(CNN) – Whether you’re shopping for a coworker or soulmate, it can be difficult to find a gift that is unique and not obvious.
Smart speakers were the hit gift of 2017, so it’s not surprising that there are a ton of spin-offs this year. Smart displays like the Echo Show and Google Home Hub are the best new takes on the subject, and the Facebook Portal is the strangest.
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In addition to the devices that talk to you, Ben Arnold, senior director of the Consumer Technology Association, expects interest in wireless Bluetooth headphones, such as the Apple AirPods and the Bose SoundSport Free, to be especially strong this year.
The holiday shopping season is also when many people spend on new televisions. It says 4K and ultra HD TVs (and 4K-capable streaming devices) will also be on the top wish lists this year.
Although there are plenty of predictable tech gift options that will be appreciated – iPhones and iPads to name two – there are other cool gadgets worth your consideration.
Price: $ 199
The smart speakers on the Amazon Echo and Google Home get a lot of attention, but consider the Sonos One instead. The small and powerful Wi-Fi speaker has incredible sound and can be easily combined with other speakers to create a complete audio system in your home.
The One touts always-listening microphones and Alexa’s voice assistant, so you can use common voice commands like setting an alarm and adding soup to your shopping list. But perhaps the best reason to consider Sonos is that it is expected to add the Google Assistant in late 2018. A third-party smart speaker with multiple assistants could be the best way to avoid locking someone in an Amazon or Google ecosystem. .
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Price: $ 79.95 – $ 149.95
Ember’s Temperature Controlled Mug sounds unnecessary until you remember how often you reheat your coffee or hot water. It’s possible to set the ceramic or copper mug to the desired temperature, and use an app to change the temperature remotely while you’re stuck in a meeting. Although there is a travel mug option, most thermos already keep liquids nice and warm. The real revolution is the classic mug.
Price: $ 399.99
The new GoPro Hero camera sticks to the same script the company has had since it was founded in 2002: a small, rugged video camera for recording adventures. But the latest Hero7 Black model adds an impressive new software-based vibration reduction, and features that are intended to appeal to the Instagram and YouTube set of vertical shooting with limited time.
Price: $ 29.99
There are many expensive “smart home” devices with built-in internet connectivity. But to get someone started with connected devices, give them a smart plug. The WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug lets you turn things on or off from the WeMo app, smart speakers, and other services like IFTTT or Apple’s HomeKit.
Turn on the lights when you’re on vacation or set your coffee maker to automatically start brewing a cup when the alarm goes off. If a three-prong white outlet doesn’t seem cheeky enough to your secret friend recipient, pop in a color-changing lightbulb, which is fun even if it isn’t necessary.
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Video on the Nest Hello doorbell
Price: $ 179
Ring started the video doorbell craze, but Google’s Nest Hello is a more feature-rich option. When someone rings the doorbell, it opens a live feed on your Google Home Hub or sends a push notification to your phone. Hello also uses facial recognition features to tell you who is at your front door. Unlike a traditional doorbell, you can disable the “ding” with the time-out function.
Price: $ 16 – $ 32
Writers and note-takers who hate wasted paper can enjoy a “reusable” notebook. The Rocketbook is a regular-looking slim spiral notebook that works with a special included Pilot FriXion pen. Use it to write everything from shopping lists to script outlines. The application scans and stores the pages in a cloud service. Use a damp cloth to wipe the pages and start over. Or if you buy the Rockebook Wave laptop, a microwave can clean the pages.
Price: $ 3,995
Like the Peloton bike, the Peloton Tread has a giant screen that transports the runner to group running sessions, trainers, and classes. But in addition to being an expensive purchase of almost $ 4,000, the tread may not arrive in time for the holidays. Peloton says it will come this winter. For a cheaper exercise solution, try the Wahoo Kickr Snap ($ 600), a fixed mount for an existing bike. Then add a Zwift subscription ($ 14.99 per month) to take virtual bike tours around the world or travel in groups with others remotely.
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Price: $ 777
The ES4 is the latest electric scooter from Ninebot, a popular scooter manufacturer. For frequent users, owning one can be more affordable than some commute options. It has a top speed of 30km / h and a range of 40km, so riders can go a bit faster than scooters offered by startups like Bird, Lime, and Skip. It is also foldable, so if you don’t mind carrying 18.5 kilos, you can take it on a train or bus.
Price: $ 249.99
This is a gift for the person who insists that a Kindle cannot compete with the smell of a paper book, and perhaps owns a smoking jacket. The Qwerkywriter S is a USB keyboard that looks and feels like an old-fashioned typewriter. This heavyweight tablet, phone, or computer accessory features round keys that produce a satisfying clicking sound when pressed. If someone is really engaged with the bit, they can use the return lever to start a new line instead of hitting the enter button. The new retro colors will be available next year.
– Matt McFarland contributed to this story.