Christmas is right around the corner and the window for getting your gifts organised is closing. Thankfully, with the help of Microsoft and others, we have your tech gifts covered. Here's a few easy suggestions for a range of budgets.
Top Christmas Gifts
Hands-free, eye-level phone access that doesn't impede your view while driving. The Belkin Car Vent Mount is a low-cost way to have your phone easily accessible while driving. It's soft rubber-padded siding is able to fit standard to large phones (up to 8.38cm wide), including the iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7 edge and Note 6. A rotating dial allows the mount to fit thick and thin car vents, accommodating most vehicles.
Just remember, you will want to turn off the air vent it's attached to in winter.
Find out more about the Belkin Car Vent Mount.
Tile Mate - $40
If you know someone always looking for their keys, we have the gift for them. Tile Mate is a small Bluetooth square that sits on your key-ring. The accompanying smartphone app can then make the Tile Mate ring if it's lost. Plus, if you've lost your phone, a button on the Tile Mate itself can make your phone ring.
- See also the Tile Slim for wallets.
- Battery life lasts approx 12 months and the battery is not replaceable.
Intel Compute Stick - $149
Intel's answer to the lounge room entertainment hub. At just larger than the size of a USB stick, the Compute Stick is actually a PC running Windows 10 Home.
Getting started is easy, just plug it into your TV via HDMI, connect to power and navigate with a USB or Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse and you're done. Priced between it's Apple and Android competitors, the Compute Stick is a worthy option for those wanting a more flexible option they can tinker with.
Find out more about the Intel Compute Stick, Apple TV and ChromeCast.
- Flexibility and power of a PC
- Small, uncomplicated to connect
- Expandable memory via microSD slot
- Requires wireless keyboard & mouse (or touch-pad) to navigate
- More complicated set-up. More difficult to use for tech-novices compared to Apple TV and ChromeCast
PlayStation 4 Pro - $550
In the world of video game consoles this Christmas, there are really only two options - the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S. Honestly, there isn't a lot separating them at the moment. But if you don't know which one to choose, there is one method that helps: what games do the lucky person want to play?
Many games, like FIFA or Call of Duty, are available on both consoles but occasionally a game will only be released on one or the other. Think the Halo and Gears of War series on Xbox, or Uncharted, Bloodbourne and The Last of Us on PlayStation.
We've listed the PlayStation 4 Pro here because it is the highest specification console available (plus we're fortunate enough to enjoy one in our lunch room). But don't ignore the alternatives, a $400 Xbox One S is still a worthy competitor (it can play 4K Blu-rays unlike the PS4 Pro!) and great gift.
Find out more about the PlayStation 4 Pro.
A gift to avoid
If you were after a smartwatch but were looking for a cheaper alternative to an Apple Watch or Android Wear, it's likely that you came across Pebble. The 2012 kickstarter that rode the wearable wave has closed. While rare to find, they may show up at some stores heavily discounted. But buyer beware. Current devices will work for now however it's not clear how long their features will function once Pebble finally closes its doors.
Find out more about the Pebble closure here.
We hope you're able to find the right gifts for your friends and loved ones this holiday season. If you're still struggling for idea, see more than 50 suggestions in the full Microsoft Holiday Gift Guide here.