The Verge Holiday Gift Guide 2017
Anker Wireless Speaker
This portable cube speaker will make a Beats Pill look like a joke. It has aux and Bluetooth connectivity and packs a serious punch for its compact size. You can trust Anker for good-quality anything, really.
Koss Porta Pro
These headphones have been around for more than 30 years — and for good reason: they’re cheap, super portable, and they sound amazing.
Beyerdynamic Byron BT
True wireless buds are too much of a risk to give as a gift, so why not play it safe with the wonderfully lush-sounding Beyerdynamic Byrons? They shed the wires, but keep the high Beyerdynamic sound quality intact.
AKG N60 NC
Noise canceling and wireless are the two most requested headphone features, and AKG combines them very well here. It’s tough to imagine anyone complaining about the sound, comfort, or design of these.
Bragi The Headphones
Bragi’s flagship product, The Dash, might have all the bells and whistles. But The Headphone is nearly half the price and works even better. If you’ve been looking for truly wireless earbuds (and don’t like AirPods), this is the best place to start.
JBL Charge 3
Wireless Bluetooth speakers are great for turning any event into a party, and the JBL Charge 3 gives you the biggest bang for your buck, offering great sound quality and battery life in a compact form factor without costing a fortune. Plus, its rugged and water-resistant design means that it’ll keep working, no matter how rough conditions are.
V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Vocal LE
V-MODA is widely considered to be one of the best headphone brands out there, period. The sound is absolutely incredible, and they look cool, too. Have an aspiring DJ in the family? They’ll love the quarter-inch adapter cable that lets them switch between listening on the go, and plugging into a DJ mixer.
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
In io9 founding editor Annalee Newitz’s first novel, 22nd century patent pirates and robotic enforcers spar over a drug that gets users literally addicted to work. Autonomous is fast-paced and accessible science fiction that delivers plenty of clever ideas that evoke the work of Cory Doctorow, Paolo Bacigalupi, and William Gibson.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier
Jason Schreier gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it’s like to work on blockbuster video games like Destiny and Uncharted 4, as well as indie titles like Stardew Valley and Shovel Knight.
Eat What You Love by Andrew Rea
Andrew Rea is the creator of the entertaining YouTube series Binging with Babish, where he re-creates dishes from movies, TV shows, and games in the real world. Eat What You Watch is his first cookbook, which actually teaches you how to make your favorite foods from your favorite films.
Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1 and 2 by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is one of science fiction’s greatest storytellers, with a sprawling body of work. The Library of America has collected a number of interrelated stories in her Hainish cycle into a two-volume set, so now some of her best short stories, novellas, and novels are all in one place.
Literally Show Me a Healthy Person by Darcie Wilder
Darcie Wilder’s debut novel is a graceless 97 pages of old tweets, flash fiction, booze, sweat, heartbreak, and 9/11 jokes. It’s also one of the most beautiful books of the year, written with the language and intensity of the internet. Reading this book feels like four hours at the gym, but it’s worth it and will help your sad little digital age heart.
Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman
Lizzy Goodman’s oral history of the just-vanished New York rock scene from 2001 to 2011 is full of fantastic gossip and dreamy anecdotes about the city’s last mythological guitar boys. Centered on The Strokes, Meet Me in the Bathroom also dances through the histories of LCD Soundsystem, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, The Killers, Vampire Weekend, and dozens of others, as well as early music blogs and the last days of Williamsburg seeming cool.
Mister X: The Archives by Dean Motter and Neil Gaiman
Mister X is one of the best comics of the 1980s, but until this summer, it was difficult to find in print. A nameless man returns to the retro-futuristic metropolis of Radiant City, and as he tries to recover his identity, the series spirals into a twist-filled art deco nightmare. It’s a great, lesser-known complement to series like The Sandman, The Invisibles, or Transmetropolitan.
My Hero Academia by Kōhei Horikoshi
Izuku Midoriya was born with no superpowers in a world where almost everyone else has them. Even so, he still dreams of becoming a superhero by attending the elite superhero high school. It merges aspects of American superhero comics and Japanese action comics for humor and drama.
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
When The Force Awakens hit theaters, moviegoers had one big complaint about a promising character: why was it so easy for Captain Phasma to turn off the shields to Starkiller base? In Phasma, Dawson goes into Phasma’s past, exploring her Mad Max: Fury Road-style origins that shed considerable light on the character and what drives her.
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season proved to be an incredibly original and powerful fantasy novel. Jemisin has now concluded the trilogy with The Broken Earth, and she’s managed to do what few fantasy authors do with big epics: end it not only on a satisfying note, but in a way that surpasses the earlier installments. The trilogy has easily become a favorite in the fantasy genre.
Version Control by Dexter Palmer
Time travel almost always ends in heartbreak. In a future not far from today, Rebecca’s husband is working on a time-travel machine. When tragedy strikes the family, Rebecca gets hasty with the time-travel machine, setting off a spiral of futures and pasts. Palmer’s book is a stunning read for anyone who likes serious literature and serious science fiction.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon’s fancy new waterproof Oasis may be getting all the attention, but the Paperwhite has basically the exact same screen at less than half the price, while still packing an integrated backlight and enough space to carry an entire library around in your bag.
Click and Grow Smart Garden 3
This is the set-it-and-forget-it method of growing plants. If you don’t have much in the way of outdoor space (or if it’s winter), this is a great way to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers indoors.
If you’re looking to get into drones, look no farther than the DJI Spark. The entire thing is incredibly portable, folding up into a nearly pocketable size, while offering a ton of great features for beginners, all with the same level of quality as DJI’s pricier, professional options.
Fondoodler Cheese Gun
If you’ve ever wanted a hot glue gun for cheese, your prayers have been answered. You can write with it, make elaborate designs over your nachos, or use it to glue the walls together for the world’s most disgusting gingerbread house.
Freewrite Smart Typewriter
The Freewrite is basically a modern version of an old-school word processor, designed for distraction-free writing. But it’s been updated for today’s author with a mechanical keyboard, E Ink screen, and wireless document syncing.
GoPro Hero 6
The Hero 6 Black isn’t a massive upgrade over the Hero 5, but for $100 more, you get buttery smooth stabilization, improved image quality, and faster performance. It’s the best GoPro has to offer, regardless of whether you’re doing backflips on a BMX bike or chasing your kid around the yard.
Nixplay Seed photo frame
The Nixplay Seed is a Wi-Fi-connected photo frame. Once you set it up, you can generate a custom email address that lets you send pictures straight from your phone or computer. Put one in your parents’ or grandparents’ living room, email a picture every now and then, and watch the smiles roll in.
Polaroid OneStep 2
Not only is Polaroid’s first instant camera in a decade cute, it’s also one of the most affordable instant cameras on the market. It’s a throwback to the original Polaroid OneStep without all the maintenance and care that an antique requires.
BassTop Switch Housing Shell
Want to make sure you can tell your Switch apart from everyone else’s? These shells replace the Switch’s back cover, and come in multiple colors (including some transparent options). You’ll need a tri-wing screwdriver, though.
How well do you know how your friends think? Codenames is a great party game that will put you to the test. It’s a guessing game where one player will give a single-word clue to lead teammates to guess the right phrases on the board, while avoiding those of the opposite team.
Grab your rocket launcher and get ready to throw around some space magic in Destiny 2, the sequel to Bungie’s Destiny. In short, Destiny 2 fixes almost all the problems from the original game, offering more things to do and more places to go, all in the most satisfying shooter you’ll play all year.
Do you want to be immortalized in your family’s history as the greatest gift-giver of all time? The Switch will help you do just that. Hopefully the recipient will appreciate the lengths you went to to snag one of these for the holidays, and don’t forget to includeLegend of Zelda: Breath of The Wildto solidify your role as Favorite Family Member.
Photosynthesis is a new board game based around strategically growing trees, with artwork that’s as beautiful as the game is mechanically deep.
PlayStation 4 Slim
If you’re looking for the best deal on a PS4, the Slim is the way to go. Plus, it lets you put that money you saved toward some games to go with it as well.
Super NES Classic
The SNES Classic will give you access to 21 nostalgia-drenched games for $80. It’s the perfect way to relive your love of simple Nintendo adventures with Mario, Kirby, and more — if you can get your hands on one.
If you’re looking for an action game with multiplayer for the Switch, you can’t go wrong with Splatoon 2. It’s the family-friendly shooter that’s sometimes more about looking good than doing good.
Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon’s Alexa might be the best smart assistant around, but the Echo Dot is a great way to dip your toe in the water on a budget. While it might not have the same level of speakers as its larger cousin, it still has the same far-field mic array and all the Alexa integrations as the full-sized model at a fraction of the price.
AUKEY Rechargeable Table Lamp
While the Ikea smart lights and Phillips Hue lights require more installation, this Aukey lamp gets the multi-color light job done, while also being ridiculously cute and portable. It has adjustable brightness and a super vibrant RGB multi-color mode with endless color options. The bottom has a retractable strap, which lets you turn it upside down and hang it.
This is an ideal gift for someone with a shiny new 4K HDR TV. You can stream thousands of Cast-enabled apps straight to your TV, including Netflix, HBO Now, YouTube, and Spotify.
Faber-Castel fountain pen
Fancy pens never go out of style, and there’s nothing fancier than a fountain pen. Faber-Castell’s two-tone Loom pen looks super classy, and blends a modern design with old-fashioned flair.
Norlan whiskey glasses
These glasses have a lot of features, but basically they look amazing and they keep your hand from warming your whisky, which is really all you need. They also come in a matte black coating, in case you want to hide what you’re drinking from yourself and others.
Osaka Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This is as gadget-y as it gets. It looks complicated, but once you figure it out, it’s a must if you’re a fan of cold brew no matter the weather. If you’re one of those “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” types, the brew time can buy you four to five hours of silence.
Planet Wise Sandwich Wrap
This quirky gift lets your environmentally conscious loved ones enjoy a sandwich without stressing about the extra waste they’re creating. The sandwich wrap doubles as a placemat for your drinks, so you don’t leave rings on wooden tables. It’s also useful to keep bugs off when you’re having a picnic.
The Roku Ultra supports 4K, HDR, and basically every video service you’ve ever heard of — plus a whole bunch that you never even knew existed. All that’s left to create the perfect movie night is some popcorn.
Google’s Android mascot is already adorable, and now it’s made even more adorable as an actual squishable plushie.
Sugarfina Champagne Gummies
Food gifts are some of the easiest things to give away, and a little bit of champagne to class up the humble gummy bear makes it just the right amount of extra for the holidays.
Voluspa Corta Maison Candle
Giving a candle as a gift sometimes feels like a lazy choice when you can’t think of anything else. With this candle, though, no one will question your gift-giving choices.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch
Apple’s iPad tablet is still the best on the market. This year’s Pro model has a bigger display, with speed, power, and convenience.
If you’re a Mac fan and you want a small and light laptop, Apple’s MacBook is the answer. There are plenty of color options to make this a unique holiday gift.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
A premium Chromebook for under $500? Yes, that’s right. This light laptop flips around so you can use it as a tablet when you’re browsing websites in Chrome.
Microsoft Surface Pro
If you can’t decide between getting a tablet, or getting a laptop, the Surface Pro gives you the best of both. The light and silent tablet form factor, with the full functionality of a WIndows 10 Pro laptop.
Extra long Lighting or USB C charging cable
Imagine your current charging cable. Now imagine if it was two or three times as long. You could read Facebook in bed while charging your phone, or reach that super far outlet in your living room. Truly, extra long cables are one of the finer things in life.
Anker PowerCore 1000
Backup batteries are one of the most useful things you can stick in your bag, and the Anker PowerCore 1000 is the perfect size: it’s big enough to fully charge your phone a couple times, but still small enough to easily carry around.
Flight 001 aero pak
For the frequent flyer, or anyone who has to fly to visit family over the holidays, give the gift of a more comfortable flight. The portable bag comes with all the travel essentials so you feel upgraded, even if you’re on a domestic economy flight.
Gin and Tonic Carry-On Cocktail Kit
Assuming you’re not flying in a tight economy seat, you’ll have the space to mix your own cocktails while traveling with this carry-on mix set. Now, instead of making do with the stale airplane wine, or pregaming your flight, you can take your gin and tonic with you.
Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Notebook
Every agenda or calendar has its own idea about how you should use it — that’s why it’s so freeing to draw your own. The Leuchtturm 1917 is perfect for this — you can connect the dotted lines with a ruler to draw calendar days, or simply use them as a In the Leuchtturm 1917, you can connect the dotted lines with a ruler to draw calendar days, or simply use them as a guide for keeping your notes. Crucially, there’s an index at the front, and the pages are numbered, so you know where to look when you want to reference your notes. This notebook is highly spoken-of by bullet journalers, but it’s good for just about any kind of use.
Light My Fire camping meal kit
This kit gives you everything you’d need to eat a meal while out in nature — minus the food itself — and it all fits together into something that won’t take up much room in your pack.
Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel wowed the world as one of the best Android phones around last year, and the Pixel 2 improves on that with an even better camera, waterproofing, and faster hardware.
iPhone 8 Plus
Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus may not be the biggest leap from last year’s model, but it’s still a great phone if you’re looking to get a new device. Upgrades like an improved camera, faster A11 Bionic processor, and wireless charging make it the most powerful iPhone yet.
Ravpower Fast Wireless Charger
RAVPower’s quick charger is one of the best wireless chargers we’ve seen. It has a sturdy metal base, support for quick charging on phones that allow it, and an included high-power USB wall charger that will ensure you get the fastest speeds.
Samsung Galaxy S8+
You can let Apple’s iPhone X show you the future of the smartphone, with great cameras, ultra-small bezels, and a superfast processor — or, you can pick up a Galaxy S8 Plus, which already does all of that for hundreds of dollars less.
BB-8 was a breakout star from The Force Awakens, so what better way to get ready for its return in The Last Jedi than building a model out of Lego?
Lego Saturn V
Lego’s Saturn V rocket won’t quite get you to the Moon, but at over a meter tall, this super accurate model (featuring 1,969 pieces) is basically the next best thing.
Mini Arcade Cabinets
These handmade arcade cabinets are under four inches tall, but look strikingly like the real thing. You can get someone’s favorite arcade game for them, or you find one that was released the year they were born.
Nendoroid figures are a little more expensive than some other options, but they’re more than worth it. While mostly licensed from anime, there are a number of Nintendo, Disney, Overwatch, and DOTA 2 characters in the series as well.
The cooler, mysterious counterpart to BB-8, BB-9E is a dark droid from the upcoming Last Jedi movie. It’ll work with the Force Band controller, too, so you can control BB-9E like a Jedi Knight.
Sphero worked to make R2-D2 as realistic as possible, and this seven-inch version is like a tiny replica of the fan-favorite. R2-D2 can drive around on two legs, and make the seamless transition to his third leg to make wandering around any surface of your home a fun experience.
Acorn Moc slippers
Winter is here, and that means it’s time for a good pair of fuzzy slippers. Acorn Acorn Moc slippers have a memory foam sole and fleece lining to keep your feet warm all winter long.
Fitbit Alta HR
If you’re looking for a Fitbit that does all the Fitbit stuff but doesn’t look like a terrible activity tracker, Fitbit’s Alta HR is the way to go. Its bracelet-like looks belie a surprisingly capable fitness tracker with heart rate sensors. (Fair warning: it doesn’t have GPS.)
Pad & Quill pocket wallet
Pad & Quill is best known for its extraordinary leather bags, phone cases, and laptop sleeves, but the company makes some pretty nice wallets, too. The Camden wallet holds up to 11 cards, and should only look better over time as it wears to a classic, rugged patina.
TONYMOLY Panda Eye Stick
Ring in the holidays and the new year by looking fresh with this undereye stick that’ll totally mask the fact that you were up wrapping gifts all night, or partying 2017 away until dawn.
Seiko SNK809 watch
Forget quartz watches or smartwatches. True mechanical watches never need new batteries or charging — and, if taken care of properly, they can last for decades. The Seiko SNK809 is a good place to start, with a movement that will keep time without breaking the bank.
If you’re reading this, then you probably read The Verge, which means you probably know someone else who also reads The Verge. So they’d probably like a Verge shirt or hoodie as a gift — or maybe you would. Here is a discount code either way: HGG2017
Wool & the Gang knitting kit
Made from an incredibly durable and soft wool, these beanies are available premade or as a DIY project for someone who wants to take up a new hobby or skill for their New Year’s Resolution. They’re unisex, and come in all kinds of fun colors to match any personality.