A roundup of the best gear and gadgets to give this holiday season
When shopping for the holidays, few categories are more exciting than technology. After all, a whole new generation of gear and gadgets is adding unprecedented convenience – and fun – to our lives. Whether you’re shopping for an early adopter or a sibling who just needs an upgrade for those outdated earbuds, the market is brimming with state-of-the-art goodies. From electric skateboards and bikes to robot vacuums and voice-activated trash cans, we have rounded up 18 tech gifts for every personality in your space-age orbit.
120″ Samsung The Premiere LSP9T ultra-short throw projector
While the streaming era has brought the cineplex to our laptop screen, any movie buff knows that a serious home theatre is made better with a projector. And few projectors are better at making you feel like you’re at the movies than Samsung’s latest, the Premiere LSP9T. Just place the ultra-short throw projector at the base of a living room wall, and it will produce a stunning, crystal-clear 120-inch image. The device, the first of its kind to offer HDR10+ support, also features a special UHD Filmmaker Mode which does away with any smoothing effects so that you can watch your favourite movie exactly as it was meant to be seen, priced at S$6,999.
Sennheiser Momentum 2 earbuds
Despite its rep among pros as one of the best manufacturers of headphones and speakers, for 75 years Sennheiser steadfastly remains independent. The family owned German audio specialists continue their leadership in true wireless earbuds with their latest Momentum 2 offerings – the ergonomically shaped speakers feature five ear tip options for a perfectly snug fit and comfy all-day use. The seven-millimetre dynamic drivers supply superior sound with active noise cancelling – perfect for music or calls in a noisy environment – IPX4 water-resistance and up to 28 hours of playtime on a single charge via its charging case. The Sennheiser smartphone app also lets you further customise your listening experience by adjusting the built-in equalisers to emphasise deeper bass, natural mids and/or detailed treble. Yours for S$329 (usual price at S$449).
Blueair HealthProtect 7470i air purifier
Air quality is one of the most important factors to healthy living, yet it’s something most of us took for granted. After the last couple years, no more. Blueair’s HealthProtect 7400 models are the only air purifiers to provide 24/7 protection against viruses and bacteria thanks to its HEPASilent Ultra technology. These top range Blueair models (7410i and 7470i) completely filter the air in a 38-square-metre room every 12.5 minutes, with its patent-pending GermShield technology which proactively monitors your room and, the company claims, removes 99.99 per cent of live airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus from the air – as well as 99.97 per cent of bacteria, dust, pollen, dander and mould. This gentle stream of air ensures no new growth of germs, and keeps your room smelling as fresh as a Swiss meadow. Yours for S$1,619 (usual price at S$$1,799).
The Ride Radiant Carbon luxury electric bike
At this price point of US$5,925 (S$8,092), no one wants a cookie-cutter bike, and the Radiant Carbon is anything but. Designed by one of the legendary designers in the industry, the Radiant Carbon’s full-carbon frame and alloy fork epitomise form-meets-function: While the frame certainly looks like nothing else out there – a signature single chainstay, seatstay and fork arm – it’s designed with fewer tubes that allows for the existing tubes to be larger in diameter. With minimal weight gain, they can hold a larger battery without jeopardizing the frame’s integrity or adding too much weight. This allows the Radiant Carbon to get over 160 kilometres on a single charge (on lowest power-assist setting, 60 on the highest), far above the e-bike norm. Despite how high-tech it is (materials, wide gear range, top-end motor, components, etc.), the Radiant Carbon is also very user-friendly: It’s largely automated, so the rider doesn’t have to know anything about the tech while enjoying the benefits. The Enviolo internal hub, for instance, shifts gears automatically based on the rider’s choice of cadence (set-and-forget if desired, or adjustable with phone app and on-board buttons). It even shifts to the easiest gear whenever you slow or stop, so you’re never in the wrong gear to start again.
Editor’s note: This only ships within the USA.
Oculus Quest 2 VR headset
If the Quest represented the point when Oculus’s headsets started to live up to their potential, the Quest 2 has begun to propel VR into mainstream adoption. The company’s second standalone headset is a giant leap forward – smaller, lighter and, most importantly of all, more powerful than its predecessor. It also features Oculus’s sharpest display yet, with 50 per cent more pixels than before, so must-play games like Superhot VR, Apex Construct and Vader Immortal look better than ever. Even better, the device will eventually be able to support a 90 Hz refresh rate putting it in line with desktop-connected peers. This promises to make VR games and experiences more satisfying than ever. Yours for S$539.69 (usual price at S$599).
Jet Bot AI+ robot vacuum
Eager to relegate your Roomba to the dustbin? Samsung’s Jet Bot AI+ is one of the the most advanced robot vacuums on the market – the world’s first powered by Intel AI brains. Using object recognition technology and LiDAR sensors, the Jet Bot AI+ is designed to approach your home with the same level of awareness and intuition you do. It reads, learns and maps your living space without input or supervision, identifying the type of surface (hard floors or carpets) and amount of dust and automatically adjusts suction power (up to 30 Watts) to clean thoroughly. Control your Jet Bot from anywhere, anytime via its WiFi control using the SmartThings App, and check in by live streaming video via its front camera. Or just sit on the couch eating leftovers and the Jet Bot AI+ will do its thing, then automatically return to dock with the Clean Station and empty itself out (trapping 99 per cent of fine dust while doing so, according to the brand). Yours for S$1,099.
Nikon’s Z fc mirrorless digital camera with 28mm lens
Nikon’s Z fc mirrorless camera is aimed specifically at those of you who long for the erstwhile days of photography, when 35mm film ruled the landscape. As we’ve written before: “The look of the Z fc is specifically inspired by one of Nikon’s most beloved models, the FM2 SLR, which was introduced in the early ’80s. Like the titanium version of that camera, the new model combines a compact silver body with a black leather grip. Silver and black may be the classic combo, but if you want something a little out there, the camera will eventually be available in a variety of different textured grip colours, including tan, pink and teal.
“The Z fc is the second in the company’s Z series of APS-C (DX) mirrorless cameras, and has many of the same features as the line’s first model, the Z50. These include a 20.9-megapixel image sensor, Expeed 6 processors and the brand’s powerful Z mount. Thanks to that, its 209-point autofocus system can shoot at 11 fps and record 4K video. There’s also a 2.36-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, vari-angle touchscreen, an SD card slot, USB-C for fast transfers and a EN-EL-25 battery that should be good for 300 shots per charge. The camera is also compatible with Nikon’s DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens and the brand-new Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) lens.” Yours for S$1,779.
Sony Airpeak S1 professional drone
The Sony Airpeak S1 is aimed at the cinematographer who’s looking to elevate his drone game to the next level. Unlike other drones which use integrated cameras, Sony’s Airpeak S1 lets you load up your own camera and lenses (via Gremsy gimbal T3 not included) so you can shoot with the equipment you already own and are comfortable with. Featuring high-powered brushless motors, lightweight frame and quad 17″ propellers, the professional-grade drone allows for about 12 minutes of flight time with cameras (or 22 minutes without payload), a 89.9 km/hr top speed (without payload) and a zero to 80 km/hr acceleration of just 3.5 seconds. Plus it can be controlled via single pilot. You can add another for gimbal control (with an additional remote), or fully automate a repeatable flight plan – all via Sony’s Airpeak Base cloud-based web app and Airpeak Flight iOS/iPadOS mobile app. Yours for S$12,999.
Campfire Audio Equinox in-ear monitors
They may look like earbuds, but these Equinox in-ear monitors are certainly not earbuds. You cannot make a phone call, ask for Google help or dictate a text. All you can do is listen to sweet, sweet music – and Campfire Audio would have it no other way. Handcrafted in the US with exquisite care and detail, the Portland-based firm leaves no stone unturned in their quest to engineer the perfect in-ear speakers. They even custom 3-D-print their acoustic chambers for a decidedly high-end listening experience, a process that distinguishes them from a crowded field of cheap overseas competitors. Campfire Audio already enjoy a superb reputation in the hi-fi and pro audio communities, and recently they’ve been making inroads into high-end consumer world. Their top-tier Equinox model features professional engineer-level technology like single full-range 10mm ADLC Diaphragm Dynamic Driver, 5Hz–20 kHz frequency response, 105 dB SPL/mW sensitivity, less than one per cent total harmonic distortion and 19 Ohms at 1kHz impedance. Or, in layman’s terms, plenty of bass and absurd levels of crisp detail. At their best, Equinox requires a visit to an audiologist to scan your ear canal for the perfect fit and hours of fatigue-less listening pleasure, but they can also be ordered as-is for S$2,149.
GoPro Hero10 Black
For the coming holidays GoPro released its most powerful model ever: the Hero10 Black. The brand synonymous with extreme filming loaded its new apex model with a GP2 processor (designed to deliver faster and smoother performance), advanced stabilization via HyperSmooth 4.0 technology, enhanced low-light capabilities and can live stream directly in 1080p. It can record in slow motion (up to eight times slower than actual moment) with improved 2.7k resolution, and can handle time-lapses at night and low-light environments. The Hero10 Black camera features 5.3k resolution video (93 percent sharper than previous 4k models) at double the frame rate, can capture still images at 23MP and grab hi-res 19.6MP frames from videos. All your extreme filming needs in an easy-to-use compact 71 mm x 55 mm body. Yours for S$530 (usual price at S$808.98).
TCL 8K 6-series Roku TV
What TCL offers is technology in a value package. Last year they added mini-LED backlights to their previous award-winning 6-Series models, making them the world’s first with this technology, and allows for precise control of both bright and deeply dark image areas. This delivers superb depth, dimension and contrast. Now that brand has added 8K resolution – meaning their 6-Series is now four times sharper than 4K sets (33 million pixels vs 8.3 million), at an incredible price point. And even when content is not available in 8K, the TCL’s AiPQ Engine will intelligently upscale your stream. The TCL Roku TV 6-Series is also the world’s first 8K TV with THX Certified Game Mode, ensuring aspiring professional gamers won’t be compromised by ultra-low-latency display. Oh, and it comes with Roku built in, starting at 65 inches for S$2,225.57.
SWFT Maxx electric moped
Sure, e-bikes are a great solution that marry exercise with a zesty boost (a little with pedal assist, a lot with a throttle). But let’s be honest, you can easily get lazy and just let your thumb do all the heavy lifting. If that’s you – or your loved one – know thyself and just skip the pedalling option altogether. For those people looking for an affordable zero-emission sit-down scooter to get around, e-bike company SWFT has developed their Maxx electric moped, priced at US$1,400 (S$1,912). The sleek midnight black two-wheeler offers a 61-kilometre range, 31.8 km/hr maximum speed, remote control, built-in alarm and locking storage compartment. Its front and rear hydraulic shock absorbers offer a cushy ride while turn signals, high beam headlights, rearview mirrors and a horn keep you safe while you zip around town.
Editor’s note: This ships only within the USA.
Coravin Model 2 wine preservation system
For the oenophile who has it all, Coravin’s Model Two tool is the ultimate Wine Preservation System. Using a Teflon coated needle the Model Two allows you to sample any unopened bottle without actually opening it – piercing the cork, pouring a single glass and then creating a new vacuum by replacing that wine with ultra-pure argon gas instead of evil, evil oxygen (each capsule pours up to 30 glasses of wine). Coravin says its Model Two will preserve your Cabernet for over two years once pierced. Elegantly designed with ergonomic lines and textured rubber grips, the device allows the self-proclaimed sommelier in your life to sample their treasured collection without the pressure (pardon the pun) of having to finish the entire bottle, priced at S$565.
Everyone’s looking to level-up their home workout experience and the options have exploded in recent years. The Mirror offers a “zero footprint” design, meaning the wall-mounted unit (you can also choose a movable stand if you prefer mobility) takes up no floor space, especially pertinent in apartments or condos. For just US$995 (S$1,359), choose from a seemingly limitless library of workouts – pilates, yoga, boxing, bootcamps, etc – where you follow a trainer whip you into shape whilst carefully watching your movements in The (actual) Mirror. Either live or pre-rerecorded training sessions ensure a level of structure and accountability you don’t usually have working out home alone. It’s more like a going to a fitness class at the gym, especially when you choose to include Mirror-using friends in the workout and share your results and activity level (with included heart rate monitor). You’ll have to pony up US$40 (S$55) a month to access all the classes, but that’s still far less than that Equinox membership you’re not using.
Simplehuman voice activated trash can
No matter how clean you keep your trash can, let’s face it, it’s a rubbish receptacle – no one wants to touch it. With that unassailable fact in mind, Simplehuman offers a sleek large-volume (58-litre) trash can made of handsome brushed stainless steel that heeds your commands: Simply declare “open can” and the Simplehuman will open for you to dispose of your flotsam like a pharaoh disposing of his nemesis. If you have a surfeit of unwanteds to dispose of, say “stay open” and the Simplehuman lid will remain open till you give the “close can” command (if you’re lazy, forget or can’t be bothered with uttering that, the Simplehuman will automatically close after 10 minutes). Of course, the subservient trash can also includes a motion sensor so you can open the lid with a simple wave of your hand, saving your voice for those who deserve to hear it. Yours for S$409.
Blast Motion golf swing analyser
Have a friend who loves golf but mires your fairway outings with so many whiffs you can’t even invite them out anymore? Blast Golf is here to save your relationship, for S$206.48. The Blast Motion golf swing analyser does exactly as it states, using an innovative sensor you slide onto your club’s grip (via simple rubber holder) that captures stroke metrics and sends the data to an app. You can also use your smartphone’s camera to add video, and the app will allow you to parse your swing frame-by-frame in slow motion with metrics overlaid. The Blast Golf in-app training centre then analyses the data, providing you with tips and drills from expert coaches and PGA pros to improve timing and swing. The rechargeable sensor works on both putters and drivers.
Xiaomi portable power station Terra 1000
As Xiaomi works on its first EV car, its 70mai division benefits from the Chinese tech giant’s battery know-how. That’s what makes their brand-new Power Station Terra 1000 so excellent – it’s created by their EV battery engineers to provide power when you’re off the grid. It offers 1,000-Wh of electricity, enough energy to fully charge your laptop 18 times, run a mini fridge for 14 hours or even power a lightbulb for 64 hours straight. Featuring 10 outlets (12-volt, USB, Type-C, etc.) it can power almost anything and can fully recharge in 2 hours (to 80 per cent in just one). Think of it as a green campsite power station for entrepreneurs who can’t stay off their screens – even when in the great outdoors. But it also makes a superb power backup: If you ever lose power (think blackouts, earthquakes), you can keep that Sopranos marathon running. Best of all, the Power Station Terra 1000 has built-in solar panels so it can fully recharge in only six hours of sunlight even if there’s no power nearby. A far greener home/camping alternative than CO2-belching diesel generators. Yours for HK$5,049 (S$884.65).
Evolve Hadean carbon street electric skateboard
Evolve Skateboards, the global leader in electric skateboards, just unveiled their premier Hadean Series this summer, priced at US$2,899 (S$3,960). The Australian company’s new Hadean offers quadruple the performance and 37 per cent more battery capacity than its apex predecessor, the GTR series. This leap is due to the forged carbon fibre which Evolve claims as the world’s first “chassis” skateboard deck. The lightweight super-strength material allows integration of a next-gen electric system without adding unnecessary bulk. The results? Up to 69-kilometre range on a single charge with a 50 km/hr top speed.
Intellidash Pro wireless touchscreen
There are countless reasons to own an older or classic car, from design to personal taste to high-octane performance. The one reason not to? Infotainment. The Intellidash Pro allows you to have the best both worlds by offering affordable state-of-the-art navigation/entertainment/communication tech to be easily mounted on your dash or windshield nearly instantly. The seven-inch IPS Touchscreen connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth and lets you enjoy all modern benefits like SiriusXM, Siri Assistant, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (version 11 and above). Using your smartphone’s AI assistant the Intellidash Pro can also make calls, hear messages and play that killer playlist with simple voice commands. Yours for S$764.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA