Gadget Gifts for All Ages and Every Budget: The Technobubble 2020-2021 Gadget Gift Guide – Reno Gazette Journal


Looking for gadget gifts for the holidays, birthdays or some other special occasion?

Look no further as we’ve lined up a list of gadget recommendations that you can give a loved one, friend or even yourself. Hey, it’s OK to reward yourself, too. 

This guide includes a variety of gadgets ranging from the affordable doohickeys to higher-priced options if you really want to go all out with your generosity. It’s also quite diverse so there will be something here for everyone, whether it be kids, adults or the tech-savvy.

The Big Game List: Here are the Best Video Games of 2020

Let’s kick things off by going big. Literally. The Viotek SUW49DA is a monitor that’s sure to make any PC gamer squeal in delight thanks to a 49-inch ultrawide display that’s curved to boot. It’s like having two wide monitors side-by-side, except you get it in one display minus that annoying line in the middle. The 32:9 aspect ratio looks impressive on any computer desk while also adding extra immersion when playing video games. Colors and contrast are also excellent, especially once the monitor is properly calibrated. Add a high refresh rate of up to 120Hz plus Freesync compatibility and you’ve got smooth game animations to boot. Pricing is also affordable for a screen of this size, going down to $899.99 when snagged on sale. If you’re looking to make a PC gaming aficionado happy, this’ll do the trick.

Cost: $1,088 MSRP

When it comes to the wishlists of avid home cooks, sous vide machines typically rank high. It’s easy to see why. Immersion cooking allows cooks to easily get the right internal temperature for any type of meat every time sans thermometers before they finish things off on the stovetop or oven. Sous vide machines also remain much more affordable than combi ovens. One of the tried-and-true home options available for sous vide comes from Anova. Slotted between its Nano and Pro versions, the recently redesigned Anova Precision Cooker is capable of heating a large amount of water for days, allowing users to cook anything from fish filets and chicken breasts to a whole, honking piece of brisket or pork shoulder. In addition to wireless operation via an app, one of the neat things about this sous vide cooker is the ability to manually input your settings via the device itself, which is great to have during times when users don’t want to fiddle with their phone or tablet. Once you use it, you’ll likely develop a sous vide habit.

Cost: $199 MSRP, can go down to $139 when on sale

Looking for a gadget gift that isn’t hard on the old wallet? Amazon’s Echo Dot is a solid smart speaker that allows for the use of voice control via AI virtual assistant Alexa for added convenience. The voice interface isn’t limited to going through someone’s music list either. The Echo Dot’s interface can also be used with compatible smart home devices, allowing folks to set the temperature in their house, turn the lights on or off, and even lock their doors. Sound quality, while not as powerful as larger speakers, is also solid for a speaker of its size. We’ve also seen this go down to $29.99 during holiday sales, making it an affordable stocking stuffer.

Cost: $49.99 MSRP

Can’t decide whether to gift a laptop or a tablet? A 2-in-1 convertible laptop lets users have their cake and eat it, too, thanks to a full PC operating system and keyboard as well as a touchscreen and included stylus. One good option is the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14-inch 2-in-1 laptop. The successor to the Yoga C940 boasts a sleek design, solid build quality and battery life that goes the distance at around 15 hours. Performance is also zippy, allowing users to edit photos and video, and do some gaming on it as well. It even comes with a rotating speaker bar with Dolby’s Atmos surround sound technology for music aficionados. All in all, it sports a nice feature set in a sleek package.

Cost: Starts at $1,099

This line of toys throws in the proverbial kitchen sink with its design. Part vehicle —  or animal — and part Lego-style construction toy, Laser Pegs combines several things that children like while adding colorful lighting to boot. Options are also plentiful, ranging from cars and trucks to aircraft and even dinosaurs. It’s a great way to satisfy children’s yearning to play while also tickling their creativity and giving them an early start in the world of STEM learning.

Cost: Starts at $7.99

Managing photos and videos across various devices and online services can be a bit of a pain at times. This smart drive doubles as a portable storage device as well as a home media hub that makes grabbing and sharing images and videos from someone’s smartphone, tablet, computer or online photo services of social media accounts a lot easier. In addition to uploading media from personal devices, the Ibi smart drive also works with a slew of options such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos, Google Drive and iCloud. Users can even set up trusted users for easy sharing of photos and videos. Add a capacity of 1 TB and it has plenty of storage space, especially for images. Pricing can also go as low as $89.99 when on sale.

Cost: $129.99

Whether gaming on older-generation consoles, PC or the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, headsets are always great to have. Astro features a solid line of gaming headsets and the A20 serves as a great wireless option that’s a step up from the wired A10 but not as pricey as its high-end A50. The A20 boasts excellent sound, nice fit and a solid build that lasts. Just note that while all A20 headsets are PC compatible, you’ll need to make sure you pick the proper one for either PlayStation or Xbox as they are not compatible with each other. Also note that there’s a second-generation version.

Cost: $119.99 to $129.99

You don’t realize how important a good can opener is until your trusted one kicks the bucket after many years of service and you end up cycling through one bad product after another. The Kitchen Mama combines the best of both words with the convenience of an electric can opener but a smaller footprint that’s just a bit larger than a manual hand-cranked option. More importantly it works, which is all anyone really wants from a can opener. Just set it on top of a can, watch it do a quick spin-a-roonie and, voila, the can is opened — and without those dangerous sharp edges to boot. It’s also pretty cheap, though it might be a good idea to invest in four rechargeable AA batteries so you don’t have to worry about scrounging for replacements.

Cost: $28.99

A trusty mouse is essential for any PC gamer and this is one of the best that one can get. The Razer Naga Pro features a flexible modular design that allows users to swap various pieces to conform to whatever game its user is playing. Need a setup for playing an MMO? Swap in a side plate with a bazillion inputs for a 12-button setup. Need something simpler for Call of Duty? Then swap in a simpler side plate with fewer buttons. There’s even a happy middle with six buttons for MOBA players. Tracking is excellent and its 20,000 DPI rating means it can work on ultrawide displays such as the aforementioned Viotek monitor at the beginning of the list. Build quality is also very good.

Cost: $149.99

Well, here’s something out of left field. We can discuss the need for a kitchen gadget that does one singular, highly specific task. But if for folks who have an unquenchable love for churros, then such a need is, honestly, not debatable. The San Diablo Churro Maker comes with a canister for loading your dough as well as nine nozzles for making your churros of preference. One of those let’s you make hollow churros, allowing users to fill it with dulce de leche, custard or whatever heavenly filling floats someone’s naughty churro fantasies. It makes that San Diablo name actually quite fitting.

Cost: $23.99

Here’s another line of build-your-own toys for the young and young-at-heart. As its name implies, this line features several spaceships that kids can snap together. Users can start off by taking their pick from two different factions that boast specific designs. More creative types, however, can come up with their own custom designs by fusing parts from different ships. It’s great for entertaining young ‘uns while encouraging creativity at the same time.

Cost: $11.99 to $44.99

This gadget is typically aimed at kids but don’t be surprised if adults join in the fun as well. The Singstation mic comes with its own built-in speaker as well as several special effects for little crooners such as echoing and lighting. It also comes with wireless functionality and works with karaoke apps. Just charge up the device for up to four hours of singing in one go.

Cost: $48

With many folks glued to their smartphones these days, a portable power bank always makes for a useful gift. This portable battery comes with universal quick-charge compatibility with a bunch of smartphone brands as well as a whopping 20,000 mAh capacity. That’s enough to charge an iPhone XS five times and even fully charge an iPad Pro with plenty left to spare. It’s great for heavy phone users or folks with kids that love to watch the Baby Monkey Banana video on YouTube in a never-ending loop all day long.

Cost: $49.99

Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews the latest video games. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this content? Support local journalism with an RGJ digital subscription.