HotHardware's Holiday Wish List: Gifts And Deals For Tech Geeks
As the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, we at HotHardware wanted to share a few last minute gift ideas from our staff that should excite any enthusiast or mainstream tech users you have left on your shopping list. We know it has been a tough year for us geeks and trying to find the right gift for a loved one or friend can be a daunting task. So, we've come up with a list of tech-inspired gifts in a wide range of genres that should fit almost any budget.
And this is no ordinary list. The following items are what HotHardware's staff want for themselves. So, as you scroll through the gift ideas below, be sure to check the commentary on why our staffers would love to receive any of these holiday presents under their tree. And if you're so inclined, let us know in the comments which staff member had the best idea(s). We will give whoever gets the most votes a cookie, or something...
Please note that prices may vary from what is listed here due to deal prices changing or ending.
Upgrading Your Visuals: TV And Monitor Gift Ideas
Samsung 75-Inch Class Frame Series 4K Quantum HDR TV: Find it on Amazon ($2,697.99)
"Many would consider a television to be a must-have in their home, but most would likely agree that they are rather unsightly. The Samsung Frame TV offers all of the amenities modern users expect, such as built-in Alexa, but it more easily melds into one’s décor. Consumers can choose from a variety of existing bezels to help their Samsung Frame TV fit in. There are also a wide range of sizes from the 32-inch Class FRAME QLED LS03 Series to the 75-Inch Class Frame Series- 4K Quantum HDR Smart TVs. This is on our wish list as it is a great pick for those looking to invest in a device they will have in their home for a long time." - Brittany Goetting
LG NanoCell 80 Series 55" Alexa Built-in 4k Smart TV: Find it on Amazon ($646.99)
"This is one of the best TVs on the market in this price range, and it offers support for All Teh Smart Thangs (copyright 2021 Jeff Butts). I’d be able to integrate it with both my HomeKit and Alexa ecosystems and stop using my primary monitor to watch 4K video." - Jeff Butts
Samsung 49" Odyssey Neo G9 Gaming Monitor: Find it on Amazon ($2,299.99)
"Go big or go home, right? I don't necessarily need a 49-inch monitor, but holy mackerel do I ever WANT one. It's not just extremely wide, either—it's also rocking mini LEDs. I've been spoiled by my Samsung Neo QN90A TV, also with mini LEDs, and I don't even care that I'm probably melting my eyeballs with extreme brightness. Totally worth it. Now if I only had the desk space." - Paul Lilly
For The Apple Lover On Your List2021 Apple MacBook Pro: Find it on Amazon (Starting at $2,499)
"The M1 Pro chip has fantastic performance, and I’m an unabashed Mac geek. So, this is a natural for me to add to my menagerie of gear." - Jeff Butts
And just because they're on sale again, for reasonably good deal price, you can't go wrong with Apple AirPods Pro. Now just $179 on a 28% discount...
And just because they're on sale again, for reasonably good deal price, you can't go wrong with Apple AirPods Pro. Now just $179 on a 28% discount...
Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Find Them On Amazon ($179)
Holiday Gifts For Those In Need Of A Home Wi-Fi/Network Upgrade
"If you’ve ever listened to me rant about Gigabit Ethernet on our 2.5 Geeks livestreams, you know I’ve been itching to upgrade my wired network to 10G. The ASUS RT-AX89X would get me a couple of 10G ports, in addition to one of the most powerful, versatile, and advanced Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax consumer routers available. The ASUS RT-AX89X offers 12-streams and up to 6000Mbps of aggregate bandwidth, with 8 high-gain external antennas, 8 LAN ports, support for ASUS’ AiMesh technology, and one of the most powerful processors available in a consumer router. Not only does this router offer leading edge wired or wireless connectivity, but its fast enough (and has enough RAM) to support a ton of connected devices." - Marco Chiappetta
Netgear 5-Port 10G Multi-Gigabit Ehternet Unmanaged Switch: Find it on Amazon ($399.99)
"If Santa is especially good to me this year, pairing the ASUS RT-AX89X with a Netgear 5-Port 10G Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (model XS505M), would rock—the more 10G ports available on my network, the merrier!" - Marco Chiappetta
Asus ZenWiFi AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System: Find it on Amazon ($649.98)
"WiFi-6E is the real deal, especially when it comes to its dedicated backhaul over the 6GHz channel for higher bandwidth, more capacity, and longer reach. ASUS has long been a favorite brand of mine when it comes to routers and the new ZenWiFi Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E kit looks like just what Santa’s Elves ordered, to keep my 2.5 Geeks livestream feed crispy and smooth. I’ll take a three-pack, please, Hermey! And no, you shouldn’t have been a dentist. You’re a fab elf. -" - Dave Altavilla
Gifts For The Gamers In Your LifeEpic Racing Professional Gaming Chair: Find it on Amazon ($199.99)
"I spend hours at my desk in a hand-me-down office chair that’s not the best in the world. Epic Racing’s chair is reputed to be incredibly comfortable and supportive, and would be a welcome addition to my home office." - Jeff Butts
LEP1 Customs LVL32B4 4 Player Upright Arcade Cabinet Kit: Find it on Amazon ($529.99)
"Oh this is easy. I’ve been eyeing an arcade cabinet build for the MiSTer and I just need a display, cabinet, and some nice arcade controls. Probably something like this." - Ben Funk (see the next two items for the rest of Ben's wishlist)
Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT Joystick + Sanwa 8 pcs Push Button Bundle Kit: Find it on Amazon ($42.95)
...Controls for Ben's custom arcade cabinet build...
ViewSonic VX3211-2k-MHD 32" IPS WQHD 1440p Monitor: Find it on Amazon ($339.99)
...and the monitor for Ben's custom arcade cabinet build...
Arcade 1Up Arcade1Up NBA Jam Special Edition Arcade Machine: Find it on Amazon ($449.99)
"Twelve-year-old me would have freaked out if Santa Claus delivered NBA Jam in arcade form. Now that I'm ever-so-slightly older (hush, Dave), I still would freak out. I mean seriously, an arcade cabinet in the home? And what is inarguably one of the greatest video games of all time? Plus I don't have to worry about running out of quarters? That would get an instant 'Boomshakalaka!'" - Paul Lilly
Elden Ring Video Game from Bandai Namco Entertainment: Find it on Amazon ($59.99)
"Alright, it's a bit awkward as a Christmas gift since it got delayed to February, but Elden Ring is poised to be the biggest game launch since Grand Theft Auto V, and if your loved ones like third-person fantasy action games like Dark Souls or Skyrim, they're likely to love Elden Ring." - Zak Kilian
Gifts For Those In Need Of Storage Expansion Or A Fast SSDSamsung SSD T7 Portable External Solid State Drive 1TB: Find it on Amazon ($119.99)
"This should come in handy for when you have to be on the go and need to take large files along with you from you main PC. It can also house your games so that you are never without them as well. For me it would be purposed for both, so that I can be mobile and not have to worry about needing that file back on my desktop PC." - Tim Sweezy
XPG 2TB GAMMIX S70 Blade: Find it on Amazon ($249.99)
"My workstation’s OS drive is due for a PCI Express 4 SSD upgrade, both due to capacity constraints and because there’s more glorious bandwidth to be had these days over an x4 PCIe 4.0 link. ADATA’s XPG division puts up a real nice 2TB PCIe 4 SSD with its Gammix S70 blade. It’s based on a new Innogrit SSD controller and puts out up to 7GB/sec of bandwidth. What a sugarplum." - Dave Altavilla
Peripherals And Home Office Upgrade Gift IdeasKinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard: Find it on Amazon ($199)
"When it comes to ergonomic keyboards, Kinesis wrote the book. The company was late to the mechanical gaming keyboard party, but they came with their A game. The Freestyle Edge is a fully-mechanical split ergonomic keyboard that supports up to 20 inches of separation between the halves and is fully-reprogrammable, even under Linux. The price is high, but your wrists will thank you in a couple decades—and thanks to the durability of mechanical keyswitches, you might still be using the Freestyle Edge, too." - Zak Killian
Drop Shift Mechanical Gaming Keyboard: Find it on Amazon ($270)
"Longtime readers will know that I am an absolute keyboard psycho. I was importing mechanical keyboards from Japan for years, before they were even a thing in the U.S. The Drop SHIFT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is an excellent cross between a full-sized plank and a tenkeyless, which features an 1800 layout, rigid aluminum construction, RGB backlighting and rim lighting, high-quality PBT 'shine-through' double-shot keycaps, a removable USB-C cable, customizable firmware, AND hot-swappable key switches. It’s available pre-configured with my current darlings (Kaihua Box Whites), but because the switches can be swapped out on a whim (without soldering!), trying more exotic switches is super-easy." - Marco Chiappetta
Logitech G903 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse: Find it on Amazon ($89.99)
"Keeping with my input device obsession, a new mouse is also in order. The Logitech G903 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse incorporates a fast and accurate sensor (25,600 DPI maximum), with an ambidextrous design, up to 11 programmable buttons, addressable RGB lighting, and wired or wireless charging. It can also be used wired when charging so you're never away from the action, but that shouldn’t be a choice you’d have to make often considering the excellent 140-180 hours of gaming battery life this thing offers." - Marco Chiappetta
SecretLab Magnus Metal Desk: Find it on SecretLab Website ($499)
"There simply hasn't been enough attention paid to 'gaming' desks, but fortunately, SecretLab has stepped to the plate with the Magnus, a metal desk with a magnetic ecosystem. It's not motorized to use while standing, unfortunately, but who am I kidding, I'd probably end up sitting most of the time anyway. This thing is big on amenities, like primo cable management. That's a huge selling point because my cat and I find ourselves in constant disagreement about whether it's appropriate to chew on wires. And she usually wins the argument." - Paul Lilly
Knodel Desk Mat: Find it on Amazon ($12.74)
"The Knodel Desk Mat may not be the most exciting holiday gift, but it might be the most practical and reliable. A desk mat is an essential for anyone who works from home. A laptop, keyboard, and mouse will all fit easily on the mat. The mat is made from PU leather and is therefore a breeze to clean up, especially for those of us who may be a bit more accident prone. The mat comes in a variety of sizes and colors and it is easy to find a style and size that works for you. We have had our Knodel Desk Mat for a year and it looks as good as the day we received it." - Brittany Goetting
Eaton UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector: Find it on Amazon ($190.33)
"Speaking of those questionable drivers out there, if one of them or a pile of snow and ice happens to knock out the power, you need a way to safely shut down your PC. An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) like Eaton’s 5S1500LCD battery backup can do just that. While it isn’t the cheapest or flashiest item you can buy, it can definitely save you in a pinch if you forgot to save your work and the lights go out. Hopefully, ol' Kris Kringle will drop one of these down my chimney this year, and perhaps yours too!" - Nathan Ord
Gift Ideas For The Streamer In Your LifeElgato Facecam: Find it on Amazon ($169.99)
"This is an item that would make any streamer/YouTuber happy if they are looking to upgrade their current camera. While it may not capture in 4K, it should deliver clear and crisp images at 60fps. It will also integrate well with the Elgato Streamdeck to make quick zooms and changing scenes seamless. An excellent option if, like me, you are not able to invest an easy grand into a mirrorless camera setup." - Tim Sweezy
Elgato Stream Deck: Find it on Amazon ($144.10)
"Whether doing some work, streaming, or playing games, having a few extra hotkeys for whatever you need never hurts. As such, Elgato’s Stream Deck is on my wish list this year, as it can be a great boon to productivity and would come in handy for several purposes. It features 15 fully customizable LCD buttons and comes with the capability of folders so you can, in theory, have infinite buttons in infinite folders. With this, if you happen to find yourself in Photoshop, Escape from Tarkov, or live on Twitch with overlays galore, the Elgato Stream Deck is a solid addition to your workflow." - Nathan Ord
Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit: Find it on Amazon ($89.99)
"As someone who loves photography and also goes live from time to time, this lighting kit is ideal. It is powered by a rechargeable battery pack that will allow you to take it with you on photo shoots or remote live broadcasts. With its included tripod you can place it pretty much anywhere you need extra light and angle it for optimal results. Great tool for a streamer, vlogger or photographer." - Tim Sweezy
Unique Audio And Visual Gift IdeasGarmin Dash Cam 56: Find it on Amazon ($159.99)
"With the snow that is beginning to fall around the country, it seems that every year people forget how to drive. Therefore, I have put the Garmin Dash Cam 56 on my wish list as well. It can protect me from being at fault in accidents and will help to catch dumb drivers on camera in glorious 1440p. It also comes with voice control so when you are done swearing at the person who slid in front of you, you can ask the camera to save a video." - Nathan Ord
Sony WI-XB400 Wireless In-Ear Extra Bass Headset: Find it on Amazon ($28)
"These Sony headphones aren't the fancy 'true wireless' type, but they sound great for most styles of modern music, and the battery life is absolutely insane—over 14 hours of listening time at high volume on a single charge. They use USB-C, too, so all your current charge cables will work. They're currently marked down from $50 to just $28, and make a great gift for almost anyone." - Zak Killian
"I can noodle around on my guitars for fun anytime, and I’m not half-bad at improvising when it comes to blues and rock riffs. However, one thing I always struggle with is learning complete songs from start to finish, especially tunes that go beyond classic 'three chords and the truth' rock genres. I’m thinking the Positive Grid Spark, with its cool Spark Smart app that displays chords in real-time as you play along with the song, would be an easier way to learn more songs faster. We’ll see. I’m a hack really, but maybe Santa Baby will hook a brother up with new tools so my axes aren’t just dust collectors all the time?" - Dave Altavilla
We hope that whether or not you celebrate a particular holiday this season, that you find yourself with many reasons to smile through the rest of this year. Each of you are what makes HotHardware what it is and we thank you for that gift! Here's to a great 2022!