Stumped as to what to buy for the tech head in your life this Christmas? Here's what our tech experts suggest you put in their stockings.
Sonos Ikea Symfonisk wireless speaker and lamp
- Price: $269
- Pros: Would be a great fit in a bedroom, living room or even TV room. If you have other Sonos speakers throughout the home then the Symfonisk is a great value option.
- Cons: Its lack of mic support for voice assistance, Bluetooth and LED display may leave you wanting more.
What do you get when you combine an Ikea table lamp with a Sonos wireless speaker? The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk wireless speaker and lamp, of course.
Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones
- Price: $399
- Pros: Bluetooth connectivity is consistent, noise cancellation does a very good job considering the headphones' size, and six-hour battery life (with an additional 18 hours in the case, which acts as a charger) is sufficient for a day out.
- Cons: While they're comfortable to wear, the lack of sweat resistance means they can be prone to damage during exercise.
"They're pricey, but you get what you pay for. These are some of the best earbuds I've ever used," says CHOICE audio expert Peter Zaluzny.
Even though we haven't put these earbuds through our usual panel of tests, Sony's WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones performed well in our noise-cancelling headphones review, even outperforming Apple Airpods, so there's a fair chance the earbud equivalents will perform well, too.
- Price: $470
- Pros: Portable device and traditional games console in one. Can deliver almost the same experience whether you're at home or out and about.
- Cons: It doesn't match the technical scope of the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, but that's not the point.
Nintendo has also released a cheaper model, the Switch Lite, that we haven't yet tested, but it could be an option if your budget doesn't quite stretch to the regular Switch.
LIFX A19/A60 smart bulb
- Price: $90
- Pros: Easy to set up and use; don't need to buy a bridge to get started.
- Cons: Lights won't work in the event of an internet outage if you're not already logged into the app.
"Smart lights are a hot tech item for the home, and an easy to install 'smart' device," says Peter. "LIFX products regularly go on sale during periods like Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc."
The LIFX A19/A60 bulb performed well in our test, and you don't need to buy a bridge or additional networking gear for it other than your home wireless network so it's a cheaper way to get started. Mini LIFX bulbs are also available for $35 to $45 RRP.
LIFX's Black Friday deals include starter bundles and bedroom bundles at significantly reduced prices. "The downlight deals in particular offer a way to update those old energy-hungry halogens," says CHOICE digital home expert Denis Gallagher.
Read our review of smart lights.