GEAR IS LOVE
Gift Guide: Valentine’s Day Tech and Gadgets
From what sounds and looks good to what lets you create wonders in the kitchen
The way I see it, a Valentine’s Day gadget gift wins for two distinct reasons. First, it shows them you know their tech and digital needs and wants. Second: It projects your support of these needs, whether centered around hobbies or pastimes, while at the same time encouraging them to put their time into it.
So here are some tech gadgets and devices perfect to gift this Valentine’s Day, from speakers to screens and from smart hubs to sous vides.
I listen to stuff all day. Music, podcasts, articles read to me by text-to-speech robot voices. So sharing sound with my partner—whether it’s music or our favorite shows — is very important to us. If you want to invest in your home’s audio system, Sonos is a good place to start. The audio devices giant can give you just about anything to fit your sound needs, like in-ceiling or in-wall speakers, and of course the more modern and share-centric Sonos One smart speaker. If you’re a stylish gifter, we’ve also rounded up the best looking — and sounding — speakers.
For those whose relationships with music are a bit more personal, headphones are a must. The Dolby Dimension wireless headphones— the company’s first ever branded product — connect directly to your TV or receiver to ensure your audio syncs continuously to whatever’s playing on the screen. With active noise cancelling, you can choose just how much of the outside world to let into your hearing space, sliding between complete solitude and hearing someone’s take on the scene unfolding before you. Other great headphones include the newest in Bose’s top-rated QuietComfort series. They too allow for levels of noise cancellation, and include built Amazon Alexa voice control. You can grab a pair in black, silver, or triple midnight.
You’ve seen and heard plenty about upgrading your Valentine’s massive TV screen, but what about throwing a smaller screen their way so they can finally install it in the garage or the bathroom or some other slightly egregious place, showing them you love them just as weird as they are. The best-selling Toshiba smart LED TV fits that bill exactly and is priced right for the occasion at $130.
Likewise, free them completely with Apple’s latest 13-inch Macbook Air, light and speedy with a Retina display. In the tablet space, the latest iPad — in space gray, gold, silver, and rose gold — should satisfy anyone’s lazy Saturday Internet browsing itches. Of course, for any reader in your life, the always-perfect-but-definitely-on-Valentine’s-Day screen gift is the Kindle, whose newest Paperwhite edition is waterproof and offers double the storage for both books and audiobooks.
Your strongest connection is the love you share — or maybe it’s just a like or even a general tolerance of each other — so fostering a connection to your shared experiences is a perfect gift.
Start with Google’s Home Hub. In addition to giving you everything a Google Assistant would, its 7-inch touch screen will show you anything from the weather to the news and, most romantically, a playlist of your favorite photos (randomly chosen or curated by you). And it plays well with Google’s Home and Home Mini devices.
If you’re of another persuasions, of course take a look at Amazon’s Alexa devices, which can similarly connect your shared past in multiple ways. Take a look at its screen-included Echo Show and the rest of the ascending echo devices: the Echo Dot, the Echo, and the Echo Plus. I’m a big fan of the fabrics Amazon allows you to wrap around its smart speakers, like sandstone or heather gray, which are often on sale so you’re also saving a few bucks to elevate the night’s accompanying wine variety.
Like I said before, little gets me more weak-kneed than cooking up a storm with the person I love. And in the kitchen, gadgets really shine.
My favorite buy from the last several years has to be the Instant Pot. Whether you’re slow cooking a soup together or high pressure cooking a last-minute dish to bring to a couples’ soiree, do it with the right technology at your fingertips. Speaking of those, the increasingly popular sous vide precision cookers are high up on my list. You can get Anova’s WiFi-enabled Precision Cooker or its cousin the Nano.
And while we’re at it, I can’t skip over digital food thermometers. These make getting chicken or steak right on the temperature so much easier. My favorite in this department is ThermoPro’s instant read thermometer but there are plenty of other styles, like this red and folding version or the best-selling black-and-white version whose folding probe also acts as an automatic on/off switch.
The best tech between you is no tech at all, but for all the other moments where some digital assistance enhances and improves, make sure your bases are covered.
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