I’m usually a sloppy Christmas shopper. I wait until the last few days to get any presents, mostly because I never know what to gift anyone. This year however marked a huge improvement as I had my Christmas shopping done by the 5th of December.
If you’re not as lucky and you still have some gift shopping left for your friends, family members, partners, and you know them to be Android fans, I have compiled this list of great last-minute gift ideas. As a big Android fan, I guarantee I’d be happy with any item mentioned below.
The most obvious gift you can give to an Android fan is a device straight from Google’s lair, with their blessing for firmware updates. Both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 currently run KitKat, and have been updated to 4.4.2 for the most recent Android experience.
The newly released Nexus 5 is one of the best phones on the market right now in terms of value for money. It features a 5″ 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and an 8MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization. Only the 32GB versions of the black and white Nexus 5 are available for fast shipping, and you can get them for $399 on Google Play. As for the Nexus 7, it is a small and portable tablet with a gorgeous 7″ HD display and a fast Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. The Nexus 7 is available in black and white, with 16GB or 32GB storage capacities and with or without LTE, for prices ranging from $229 to $349.
Nexus 5 and Nexus 7
Perfect for: every Android fan you know who doesn’t already own these items.
The ultimate stocking stuffer this year is the Chromecast, and if your gift recipient doesn’t have one, this is the most bang-for-your-buck gift you can give them. Having received mine last week, I can assure you that it changes the way an Android user interacts with media on their phone, tablet or TV. It is so convenient that in one week, I have watched more YouTube videos than I have in an entire year. It’s that good.
If you don’t know what the Chromecast is, allow me to explain. It’s a small $35 USB-like stick that you plug in the HDMI port of your TV. Then you can use your phone to send media and control playback on the TV. Until recently, the use of the Chromecast was limited to a handful of apps that only stream content from online sources like YouTube, Netflix and HBO Go, but this has changed with more apps being added including Plex and Avia which allow you to stream your own local content to the TV. I’ve been using Avia for the past few days and I am thoroughly enjoying casting my locally stored mkv files to the TV.
Perfect for: YouTube lovers, Movie and TV series addicts.
There’s nothing an Android fan dreads more than an empty battery at the beginning of their 5pm commute from work, or worse in the middle of the day when out and about, taking videos, keeping the screen on and using LTE. That’s why we can never have enough external battery packs.
The Anker Astro E5 is a $50 monstrous 15000mAh battery pack that should charge most smartphones at least 6 times, and most tablets 3 times. It comes with two USB ports for topping up two devices simultaneously and an LED light — because why not? The Astro Slim3 is a smaller battery with “only” 6000mAh which should be enough for two full charges on a smartphone. At $38, it feels like a less impressive deal than the E5, but it comes with a built-in microUSB cable, a feature you shouldn’t dismiss at all. Being able to throw it in a pocket or a purse without having to worry about carrying an additional cable is a convenience any gadgeteer will appreciate.
Anker Astro Slim 3
Perfect for: people who spend a lot of their day away from a power source.
Activity trackers are all the rage nowadays and have been pioneering the wearable technology and quantified self movements. The $100 Fitbit One is one of the best rated and most tested devices on this list, with a small footprint and an ability to be clipped on a belt or a bra — perfect, inconspicuous and less prone to loss for women, trust me! It tracks steps, stairs and sleep, and works in tandem with an Android app. It even features a silent vibrating alarm to wake the user up without annoying the rest of the household.
The $125-and-above Jawbone Up has had its ups and downs but has mostly recovered from a bad launch with faulty wristbands. This tracker is worn on the wrist, doesn’t feature a screen like the Fitbit One and only syncs manually with Android, but it is water resistant, and comes with a power nap feature and a smart alarm that buzzes at the right time during the sleep cycle.
The $99 Withings Pulse is the new entrant on this list and has been met with mostly positive feedback. It is reminiscent of the Fitbit One with its clip design, but it adds a heart-rate monitor that can be activated manually, a touchscreen, and it charges via the universal microUSB standard instead of a proprietary charger. However, it lacks the vibrating alarm feature of the One.
Perfect for: active types, or those who have been trying to embrace a more active lifestyle.
The second trend in wearable technologies is smartwatches, and the Pebble is the most popular and most supported of all currently available brands and models. Thanks to bluetooth connectivity and a small display, the Pebble shows notifications of calls, messages, emails, calendar events and many other apps on your wrist. It also supports multiple downloadable and customizable watch faces, lets you control music playback and comes with an open API that developers have been eager to use to implement new and interesting ideas.
Perfect for: gadget lovers who want to try and show the latest gadgets.
If you want to steal the spotlight and be the most popular gift giver with every member of the family, there isn’t a better present to give than the $130 Sphero 2.0 robotic ball. Why? It’s a ball, and it’s remote controlled by your smartphone. The Sphero connects via bluetooth to Android devices and thanks to multiple apps, you can maneuver it, drive it, use virtual reality to play several games with it, make it light up with multiple colors and more.
Just like the Sphero is a ball you control with an Android device, the $300+ Parrot AR.Drone is a drone that connects to your smartphone and is controlled by it. Not only that, it also features a wide-angle lens camera that can capture and stream 720p videos and photo stills while in mid-flight. As far as ultimate geeky gadgets go, this is as good as it gets.
Since the advent of tablets and smartphones, many board games have made the switch to the digital world by offering downloadable versions. The problem however is that the “luck” factor remained limited, with a randomized algorithm trying to emulate the throwing of a dice. There were no more “blow on it for good luck,” or “shake it well before you throw it,” and instead the whole experience felt slightly disconnected from reality. DICE+ is a bluetooth dice that works with an Android tablet or iPad to bring back the charm and real feel of playing a board game. This €40 gadget works with a limited number of games for now, but there’s Backgammon, Heroes, a finger version of Twister, and a few more with several other titles coming soon.
Perfect for: any member of a family with 1 kid or more.
Wireless bluetooth audio gadgets are a must-have for any gadgeteer, so if your gift recipient is still missing an item in their arsenal in this category, you can’t wrong with either of these options. The $70 Backbeat Go 2 are bluetooth earplugs that are connected with one short wire, they can be worn around the neck and offer a tangle-free music and podcast experience for 4 hours on a charge. The $40 Oontz Angle, on the other hand, is a powerful portable bluetooth speaker that is perfect for listening alone or sharing the experience with others.
Plantronics Backbeat Go 2
Perfect for: the music and podcast lover who always seems to be on the move.
Moga has been known lately for their high quality bluetooth console controllers for Android devices. Their newest models, the $48 Hero Power and $64 Pro Power come with dual-analogue sticks, four action buttons, a directional pad, and L1/R1/L2/R2 trigger buttons. Multiple games have added Moga support in their code, making it the top bluetooth controller on the market now. The Hero Power and the Pro Power also hold the smartphone while playing and can charge it for longer gameplay, with the Pro Power also offering a tablet stand and a full-sized controller for a better grip.
Power A Moga Pro Power
Perfect for: the addicted mobile gamer.
These are certainly not the only gadgets you can give to an Android fan, but they are some of the best options out there and should give you bonus points with your gift recipient.
Have you purchased any of the items above for yourself or as a present for the Android freak in your life? Do you have other recommendations? Let us know in the comments.