As winter approaches, it’s once again time again for us to help MobileSyrup’s readers find the perfect gifts for their loved ones and friends.
We’ve compiled a list of our top gift picks for this holiday season, ranging from eReaders to smartphone controlled Star Wars toys.
Transform a standard paper plane into a motorized flyer capable of airshow tricks with the Powerup 3.0. Ideal for inquisitive young minds, the Powerup 3.0 is a lightweight device that adds a motor and small processing module to a standard paper plane.
It connects to a smartphone app, allowing the user to pilot their plane remotely. As with paper planes of the past, a good portion of the fun is building the plane, but unlike older generations of paper aircraft, flying it is just as entertaining. Pro tip for Canadian buyers: invest in the waterproof plane templates for the ability to fly in the snow.
$60 – $65
Kobo Aura One
Want to get the reader in your life something that isn’t a book for once? A shiny new e-reader perhaps? Rakuten Kobo’s flagship device is a solid bet. With IPX8 waterproofing and the company’s thinnest form factor yet -- 6.9mm -- the Kobo Aura One is an excellent option for travellers who need something slim and durable.
Additionally, the 7.8-inch display allows for fewer pesky page turns and a reading experience that’s closer to a traditional book. What’s more, it’s significantly less expensive compared to Kindle’s new $390 Oasis, Amazon’s first water-resistant Kindle, which features a slightly smaller 7-inch display.
Eero Home Wifi System
Get the whole family the gift of better Wi-Fi this holiday season. How many times have you and your partner/roommate/kid commiserated about the miserable quality of Wi-Fi in a certain part of your home? Mesh Wi-Fi networks are the way of the future. Eero launched its highly-anticipated mesh networking system in Canada this August, offering a three-piece set with tri-band technology for $549 CAD.
Like all mesh networks, Eero users set up the main device and its two ‘Beacons' in different areas of their home, creating more stable network coverage.
$550 – $590
Samsung Gear IconX
What makes Samsung’s latest Gear IconX so interesting isn’t the fact that the earbuds offer genuinely great wireless audio for a surprisingly affordable cost. It’s that you don’t fully need a Samsung smartphone to use them. In fact, you don’t even need a Bluetooth Android device.
The latest Samsung Gear IconX headphones can also function as a standalone audio player. With 4GB of built-in storage, you can load up your favourite albums, audiobooks, and podcasts onto the Gear IconX headphones and listen to them without being connected to a smartphone at all.
Logitech G213 Prodigy Gaming Keyboard
Logitech might not be the first name that comes to mind when someone thinks of gaming gear, but the Swiss company’s catalogue of gaming keyboards and mice has been expanding for quite a few years now. Case in point, the G403 Prodigy gaming mouse and the G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard are two of the best keyboard-and-mouse combinations available to gamers today.
Of course, if gaming isn’t your cup of tea, this keyboard-and-mouse combo is also fantastic for hammering out essays, stories, reports and just about everything in between.
Sphero Star Wars R2-D2
Sphero has released a number of cool toys over the last few years, many of them is Star Wars themed. The company's Star Wars R2-D2 smartphone-controlled toy, however, is the manufacturer's best smartphone controlled toy yet.
The perfect gift for any Star Wars fan, Sphero's connected R2-D2 mimics the mannerisms and movement of the franchise's iconic droid, complete with all the beeps/boops and vibrant LED lights. The toys' app also features a variety of activities, ensuring its novelty dissapear.
Click and Grow Smart Garden 3
Do you have someone with a green thumb in your life that gets sad every winter when they have to stop growing fruits and vegetables? Maybe your loved one lives in a small apartment and can't have a traditional garden.
Click and Grow's Smart Garden 3 automatically ensures your plants have enough water, light and nutrients at all times. More importantly, the tiny set-up can fit on a surface as small as a kitchen counter. The company's soil pods are designed to ensure plants essentially take care of themselves: all you need to remember is to water your plant friends. The smart garden also features an app full of helpful gardening tips and plant growth tracking.
Turtle Beach Stealth 700/600 (Xbox One and PS4)
While not the highest-end gaming headphones on the market, Turtle Beach's Stealth 600 and 700 headset is one of the more reasonably priced options out there. The headset delivers simulated surround sound through Microsoft's Windows Sonic protocol and also features noise cancellation that Turtle Beach has branded as 'Super Human Hearing.'
On the Xbox One front though, this is the first headset to hit the market that offers truly wireless audio; you don't need to connect the Stealth 600 or 700 to the console's controller. Turtle Beach's Stealth 700 and 600 headset is also available for the PlayStation 4 and can be connected to any Bluetooth device.
$179 – 199
Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL
Despite its uninspiring name and unassuming aesthetic, the Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL is one of the best power banks we’ve used here at MobileSyrup.
Between it large 19,500mAh capacity battery and support for USB-PD, the XXL can charge multiple devices at breakneck speed. It’s especially great for long flights as it will keep multiple devices topped up (like the notoriously battery hungry Nintendo Switch for example), ensuring that they’re ready to go when you land at your destination.
While most photographs tend to look great on a smartphone screen, the best way to enjoy a truly great snapshot is to get it printed. So this holiday season why not print a favourite photo to share with someone? Not only will it look beautiful on one of their wall, they’ll also have a daily reminder of a fond memory.
Enter CanvasPop, an Ottawa.-based company that makes, among other things, canvas prints. Each print is made from a poly-cotton blend that give photos an almost painterly look.
Xbox Design Lab controller
Gaming can be a real feel-good experience, but don't you want to look good while playing as well? With Microsoft's excellent Xbox Design Lab service, you can create your own custom Xbox One controller from a wide selection of customization tools.
Among other options, you can choose from over 20 different colours for bumpers, triggers, thumbsticks and more, as well as a few different styles for the 'ABXY' and 'View & Menu' buttons. Certain other additions cost a small extra fee to add on, such as $3.99 for a metallic D-pad or $6.99 for rubberized grips.
The Design Lab site also gives you the ability to view controllers in both 2D and 3D, allowing you to completely rotate a render of what your creation will look like when completed. Alternatively, there are also pre-set designs inspired by popular video games, such as a brown and blue 'Shadow Hammer' controller from Middle-earth: Shadow of War and a red and black 'The Galaxy' controller based off the Imperials from Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Samsung Gear VR (with controller)
Wth virtual reality continuing to grow, the Samsung Gear VR is perhaps the best way to experience the burgeoning technology categroy. Thanks to its compatibility with a wide range of flagship Samsung phones (the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Galaxy S8/S8+ and Galaxy Note 8) and relatively low cost of entry, the Gear VR is the most consumer-accessible way to get in VR.
Once you snap the phone into the headset and complete the simple setup process, you're ready to jump in -- no long, tangled cables or several hundred dollar console or PC required. With full 360-degree camera support, you'll be able to experience cinematic imagery, play enhanced games, watch videos and livestream content through Social VR.
The included controller adds even more immersion, letting you interact with the virtual world by pressing the trigger or tilting, shaking, or swinging the controller.
New Nintendo 2DS Poké Ball Edition
The latest iteration of the Nintendo 2DS -- which goes by the same name as the previous handheld console -- would make a great holiday present this year for the gamer in your life.
The New 2DS features the same design as the 3DS and is capable of playing all of the same games since it comes equipped with identical hardware specs when compared to the New 3DS. This means newer games won't lag while playing and will run at the same quality as the New 3DS. The new 2DS is lightweight and with most 3DS/2DS games not utilizing the 3D function anymore, it only makes sense to get the more affordable option.
$199.99 – $209.99
Uber -- Gift Card
Sometimes the best gifts are just an app away. Uber, the ride sharing service, has added the option to give and receive gifts through its app. To send the gift of transportation, tap your Uber app, open the menu from the top right corner, and then tap ‘Send a Gift.’ From there you have the option of the amount of money, with the smallest amount possible being $5, while the most expensive is $500.
Then you pick the receiver by typing the name, phone number or e-mail. There's even an option to write a special message along with your gift. For the frequent Uber user in your life, something as simple as a gift card for the ride sharing service could be the ultimate present.