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Tech Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Tech Gifts

It’s gift giving season, and gadgets may be at the top of your list. We have selected some seasonal tech gifts that are perfect for everyone.

Adding to the stress of a hectic holiday season: trying to pick the right gifts for loved ones.

After all, no one wants to gift a dud.

This is especially true if you’re spending a little more on tech toys for family and friends.

The following are eight great gadget-y recommendations, to suit varying tastes and budgets (from $49 to $649).

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Hands-free assistant

Amazon’s new Echo Show 5 ($119.99; amazon.ca) is an Alexa-powered smart display that allows for free audio and video calls over Wi-Fi.

You can also watch videos (YouTube, Netflix, etc.), play music and podcasts, set photos to be displayed as a slideshow, ask to see and hear recipes, set alarms and timers, and control compatible smart devices like lights and thermostats.

Along with the new all-white design, this device’s fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester yarn.

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Sound advice

Available in multiple colours, JBL Vibe Beam Buds($49; jbl.com) are a pair of in-ear headphones that can wirelessly pair with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, laptop or smart TV.

Despite its small size, these buds deliver a comfortable fit (even while exercising), long battery life (eight hours in the earbuds and an extra 24 hours in the charging case), and most importantly, high-quality and well-balanced audio out of its 8mm drivers. The IP54-certified earbuds are water- and dust-resistant.

JBL Vibe Beam includes built-in microphones, should a call come in.

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Power play

Ideal for traveling, at the office or when at home, this Anker 3-in-1 Charger Stand ($149; anker.com) is a 2.5-inch cube with a top portion that flips open up to 60 degrees to magnetically hold and present your MagSafe-supported iPhone, vertically or horizontally.

A retractable sidearm holds your Apple Watch, while AirPods or AirPods Pro can be placed on top, behind the phone, also for a quick juice-up.

A wireless Qi-compatible Android can also be laid on top, if desired.

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Virtually flawless

One of the hottest gadgets of 2023, Meta Quest 3 (from $649; meta.com) is Meta’s latest and easily most impressive mixed reality device, with applications that range from immersive gaming and fitness to meditation and mindfulness sessions, chat rooms and virtual travel.

Along with a smaller headset than its predecessor, Meta Quest 3 ups the resolution to 4K for each eye, resulting in much crisper graphics, and now supporting colour passthrough capabilities, so you can now see and interact with digital info superimposed on top of the world around you. 

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Tackle tension

And now, something for parents who want an affordable way to relax over a staycation.

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a percussive massage device when you can pick up the HoMedics Rebound (from $49; homedics.ca).

This portable percussion massager is ideal for soothing stiff or sore muscles, or simply as a means to unwind while watching TV, with its one-handed use and variable intensities (from 1,800 to 3,200 RPM).

HoMedics Rebound delivers up to 180 minutes of runtime and includes a USB-C charging cable.

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Style meets security

Give your teens the gift of protection with TELUS SmartWear Security (from $12/month; telus.com/smartwear), a line of discreet personal safety devices, disguised as chic necklaces, bracelets and keychains.

In an emergency, double-click the back of the charm to instantly notify the TELUS monitoring station you need help, plus your GPS whereabouts can also be shared to up to five personal contacts.

In 911 mode, the monitoring station will call or text you, and if you don’t respond, emergency services will be sent to your location.

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Watch this

At first glance, the Apple Watch Series 9 (from $549; apple.ca) looks and feels the same as previous models. 

But aside from higher brightness and a new colour (pink aluminum), the coolest feature is a one-handed “double tap” gesture: Quickly tap your forefinger and your thumb together twice and it’ll answer or hang up a call, snap a photo (via a nearby iPhone), start and stop music, cycle through widgets, and more.

As you likely know, Apple Watch can gauge your heart health, track sleep and fitness, show notifications, play games and allow you pay for items at retail. 

Apple Watch Series 9 runs watchOS 10, which offers new watch faces, redesigned apps, a Smart Stack (turn the Digital Crown to see timely and contextually relevant widgets), and some extra physical and mental health features.

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Pamper your pet

Keep an eye on your furry friend while you’re not at home, and even dispense treats on demand. That’s the premise behind the Petcube Bites 2 Wi-Fi Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser ($159; amazon.ca).

Simply connect the HD camera to your Wi-Fi network and install the free app on your smartphone or tablet.

Now, wherever life takes you, launch the app, talk to your pet, snap a pic or shoot video (1080p HD resolution, and with 4x zoom), and swipe your phone to send a small, dry treat from the launcher.

Other features include 160-degree wide angle view, night vision, 2-way audio, sound and motion alerts, and even a built-in Alexa assistant that play music, answer questions, read you the news, controls your smart home and more.

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