The TechRadar editorial team spends all year testing and writing about gadgets so that you, the consumer, know about the best tech to buy. And there's no more important time for us than during the festive season. It's when we see our tech buying advice put to the use most.
To answer that question 'what's the best tech?', we put together this Holiday Gift Guide to properly spotlight the best gifts that you should consider purchasing. This includes all of the usual categories we cover: laptops, phones, home theater, PC components, wearables, and game consoles (including individual video games).
Back by popular demand is the Cool Stuff category aka 'The Big Gift' from newer devices: drones, VR, and smart home devices. Rest assured, you can't go wrong with these great presents.
Join us as we celebrate our best picks for a tech-savvy festive season.
Huawei MateBook X Pro
Rarely, a laptop arrives that completely blows everything out of the water. This year, that’s the Huawei MateBook Pro X. It doesn’t do anything altogether new, but it perfects elements from competitors to produce one of the best laptops ever. It’s a perfect gift for anyone that needs a laptop this season.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
For the Apple fan that wanted a MacBook Pro, but wanted to wait until it was more up to date, this is their year. Packed with 8th-generation Intel Core processors, speedy SSDs and an improved Butterfly keyboard, the 2018 13-inch Macbook Pro is the best MacBook yet.
Acer Predator Helios 500
Packing in an Intel Core i9 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, the Acer Predator Helios 500 is undoubtedly a powerhouse of a gaming laptop that should play many of the recent games at respectably high frame rates. Put together with a great keyboard and a high-res 4K display, the Helios 500 is an excellent choice if you are looking for a new gaming machine. However, it’s heavy build (4kgs+) might not be exactly portable.
Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface line of tablets has long been the pinnacle of what Windows tablets should be, but we always wanted a cheaper model. Our prayers were answered with the Surface Go. It’s an affordable Windows tablet that’ll be the perfect gift for any students on your list.
iPad Pro 11
Apple released two new iPad Pros this year, but the new iPad Pro 11 hits the sweet spot. It’s more affordable, more portable, but equally as powerful as its bigger sibling. With support for keyboard covers and Apple Pencil, the new iPad Pro 11 is an excellent creative tool and potential on-the-go laptop alternative.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro was the most innovative phone this year bringing new features such as wireless reverse charging to mobile phones. It was also the first Android phone with a fast 7nm processor, an extremely versatile three camera setup that can take phenomenal photos and a battery that charges quickly and lasts all day.
The Honor 8X proves that great phones don’t need to be priced on the higher side. At just AED 999, the Honor 8X checks all the right boxes required from a modern smartphone such as a great design, a good display and fast performance. The camera isn’t too bad either.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes everything to the max. It has a massive, Super AMOLED screen, offering one of the best smartphone displays around. Plus, it’s packs high-performance internals into a stunning design. Then there’s the dual-sensor camera system, which also ranks among the best, especially with Samsung’s dual-aperture technology. The Note 9 would make a truly premium present.
iPhone XS Max
Given the popularity of iPhones, it’s almost a no-brainer that a new iPhone will make a great gift this holiday season. And, the iPhone XS Max is the biggest and best. It offers a massive 6.5-inch OLED display, has incredible cameras, and packs a processor that blows the competition away.
The Nokia 7.1 is another phone that shows how much you can get out of AED 999. Featuring a very clean version of Android, a beautiful LCD screen and a pretty good camera, the Nokia 7.1 is put together in is a beautifully constructed chassis which feels much more expensive than a phone if its price.
A bit of a handheld, a bit of a console: the Nintendo Switch is the most unique gaming device on the market. With a host of brilliant family-friendly games, like Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Nintendo Switch is the perfect gift for the entire family.
Sony has had a great run this year with PS4 exclusives like Spider-Man and God of War. And, there are plenty of upcoming titles that will make owning a PS4 even more worthwhile, like The Last of Us: Part II or Ghost of Tsushima, plus there’s the PSVR platform to consider. All of those experience are made that much better by more powerful hardware inside the PS4 Pro, making it an excellent holiday gift this year.
Relive the glory days of gaming with this fantastic piece of retro goodness. The SNES Mini comes packed with two controllers and several games built in, so you can jump into your first competitive game of Mario from the moment you unbox it. Thanks to the addition of save states you can finally take a break and save your progress at any time.
Xbox One X
When Microsoft said that the Xbox One X was the most powerful console in the market, they weren't kidding. The mid-generation spec bump means that the Xbox One X can render most games at native 4K (including the gorgeous Red Dead Redemption 2), and is quickly becoming the best platform to experience multiplatform games. The Xbox Game Pass, Backward Compatibility and Play Anywhere services also makes the Xbox One X an enticing deal.
Super Mario Party
If your family loves to have fun together, Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch is an ideal holiday gift for your family. A board game filled with fun mini-games and silly jokes, Super Mario Party is a blast for kids (and adults) of all ages.
Over the last decade, Marvel has seen a resurgence, with fans of all ages embracing its heroes. Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 is the closest we’ve been to feeling like a part of the universe. The ideal gift for any Marvel fans in your life — they’ll be able to do anything a spider can.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Epic, realistic and just plain fun, Red Dead Redemption 2 puts its players in the shoes of an outlaw making ends meet in the wild west. It’s one of the most immersive and detailed games ever made, and will make any western fans on your holiday shopping list extremely happy, no matter the age.
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Treyarch may have stripped a proper first-person campaign out of this year’s Black Ops release, but Black Ops IIII is offering a brilliant Zombies and Multiplayer experience, and it tops that off with a Battle Royale mode. Thanks to excellent execution, the game plays great and will offer plenty of fun to anyone who gets it as a gift this holiday season.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The history-loving gamer in your life is going to absolutely fall in love with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. As Kassandra or Alexios, you’ll journey across ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War seeking your long-lost parents. It’s a fine holiday gift for anyone looking for adventure.
Canon EOS R
Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera is the perfect gift for the photography pro’s in your life. It captures incredibly sharp and colorful photos with its 30.3MP sensor. Thanks to its dual-pixel autofocus system, this camera is also fantastic at shooting 4K videos.
Canon EOS M50
Know someone who wants to get deeper into photography than their smartphone allows? The Canon EOS M50 is an affordable but capable mirrorless camera that’s wonderfully easy to use while offering excellent image quality. 4K video is also an option, as is the ability to quickly transfer photos directly to a phone for social sharing.
Shopping for an adventurous person can be difficult. What do you even buy for someone that just exudes excitement? Well, the GoPro Hero7 might just be the thing. A rugged, portable video camera that can go anywhere, delivering beautiful 4K video. The GoPro Hero7 is the perfect camera for any crazy adventures.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
The days of film and instant cameras aren’t over. Fujifilm’s Instax Square SQ6 is a testament to that, offering a well-built, easy-to-use camera platform for tons of fun photos. This is a great camera gift for Millennials and those who love taking party photos. A mirror on the front even makes it easy to snap an instant selfie.
Apple Watch 4
The new Apple Watch 4 makes a great gift for so many different people. It’s performance and features make it a solid pick for any techies looking for the best smartwatch around. And, it’s advanced health features make it a good choice for anyone trying to monitor their health and habits. Then the stunning screen and design just make it a perfect pick for iPhone owners.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch shows how good a smartwatch can be. It has a sophisticated design, a long 4-day battery in the larger model, and a capable core software experience. While it doesn’t have the same app support as Wear OS, it will make a great gift for anyone who is using Samsung’s phones.