Tech the halls

Whether they are for loved ones or for the home, The Straits Times' Gadget Gift Guide has them all

For him

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

From $998

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Is he a voracious consumer of digital media? If so, the perfect gift is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Android slate.

Its excellent 10.5-inch Oled screen can show high-dynamic-range videos from Netflix. The vibrant display is ideal for Android games with a colourful palette. Its sizeable battery also means he can use the tablet without having to charge it often.

Add the optional keyboard accessory ($228) and the S4 is a workable alternative to a laptop with its custom desktop interface.

Bose Sleepbuds


Bose Sleepbuds. PHOTO: BOSE

The Bose Sleepbuds feature 10 specially produced sleep tracks with ambient noise like swelling waves or falling rain. At a feathery 1.4g each, these earbuds are so small, the wearer may not notice them after a while.

Three silicone ear-tip sizes are included so the wearer can pick the most comfortable fit. When fully charged, the earbuds can last about 16 hours or around two nights' worth of use.

Dell UltraSharp 27 USB-C monitor


Is he tired from squinting at a small screen at work? A good monitor, like Dell's UltraSharp 27 USB-C monitor (U2719DC), can alleviate this. Pivot, swivel or tilt the versatile 27-inch monitor to the optimal height and angle for comfortable viewing. It has a flicker-free screen that reduces blue light emissions and improves eye comfort.

The included USB-C cable will reduce desktop clutter. This single cable is sufficient to transmit data, power, audio and video from a connected device.

Seagate Fast SSD

From $139 for 250GB

With the speedy Seagate Fast SSD, he has no excuse to put off backing up his valuable documents.

This palm-sized solid-state drive (SSD) is sleek and portable enough to fit in trouser pockets. And because it is an SSD, it is also rugged and shock-resistant.

It comes with two types of cables to connect to computers, either via the USB Type-A or USB Type-C port. Its rated speeds are typical of an SSD, which are much faster than a portable hard drive.

HP Sprocket New Edition


Liven up social gatherings with a photo printer like the HP Sprocket, which instantly prints card-sized photos from a mobile device. It is as portable as the previous version, but the latest New Edition model also lets multiple users connect to the printer at the same time. A different LED light flashes for each mobile device to let you know if it is your photo being printed.

HP says photos printed by the New Edition are sharper, with richer colours than the ones by the previous model.

For her

Dyson Supersonic 23.75-karat gold


Looking for a gift with a touch of glamour? Get the limited-edition Dyson Supersonic 23.75-karat gold hair dryer. It has a gold cap alongside a deep-blue chassis. According to Dyson, 23.75-karat gold leaves from Florence, Italy, are carefully applied by hand and brushed to achieve a smooth and even finish.

Apart from its golden finish, it is the same Dyson Supersonic hair dryer with a V9 digital motor that spins up to 110,000 revolutions a minute and is able to blow out 13 litres of air a second.

Google Pixel 3

From $1,249

The Google Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Oled screen that makes it easy to use for those with smaller hands.

Running the latest stock Android 9.0 Oreo for better performance, the phone also does not have the bloatware and custom skins found in some other Android smartphones.

Plus, its 12.2-megapixel rear camera uses Google's Pixel Visual Core chip for better images, while its dual front-facing cameras allow for ultra-wide selfies.

The Pixel 3 is available in white, black and pink.

Apple MacBook Air 2018

From $1,789

Apple's new MacBook Air laptop weighs just 1.25kg. Measuring 1.56cm at its thickest, the new Air has 17 per cent less volume and is 10 per cent thinner than its predecessors.

It is also the first MacBook Air to feature a high-resolution retina display - up to a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. It comes with Touch ID fingerprint sensor for added security. Available in gold, silver and space-grey finishes.

Fujifilm Instax SQ20


The Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hybrid instant camera can capture and store photos with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,920 pixels. But like an instant camera, the SQ20 can print photos on the spot and deliver 3.4-inch x 2.8-inch prints in 12 seconds.

In addition, it comes with the Frame Grab feature that lets you shoot a video of up to 15 seconds and select the best frame to print.

You can also edit the photos with a variety of filters, like the skin-brightening filter, before printing them.

Fossil Q Neely


If she still prefers an analogue timepiece, get her the Fossil Q Neely.

This hybrid smartwatch has an analogue watch face with hour and minute hands. When paired with her smartphone, she can be alerted to incoming calls or messages via vibrations on the watch.

The Q Neely is compatible with Android and iOS devices, so it does not matter what smartphone she uses. Furthermore, it comes with built-in activity tracking, so she can track her steps taken and calories burnt.

For fitness buffs and adventurers

Fitbit Charge 3


The Charge 3 is the most advanced fitness tracker ever, according to Fitbit. It comes with all-day heart-rate monitoring and shows the wearer's real-time heart-rate zones during workouts. Its heart-rate sensor is able to provide SpO2, or oxygen saturation, readings.

It tracks swims and is water-resistant to a depth of 50m. It also automatically recognises workouts such as elliptical training and outdoor cycling.

UniStrong UT10


The UniStrong UT smartphone could be the perfect gift to get for someone who likes to go on long hikes.

This Android 8.0 and dual-SIM phone has been tested to withstand drops from a height of 1.5m and can function in conditions of up to 60 deg C.

It has a 6-inch full high-definition display, 32GB of internal storage and an 8,000mAh battery to provide the battery life needed to last long treks.

Garmin Instinct


The new Garmin Instinct is a rugged GPS running watch with built-in heart-rate monitor, three-axis compass and barometric altimeter. Built to endure the elements, the Instinct can withstand temperatures from minus 20 to 60 deg C and being dropped from up to a height of 122cm.

It is also water-resistant to a depth of 100m.

Jabra Elite Sport


The Jabra Elite Sport is for those who love to listen to music during workouts. These are wireless earbuds, so you do not have to worry about cable entanglements.

They also come with an in-ear heart-rate monitor, which not only measures your heart rate during workouts, but also VO2 max - a measure of the cardiovascular system.

The Elite Sport can last 4½hours on a full charge -with its portable charging case providing an extra nine hours.

GoPro Hero7 Black


Going on a snorkelling holiday? Pack a GoPro Hero7 Black action camera. It comes with a new video-stabilisation feature called HyperSmooth. This allows you to capture professional-looking stabilised videos, which otherwise would require the use of a motorised gimbal.

The Hero7 Black works both underwater - to a depth of 10m - and in windy situations.

For kids

LittleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit

US$69.99 (S$96), excluding shipping, from Amazon

Give your child a crash course in electronics while encouraging his or her creativity with the littleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit. It comes with all the necessary parts, including a keyboard, oscillator, microsequencer and speaker, to build an electric guitar or air drums. A companion app (for Android and iOS) helps guide users through the construction of instruments.

JBL JRPOP Bluetooth speakers


Let your child groove to music on the go with JBL's first kid-friendly Bluetooth speaker. Colourful and compact, the JRPOP has eye-catching lighting effects that pulsate to the rhythm of the music. It can run for up to five hours before it needs to be charged.

It is made from durable materials to withstand bumps and is rated at IPX7 for water-resistance. A thick fabric strap lets it tether to a backpack.

Lego Technic Whack!


Cultivate your child's building spirit with a Lego Technic Whack! model. This 135-piece Lego race-car model is sufficiently complex, but not too challenging for its intended audience of seven-to 14-year-olds.

It comes with a powerful motor that propels the car forward with a simple pull-back motion. To increase the fun quotient, the car's toy engine is designed to fly out when it hits a wall or other obstacles at high speed.

Nick Jr Play

Free for iOS and Android

Keep your pre-schooler occupied with child-friendly content from Nickelodeon's popular shows like Paw Patrol and Nella the Princess Knight with this app.

In addition to offering full episodes of Nickelodeon shows for streaming, the app also has educational clips such as sing-alongs and simple games.

All app users enjoy free selected content, which will be updated monthly. Singtel subscribers can also pay a $4.90 monthly subscription (with a one-year contract) for premium content via Singtel Cast.

SmartLab Toys Smart Circuits Games & Gadgets Electronics Lab

$44.10 from Amazon Prime Now (SG)

For older kids with an interest in computers and electronics, this set is a good starter building kit. It includes 10 smart modules, from LEDs to a speaker module, all of which are powered by a microprocessor. Configure them in different ways to build toy gadgets like a doorbell, a motion-sensing alarm and electronic games.

The kit also has a 48-page book with 50 suggested builds.

For the home

LG B8S Oled TV

$4,299 for 55-inch

Lose yourself in the deep blacks and vivid colours of an Oled television set.

A good place to start is LG's entry-level B8S 4K Oled TV. It uses the same Oled screen as LG's more premium models, though with a less-powerful processor.

But it still offers true-to-life visuals with support for most high-dynamic-range (HDR) formats in the industry, including the two most widely-used Dolby Vision and HDR10 standards.

Like many new gadgets for the home, the B8S comes with intelligent voice-activated controls via LG's ThinQ artificial intelligence platform.

Speak into its remote control to ask simple queries like the weather forecast or to search for a movie.

Google Chromecast


Refresh an older television set by adding the ability to stream content from the Internet using a mobile device with the Google Chromecast dongle. Just plug this gadget into the HDMI port, download the Google Home app on a smartphone and you will be streaming music and videos from popular services like Netflix and Spotify. Released in October, the latest third-generation version is said to be 15 per cent faster than its predecessor. It also works with Google Assistant on smart speakers or smartphones.

Philips Avance Collection Airfryer XXL


Prepare fried meals for your dinner parties that are healthier than the deep-fried option with an airfryer. Philips' latest super-large airfryer has a 1.4kg capacity - large enough for an entire chicken. Up to 2,225 watts of power is produced, creating hot air to melt away fat, which collects in a non-stick mesh basket that is easy to clean.

A Keep Warm mode ensures your food remains at the optimal temperature, so you can get your cooking done early and have time to entertain the guests.

Netgear Orbi Voice

$799 for Orbi Voice kit, which includes an Orbi router and an Orbi Voice speaker

Marrying a smart speaker with a Wi-Fi mesh router, the Netgear Orbi Voice serves two essential roles in the home. As part of a mesh Wi-Fi network with other Netgear Orbi wireless nodes, the Orbi Voice can help eliminate Wi-Fi blind spots. It is also a smart speaker with Amazon's Alexa built-in voice assistant, so you can ask Alexa the weather, news updates and sports scores. Its Harman Kardon-powered audio is also better than basic smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Dot.

Sonos Beam


Upgrade from the dinky sound of your TV speakers without breaking the bank.

The compact Sonos Beam soundbar makes your movies sound even more exciting and can boost the volume of the dialogue to help you keep track of what is happening onscreen.

It comes with Amazon's Alexa built-in voice assistant, so you can use your voice to switch off your TV set and the Beam, and stream music from supported music services like Spotify.

For shutterbugs

Canon EOS R

$5,098, body with RF 24-105mm f/4 L lens

Boasting a 30.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor and Digic 8 image processor, Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera has 5,655 auto-focusing points (AF) with AF speeds as fast as 0.05 seconds.

The EOS R has a 3.2-inch touchscreen display that allows you to drag the AF point to compose your shot when you are looking through the electronic viewfinder. It also takes 4K videos, so you can record the upcoming family vacation.

Sony a7 III

$3,299, body with 28-70mm kit lens

This might be the entry-level model of Sony's acclaimed a7 full-frame mirrorless camera series, but it is no slouch. It packs a 24.2-megapixel image sensor with Sony's latest Bionz X image processor.

The a7 III is able to shoot up to 10 frames per second with an extended image sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 204,800. Its detail reproduction and area-specific noise reduction technologies allow it to maintain image details and cut down on image noise.

Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport


Looking for an ultra-telephoto lens that does not cost an arm or a leg? Check out the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport lens.

While some fixed ultra-telephoto lenses might go into five figures, this 10x optical zoom lens goes for less than $3,000. Yet, it is more flexible as it covers a wide focal range from 60mm to 600mm, so you can quickly switch from shooting a wide-angle view of Marina Bay to zooming in onotters playing in the water.

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II


If you want to pack light for your upcoming holiday by taking along a compact camera instead of a bulkier DSLR or mirrorless camera, check out the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II.

It builds on the superb prosumer LX100 compact camera anduses the same 20-megapixel Four Thirds image sensor and image processor found in the Panasonic GX9 mirrorless camera.

Yet, it has a compact body that houses a 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 lens. It also features a 3-inch touchscreen display and a 2.76-million-dot electronic viewfinder.

LG PC389 Pocket Photo Snap


Love instant prints and want to retain those memories digitally too? Get the LG PC389 Pocket Photo Snap. This hybrid digital camera and portable printer allows you to take 5-megapixel photos and print them on 2.5-inch x 3.7-inch photo paper immediately. These prints have a transparent coating for protection against humidity and age.

For gamers

Sony PlayStation Classic


Launched here on Monday, the Sony PlayStation Classic takes gamers down memory lane. It is a game console that mirrors the look of the original PlayStation, but is 80 per cent smaller in volume.

It comes preloaded with 20 classic games, including Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3 and Grand Theft Auto. An HDMI cable is included for connecting it to monitors and television sets. Two controllers are included, so you can play with or against a friend.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S (GX531)


Those who like gaming on the go should check out the Asus ROG Zephyrus S (GX531). Measuring only 14.95mm at its thinnest, it is the world's slimmest gaming laptop, according to its maker.

Yet, Asus has managed to squeeze a 15.6-inch display into a chassis that usually houses a 14.2-inch display, by having very thin bezels. The display has a fast refresh rate of 144Hz with a response time of only 3ms to reduce blurring and ghosting during gaming.

It is equipped with the latest Intel Core i7-8750H processor and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-P graphics card.

Logitech G Festive Pack


Logitech has a mouth-watering bundle for this holiday season with its G Festive Pack.

The pack consists of its G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB gaming mouse, G240 Cloth gaming mousepad and G233 Prodigy gaming headset.

The three peripherals cost a total of $277 if bought separately, so you are saving more than $100 to get almost all that you need to play games on the PC.

Razer Blackwidow Elite


This mechanical gaming keyboard will satisfy even the most hardcore gamers. It uses redesigned Razer Mechanical switches that are said to reduce key wobble and increase durability with a lifespan of up to 80 million key presses. A customisable multi-functional click dial for quick adjustment of volume and a row of three multimedia keys beside this dial also make it easy for the user to enjoy music while working.

Aftershock Ultracore gaming desktop

From $3,474

Looking for the ultimate gaming desktop PC without the hassle of assembling it yourself?

Check out the Aftershock Ultracore. Within its minimalist-looking chassis is a base Intel i5-8600K six-core processor, a base system memory of 8GB and a Zotac Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080Ti graphics card with 11GB of video memory.

A built-in, water-cooling system ensures this gaming rig runs fast without heating up.

For bargain hunters

Logitech M238 Marvel Collection


Getting gifts for loved ones who are Marvel comics fans? The Logitech M238 Marvel Collection wireless mouse could be the ideal gift.

It comes in four designs, each featuring a different Marvel character - Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man and Black Panther. It has a range of up to 10m from its USB nano receiver when plugged into a computer, and runs on an AA battery, which will supposedly last it a full year.

Beats urBeats3


Shopping for a pair of affordable, nice-sounding earphones? Check out the Beats urBeats3.

It claims to deliver an exceptional listening experience with its highly precise acoustic design, with natural tonality across all types of music.

It comes in two versions. One has a 3.5mm audio jack and the other a Lightning connector.

Nokia 3310 3G


Take a walk down memory lane with the modernised Nokia 3310 feature phone. It has a design similar to the 3310 model that was immensely popular during the early 2000s.

But it now comes with 3G connectivity and an updated user interface, along with a matt finish and a new silver keypad for a fresh look. Its 2.4-inch curved screen has a polarised layer for better readability under bright sunlight.

The phone also has a stand-by battery life of nearly a month. Not to mention, you can play the legendary Snake game on it.

Belkin Power Pocket 10K


Power banks make great budget gifts for most occasions these days. The Belkin Power Pocket 10K is both a reliable and versatile option.

Its 10,000mAh rechargeable battery can charge most smartphones up to three times. It has two USB-A output ports that allow charging of two mobile devices simultaneously. Furthermore, if a device is damaged by an electrical charge while properly connected to the Power Pocket, Belkin will repair or replace it up to a value of $2,500.

PenPower Worldictionary USB


If you have a friend who is learning a new language, the PenPower Worldictionary USB dictionary pen would make a great gift.

Tap the tip of this gadget on a word and its app immediately shows the word's definition along with example sentences. It recognises 30 languages including English, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese. It supports both Macintosh and Windows computers, as well as Android mobile devices.

Value for money

Eufy RoboVac 11


Keep your home spick and span before guests arrive with a robot vacuum cleaner. These handy gadgets have never been more affordable, thanks to new entrants from China.

One such brand is Eufy, an offshoot of Anker, which is known for its power banks. The RoboVac 11 is not Eufy's best or latest model. But while it lacks bells and whistles like a room-mapping function, it has the essential features, such as two side brushes to clean hard-to-reach corners and a remote control with five cleaning modes.

Its low-slung body can go under most furniture while its battery life of 90 minutes should suffice for most homes.

HP Envy 13


Plenty of laptops cost less than the HP Envy 13, but few look as classy as this sleek metallic notebook. The Envy's keyboard is also comfortable to type on as it is raised at an angle when the laptop is open.

The laptop has a good mix of features, including a fingerprint sensor for biometric security, a USB-C port for display output and data transfer, and a microSD card slot to expand its solid-state drive.

Nokia 6.1 Plus


Mid-range phones can comfortably meet the needs of most users and some may even retain useful features omitted in top phones, like the headphone jack or the microSD card slot.

Take, for example, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, which has an all-glass, near-bezel-less design that looks as premium as a flagship phone. Not only do its dual rear cameras take portrait shots, but they also allow users to vary the amount of background blur (or bokeh) as they compose a shot.

The phone also gets the latest software updates, including the Android 9 Pie update. New in Pie is a digital well-being feature that lets users set time limits on app usage.

OnePlus Type-C Bullets earbuds


Chances are the smartphone you bought recently has dropped the audio jack for USB-C audio.

While you can still use your usual headphones, there is the added hassle of having to use a dongle for wired headphones or needing to charge regularly with wireless headphones.

Alternatively, pick up the affordable OnePlus Type-C Bullets. These earbuds come with a digital-to-analog (DAC) processor, so they will work with all devices with a standard USB-C port.

The basics, such as a built-in microphone and inline remote control, are covered. There is even support for Google Assistant voice commands.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2018, with the headline 'Tech the halls'. Print Edition | Subscribe