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Top Trending Tech Gifts For the Holidays

Gone are the days of convoluted, complicated gadgets and gizmos and wires, oh my! The technological world is becoming more user-friendly by the day, and so advanced that if you can fathom it, it is bound to exist. Consumer sales in tech products are slated to be up 3%, consistent with 2015, signaling another strong year for tech companies that can stay on the bleeding edge. Options are skyrocketing as startups, such as Jet, and giants such as Google, are racing to release the next groundbreaking technology. This year marks another record-breaking year, as Chromebooks are outselling Macs for the first time ever, and Apple is slated to sell over 14 million smartwatches. However, with so many new releases, year over year, from robot lawnmowers to the latest and greatest laptop, it can be a challenge to find a suitable tech gift. After weighing the “wow” factor of what local retailers anticipate as some of their highest-selling items, alongside the critical factors of reliability and usability, the following products clearly stepped forward as this season’s grand slam tech gifts.

Amazon Echo

The Internet of Things, a home regulated by the sound of your voice, is no longer a sci-fi fantasy. More and more companies are creating technologies that allow you to control appliances, security systems, stereos, and lights in your home from a single source. Amazon’s Echo, however, is not just a Bluetooth speaker or a Siri copycat. The Echo integrates with several companies so you can seamlessly request virtually any song, control your thermostat, download and listen to audiobooks, check the weather, get new recipes, and the list goes on. With updates rolling out every two weeks, this “virtual assistant” is a runaway winner for anyone on your list.

GoPro Hero 5 Black

Adrenaline-junkies and family-forward folks alike will appreciate the impact of a light, sleek, and easy-to-use video device. GoPro cameras are an absolute necessity in the outdoor crowd, and the new Hero5 Black is a massive improvement over their current offerings. This powerhouse shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second, or 1080p video at 120 frames per second, just like its predecessors. However, it now boasts a waterproof rating without a case, a touch display, simplified controls, GPS tracking, image stabilization, three microphones that automatically adjust to hone in on the best sound, and best of all: voice control. It can understand commands to start, stop, and switch modes (from video to still shot to time-lapse) in seven different languages, meaning you can capture those precious moments in their entirety, instead of missing out while fussing with buttons. A variety of mounting systems allow you to film from behind your handlebars, in your car, or from above with the new GoPro Karma drone.

Apple Watch Series 2

Wearable technology has struggled to gain traction until recently, but the game has changed with the release of the Apple Watch Series 2. Functionally speaking, it has garnered praise for improved speed, water resistance, and the addition of GPS. It picks up on several biorhythms, most commonly used for fitness or activity tracking, but also effective in providing insights into your general health, from reminding you to stand up occasionally to warning signs of heart attack. Aesthetically speaking, it now includes a variety of customizable faces and a brighter screen. Designer options include a sleek, sophisticated Hermès edition, complete with your choice of gorgeous leather watchband, or a sporty Nike edition with a lightweight, breathable band.

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 

In case you hadn’t heard, the headphone jack is on its way out. After its removal from the most recent iPhone 7, wireless audio technology has become more of a requirement than a nice-to-have. Luckily, Bose has been at the top of their trade for ages, so the QC35’s are purely a sophistication of their existing models. Although accommodating wireless capability means they are a tad bit bulkier than their wired brethren, they are comfortable and packed with functionality, including Bose’s signature noise cancellation, the ability to make and receive calls, a range of up to 33 feet from your Bluetooth-enabled device, and dynamic transition between devices.

Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Smart technology somehow just got even smarter. With one lightweight remote that fits easily inside one hand, you can control anything from your lights to your fireplace. It doesn’t require long setup times; in fact, it triangulates its position based on what you pair it to, and senses which gadgets you’re near. You can pair the remote to any object, and the devices you want to interact with don’t need to be directly in front of you, either. Imagine controlling your upstairs thermostat by pointing at the stairs, or turning off the sprinkler system by pointing at your faucet! Though it does only interface with “smart” products such as Nest, SmartHome, and Sonos, this technology is quickly becoming the norm, and more and more manufacturers are finding ways to upgrade “dumb” products.