We’re already in the throes of the annual holiday shopping season, so you’re likely on the hunt for some great gifts for family and friends.
And perhaps you’ll pick up a little something for yourself, too. But the pandemic has wreaked havoc on global supply chains, resulting in sparsely stocked store shelves and shipping delays, so nearly all experts suggest not procrastinating on your shopping this year.
Assuming you want to buy tech toys — a popular category every year — we’ve got seven ideas for you to consider, covering a wide range of prices, if you’re not up on what’s new and newsworthy.
1. Add a screen to your digital assistant
The lowdown: Powered by Alexa, Echo Show 15, at 15.6 inches, is Amazon’s largest “smart display” to date, making it ideal to mount on a wall or prop up on a table, desk or kitchen island in either landscape or portrait orientation.
Ask a question, initiate a video call, pull up a calendar, play music or request a recipe for virtually any dish you can think of. Or use your fingertip to write yourself a virtual sticky-note reminder, stream a TV show or jot down a shopping list that will be synchronized with your phone.
The handy photo frame feature also lets you use your Echo Show 15 to display your albums from Amazon Photos or Facebook.
Price: $249.99; available for preorder, Amazon says it will be released Dec. 9
Extras: Echo Show 15 stand
Also consider: Google Nest Hub Max with a 10-inch display, $229; Facebook Portal TV for video calling and Alexa, which uses your own TV as its display, $149
2. Check in on your pet
The lowdown: You don’t need to spend a lot to keep an eye on your best friend, wherever life takes you.
Petcube Cam lets you see, talk and keep tabs on your furry friends at home, thanks to its 110-degree wide-angle camera with high-definition 1080p resolution, 8x digital zoom lens and clear two-way audio. Thirty-second clips of your pet are stored securely in the cloud.
Use the app on your phone to check in at any time, even when it’s dark in your house. Petcube Cam lets you see up to 30 feet in night vision mode. You may also choose to be notified in real time with audio recognition of barking and meowing.
Extras: You can also use the app to connect with licensed veterinarians to get answers to behavior and nutrition questions, but a $4.99 a month subscription service is required.
Also consider: Eufy Solo IndoorCam P24, $51.99; Wyze Cam v3, $35.98