2017 Curiosity Gift Guide

10 of the Best Tech Gifts for 2017

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Yes, we're still waiting for flying cars and jetpacks. But in the meantime, there are lots of cool gadgets to keep us engaged on terra firma. Whether you want faster food, better Wi-Fi, or just a more chill home environment, our team of editors has selected some gifts worth grabbing.

1. For The Reality Rebel: Google Daydream View

I write about virtual reality a lot, and I've even tried it myself once or twice. But as far as having my own VR rig? I never really thought I'd have the budget. Luckily, technology just keeps getting cheaper and easier to use, which means we now have amazing tech like Google Daydream View ($99). It's a VR headset that works with any Daydream-ready phone (think the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel) to immerse you in a virtual reality world you can navigate with the help of an included handheld controller. And while virtual reality is usually a solo venture, the Daydream View lets you stream what you're seeing to the family TV so everyone else can watch your adventure in action. Don't you love living in the future? – Ashley Hamer

2. For The Internet Addict: Portal Wi-Fi Router

The FastLanes technology used by the Portal Wi-Fi router ($200) is a unique FCC-certified feature that makes it the fastest, most reliable wireless router you'll find anywhere. Most Wi-Fi routers broadcast the internet into one of two wireless channels, which was fine 15 years ago when you only had to share a channel with a neighbor or two. But now that basically everyone has wireless internet at home and at work, there's a lot of interference, which is why Portal operates in a special protected portion of the wireless spectrum originally reserved for weather radar systems. This is a huge swath, about three times wider than the spectrum conventional Wi-Fi uses today, and it's relatively uncrowded by other devices. This means your data will speed right past your neighbor's Wi-Fi data, which is stuck in congested Wi-Fi traffic. I live in urban Chicago with more than 30 wireless networks within range of my apartment, and I have never had a single issue. This is the best router money can buy. — Cody Gough

3. For The Brazen Adventurer: GoPro HERO 6 Action Camera

You've probably already heard of the GoPro, but the new GoPro HERO 6 ($499) is the company's best action camera yet. I first used the HERO 5 and I was bummed at how bouncy the footage was when I clipped the camera to my backpack. The HERO 6 offers superior image stabilization for crystal-clear 4K video without the crazy, nauseating bounce effect. I also like that the HERO 6 is waterproof up to 10 meters (33 feet), so you can take that baby snorkeling without extra housing. It isn't cheap, but considering its compact size, versatility, and the fact that it can even survive being swallowed by lava, I'm convinced I'll get my money's worth in just a few vacations. Now, if GoPro could come up with some kind of wearable attachment that doesn't look like mountain climber lederhosen, that'd be cool. – Ben Bowman

4. For The Minimalist Audiophile: Sengled Solo LED Bulb with Built-In Bluetooth Speakers

I'm a sucker for gimmicks: my favorite time of year is when Lay's rolls out their annual assortment of weird flavors. Basically, I love anything that's combined with another thing. But trust me: this Sengled Solo combination LED lightbulb and Bluetooth speaker ($33) isn't just a mash-up for the sake of mashing-up. I don't have a huge speaker setup. What I do have is a small apartment, a podcast obsession, and a steadily growing hearing problem, so a high-quality speaker that fits in any room that has a light fixture is my dream come true. The Sengled Solo costs about as much as a run-of-the-mill Bluetooth speaker, but you won't have to worry about charging it or finding it if it's been misplaced. Instead, it becomes an at-home sound system that's basically invisible. It syncs with Amazon Alexa, and you can also control it from an Android or iOS device. – Reuben Westmaas

5. For The Maximalist Audiophile: Sonos One

Well, this is awkward — I actually have the exact opposite problem from Reuben's small-apartment speaker situation. My apartment isn't the biggest in the world, but it is long, which means that if I play an album at one end and walk to the other, I can barely hear it. I'm not about to shell out to get multi-room speakers installed, but luckily, I don't have to. Sonos speakers connect to each other wirelessly, so what's playing in the living room can also play in the kitchen. The system is also designed to be endlessly expandable, so you can start with a single speaker — I suggest the Sonos One ($200) — and then add more whenever you want to. Plus, with the Sonos app, your speakers can connect with all the greats: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Alexa, you name it. It's a super easy way to get audio in every room of the house without shelling out a fortune up front. – Ashley Hamer

6. For The Design Maven: Nix Mini Color Sensor

When you need to match a color in a graphics program, it's easy: you just use the eyedropper tool on the color you want, and you magically have that color at your disposal. The Nix Mini ($69) is the real-life version of the eyedropper tool. You just scan it over the color you want, whether that's your couch upholstery, your favorite pair of shoes, an art piece, or the paint on your stylish friend's kitchen walls. The device sends that color information to a companion app on your smartphone that instantly matches it to more than 28,000 brand-name paint shades or to RGB, HEX, CMYK and LAB colors. Paint a room to match a favorite poster, or keep your couch color on hand when you're shopping for throw pillows. The possibilities are endless. (Save an additional 20% with the code BFRIDAY20!) – Ashley Hamer

7. For The High Flier: TRNDLabs Spectre Drone

No tech gift guide would be complete without a drone to sweeten the deal. The TRNDLabs Spectre Drone ($99) has all the bells and whistles you'd want: four high-speed propellers and a six-axis gyroscope that makes it capable of 360-degree flips, a 50-meter (164-foot) range, and best of all, an HD camera. If you're the type who straps on a GoPro for every adventure, drone photography is a must. Once it's time to put your footage together, the aerial views it allows can add some really professional shots to your first-person footage. (Save an additional 20% with the code BFRIDAY20!) – Ashley Hamer

8. For The Podcast Launcher: Knox Gear Cardioid USB/XLR Microphone

If you're thinking about starting a podcast, then someone has probably told you to buy a Blue Snowball or Yeti microphone. Don't. It isn't 2010 anymore, and there are new microphones for new times. The Knox Gear Cardioid USB/XLR Microphone ($60) is virtually identical in quality and features to the Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone, but usually runs about $20 cheaper on Amazon. This Knox mic is going to give you the best sound you can get at an entry-level price for your first podcast. Trust me: I know a thing or two about podcasting. – Cody Gough

9. For The Hi-Fi Futurist: RokBlok

At the same time that music is getting easier to stream online and broadcast wirelessly, people are looking back and finding a new love of old formats like vinyl. And while I love the ritual involved in pulling a record out of its dustjacket, placing it on the turntable, and carefully lowering the needle, let's be honest — it's nowhere near as convenient as hitting "play" on Spotify. That's why the RokBlok ($89) is so cool. It's a little speaker with a built-in cartridge and rubber wheels that actually runs along your record, instead of sitting still while your record spins. That means you can literally sit outside in the grass with a record next to you, and the RokBlok will play the entire album — no turntable required. And if you need more sound than the speaker can provide, no problem. It connects to any Bluetooth-enabled speaker or headset. (Save an additional 20% with the code BFRIDAY20!) – Ashley Hamer

10. For The Time-Strapped Home Chef: Instant Pot

If you're not hip to the phenomenon that is the Instant Pot ($85), allow me to rock your world. It's an electric pressure cooker that can do everything from making rice to braising meat in no time flat. A pressure cooker uses steam to raise its internal pressure, which raises the boiling point to make food cook faster. So while it once took me 45 minutes to cook rice, an hour to bake a potato, and 90 minutes to roast a squash, with the Instant Pot, I've got rice, potatoes, and squash fully cooked in 20 minutes. Everything is faster, and everybody likes faster. – Ashley Hamer

Written by Curiosity Staff November 22, 2017

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