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11 Awesome Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List
Looking for an interesting gift for your significant other or friend? We've spent hands-on time picking out these 11 fun and functional products (and wouldn't mind receiving them ourselves).
Our favorite TV Under $500: TCL 5 Series
With tech migrating down from TCL’s premium lines, the new 5 Series 55S535 55-inch 4K TV adds a high-performance Quantum Dot QLED display panel tuned to present the most demanding Dolby Vision high-dynamic-range (HDR) picture processing. The smart set runs on the user-friendly, voice-controllable Roku TV operating platform, which is terrific at finding the streaming shows and movies you want to watch whether they’re free, rental, or subscription-based. Also, take note of TCL’s minimalist “Fullview” bezel-less cabinet design, which makes it possible to squeeze a 55-inch model into the same space where an older, thick-framed 50-inch model formerly held court. Not only do we love this model, but the 5 Series is Wirecutter’s “Best 4K TV on a Budget, and Rtings gives it a 7.7 out of 10.
A worthy (and less expensive) Airpods alternative: Earfun Air true wireless earbuds
An excellent value, Earfun Air true wireless earbuds have been scoring design and innovation awards, as well as high marks from reviewers this year. Music comes at you in a sweet, solid, forward manner – with good clarity and warm bass extension. Earfun’s comfort level is high, and the looks are interesting – a more macho, bulked-out variant on the Apple AirPods. The Earfun Air has an excellent waterproof rating (IPX7), and run-time per charge is 7 hours – with 28 hours more on reserve in the charging case. The case is a tidy little thing that gets juiced up with a USB-C cable or on a Qi wireless charger. Strong magnets keep the buds from falling out of the case.
Price: $79.99, check price on Amazon
An easy-to-use grill and rotisserie for all-year use: Philips Avance Smoke-less Indoor Grill
Great for apartment dwellers and for everybody’s off-season grilling, the Philips Avance Smokeless Indoor Grill makes the perfect gift for home chefs. Safe for countertop use, the indirect infrared heat source prevents fat splats from landing on heating elements or a tub of water – the causes of serious smoke and extra fuss in other indoor grills. The non-stick cast aluminum grate sizzles and seals the outside of protein and veggies with familiar hash marks while insides stay juicy (you can see my efforts above). Clean-up is super easy with a slide-out drip tray and heat-resistant handles to lift-off the grill. And take note, the Avance’s fold-down, motorized rotisserie accessory, which is usually $169.95, is now on sale for $69.95 through November 28 on Philips (check price on Amazon).
Price: $299.99, on sale now for 54% off on Amazon
A toothbrush with on-handle visual feedback for better brushing: Oral-B iO
Who doesn’t want the gift of a brighter smile – and an easier time at the dentist? The teched-out Oral-B iO electric toothbrush can make it so. The iO uses artificial intelligence to determine whether you’re brushing correctly and provides feedback on the brush handle – a light ring just below the brush head glows green when you use the correct pressure. So unlike other smart toothbrushes, you don’t have to consult your phone while brushing your teeth.
iO’s special brush spins differently depending on the selected mode – general cleaning, whitening, gum care, sensitivity, etc. The magnetic charging base delivers a full charge in about three hours. Step-up models offer a spiffier color screen, 3D teeth tracking to identify brushing problems, a few more operation modes, nicer carry cases, and extra replacement brushes in the kit.
A soundbar that elevates your streaming experience: Roku Streambar
Roku also is upping our viewing and listening pleasures this season with the new Roku Streambar, a compact, two-in-one soundbar and 4K/2K streaming media tuner with voice remote. With its petite (14-inch wide, 4-inch deep) footprint, Streambar is an apt match and performance enhancer for a smaller TV set in the kitchen, bedroom, or den. For more space savings, it can also be wall-mounted. And as the (neutral party) Switzerland of streaming platforms, Roku’s boundless content offerings make it easy to cut the cable cord. Streambar greatly enhances whatever you’re enjoying with an angled four-speaker system that nicely throws stereo sound and has options to sharpen speech and tone down commercials, which is especially helpful for late-night viewing or listening. With Bluetooth reception onboard, this soundbar can likewise pump up music, podcasts, and soundtracks sent from a connected smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Price: $129.99, on sale through 11/30 for $99.99 on Roku, check price on Amazon
An automatic espresso machine for coffee connoisseurs: DeLonghi Dinamica with LatteCrema
The DeLonghi Dinamica with LatteCrema Fully Automatic Expresso Machine is the perfect gift for the coffee connoisseur with the ability to create and customize 18 coffee shop specialties, like lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, and iced coffees, all at the touch of a button. Barista skills are not required! This fully automatic espresso machine features a patented brewing unit and built-in, conical burr grinder-for quality, freshly ground coffee every time, adjusting the grind automatically to the drink you’ve chosen on the LCD display. The LatteCrema system likewise froths milk to the ideal density and texture, whether you use oat, soy, almond, coconut, rice, or cow’s milk. Even cleanup is easy, with the milk container stowable in the fridge. It combines the iced-coffee capabilities of the DeLonghi Dinamica and the milk handling of the DeLonghi Eletta, which both earned our Editor's Choice award.
Stylish sunglasses that sound as good as they look: Bose Frames
If someone on your list is wishing for a pair of stylish sunglasses, the speaker-endowed Bose Frames sunglasses are two gifts in one. High-performance micro speakers sit just above your ears in the sunglasses’ bulked-out arm pieces, delivering private, shockingly good sound from a Bluetooth connected smartphone, tablet or computer. And yes, these sonic sunglasses take phone calls, too. In my review of the Bose Frames, I noted good call quality on both ends of the conversation. Bose’s original flat black finish Alto Frames are now available in both small/medium and medium/large sizes, while the Rondos are still a one-size-fits-all, medium-large round-lensed option. Both deliver 3.5 hours of music/podcast/phone chat run time between charges. The new glossier, square-cornered Tenor, cats-eye Soprano, and extra sporty, wrap-around Tempo, have been improved with Polarized lenses, 5-hour run times, deeper bass, and (on the Tempos) louder play if needed. Prescription lenses can be ordered from Lensabl for additional charges.
Price: $199.95, on sale now for $149.95 for Frames Rondo and $169.95 for the Frames Alto on Bose, check price on Amazon; $249.95 for the Frames Tenor, Frames Soprano, and Frames Tempo on Bose, check price on Amazon
An exercise bike that delivers a more realistic ride: Bowflex VeloCore Bike
For the serious exerciser on your list, a Bowflex VeloCore Bike adds new thrills, chills, and (near) spills to the red-hot indoor cycling category. Besides conventional upright spinning, the VeloCore unlocks so the rider can literally lean into curves to more accurately simulate the feel of open road riding and further strengthen arms and core. The Bowflex subscription service program JRNY plays to the bike’s novel lean-in skill with curvaceous Explore the World Videos to enjoy on the high definition LCD touch screen – choose from a 15.6-inch or 21.5-inch display. JRNY club members also gain access to Bowflex Radio, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu (with valid subscriptions.) Or, if they’d rather, VeloCore users can connect with popular cycling apps from Peloton and Zwift. Exercise bike essentials include a magnetic resistance pedaling system with 100 levels of resistance, dual link pedals accommodating standard toe cages or SPD clips, multi-position handlebars, compatibility with Bluetooth heart rate monitors, and user comforts like an adjustable high-density foam seat, a media rack with USB charging ports (for phones and tablets), and dual water bottle holders for those really long rides.
Price: $1,699 for a built-in 15.6-inch monitor, $2,199 for a 21.5-inch monitor on Bowflex
A makeup applicator that makes skin imperfections disappear: Opte Precision Wand
While the Opte Precision Wand is a splurge, it’s as good as a professional makeup artist in its ability to spot and cover facial skin imperfections. On the tip of the Opte, a blue LED illuminates your skin, and a camera takes note of any tiny imperfections. Then the Wand’s onboard application mechanism takes over, precisely covering the discolorations with a skin-tone matched serum, laid on with 120 inkjet nozzles. Additional passes provide more coverage. As the application is minimalist in density and diameter, far less product is used, skin can breathe, and the makeup doesn’t look or feel caked on. Techlicious first saw and cited the Opte with a Top Picks Award at the CES 2019, and now it’s finally available.
Price: $595 on Opte (includes skin-covering serum which lasts about 3 months, refills are $139)
A handheld gaming system that brings back the 80’s: Nintendo Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.
Here’s a retro-gift perfect for nostalgic handheld game fans. Nintendo has turned back the clock to 1980 with the pocketable Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros, a re-creation of its first-ever handheld gaming system. Starring our favorite animated handymen, this collectible piece of history will again have you jumping Mario over bottomless pits, stomping Goombas, and saving the Mushroom Kingdom. The game holds the complete, multi-layer rendering of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, and The Lost Levels. Play it solo or in an alternating two-person challenge. Not exactly a clone, the new Game & Watch is enhanced with a +Control Pad to jump, leap, and stomp with precision. Also on board is a special version of Game & Watch Ball featuring Super Mario Bros, plus a digital clock periodically enhanced with animated pop-ups of Nintendo game stars – 35 in all. Get it while you can. This limited edition will only be available “while supplies last.”
An indoor security camera that keeps an eye on things outside: Panasonic HomeHawk Window
Normally, an outdoor home monitoring camera mounts outside, but that’s not the case with the Panasonic HomeHawk Window (KX-HNC500). This sneaky little snoop stays indoors, plugs into an AC outlet, and looks at the outside world through a window near your front entrance or wherever “coverage” is wanted. Mounting is a snap. Just press the HomeHawk up against a window and flip the lever to engage a suction cup. When connected to WiFi, you can observe the action from your smartphone or tablet without any fees. If you want to store video, you’ll need to purchase a MicroSD card (you can purchase one for less than $10 on Amazon). No surprise, given Panasonic’s camera expertise, nighttime imagery looks almost as bright and colorful as day views, thanks to a high sensitivity sensor. And the ultra-wide-angle (150 degrees) lens sees more than you do with its’ slightly curved, fish-eye view of the world.
Price: $149.95, on sale now for $119.95, check price on Amazon
[Image credit: hands holding gift via BigStockPhoto, Jonathan Takiff/Techlicious, DeLonghi, Oral-B, TCL, Roku, Earfun, Bowflex, Opte, Nintendo, Panasonic]