Check out our annual tech and gaming Christmas gift guide including the likes of Apple, GoPro, Razer, Sennheiser and plenty more goodies!
With Christmas almost here, we’ve compiled a list of goodies that any tech lover or big-time gamer would be chuffed to find under their tree. Or you can just put them all under your own. We won’t tell.
Apple AirPods (3rd generation)
When it comes to wireless earbuds, Apple arguably changed the game with the debut of its AirPods and this third iteration of the device continues to build upon the company’s winning formula.
The biggest update this time around is to the earbuds’ actual sound. The extra pump of bass is instantly noticeable and your whole sound profile just sounds richer. That’s not even including the addition of spatial audio (altering audio based on the position of your head) which can take a little bit of getting used to but ultimately makes the content that supports it all the more immersive.
We also quite enjoyed the smaller size thanks to a much shorter stem which can be clicked for control instead of the prior tapping tech as well as the ability to use the MagSafe tech to charge the wireless case.
We’ve always been a fan of the open bud design to the underwater feeling in-ear options can present, so these 3rd generation AirPods come highly recommended.
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Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip
When it comes to smart lighting, Phillips Hue products are unquestionably some of the best on the market. The Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip is no exception – helping make your gaming or movie watching experience all the more immersive by beaming an assortment of colours against your wall. Setting up the actual lights is relatively easy (though we do recommend you enlisting the help of a friend) and neatly tucks in behind your television with some included brackets that will save you from extra visual clutter.
Pair the lights with a HDMI sync box though and things really come alive – the lightstrip capable of mimicking the colours in each scene of the content you’re watching or playing. We admittedly got a bit lost during that setup process, but once we go everything going were blown away by how truly spectacular the technology is. This is an experience not even the silver screen can recreate.
It’s worth noting that the Sync Box will set you back an additional $500, but we’ve been perfectly happy with Gradient Lightstrip on its own as well, so rest assured whoever you gift them to will be one lucky ducky.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Mayhem
While Dungeons and Dragons certainly has its legion of loyal fans, the best thing about Dungeon Mayhem is that there is absolutely zero pre-required knowledge walking into it. By merely using D&D as a foundation, it allows this frantic card game to be the perfection option for some pick-up-and-play shenanigans.
You’ll play as one of four characters – the Barbarian, Paladin, Rogue, or Wizard – as you battle it out to be the last one standing. We found learning the rules to be quick and easy but there’s a great level of strategic depth to balancing your offensive and defensive actions each turn to ensure your 10 hit points don’t deplete too quickly.
Depending on your competition, that means games can be brutally fast or incredibly tense and drawn out. Either way it’s an absolute riot that can see you playing for hours at a time.
This will be perfect game to whip out after a satisfying Christmas feast.
Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense
It’s not uncommon for tech companies to make big claims about their gaming headphones, so when Razer promised it would allow gamers to “dive into a new dimension of immersion with the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense” we were a little sceptical. Boy were we wrong though, because this is a seriously impressive headset and one of the best we’ve trialled in 2021.
Although it adds a bit of bulk to the overall design, the haptic technology the Kraken V3 offers is a game-changer. From the explosions of an FPS to the rumbling soundtrack of a Spider-Man film, we were constantly surprised by how much the vibrations added to whatever we were watching or playing.
The only downside is that the attached USB cable means you’re tied to a PC, but there is a wireless version coming soon. Plus, even when the haptics aren’t in play the sound quality is exceptional and the build quality sturdy and comfy.
Rest assured, any gamer in your life would be lucky to have the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense under their tree.
GoPro HERO10 Black
With each release of its ever-popular action camera, GoPro continues to get better and better, so it should come as no surprise that the GoPro HERO10 Black is its best device yet.
The front facing screen thankfully returns for any selfie-based video or snaps, while the introduction of a new lens cover touts greater scratch resistance and has a water-repellent coating for anybody not wanting to invest in a whole other waterproof case. We threw it under a tap to put it to the test and didn’t spot any moisture leaking in which is a big win in our books.
But what we most appreciated is the HERO10 Black’s improved user experience – courtesy of an improved internal processor. Swiping between screens is now super snappy, and booting up the camera from standby is a much faster affair than it was with the HERO9.
If you’re looking to spoil a friend or family member who loves the outdoors or extreme sports, the HERO10 Black is bound to make them smile.
LEGO Darth Vader Helmet
There’s never a bad time for LEGO, and Christmas is no exception. But despite being spoilt for choice this holiday season, we couldn’t look past the Star Wars Darth Vader Helmet.
This 834-piece build is perfect for a cheeky long weekend and perfectly balances complexity without being a total time sink. Considering its smaller size the set is also remarkably accurate – aiming to properly replicate the legendary Sith’s life support system which should please hardcore Warsies.
Perhaps what we appreciated most though was the design smarts of LEGO. Mercifully you won’t be stuck with bags and bags of black bricks, but will instead fill the internals of the famous character’s head with multi-coloured bricks. This helps make each step a lot easier to follow no matter who puts everything together. And when you’re done, the included display stand and nameplate allow it to be a perfect decoration for your shelf long past the holiday season.
If you’re looking for an easy crowd pleaser, LEGO have you covered.
Thronmax Pulse USB Microphone
Shopping for somebody looking to jump into Twitch streaming or podcasting? May we then suggest the Thronmax Pulse USB Microphone? This tiny wonder features active noise cancelling, a 360 degree stand, is surprisingly durable and even packs a neat LED indicator for various modes.
We were already impressed with the incredibly easy setup (that literally involved screwing three different pieces together) but then were even happier not having to worry about installing any pesky additional software. Literally being able to plug and play the device meant we were recording off our Thronmax Pulse within minutes.
The sound quality this microphone produces is also exceptional, with voices coming in with incredible clarity and almost zero background noise. We wouldn’t be surprised if it became your new default, so thankfully it is compatible with standard shock mounts and can be attached to a boom arm as well.
Considering you can pick up a Thronmax Pulse for as low as $50, it’s an absolute bloody bargain and one of the best mics you can get for the price. It’s such a good deal you should even pick one up for yourself!
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless headphones
Anybody who has gone shopping for over-ear headphones know that it’s a delicate balance between style and substance. We’re here to tell you, just grab yourself a pair of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless headphones and save yourself the trouble.
We’ve trialled a lot of headphones but the MOMENTUM 3 are one of the most chic devices we’ve used. The combo of leather headband and matte steel arms creates a sleek device that can easily blend into any outfit and aren’t stupidly bulky on the head. Even better is that you can quickly fold them up and throw them into a neat little storage pouch for safe travels.
Then there’s the sound quality, which provided some hefty base when we needed it, but could be fine-tuned for whatever we listened to via Sennheiser’s Smart Control app. Even the noise cancellation worked a treat and did well to block out most background noise in a noisy office or just walking around the street.
Anybody in your life would be lucky to be gifted a pair of MOMENTUM 3’s. Or just gift one to yourself. We won’t tell.
Google Nest Cam (indoor, wired) + Nest Cam with floodlight
Most of us have at least one security-conscious person in our lives, making the newest releases in Google’s Nest line-up a worthy investment indeed.
The former gives you an added layer of visibility inside the home – and we found to do a pretty darn good job at identifying motion events caused by people (but can do the same for animals and vehicles). It’s also super easy to plonk down and get up and running.
The latter, on the other hand, features two LED lights and 180° motion detection, making it the perfect inclusion for any worrisome outdoor spots around your property. Linked up to our smartphone, we were surprised by how much clarity we actually got from the device, thanks largely to the 1080p HDR video.
Even night vision managed to provide a reasonable picture which is naturally handy should you happen to notice any suspicious activity in the wee hours. Just be aware that you will likely need a professional for proper installation if you’re not comfortable with wires.
Audio Technica ATLP60XBT turntable
As video game soundtracks continue to get better and better, so too does the popularity of said tracks being pressed to vinyl. It’s a huge market, so if you’ve been wanting to introduce a loved one to the wonders of the classic format (or even indulge yourself), the Audio Technica ATLP60XBT is a perfect entry point.
The audio prowess of an Audio Technica product is instantly noticeable with this one (we trialled both the Journey and Last of Us soundtracks during our testing), but what we enjoyed most was the ability to connect wirelessly to speakers and other devices equipped with Bluetooth. Plus, if you’re a newbie, the ATLP60XBT is fully automatic, meaning once you’ve set it all up, you won’t need to go messing around with the tonearm.
Hooking up the turntable to our soundbar might not be the most authentic experience, but the flexibility it allowed to prevent extra clutter from amps or separate speakers was an absolute delight – especially in our more cramped living space. That’s not even mentioning the actual audio output, which easily handled anything we threw – consistently presenting a well-balanced soundstage.
Priced at around $349, the Audio Technica ATLP60XBT provides an exceptional amount of bang for your buck.
Bonelk Long-Life USB-C to 14-in-1 Multiport Desktop Hub
Price: $169.00 via Amazon
This wonderful little desktop hub might not be the flashiest present to put under your Christmas tree, but it might just be the most useful tech you score all year.
This nifty hub can convert 1 USB-C port into a whopping 14 additional ports, which sounds like overkill but is an absolute godsend. We’ve found it incredibly useful to hook up a whole gaming setup with mouse, keyboard, headphones and more with absolute ease.
There’s even two HDMI ports smartly placed at the back if you’re aiming for a multi-desktop setup and slots for SD cards at the top of the unit, making it perfect for anybody trying to juggle working and gaming setup at the same time.
The tiny wonder even has its own stand to help keep it neatly tucked away. Who says practicality can’t be stylish?