We’ve put together some lists of great gift ideas for that tech lover in your life from smartphones tablets awesome stocking stuffers.
However, when you head off to the stores or online for some last minute holiday shopping, it can still be a bit hard to not get tricked by some retailers’ sales and advertising. So here’s our list of tech gifts that you should probably avoid buying this year:
1. Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon has really hit it off with its Kindle series of e-readers and tablets. They’re fast, simple, and are a quick gateway into Amazon’s fantastic ecosystem of content. Unfortunately, it turns out that having that as your primary smartphone in your daily life is pretty much unusable. If renew someone’s contract with the Fire Phone, get ready for them to be asking for an Android or iPhone trade-in soon.
2. Will.i.am’s Puls Smartwatch
The chances of you picking this one up off a store shelf on slim-to-none, but just in case you see this online and think it might be a good gift for someone, think again. It’s odd, poorly designed, and seems more like a name branded novelty than a serious product someone might use.
If you’re interested in getting a smartwatch, check out our list on the best wearable devices of 2014.
3. Apple EarPods
Apple’s proprietary earbuds aren’t terrible. They fit pretty good in the ear, look nice, and don’t sound terrible either. In fact, they’re probably the best bundled earbuds out there. However, if you’re looking to buy someone a pair of earbuds or headphones, there are so many other great options out there that won’t break your bank too much.
4. iPad mini 3
It’s not that the iPad mini 3 is not a good tablet—it definitely is. However, unless the person you are buying for must have a gold color option or Touch ID, there are very few reasons to spend the extra one hundred bucks on getting this over the iPad mini 2. In fact, they are identical in terms of specs and design, so don’t let the marketing fool you into thinking this is any better than the mini 2.
5. Any kind of cord
This should go without saying, but just because your friend or family member is into tech, it doesn’t mean they want another USB cord to stuff into a drawer.
6. An iTunes or Google Play gift card
Gift cards are about the least thoughtful gift you can get—and they don’t get any more generic than an iTunes or Google Play gift card. Sure, you can buy a song or a book or upgrade in that terrible free-to-play iOS game you’re addicted to. But that’s hardly the kind of thing you want to give to a loved one to let them know you care about them.
7. A digital picture frame
These may have gotten significantly cheaper over the years, but that doesn’t make them any better a gift. I could see these coming back if they got the technology right, but as for now they’re pretty much useless. Ever heard of a smartphone or a tablet?
8. Any Android tablet under $100
There are plenty of good options for cheap Android tablets out there, but none for under $100. You can still pick up last year’s Nexus 7 for just $229 (or even cheaper at some retailers) or a new Nvidia Shield Tablet or iPad mini 2 for just $299. These are great tablets that are definitely worth spending a little more cash on. But if you’re trying to get by with an $80 7-inch tablet from a smaller OEM, expect to get what you’re paying for.