We all have a geek in our life who is the first with any new piece of technology, the person we go to for advice on our latest purchase, and the one who fixes our broken printer and misbehaving smartphone.

These people can be difficult to buy holiday gifts for, because they're usually first in line for the latest-and-greatest the day it goes on sale.

That said, we hope our list of great holiday gifts for geeks will help you pick something they'll love - and haven't already bought for themselves.

Anki Vector - $249

Anki

The Vector robot by Anki may look like a child's toy, but it's much more than that. This adorable little guy can act as a smart home assistant, replying to your spoken questions with beautifully animated answers.

It can also take photos on command with its high-definition camera, recognize its owners, navigate without crashing into things, and play games - and soon Amazon Alexa will be included too. So while you could control your smart home tech with an Echo speaker, asking an animated robot to switch on the lights and heating is much more fun.


Apple Watch Series 4 - from $399

GearBrain

Smartwatches are inherently geeky, thanks to their computer-on-the-wrist appearance, and ability to make phone calls by speaking into hand like a member of the Secret Service.

New for the Watch Series 4 - and taking it to the top of the geeky league table - is a walkie talkie feature, where fellow Series 4 owners can press the screen to speak instantly to each other. In addition to this, the Watch tracks your walking, exercise and sleep (the latter through third-party apps), and will soon be able to take an EKG, making it a bona fide piece of medical equipment.


DJI Mavic 2 - from $1,249

DJI

Drones are cool and geeky all at once, but what makes DJI's Mavic range extra geeky is how they fold up so neatly they can fit in a jacket pocket. But, unfold the rotors, clip your phone into the controller (also a bit geeky), fire it up, and discover a drone which can shoot 4K video, lock onto moving objects and follow them, fly at up to 40 mph, and stay airborne for up to 30 minutes.

Sure, pilots will look pretty geeky while they set everything up, but the images and videos these quadcopters produce is nothing short of spectacular. If the Mavic 2 range is out of your budget, then you should consider the cheaper (and even more compact) Mavic Air.

Amazon Echo - $99

Amazon

The Amazon Echo is the go-to smart speaker, offering good sound quality, Alexa's impressive intelligence, and a lounge- or bedroom-friendly fabric design.

As well as playing music, Echo smart speakers crank up the geekiness when used to control smart home devices, like connected lights, locks, plugs, heaters and much more. In our eyes, asking Alexa to change the color of an entire room (with the help of some smart lights), is precisely the point where cool and geeky collide.


PlayStation Classic - $100

Sony

Geeks of a certain age will have found childhood memories of the original PlayStation. And now, after the success Nintendo had with its SNES Classic Mini, Sony has produced a nostalgia-grabbing mini console of its own.

The PlayStation Classic is much smaller than the bulky original, but has the same design and the same controller. It comes preloaded with 20 of our favorite PlayStation games, including Final Fantasy, VII, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, Rayman, Ride Racer, Tekken 3 and Rainbow Six.

Withings Sleep - $100

Withings

Smartwatches and fitness trackers can log sleep, but with varying degrees of success. To up your quantified-self game, the Withings Sleep slips beneath your mattress and logs your sleep duration and cycles, continuous and average heart rate and snoring duration, then gives you sleep a score each morning.

The Sleep connects to the Health Mate app, available for iOS and Android, and importantly means you can learn more about your sleep without bringing any distracting (and sleep-depriving) screens into the bedroom. The app and its virtual coach offers advice on how to improve your personal sleep score.

Smart plugs - from around $15

TP-Link

These cheap and simple devices can turn almost any household item into a smart gadget, controlled by Alexa and the Google Assistant. Plug in a heater and you now have voice-controlled heater; hook up a lamp and it can now be switched on or off by asking your assistant.

A bunch of plugs might not seem the most exciting of holiday gifts, but hand them over to any self-respecting geek, and they'll come up with a dozen uses for them over a single weekend.


Philips Hue color starter kit - $190

Philips

Smart lights like this Philips Hue starter kit pull off that perfect trick of being geeky while also staying accessible for the less tech-savvy members of the household.

At their simplest, these are just LED bulbs which work with your existing sockets and switches. But connect them to your router, fire up the Hue app (for iOS and Android), and you can make them any color, brightness and temperature you like. Hook up an Alexa or Google Assistant smart speaker, and they can be controlled by your voice - a trick that is cool and geeky in equal measure.

Grovemade desk accessories - $Various

Grovemade

No geek's desk should be complete without some of the gorgeous produce from Grovemade. Hand-made from a range of woods, these accessories include monitor stands, keyboard docks, phone cases, wireless charges, and other desk-tidying pieces.

GoPro Hero 7 Black - $400

GoPro

Finally - and much like the drone from earlier - the latest GoPro camera is another device which, when handed to a geek, can be used to produce incredible results. The latest action camera is as small and light as ever, but with some truly impressive image stabilization technology.

You can run with this camera in your hand, and the 4K footage it shoots remains stable and judder-free. It's also water resistant, has an integrated touch screen on the back, responds to voice commands, and can stream live video to the web.


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