Tech the Halls: Our Favorite Tech Gadgets this Holiday Season

Looking for that perfect gift for your favorite techie?

You’re in luck! 2015 was the year for new, innovative tech gadgets and products. At Global Knowledge, we’ve patiently waited for the gift-giving season to get our hands on this year’s top tech. To aid in your hunt for the perfect present, to give or to get, Global Knowledge’s own tech-lovers have come together to create the ultimate gadget wish list. Here are our top picks this holiday season, ranked accordingly:

Philips Hue Lights
Philips Hue Lights

12. Philips Hue Lights

Automate the ordinary and customize with imaginative settings.
Starting at $200 for the A19 Starter Kit, individual bulbs start at $42

John Flanagan, Customer and Process Support Manager
“The Philips Hue lighting system is a Wi-Fi enabled LED system designed to let the user control their home lighting from the touch of a phone. Lights will welcome you home, and the system will make sure that you never leave a light on by mistake. The lights are capable of reproducing 16 million colors, and the user can replicate any color from a photograph or scene simply by dragging an icon to a spot on a photo through the mobile app. You can program your lights to come on as the sun comes up or slowly dim as the sun sets. Want to know when your favorite team scores a touchdown? Program your lights to flash their colors when it happens. Having a holiday party? Why not have your lights move with your music? Program your lights to be part of the celebrations with Philips Hue lights.”

11. Livescribe Echo Smartpen

Dominate the art of note taking.
Starting at $120 for the 2GB smartpen

Chris Schunke, Multimedia Development Manager
“So you get called into a random department meeting. What’s the first thing you grab? Usually a pad of paper to take copious notes so everyone thinks you’re paying attention. You leave the meeting with a bunch of doodles and no clue what to do next. Enter the Livescribe Echo smartpen. This little bad boy can record the entire audio portion of a meeting. Not only that, but it syncs the audio with each and every doodle you draw in the margins. Want to know the context of those notes? Simply plug the pen into your computer and it transfers all of your drawings to a digital notepad, as well as syncs the audio recording to each pen stroke. This little magic wand is great in meetings, in classrooms or for capturing honey-do lists. Once the data is transferred, simply touch the part of the drawing you want to go back to, and it will play the audio recording from that exact point you took that note. It even lets you search your handwritten notes!”

Lee McRae with Sena SMH10 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset/Intercom
Lee McRae

10. Sena SMH10 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset/Intercom

Prefer two wheels? Stay connected anyway.
Starting around $160

Lee McRae, Project Manager
“This item is a must have for all motorcycle riders. I love the fact that I can ride my motorcycle and still listen to my music, use my GPS and talk on the phone at the same time. I just pop my phone into the mount I installed on my motorcycle, select my favorite playlist and then ride off. I can control the volume, play, pause, skip and replay tracks all from the headset. For GPS, I just enter my destination and I’m all set. The voice commands come through the headset, and I never have to worry about missing a turn. The phone feature and noise cancellation are great! I’ve had people call me and say they never knew I was riding. My favorite feature of all has to be the intercom for when I ride with a passenger or another motorcycle rider. It allows me to be in constant communication with the other person at all times. It’s awesome to push a button and seamlessly talk to your passenger or another rider who is up to half a mile away with no interference. This headset checks all the right boxes.”

Electric DeLorean

9. Electric DeLorean

Time travel goes green.
Starting at about $100,000

Katie Franklin, Head of Marketing for the United Kingdom
“Great Scott! I’ve gone old school for this Christmas gift and jumped back to 1985 (or was it 1955?) to the place “where we’re going, you don’t need roads.” That’s right, it’s an Electric DeLorean for merely $107,000 (flux capacitor not included). However, you can include a flux capacitor car charger for just $30! This gift is for all those ’80s techie fans who don’t need any convincing for what is quite possibly one of the most iconic vehicles of the 20th century. If you have a spare $100,000 or so, you can take a ride in this time-traveling beauty, complete with brushed steel finish, leather-looking interior and wing doors. The battery even drives for 100 miles before requiring a recharge. Sadly, the car won’t blast you back to the future when it hits 88 mph but it does have a built-in GPS display so you can easily find the Twin Pines Mall. So, in the words of Biff Tannen, ‘What are you looking at butthead?’ Go order!”

8. MonoRover R2

Cruise in style.
Starting at $500

Ahmed Soliman, Regional Marketing Manager, Middle East and Africa
“The MonoRover R2 sits on the top of my wish list this year. Unlike the Segway, MonoRover R2 is more attractive and smarter. This smart self-balancing two-wheel scooter has no steering bar, and you can master riding it in less than 10 minutes! It also comes along with two separate motors and LED lights, unlike my car. MonoRover R2 goes really fast. Since it has a high battery life, you can use it every day for over 13 kilometers (about 8 miles). Tthe battery will start beeping when you have about 2.5 kilometers (about 1.5 miles) left on a charge. I believe that MonoRover R2 is the coolest and most fun portable transport of all time. The only disadvantage is that your friends will want to hang out more with you so that they can use it.”

Google Nexus 5X with smores
Google Nexus 5X

7. Google Nexus 5X

Runs Android Marshmallow for a low price.
Starting at $379 without a contract

Lindsay Kanwisher, Partner Manager for Canada
“Topping my list of tech gifts this holiday season is the Google Nexus 5X — perfect for anyone who’s #TeamAndroid in the continuing Apple vs. Android wars. The 5X is the perfect size and price with cool features like an imprint fingerprint reader and 12.3-megapixel camera, all running on Android’s newest OS, Marshmallow. This phone won’t leave any recipient wanting s’more!”

6. Pebble Time Round Smartwatch

Thin, sleek and quick charging.
Starting at $249

Louise Gable, EMEA Graphic Designer
“I have always wanted a smartwatch but not the massive price tag. Pebble Time has evolved with its last three Kickstarter campaigns and this year’s smartwatch is aimed right at women. With a thinner strap and more female-orientated colors, like the rose gold version, it’s at the top of my list this year! Not only does it look good, but it still does everything I want fitness-wise for tracking what exercises I do including setting goals and targets. Which is especially crucial with Christmas parties around the corner! Plus, it syncs easily with my mobile phone for convenient 24/7 access.”

John Mark Ivey with Drone
John Mark Ivey

5. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite

Capture your world from a different perspective.
Starting at $299

John Mark Ivey, Social Media Marketer
“Since first watching a YouTube video taken of a neighborhood from overhead with a homemade camera strapped to the bottom of a drone years ago, I have been fascinated with this phenomenon. Now it’s my turn. So this holiday season I’m taking the plunge: A drone appears on my Christmas list!  The drone that keeps coming up in my Amazon search results is the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite quadricopter with:

  • On-board pressure sensors
  • Autopilot feature
  • 720-pixel high-definition camera
  • AR.Drone app that lets me operate it with my iPhone

Even if it turns out that the Terminator movies were right when predicting the machines will rule Earth from the skies, I’ll tell the family when shopping for my Christmas drone to make sure to stay away from the Skynet brand.”

4. 3-D Printer

Become the ultimate creator.
Starting at $300 for a small, lower-quality model up to a starting price of $1,200 for a higher-quality model

Caitlin Long, Product Marketing Specialist for IBM
“Last Christmas, early adopters flocked to places like Newegg, Amazon and Best Buy in order to scoop up this hot new consumer tech trend. I was following product reviews closely, and from all appearances, the best bang per buck for quality and function didn’t quite seem to be there. But, this year things are a little different. Now there are custom-designed toys and action figures, funky jewelry and accessories to spice up my winter wardrobe, or home repair products for my ‘Mr. Fix-It’ handyman beau. What do I say to that? Yes, to all of the above! Three-D printers are ideal for those with a sense of creativity and the time and mind to tinker. If your pockets can take the punch and you have a healthy imagination, oh the possibilities are endless!”

Abigail Campbell with Apple Watch
Abigail Campbell

3. Apple Watch

Simplify life with iPhone’s best friend.
Starting at $349

Abigail Campbell, Meeting Planner
“The Apple Watch is the crème de la crème of the wearable tech industry, so it’s no surprise it’s the best-selling smartwatch of all time and at the top of my Christmas list! As a long-distance runner for most of my life, I can tell you that my miles seemed to drastically shorten once iPods and iPhones hit the market and I could strap one of those suckers to my arm for music. Unfortunately, my iPhone is growing in size, cumbersome in weight and hard to glance at quickly mid-stride. The Apple Watch takes care of all those seemingly minor inconveniences. I can check my pace by accessing my favorite running app, easily switch songs and see who just texted me, all in milliseconds. When not running, I look forward to using the other cool Apple Watch features for answering calls hands-free, checking the status of my Uber driver, swiftly checking the weather before I leave the house in the wrong shoes and receiving real-time calendar and Facebook birthday reminders. While I do all these things on my iPhone now, frankly my phone is always getting lost in the “black hole” I call a purse and I’m confident that the watch will be easier and more fun to use!”

2. Surface Book

Bring out your inner creative genius.
Starting at about $1,500 for the 128GB / Intel Core i5 – 8GB model

Aliana Ramos, Marketing Communications Writer
“By day I may be a marketing copy editor, but by night I like to dabble in the arts. Microsoft’s Surface Book is the first convertible laptop/tablet combo to get my creative juices flowing. I’m most excited about the Surface Pen feature. The stylus has 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity, interchangeable tips and a built-in eraser, like a real pencil. Microsoft has created an in-house G5 processor for improved stylus and display interaction. For me that means more precise, accurate sketches. Plus, it’s magnetized so you can easily clip it to the side of the screen so you’ll never lose it (a must-have for a scattered soul like me). Even if you’re not an artist, the stylus allows you to mark up Web pages with your own handwritten notes, it pairs with OneNote and can activate Cortana. The $1,499 price tag is way outta my reach. But, a girl can dream, right?”

Matt Pavliv with Amazon Echo
Matt Pavliv

1. Amazon Echo

Always listening, quick response to commands.
Listed on Amazon at $180

Matt Pavliv, Associate Sales Engineer
“Alexa, play Pandora Christmas rock playlist.” This is one of my favorite tech gadgets around the house, especially in the kitchen. Setup is so simple, even my grandmother could do it. Within minutes, you’re ready to start using this 10-inch-tall speaker that accepts your voice commands. Simply wake up the Echo by saying the name ‘Alexa’ and then giving it a command. Think of this like Android’s ‘OK Google’ or Apple’s ‘Siri’ in a great platform with fantastic voice recognition capabilities and a very capable speaker. Play music, check the weather, add items to your grocery list, set a timer—the list of things the Echo can do continues to grow on this great cloud-connected device. At under $200, this gadget will be sure to entertain all who live in and visit your home.”

Share your wish list

Ensure the gift givers in your life know what gadgets top your ultimate holiday wish list! Share your favorites from our Tech the Halls countdown with the hashtag #TechtheHalls.

Dear @OfficialSanta I want the #AmazonEcho or anything on the @GlobalKnowledge #TechtheHalls list:

Click to Tweet.

If a gadget or tech product topping your list didn’t make the cut, share it by commenting below or Tweet to us using the hashtag #TechtheHalls with @GlobalKnowledge tagged.

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