It’s that time of the year again. Mariah Carey is fully defrosted, Stuff’s Festive Gift Guides are beginning to go up and those pesky little beetles are officially back. Oddly enough, so are the real Beatles and they’re making us… feel things. But enough about that. We’ve got a job to do. That involves helping you pick out something for that tech-obsessed friend or family member who always seems to have it all before the morning of the 25th. We’re already a week through the month so… you might want to get moving. As in, right now.
Considering the subject of this Festive Guide — well-travelled tech-owners — there’s a real chance that special someone already has some (or all) of the tech we’ve mentioned in their arsenal. Be that the case, we’d recommend picking up the December/January issue of Stuff which is chock-full of fresh ideas — and not only for tech devotees — none of which you’ll find in this guide. You can do that by visiting one of those stores that sell magazines, or save the petrol and get it from Stuff directly.
2023 Gift Guide — Tech Edition
Were we recommending headphones for the layman, we’d tell you to scan the list of Sony or JBL’s offerings with a price under four digits long and be done with it. That’s not what’s happening though, is it? We’re sourcing stuff for the tech nomad in your life who’ll know better than anyone if you’ve skimped this year. Pick up a pair of Sony’s WH-1000XM5s, though? You’ll be deemed the favourite mom, dad, uncle, or bestie that ever lived.
Make no mistake; when we say that Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones are some of our favourites, we’re not joking. And for good reason. They conquer most of the competition — barring perhaps Bose’s efforts — when it comes to ANC (active noise cancellation) and rocks a battery life that’ll be difficult to beat elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’ll cost you. It may not set you back quite as far as Sennheiser’s HE-1, but that’s the case for most things. It’ll still require a sacrifice of R9,500, however. Unless, you know, you’ve got a keen eye for a good deal *cough cough*.
R9,500 | incredible.co.za
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
Have you ever wanted to hold your Bluetooth speaker underwater for 30 minutes? No? You’ve obviously never listened to Michael Bublé. The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 can make that fantasy a reality. It’ll also float and happily blast out some beats, thanks to that IP-67 rating. It’ll net around 15 hours of battery life meaning it’ll get, roughly, 221 plays of Tom Petty’s Love is a Long Road out before bleating for a power socket (yes, we did the math). And anyway, you’ve got to start this year’s Spotify Wrapped somehow, right?
It helps that UE’s Boom 3 has decent sound and a rugged body that’ll protect it from a couple of big falls here and there. If you or that special someone (this is a gift guide, after all) are planning on spending most of the post-Christmas holidays out by the pool, we’d advise giving this one its day. You won’t regret it.
R3,000 | takealot.com
Asus ZenScreen portable monitor
Seriously, what’s better than gifting that tech-obsessed bestie a brand-new monitor? That’s right; a brand-new portable monitor. Specifically, the Asus ZenScreen MB165B, which comes out of the box with 15.6in of goodness, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a respectable 1,366 x 768 resolution, all for R2,700. It’s a handy sidekick to anyone who’s looking to get some work done at a coffee shop, airport, or anywhere with a flat surface.
It’ll even hook up to most conventional tripods or table mounts for a more ‘authentic’ (and generally pleasing) experience. It’ll only take up 11.8mm in a backpack and weighs less than your average laptop, coming in at 0.78kg. And when you’re trying to keep the mind busy during an especially long flight, make use of that audio input to get another rewatch out of Oppenheimer. Or, if you’re trying to fall asleep, just stick on Napoleon for a few minutes.
R2,800 | incredible.co.za
Apple AirTags (4 Pack)
While it’s true that most tech fanatics rarely let their prized possessions out of their sight for more than a couple of seconds, you can’t always rely on the light-fingered to care. If that friend – you know who we’re talking about — doesn’t stop showing off those XM5s or something similar out in public, it won’t be long before they’re gone for good. If they won’t listen, it can’t hurt to pick them up a set of AirTags. If they have an iPhone, that is.
For the AirTag newbies, these offer a simplistic solution to finding anything that’s gone missing — self-imposed or otherwise. Slip it into a backpack, wallet, or headphone case and your iPhone’s Find My app will give you an idea of where to start looking should they disappear. It’s even got a built-in speaker that’s best suited for rooting out missing things when you suspect your couch is the culprit but just can’t prove it. There’s no harm in picking up just one AirTag, but for anyone especially forgetful, a pack of four will do the trick.
R2,700 | incredible.co.za
PowerFilm LightSaver Portable Solar Charger
Is there anything better than solar power when Eskom decides to make an example out of your area for, you know existing? Apparently, yes. It’s called the PowerFilm LightSaver Portable Solar Charger and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A portable, solar charger that can be rolled up (yes, rolled up) and slipped into a backpack just as easily as an AirTag. We love a traditional power bank as much as the average techie, but we’ll be the first to tell you that carrying one around for an extended period can be a little irksome.
PowerFilm’s offering comes with a 3,200mAh battery in tow and takes around 6-8 hours for a full charge when it’s out and catching some Vitamin D. It’ll double as a traditional power bank when necessary (without all the extra heft) by plugging into the wall directly and charging up in half that time. It’s an easy buy for any of those friends who plan on spending their December holidays outside and grinding out Marvel Snap. As that friend, trust us on that.
R2,900 | sustainable.co.za
Samsonite Lite-Box Alu Spinner
Thus far, we’ve resigned ourselves to the purely technical. If it’s got a hole that’ll let electricity flow through (when Eskom is kind enough to let that happen), it was considered for the list. We’re now breaking that tradition. And yet, it’s also the most expensive item on the register. Say hello to the Lite-Box Alu Spinner.
Yes, it’s a suitcase. Clever you. But it’s not any ordinary suitcase (hey man, we’re trying here). It may not be wholly tech-related, but the anodized aluminium shell will do a better job than most at protecting your friends’ (as if you won’t be picking this one up for yourself) more valuable items that do have electricity flowing through them. It’s certainly spacious enough to handle an influx of computers and tablets, with us listing the 55cm option, though there are the more expensive 69cm and 76cm options available. Pair it up with something off our travel tech you should never leave without listicle and you’ve got a real winner on your hands.
R15,400 | samsonite.co.za
Scicon Travel Packing Cube Kit (3pc)
If the friend in question already has a suitcase (or just prefers to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground), consider picking up something like Scicon’s packing cube kit – a far more budget-friendly candidate for techie travellers. It’s essentially just three zipped-up compartments to keep a bag’s compartments separate from one another, showing up in three sizes to suit that friend’s tech needs on a long trip.
Each comes donning a tear-proof polyester skin, with each compartment’s top half being replaced with a breathable mesh material that’ll stop everything from getting too warm. We won’t pretend it’s the most exciting thing on the list, but it’s an indispensable bit of kit that’ll be appreciated far more than most items on the list. Barring Sony’s XM5s, perhaps. We really like those.
R900 | cyclelab.co.za
Gizzu Universal Travel Adaptor
If you ever run into Toby Shapshak in the streets, there’s a good chance the first words out of his mouth are something along the lines of “You should always keep a travel adaptor handy.” And he’s right — especially when you’re dealing with a techie bestie’s Christmas gifts. Not only are they handy for keeping your South African items charged up when visiting somewhere overseas, but there’s a good chance that someone even vaguely interested in tech is packing a Type G socket connection somewhere in their home.
Unfortunately, Gizzu isn’t in the market to sell these just yet, with no word on when these will come into stock. Fingers crossed it gets its act together before the 25th, huh?
R130 | gizzu.co.za