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Ben’s 9to5Google Gift Guide: The products I’m using that make great gifts too


As the year comes to a close, many of us are on the hunt for gifts for our friends and family. If you’re hunting for those who are fans of all things Google or just tech in general, you’ve come to the right place.

This list contains some of the Chromebooks, smartwatches, phones, tablets, headphones, cases, and more that I’ve been using over the past several months which I just can’t recommend enough.


– Google Pixel/Pixel XL

When it comes to smartphones, my top pick is obvious — the Google Pixel. Few Android smartphones today best the Pixel and Pixel XL when it comes to overall performance and reliability, not to mention both devices feature Google’s best software to date, breathtaking cameras, and solid battery life as well. Really, these are the best smartphones you can buy not because they’re a great value or because they’re loaded with features, but because they are just really, really good smartphones. Pricing starts at $649 ($27/month) through the Google Store and Verizon Wireless. Plus, it looks pretty sweet in a dbrand skin.


– LG V20

If you’re not a fan of the Pixel, the second great option is the LG V20. It packs top-of-the-line specs including a 5.7-inch Quad HD display, the Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and also Android Nougat. LG has done a fantastic job with this device, and if you’re on the hunt for a big Android device, look no further. Pricing starts as low as $672 but varies by carrier.



– Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

If you’re looking for a powerful wearable, the Samsung Gear S3 is one of the best options available today. Landing on the larger side, the Gear S3 offers a rotating bezel for navigation, support for Samsung Pay (even with non-Samsung devices), and a wonderful interface optimized for that round display. Starting at $349 it’s not the most affordable smartwatch out today, but it’s well worth the price. If the Frontier model pictured below isn’t quite your style, the Gear S3 Classic is also an excellent choice.



– Dell Chromebook 13

If you’re on the hunt for a Chromebook, my personal favorite option right now is the Dell Chromebook 13. Despite being a bit on the older side, this is still a fantastic machine. Options are available powered by Intel Celeron or Intel Core i3 processor, and paired with 4GB of RAM that leads to a fantastic experience on Chrome OS. The 13-inch 1080p display is also excellent for getting work done, whatever it may entail, and the keyboard is nothing short of fantastic. As an added bonus, the Dell Chromebook 13 is one of the few Chromebooks on the market where you can easily upgrade the SSD. My personal one was modified with a 128GB SSD, a nice upgrade over the original 16GB. Unfortunately, most retailers have stopped offering this machine, but you can still pick it up new from Dell or used from outlets such as Swappa.


– Acer Chromebook 15

If you’re looking less for power, and more for size and value, the new Acer Chromebook 15, or even last year’s model probably deserve your attention. Both machines offer solid hardware and a great look, but with varying specs. The newer low-end Acer Chromebook 15 offers a Celeron chip, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage with a 720p display. On the other hand, last year’s model is available with a display up to 1080p and up to 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. Both are excellent values as well with pricing starting at $199.



– Jaybird Freedom

Going into 2017, Bluetooth audio is only going to become more important. As this year comes to a close, one of the best wireless headphone options available are the Jaybird Freedom headphones. These compact and excellent sounding wireless earbuds pack a punch and at a new, lower price point of $149, they’re a pretty decent value as well. Through the Android or iOS apps, users can control the sound quality of these headphones to, frankly, an insane degree. The sound quality itself is nothing short of impressive, although the battery isn’t great at about 4 hours without the battery clip (which doubles that number).


– Archeer AH07

If you prefer on-ear headphones, one of my favorite options has been the Archeer AH07 Bluetooth headphones. These headphones are pretty comfortable, have solid sound quality and battery life as well. The real kicker, though, is the price of just $59.


Accessories, Cases, and More

– Google Home

If home automation has your attention, there is one must-have form factor ─ an always-listening home assistant. Right now there are two options, the Amazon Echo, or Google Home. Both are fantastic, but personally, I’m using the Google Home. Priced at $129, it makes for a fantastic addition to your home, answering questions easily and accurately, playing music with its loud and excellent speaker, and controlling your connected home. It can even play YouTube videos on your TV! However, if $129 is out of your price range, the $49.99 Amazon Echo Dot is still an excellent choice.


– Philips Hue Starter Kit

To go along with your new Google Home or Amazon Echo, you’ll probably want to start the process of connecting your home. This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the easiest and least expensive is with a Philips Hue starter kit. A single kit comes with 2-3 bulbs and a Hue Bridge, with pricing ranging from $70 to $200 depending on the number of bulbs and the version you select. Personally, I started off with a Hue White kit and couldn’t be happier with it.


– Caseology Parallax Case

If you’re looking for some small and inexpensive gifts, you can’t go wrong with a case for someone’s new smartphone. My personal favorite right now is the Parallax case from Caseology. It’s a good looking case with plenty of protection and a very affordable price tag. It works great with my Pixel XL and is also available for several other smartphones.


– Clockwork Synergy Leather Watch Band

If you just picked up a smartwatch and want a new band to make it look a little better, one of my favorite leather bands is the Clockwork Synergy “Dapper Collection” Midnight Blue band. It’s very comfortable, looks fantastic, and wears very well over time. It even has quick release pins for easy installation/removal.


– NOOK 7″ Tablet

Last but not least, a cheap Android tablet. However, this isn’t just any cheap Android tablet. The NOOK 7″ from Barnes and Noble is a $50 Android tablet with Google Play, Android Marshmallow, and overall, it’s a fantastic choice for the money. Compared to other tablets that you could buy at $50, I can’t recommend the NOOK enough.


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Avatar for Ben Schoon Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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