It’s 5 days left to Christmas. If you have not decided what to buy for that special person, here are my recommendations. There are reasons why I love them which I will share with you. No bullshit (quote from Klipsch founder), no commissions, all personal hands-on experience.
If you have already prepared a gift for Christmas, it’s not too early to plan for Valentines Day gift.
Headphones as Gifts
One size does not fit all. Headphones are personal gadgets, some prefer bass, or treble, over-ear or in-ear. It’s hard to recommend, but here are my safest recommendations based on what I have reviewed in 2016. Click the product names to read my review:
Best value headphones
Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 is priced at S$319, comes with 24 hours battery life, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC), Ambient Sound mode, auto-pause when headphones removed, plays even without battery on wires. The sound
Best value wireless earphones
Jaybird Freedom is priced at S$259, wireless in-ear, sweat resistant, compact drivers, removable fins, portable battery pack, stylish, with smartphone app to tune the EQ profile to your liking.
Best looking earphones for ladies
Beoplay H5 wireless earphones win ladies hearts with the Dusty Rose colour and the overall design that goes so well with any outfit. They sound so good with detailed highs and musical bass. S$379.
Best travel headphones
Sony MDR-1000X retails at S$599, and is worth the price. Other than matching Bose QuietComfort series ANC, this model has a lot more travel-friendly features, like Ambient Sound voice mode to let you hear PA announcements, Quick Attention mode to make a quick conversation without removing the headphones.
Speakers as Gifts
This year I did not review a lot of speakers, but one that impresses me is the Beoplay A1. I love the full-metal rugged design and the sound output is just a classy. S$399.
For more speakers and reviews, click here.
Smartwatch as Gifts
I recently decided to replace my Pebble Time watch because I want to wear a smaller device on my wrist throughout the day and night, even when I sleep. But if I were to wear a fitness band, I would have to wear another watch to tell time and all the other smart functions. So, I settled for the Samsung Gear Fit2, because it is lightweight like an activity tracker and has beautiful display to customise the watchfaces, and not shy of displaying detailed fitness information, even full notification messages. Highly recommended if you love to wear a wrist device with beautiful watch face the whole day and night.
For a more conventional-looking inexpensive smartwatch, I will recommend ASUS ZenWatch 2. It is being replaced with the newer ZenWatch 3, but being Android Wear OS, the look and feel remains largely similar yet it sells at S$100 cheaper. ZenWatch 2 comes with several pre-installed apps that makes the watch work better than stock Android Wear.
Now, you might be aware that FitBit has acquired Pebble which is now technically a dead company. All Pebble products no longer carry warranty, and retailers are selling off their remaining stocks for cheap. Pebble is one of the better smartwatches out there, so they are still worth buying especially if they are sold below S$100. They are waterproof up to 50 metres, receives notifications from smartphones reliably, 5-day battery life, always-on watch display, able to install apps and games, etc. So if you do come across, don’t hesitate. My daughter loves it to bits.
Smartphones as Gifts
If you only have S$200 to gift a smartphone, I would recommend Xiaomi Redmi 3S.
If you have S$500, the best smartphone with the balance of design and function is the ASUS Zenfone 3.
If you love Hi-Fi audio and wide-angle photography and S$1000 budget, then you should go for LG V20. I don’t have a review unit yet, but I have reviewed the LG G5 with similar audio and camera features. I would recommend the G5 if not for it being 9-months old and relatively poor battery life. Other than that, I still love it.
Compact Cameras as Gifts
So far, I have recommended the Canon G7 X Mark II to several people, because at S$799, it offers the best balance of price value and functions.
But if you have money to impress, you won’t go wrong with Sony RX100 V. It is quite easily the most expensive compact camera at S$1499 but you will thoroughly enjoy the technological brilliance.
Computer Accessories as Gifts
Everyone uses computers, so you can’t go wrong getting a mouse. Logitech M238 series are colourful and full of character, so choose one that matches the personality of the recipient. S$29.
Logitech just launched the K375s multi-device wireless keyboard with stand at S$45. This is an amazing price, considering the K780 which does the same thing costs S$120. I still own the 2-year-old K480 which is still selling for S$55.
Happy gifting, and hope you receive some great gifts too!