A tech wish list doesn’t have to be rational—who really needs a robot bartender? It’s all about having a little fun while scoping out the newest gadgets that you may or may not need.
We asked Global Knowledge’s tech enthusiasts for their ideal wish list items this year. Some answers were practical (baby sound machine, health monitor for your car). Others were a bit more extravagant (drive-in movie theater for your home).
Here’s our top 12 tech gifts for 2019:
12. Hatch Baby Rest ($59.99)
How it works: The Hatch Baby Rest is a sound machine and night light, perfect for any nursery or child’s room. Complete with preset sounds (e.g. babbling brook, rain, etc.) and customized color combinations, the Hatch Baby Rest can be adjusted manually or controlled from a smart device. It also has a time-to-rise alert, which is ideal for older kids.
Coolest feature: The app is a lifesaver. You can adjust the volume and brightness of the Hatch Baby Rest from your phone, which means no tip-toeing or holding your breath when entering your baby’s room. Seriously, is there anything worse than accidentally waking a sleeping infant?
Ryan Day, Content Marketing Manager: “All I want this holiday season is a full night of sleep … for me and my five-month-old. Without the Hatch Baby Rest, I never would have learned that the sound of ocean waves makes her drowsy! This is crucial information for when I pitch the idea of a beach house to my wife.”
11. Portable Drive-In Movie Theater ($599.99)
How it works: This portable drive-in theater combines an LED projector and a 12-inch speaker and subwoofer, all in one unit. It also comes with a 70-inch screen for watching your favorite flicks—or you could always project directly onto the side of your neighbor’s house. Who doesn’t want to be the guy in the neighborhood hosting epic backyard movie nights?
Coolest feature: The wireless microphone allows you to be the movie night host, or attempt to embarrass inconsiderate audience members who are being too loud.
Joseph Formicola, Account Manager, Northeast: “If I’m being honest this is the kind of thing you buy and maybe use once. Is it worth it? Wait until the next day when everyone is talking about your sweet drive-in movie showing of Mission Impossible 37—can they stop making those?”
10. ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor ($79.99)
How it works: Real-time alerts help you monitor your car’s engine health and decipher those pesky dashboard alerts, potentially saving you a trip to the repair shop. The ZUS plugs directly into your car’s OBD II port and you can pair it to your smartphone with the free ZUS app. It logs all of your data, including monthly and annual reports, and also saves your parking location so you can easily find your car in a crowded lot.
Coolest feature: The app’s Safety Center uses a predictive algorithm to analyze your engine data and alert you of potential issues before they even occur.
Jarrick Brown, Account Manager: “An unidentified light on your dashboard may be as unsettling as that unknown error on a computer screen for road warriors like myself. As soon as I officially paid off my car, I immediately had to put money into it for repairs. This device would help me avoid some of the common pitfalls at repair shops and stay in the fast lane!”
9. Anova Precision Cooker (Sous Vide) ($199)
How it works: Attach the Anova Precision Cooker to any pot filled with water, add your desired food in a sealed bag, then use the device controls to select the exact temperature and cooking duration. The device heats water to an exact temperature to easily prepare any type of cuisine. It produces consistent results without risking ingestion of uncooked parasites or turning a meal into charcoal.
Coolest feature: The model that’s Wi-Fi enabled is worth the extra few bucks. You can turn it on from your smartphone and dinner will be ready with minimal effort by the time you finish a glass of wine. Dinner can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
Matt Ussery, Strategic Alliances: “Being a working parent, I do not have much extra time for the task of healthy food prep. In the last year, learning to use a sous vide has allowed me to be a ‘lazy gourmet.’ The Anova model I have been using is a couple years old but the brand is reliable, user-friendly, cost-effective, and turns out was one of the recommended options discussed in the recent episode of Good Eats (Season 15, Episode 3).”
8. Barsys Automated Bartender ($979)
How it works: If the fanciest drink you can make is a G&T, it’s time to up your cocktail game. Barsys is an automated, hands-free bartender for your home. It comes with 2,000 preloaded cocktails that can be crafted and ready for consumption within 30 seconds. Barsys can hold up to five liquor bottles and mixes the proper ingredients to produce a chosen beverage.
Coolest feature: In addition to the preprogrammed cocktails, you can use the Barsys app to create your own drink recipes. Let Barsys do the work as you modify and tweak your ideal concoction.
Ryan Day, Content Marketing Manager: “Do I need a robot bartender? Probably not. But will I feel fancier when I have one? Absolutely! I have no idea what a Blue Hawaii cocktail is, but I’d certainly drink one if it’s expertly crafted by my robot bartender (who I have named Lloyd).”
7. Google Wifi ($99)
How it works: Google Wifi enhances coverage throughout your home by automatically switching access points depending on signal strength. Basically, this router boosts signal strength and speed for all of your home devices. One Wifi point covers 1,500 square feet—you can always add more points for those with larger homes.
Coolest feature: The mesh network-like coverage means no “dead zones” in connectivity. The Network Assist technology also ensures you’re connected to the clearest channel and fastest optimal speeds for your devices.
Ashley Catucci, Product Marketing Manager: “My townhouse is notorious for low quality internet speed and annoying ‘dead zones’ on the upper floors. Nothing is more infuriating than having to sit close to your internet router for internet speed! Based on product reviews, it sounds like Google Wifi is a legit system to help increase speed and overall connection reliability.”
How it works: The fourth generation of Canon’s EOS camera comes equipped with a 30.4-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. The camera can capture 4K video clips, making pro-level footage a possibility. Focus accuracy has also been enhanced with a 61-point AF system.
Coolest feature: Canon Log is made available for users who are looking to shoot serious video footage. With this firmware upgrade, the dynamic range increases up to 800%, providing approximately 12 stops of dynamic range, even in low light.
Narendra Basavaraju, Marketing Automation Manager: “One of my hobbies is photography. A professional camera with the advanced features of the Canon 5D Mark IV would support me in my creativity and capturing candid moments wherever I visit.”
5. Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249)
How it works: The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a Wi-Fi-connected security camera with two-way audio. Receive alerts as soon as there is motion at your front door, allowing you to monitor your home 24 hours a day. See, hear and speak to visitors from your smartphone or tablet.
Coolest feature: Instant mobile alerts, motion detection, 1080 wide-angle videos and built-in microphone and speakers let you freak out cable salesmen and Amazon delivery drivers.
Brent Brandow, Product Marketing Manager: “I see people on Nextdoor.com shaming their neighbors for not cleaning up after their dogs. Like a dope, I’ve been worrying about important things. All that changes when I get my Ring!”
4. Cintiq Pro ($2,499.95)
How it works: The Cintiq Pro is ideal for artists and designers who want to draw directly on the screen. The 24-inch LCD display has 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 px), allowing the user to see the most intricate details of their work. With 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, the pen is lag-free and produces a genuine pen-on-paper feel.
Coolest feature: Did we mention you can draw directly on the screen?! And this isn’t just any screen—this is a 24-inch, etched glass display that reduces glare and reflections.
Andrew Kyriakoulis, UX Designer: “The Wacom Cintiq is one of the most impressive pieces of technology I’ve ever used. I fondly remember the first time I used one back in design school. I had 24/7 access to a 22HD at the time, and I most certainly took advantage of that. The Cintiq honestly revitalized my love of drawing and painting, allowing me to take my art and design work to the next level. From product design ideation to digital painting, it allowed me to iterate, test ideas and learn from my mistakes at a ridiculously rapid rate. The Cintiq is made by Wacom, the undisputed leader in pen display tech. I cannot think of a tool I would love more this holiday season than the Cintiq Pro 24.”
3. Nintendo Switch ($299.99)
How it works: The Nintendo Switch puts you in control of your playing style—hook it up to your TV or play on the go in handheld mode. This console has over 2,000 game to select from, including classic Nintendo franchises like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon.
Coolest feature: The Joy-Con controllers provide total gameplay flexibility. Use one controller or both. Play with the console vertical or sideways. Or share a controller with a friend for a two-player experience.
Ryan Day, Content Marketing Manager: “I want the ability to play Mario Kart wherever I am—on road trips, at the dinner table, during boring work meetings—and the Nintendo Switch would help me accomplish that. It may also result in me getting fired, but you know what—worth it!"
2. The Mirror ($1,495)
How it works: The Mirror is a high-tech workout product that bills itself as an “interactive home gym.” It looks like a normal mirror but it streams live and on-demand fitness classes in a broad range of workout genres. From cardio and strength to yoga and boxing, stream unlimited classes directly to your home.
Coolest feature: Over 70 new live classes are added each week. They also have an extensive library of on-demand workouts, available 24 hours a day.
Michalina DeBoard, Global Product Manager: “What’s not to love about this product?! Finding time at home to work out is so much easier than having to plan to head to the gym. I also really like the flexibility it offers with the various workouts, which is all included with the monthly subscription. Hopefully Santa will recognize that I’ve been a good girl this year and he’ll put this under the tree!”
1. Roku Streaming Stick+ ($49.99)
How it works: Who needs cable? With Roku, you can stream your favorite shows and movies whenever you want. The Streaming Stick is also smaller than the original Roku, so it’s easier to take with you when you’re traveling. Just plug it into a TV and you’re good to go! Roku’s library includes all of the free and paid channels you need to get your binge on, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video and more.
Coolest feature: Roku’s all-in-one remote means you never have to use your TV remote again. Aside from typical Roku controls, the remote allows you to turn on your TV and control the volume. There’s also a voice control function, which is great when you know exactly what you want to watch and don’t want to spend hours scrolling through the True Crime Dramas on Netflix.
Ryan Day, Content Marketing Manager: “I finally ditched cable a few months ago and use my Roku to stream Netflix and YouTube TV. I can’t believe I didn’t make the change years ago. The Roku is simple to use and install, plus the all-in-one remote has eliminated the remote clutter that typically engulfs my coffee table.”
What did we miss?