Whether you're buying a high-tech token of affection for that special someone or a birthday gift for mom, everyone loves gadgets. Finding the right gift, however, can be a challenge with so many compelling products vying for your attention. Fortunately, we've picked the best products to get you started.
From versatile fitness trackers and sleek Chromebooks to the fastest tablets and loudest Bluetooth speakers, these are the hottest tech gifts of the year. For even more ideas, see our full list of 100+ gift recommendations on Tom's Guide.
Proving that Chromebooks can be affordable and sexy, Toshiba's Chromebook 2 sports a gorgeous 1080p display in a silvery textured design that's just as portable and compact as the MacBook Air. This $329 stunner also impresses with its loud and clear Skullcandy-powered speakers. The Chromebook 2's 2.58-GHz Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM combine to provide silky smooth performance, whether you're surfing the Web, updating Facebook or playing games. Add in nearly 8 hours of battery life and you have a lightweight laptop anyone would love.
Help them make a splash at their next party -- or whenever -- with the Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker. Not only does this compact speaker fit in one hand, it's waterproof. They'll love the sound quality even more, as the Fugoo delivers both excellent bass and treble along with plenty of volume. Plus, this gadget doubles as a speakerphone and is rated to last a whopping 40 hours on a charge.
The Garmin Vivosmart is the perfect gift for those looking to keep better tabs on their activity. This comfortable and water-resistant wearable tracks steps, calories, distance, active time and sleep. Plus, you can get smartphone notifications delivered to its OLED display, which is easy to read in direct sunlight. Pair with an optional heart monitor for a $199 bundle.
A smartwatch that looks more like a fashion statement than a geeky tool, the Pebble Steel is made out of stainless steel and comes with both metal and leather bands. The waterproof watch pairs with your iPhone or Android handset and delivers important alerts to your wrist, allowing you to see incoming emails, social media messages and calls without reaching into your pocket. Better still, Pebble has more than 1,000 apps, including entries from big names such as Yelp, ESPN and Foursquare.
Give your loved one the gift of not having to hunt for an outlet. The latest MacBook Air lasted an epic 12 hours and 20 minutes on our battery test, which means you can fly from one coast to another -- and back again -- without having to worry about plugging in. The Air's unibody aluminum design remains as sleek and sturdy as ever, weighing less than 3 pounds and measuring just 0.68 inches thick. The keyboard and touchpad combo on this ultraportable are best-in-class. Plus, the new Yosemite OS makes it easy to get texts and even calls on your Mac from your iPhone It's a winner.
Apple made one of the lightest and thinnest tablets on the planet even thinner while packing in a lot more power. A new A8X chip delivers up to 40 percent greater processing speed and 2.5 times the graphics performance of the original Air. The result is a slate that combines easy editing of videos with a gaming might that puts most other devices to shame. An anti-reflective display that cuts down on glare, a sharper 8-MP camera and more than 9 hours of battery life solidify the Air 2 as the best premium tablet to gift.
It doesn't get more blissful than this. The Bose QuietComfort 25 is the king of noise-cancelling headphones, turning everything from a droning airplane engine and street noise into a bubble of silence. The QC25s are also extremely comfortable to wear for long stretches. Speaking of endurance, Bose rates these luxurious cans for up to 35 hours of battery life. And, unlike previous Bose noise-cancelling headphones, the sound doesn't conk out when you run out of juice. Trick out their gift with sweet customization options from ColorWare.
One of the most unique gifts of the year is also one of the most powerful. The Shield Tablet is an Android slate and gaming console in one. The optional $60 wireless controller turns this tablet into a gaming powerhouse, letting you play the latest first-person shooters with deadly precision. And if the gamer on your list has a gaming desktop, he can stream the latest PC games right to the device, which you can plug into your TV. Bonus: a built-in stylus lets them take notes or draw in between fragging sessions.
The Note 4 is the ultimate phablet for the power user on your list. The Galaxy Note 4 offers a blazing Snapdragon 805 processor along with an eye-popping quad HD display, plus enhanced Multi Window features for multitasking that runs circles around the iPhone 6 Plus. The S Pen gets an upgrade, too, with a more paperlike feel and the ability to quickly pin to-do lists and other notes to home screens. With optical image stabilization included, the Galaxy Note 4's 16-megapixel rear camera is one of the best in its class.
The ultimate entertainment gift in stocking-stuffer size, the Roku Streaming Stick offers easy access to a wide array of content. Just plug this dongle into one of your TV's HDMI ports, and you can start streaming from more than 1,800 channels. It's also a cinch to find content, thanks to Roku's powerful search feature. The included remote has dedicated buttons for MGo, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster, so your favorite shows and movies are just a click away. The portable size of the Streaming Stick makes it easy to take on the road.
If a loved one wants a compact camera that can shoot pro-quality pics, the Sony a5100 is the way to go. This 7.9-ounce powerhouse packs a DSLR-size, 20-megapixel sensor, allowing it to capture excellent detail even in low light. The a5100 is also quick on the draw, thanks to its 6-fps burst auto mode and lightning-fast autofocus. A flip-up LCD makes it a cinch for the user to take the sharpest selfies ever seen.
If the person on your list wants to take great-looking photos, look no farther than the Nikon D3300. For less than $600, this DSLR captures delivers sharp and clear images with accurate color, as well as smooth video. Plus, the retracting lens makes for a relatively compact design. Overall, the D3300 is a superb choice for shutterbugs stepping up from a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera.