Techilicious by Rajiv Makhni: Festive tech gifting with a twist

With great festivities come great responsibilities. After all, the gift you give to someone or to yourself should actually spread joy and happiness. Thus, tech gifts are a natural, as nothing makes the heart sing more than a gadget wrapped in festive paper. The problem is that we don’t really think outside the box when we gift tech. It’s almost always fairly typical stuff. Even festive tech buying guides don’t help much. Two product categories dominate – phones and TVs. I’m guilty of this too, every year, when I bring out a list and phones and TVs constitute 90 per cent of the recommendations.

This year, this festive tech guide is different. I write about phones and TVs all year, thus hopefully, most people already know which one to get. This list constitutes some other great gadgets that make for a great gift for yourself or to give to others. Not one TV or phone in here.

Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool

The festive season brings great joy. It also brings great air pollution. It’s the headline that screams at us every morning. Which is why an air purifier makes a great health gift for the whole family. Unfortunately, the air purifier market has become a bit of a scam. Any plastic box with a fan and a filter purports to be an air purifier. There’s a lot more that you need when you are looking to buy a gadget that is also a health machine. What sets this Dyson model apart from the others is the great amount of air purification innovation within. This is the only purifier in the market that can sense four types of harmful pollutants like PM2.5, PM10, VOCs and nitrogen oxide, in real time. It has vacuum-sealed H-13 glass and activated carbon filters that capture these harmful pollutants. And it has a humidifier built-in that uses UV-C light which kills 99.9 per cent bacteria in the water. Humidification helps control the pollutants in the air as well as balance the moisture levels in a room. Breathing is living and this Dyson unit makes that possible in a world where pure air itself is a miracle.

Whirlpool IntelliFresh Pro Refrigerator

A refrigerator may well be the unsung hero of our home. It sits there in one place, unaided and unnoticed and yet provides us nutrition, food and, more importantly, dessert and ice cream. Refrigerator technology hasn’t changed much in years. Until now, that is. This Whirlpool unit can think for itself. The refrigerator comes with advanced AI technology that allows it to sense your use pattern. What you put in it, for how long, where you keep it and what’s used often. It has 3D cooling technology to maintain a uniform cooling pattern across all compartments, plus has variable temperature zones for fruit, dairy and vegetables. Inverter technology cools up to 45 per cent faster and the bottom-mounted freezer can cool as low as -24 degrees Celsius. In case of power cuts, the freezer can maintain low temperatures for 18 hours. It also runs very quiet at just 36 decibels. The Whirlpool is a testament to the fact that fridge tech can be taken to the next level.

Apple Watch SE

TVs and phones may not have made it on the list but a Smartwatch is a must. And there is a reason why I’ve gone with the SE. There are many other worthy contenders like the Series 6 from Apple itself, Honor GS Pro, which is excellent, as well as others from Samsung and Amazfit. But the SE stands out as it takes almost everything great in its top of the line series, tweaks it a bit and prices it aggressively. It has the same 1.58 inch OLED displays on a square unibody design with 3D infinity glass. You can make phone calls (on the cellular version), track literally everything, all fitness features, notifications, talking to Siri, plus it comes with fall detection and an A-grade heart sensor. It lacks an always on display and a Spo2 sensor, but that’s pretty much it. The Watch SE has been specially made for markets like India and frankly it truly is a serious bang for buck.

Sony WF-1000 XM3 Earphones

There were more wireless TWF earbuds launched in the last three months than phones. Yes, this is a market on absolute fire as everyone wants one. But some of the big launches disappointed while the lower-end of the market makes some truly crappy products. That’s where the XM3 from Sony really stands out. Excellent build quality, very good battery life, fantastic case, great noise cancellation like its elder siblings and stand-out bass (a rarity in TWS earbuds). I can safely say that the Sony XM3 is currently the best in a category that has serious competition.

Those then are four tech gifts that stand out and will also make you stand out. Tech is always about being different. Your tech gifting should be like that, too.

The views expressed by the columnist are personal

From HT Brunch, November 8, 2020

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