Gift Guide

MobileSyrup’s 2019 holiday gift guide

With the holidays just around, we’ve put together our annual holiday gift guide.

Regardless of who you’re buying gifts for, we have something on this list for everyone. This year’s list include devices ranging from gaming, computers, smartphone accessories and even a tiny music-making device.

  • Elgato HD60S

    Game streaming is now bigger than ever. One of the best ways to dive into this space is with the Elgato HD60S.

    The game capture device offers a reliable USB 3.0 connection to help you get up and running on Twitch or YouTube in 1080p, 60fps. It's also easy to set up and use.

    In fact, the Elgato HD60 S was essential in helping my friends and I take part in our first ever stream to raise money for Toronto's Sick Kids hospital during Extra Life 2019. Whether you want to get into streaming for fun or professionally, or even want to do it for charitable reasons, the Elgato HD60 S is a great option for you.

    Learn More
    $207
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Lenovo ThinkBook 13s

    ThinkBook 13s is a small but mighty business-oriented laptop sports a clean design that's reminiscent of Apple’s MacBook Pro, offers excellent performance and stellar battery life.

    On top of that, it has a reliable keyboard (which is great if you do a lot of typing), one of the fastest fingerprint readers in a laptop and much more.

    While a bigger display would be nice, it’s a small gripe when stacked up against everything else the ThinkBook offers (plus, there is a bigger 14s model that scratches that itch anyway).

    Learn More
    $845
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Acer Spin 13

    The Acer Chromebook Spin is one of Acer’s high-end Chromebooks. It features a practical design and a QHD touch screen that has a super useful 3:2 aspect ratio.

    This screen makes browsing the web a blast since you can see much more vertical space on a page compared to a regular screen.

    It also pacls an Intel i-series processor, and Asus says its battery life lasts for 10 hours. This device is great for Chromebook enthusiasts since it offers an amazing experience, but it costs a hefty $899 in Canada.

    Learn More
    $1000
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Acer Spin 311

    This Chromebook sits on the other end of the spectrum from the regular Spin 13. It’s a much smaller device with an 11-inch touch screen.

    While it doesn’t offer many cutting edge features it does offer phenomenal value since it only costs $349.99.

    It seems like the perfect device for a student who only needs it to write a few papers. Its tiny size also makes it perfectly portable, and its 10-hour battery life means you can take it with you to class all day without charging it.

    Learn More
    $470
    Amazon
  • AirFly Pro

    Twelve South may be known for making cases, but its best product is actually the AirFly Pro.

    This tiny device attaches to devices via a headphone jack and then lets you connect to any Bluetooth headphones. This means things like entertainment systems on planes, the Nintendo Switch and more.

    Learn More
    $71
    Amazon Twelve South
  • Amazon Echo devices

    Amazon’s expansive lineup of smart home speakers likely includes one that suits your needs.

    The base models are the Echo Dot or the Echo Flex. The Dot is a great bedside table companion, and the Flex is perfect for weird spaces like a garage or laundry room.

    The company also has three different Echos with screens that are great for a variety of different scenarios.

    Our other favourite devices are the baseline Echo with its 2019 speaker refresh and the Echo Studio, Amazon’s highest-end Echo speaker on the market.

    Learn More
    $34.99
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Asus Zenfone 6

    The ZenFone 6 is one of the most unique phones to hit the Canadian market this year. Instead of a notch or a hole-punch display, the phone has a full-screen display. The camera also flips up from the back to act as both the rear and selfie shooter.

    Further, the device thankfully runs a moderately skinned version of Android, which is always a bonus with any handset.

    Learn More
    $799
    Amazon
  • Bose Noise Canceling 700

    These top-of-the-line headphones from Bose are nearly perfect when it comes to sound quality. As the name says, they also feature active noise cancelling.

    The headphones include the ability to use Alexa or Google Assistant as long as they're connected to your phone. Battery life also lasts roughly 20-hours.

    Learn More
    $499.99
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Click & Grow Smart Garden 9

    If you love having fresh herbs or tiny vegetables in your house, then this smart garden is for you.

    This is the mid-sized Click & Grow model and in our experience, it's the best size to have a thriving garden indoors.

    Learn More
    $200
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Facebook Portal

    This smart display from Facebook is geared more towards having a convenient way to video chat with your friends and family.

    It still has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built-in, but it’s better to look at this device as a communication tool.

    Beyond this, it’s also a great digital picture frame. Further, if you use Facebook a lot then you can set it to update with your Facebook photos.

    Learn More
    $249
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Fitbit Versa 2

    Fitbit’s latest smartwatch is its best yet.

    It has Alexa built-in, NFC payments, six-day battery life and tons of other fitness-related features. Also, just like the latest Apple Watch, it features an always-on display.

    In terms of a smartwatch that is a great fitness device and a great smart device, it doesn’t get much better than the $249.99 Fitbit Versa 2.

    Learn More
    $249
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Galaxy Note 10

    The Note 10 and Note 10+ are Samsung’s elite phones. These massive devices feature Samsung’s signature S Pen, so they introduce a lot of cool features that can’t be used on other phones, including drawing and easy note-taking when the screen is off.

    The back of the device features a stunning design that captures and reflects light in an awe-inspiring rainbow pattern.

    You can grab the Note 10 outright from Samsung for $1,259 and the Note 10+ for $1,459.

    Learn More
    $1259
    Best Buy Amazon Samsung
  • Gaming contoller

    Everyone could use an extra gaming controller.

    There are a few options in terms of Xbox Controllers. The basic controllers cost roughly $60 in Canada and can often come in cool colours. You can even get a custom-designed controller for people who want to have something with a little spunk.

    While you can’t customize a PS4 controller in the same way, you can still buy them in a few unique colours. These controllers generally cost around $75.

    Learn More
    $69
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Google Home devices

    Google makes the other super prevalent smart home assistants.

    This includes devices like the low-cost Nest Mini, and the more expensive Google Home.

    Google also has two smart displays, including the Nest Hub and the Nest Hub Max.

    Learn More
    $69
    Best Buy Amazon Google
  • Google Pixel 3a

    The Pixel 3a is hands down the best value you can get from a phone this year. It comes in at a base price of $549 and the XL version costs $649. This is a great deal for a phone with a fantastic camera, solid battery life and all of the perks Google has built into the Pixel operating system.

    This means that it can tell you what songs are playing around you, and also doesn’t have any random, pre-installed third-party apps. If you have an older iPhone and you’re looking to switch to Android, this is the perfect device for you.

    Learn More
    $549
    Amazon Google
  • Google Stadia

    This one is for early adopters only. Google Stadia is a super cool platform that lets users stream games via the web instead of owning a costly gaming PC or console.

    So far the device can’t play games in the highest fidelity possible, but in practice, it works well and the cost for entry is relatively low.

    Google only sells the Stadia Premiere Edition that is priced at $169 and includes the company’s first-party controller and a Chromecast Ultra so users can play games on their TV.

    Learn More
    $169
    Amazon Google
  • Jaybird Tarah

    These headphones are Jaybird’s sporty wireless model. They use the popular neck bud form factor, have IPX7 water and sweat proofing and a microphone for making calls.

    They have a six-hour battery life, but you can add an additional hour charge in as short as 10 minutes. There’s even a tiny clip you attach to the device’s cord so that if they fall out of your ears when you’re getting physical, they won’t go far.

    Learn More
    $129
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Kobo Libra H20

    The Kobo Libre is the best Kobo e-reader out there. This $200 device has both a blue and orange backlight, and it’s waterproof.

    This means you can read it at night, in the pool and everywhere in between. It also has a great design that allows it to easily read with one hand.

    Learn More
    $200
    Best Buy Amazon Rakuten
  • Lego Hidden Side

    Lego Hidden side mixes the joy of building Lego with augmented reality and smartphone technology. Children, or adults that are kids at heart, can uncover the ‘Hidden Side’ of Newbury, hunting down one ghost at a time.

    Learn More
    $19
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Linksys Velop

    The gift of good Wi-Fi is worth more than anything. The best way to get consistent coverage around your house is to get a Mesh Wi-Fi system.

    This option from Linksys is very highly rated and has a fairly decent design that we like.

    Learn More
    $399
    Best Buy Amazon
  • MX Keys

    The Logitech MX Keys is an awesome wireless keyboard that even has a backlight.

    The key travel is satisfying and it even has a number pad for people who love using those old keys.

    The keyboard should last 10 days with the backlight turned on and up to five months without the light.

    Learn More
    $129
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Macbook Pro 13-inch

    Apple's MacBooks have always been highly rated and the current lineup of Pro models are no exception.

    We like the size of the 13-inch since it still has four USB-C ports while maintaining a portable form factor. If you're looking for something a little bigger Apple just released a 16-inch version of the computer with a new keyboard as well.

    Learn More
    $1699
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Nintendo Switch Lite

    It’s no secret that the MobileSyrup staff love Nintendo consoles, and this year we’re obsessed with the Switch Lite.

    Since it’s a single piece of hardware, it feels decidedly more premium than the regular Switch. It even costs a bit less than its full-sized sibling -- if only it could connect to a TV. It comes in three colours: Turquoise, Grey and Yellow.

    Learn More
    $259
    Best Buy Amazon
  • OnePlus 7T

    OnePlus’ newest phone is its most affordable offering, but its price tag isn’t necessarily cheap and it’s not a low-cost device either. The OnePlus 7T features impressive build quality and a great camera.

    It also includes a 90Hz display that makes mobile gaming a blast.

    This smartphone is for the person on your list that’s sick of using a device from manufacturers like Apple, Samsung or Google.

    Learn More
    $799
    Amazon OnePlus
  • Oral-B Genius 8000

    Take brushing your teeth to the next level with this high-end electric toothbrush from Oral-B.

    It features six cleaning modes, a connected app experience and a travel case that charges the cleaning tool on the go

    Learn More
    $269
    Amazon
  • Philips Hue Filament bulbs

    These retro-looking smart bulbs from Philips combine an old school aesthetic with the convenient controls of a smart light.

    These lights actually get really bright and feature a calming orange glow. They also come in three shapes so you can mix and match to your heart’s content.

    Learn More
    $29.99
    Best Buy Amazon
  • PhoneSoap/HomeSoap

    These soap devices aim to eradicate all of the germs your daily tech devices pickup throughout their use.

    They work by blasting UV-C light all over the phone to kill all the germs that get stuck in the crevices that cleaning wipes can’t quite reach

    PhoneSoap is purpose-built for phones, while HomeSoap is for larger items like game controllers, tablets and other larger items that get held a ton.

    Learn More
    $105.45
    Amazon
  • Pocket Operator

    If the techie on your list is also into making music, they might get a kick out of a pocket operator.

    These tiny devices are customizable midi-keyboards. You simply record 16 sounds into the device and then you can play them back to make a beat.

    There are a huge variety of these ranging from more rhythm focused devices, to the Rick and Morty labelled unit featured above.

    These cost $49 USD which works out to be roughly $64 CAD.

    Learn More
    $64
    Amazon Teenage Engineering
  • Portable charger

    Portable chargers are always handy, but imagine if you didn’t need wires to use one? Aukey offers a variety of powerbanks, including ones that can charge your device wirelessly. There are plenty of options with USB-A and USB-C ports, and capacities ranging up to 20,000mAh or more.

    While not all Aukey powerbanks are available through the company’s Amazon page, there’s still a solid selection.

    Learn More
    $20
    Amazon
  • Roku Premiere

    This device is the Roku with the most value. It offers high-end 4K HDR streaming for the ultra-low entry point of $50.

    Roku is the perfect device to add to a TV since both its interface and remote are easy to use.

    This set-top box is also incredibly tiny so it can be stuck to the inside of a TV stand or the bottom of a TV.

    Learn More
    $50
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Samsung S10e

    Back in March, Samsung released its flagship phone lineup and the base model was the excellent Galaxy S10e.

    Like the Note series, the S10e features a hole-punch display, but size-wise it’s on the other end of the spectrum with a 5.8-inch screen.

    It’s also got a headphone jack, making it one of the last smartphones with that analog audio port.

    Learn More
    $1019
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Smart Plug

    Beyond voice assistants or smart lights, you can also get a smart plug to add voice-controlled functionality to your smart home.

    This makes it way easier to control things like Christmas trees, fans, or air conditioning units.

    Some, like the model we’re showcasing from Philips, can even be scheduled so they come on and turn off at specific times.

    Learn More
    $35
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Sonos Move

    This high-end speaker is Sonos’ first portable device and it sounds awesome. It works like a regular Sonos Wi-Fi connected speaker in your home and it includes Bluetooth for when you take it on the go.

    It even has a charging base at that you can use at home just like a more powerful Sonos One, along with a built-in microphone array for Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa integration.

    Learn More
    $499
    Best Buy Amazon Sonos
  • Sonos x Ikea Symfonisk

    If you want to help someone start building an in-home multi-room audio setup, then a perfect starting place is the Ikea x Sonos Symfonisk.

    The device starts at the super reasonable price of $149 in Canada. It sounds just as good as Sonos’ highly rated One speaker, which costs around $249.

    Ikea also sells an extra bracket so you can mount to a wall and use it as a tiny shelf.

    Learn More
    $149
    Amazon Ikea
  • Sphero Bolt

    Sphero is a tiny smartphone-controlled ball that helps kids learn how to code.

    You learn to code by teaching the ball to roll around with the help of an app. It uses block-based coding or Javascript.

    It even features a tiny LED dot matrix that allows users to program images and messages on it.

    Learn More
    $199.95
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Tomtoc Switch Case

    If you have a Switch or a Switch Lite, you’re likely going to be taking the device with you on the go. That means you’ll need a case to keep the device protected if it’s jostling around in a backpack.

    Our favourite is this ultra-slim model from Tomtoc. It’s priced at a reasonable $26 on Amazon and even has space for 10 Switch game cards.

    Learn More
    $26
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Velcro cable ties

    Let’s face it -- nerds have wires, and wires look awful when they’re not contained. This is why velcro cable ties are such a great gift.

    You can re-use these as much as you want and they’re cheap and easier to use than zip ties.

    A single roll from Amazon costs $11. They’re also often available at hardware stores across Canada.

    Learn More
    $11
    Amazon
  • Wacom Intuos Pro

    This tablet from Wacom is perfect for people are looking to dip their toes into digital art. It comes in three sizes and is one of the best tablets for transferring your drawings into a digital format.

    It also has a handful of shortcut buttons to help streamline your work so you can switch tools as fast as possible.

    Learn More
    $230
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Wireless charger

    These devices more or less sit on your desk at work or your bedside table at home and allow you to place your phone down on them to charge.

    The chargers come in all shapes and sizes and depending on where you use them will depend on the size. For example, a stand-up version is better for a desk than a laydown stand, which works the best at home.

    Learn More
    $59
    Best Buy Amazon
  • Wiz Smart lights

    These budget smart lights are from the same company behind Philips Hue. They offer a full range of colours and only cost $20.

    The lights also don’t require a hub and can connect to Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth.

    You can control these lights with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. These coloured lights make a smart house a home.

    Learn More
    $20
    Amazon Home Depot
  • Wonderboom 2

    The UE Wonderboom 2 is the perfect Bluetooth speaker. It strikes a fantastic balance between price, sound quality and features.

    It’s waterproof, it floats, has a little over nine hours of battery life and it’s loud. It even features a specific button to help its sound carry when it’s outside.

    Learn More
    $100
    Best Buy Amazon
  • iPad 10.2-inch

    As always, Apple’s base model iPad is the best tablet for just about everyone. This year the tech giant has even made the screen a bit bigger, bumping it up from 9.7-inches to 10.2-inches.

    The device still rings in at $429 for Wi-Fi only model, but if you want to use it as a productivity device you can add the official Apple keyboard case for $219, or the first-generation Apple Pencil for $129.

    Apple is also going to be offering some kind of discount on the device for Black Friday, making it even cheaper than usual

    Learn More
    $429
    Best Buy Amazon Apple
  • iPhone 11

    The iPhone 11 isn’t Apple’s best phone available right now, but it’s the one we recommend. It packs a great camera, solid battery life and comes in a variety of fun colours.

    Beyond this, it features wireless charging and Apple’s A13 Bionic chip. This means it’s just as fast as the iPhone 11 Pro. When we reviewed the iPhone 11, we called it the “iPhone for everyone” and that still holds true today.

    In addition to getting a new phone, you’ll also get a year’s worth of Apple TV+ with the purchase of the phone, making it a solid double gift.

    Learn More
    $979
    Best Buy Amazon Apple
  • iRobot Roomba S9+ and Braava Jet m6

    This pricey gift is for the person in your life who truly has everything. As far as robot vacuums and mops go, iRobot’s offerings remain unparallelled.

    Both the Roomba S9+ and Braava Jet m6 eclean in tandem, with the robot mop starting after the Roomba S9+ has finished vacuuming all the debris in sight thanks to iRobot’s new ‘Imprint Link Technology.’

    The S9+’s Clean Base Automatic Dirt disposal even means that you rarely need to empty the vacuum.

    Learn More
    $1399
    Best Buy Amazon