This year, we’ve collected dozens of great gift ideas at a wide range of prices. You can check out the full CNET Holiday Gift Guide to see them all, segmented by price and product category. But for those of you who are looking for a concierge experience, we’ve chosen some of our favorites right here.
Yes, it’s nearly impossible to buy a TV these days that doesn’t have plenty of built-in streaming options. But if you want to update an older HDTV to have all the latest and greatest apps — as well as 4K HDR picture quality on compatible TVs — the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is your best bet. It includes a remote that controls your TV’s power and volume, too. And, of course, it adds virtually any app under the sun, from Netflix to Hulu to Disney Plus. Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.
The Echo Dot is the go-to smart speaker in Amazon’s Alexa universe, and the company added a simple but welcome improvement this year: a digital clock on the side. It’s otherwise the same as the previous model, which means it can understand countless spoken commands and control thousands of Alexa-compatible smart home devices. Just wait until Black Friday to snag this one: If Amazon follows its normal Thanksgiving playbook, this product could be on sale for as little as half its normal $60 asking price. Read our Amazon Echo Dot with clock (3rd gen) review.
After months of hype, Disney Plus arrives on Nov. 12. The new streaming service — available on most mobile and smart TV devices — lets you access the full panoply of the Disney entertainment universe. That will eventually be nearly everything from Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar and “classic” Disney, ranging from Donald Duck to old-school live-action family fare like The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and Snowball Express. And thanks to Disney’s recent purchase of Fox Studios, you’ll find the full library of The Simpsons here, too. The cost is $6.99 per month, but preordering 12 months of the service brings the price down to $70 — or just $5.83 per month. And because it supports four simultaneous streams and seven discreet user profiles, it’s an ideal gift for most families. Just keep in mind that some Verizon and Fios users will already be getting a free year to start.
With its 7-inch touchscreen and capable speaker, the Nest Hub is an ideal companion for any room. It can display videos and recipes, control any Google Home-compatible smart home devices and answer a long list of “OK Google” queries — including some that would stump Alexa. And with no built-in camera, many will feel a lot more comfortable with this one in the bedroom.
List price is $130, but this product is frequently discounted as low at $60. In other words, this is another one where you absolutely positively should wait for Black Friday pricing. Read our Google Nest Hub review.
Want to buy a smart home speaker that does double duty? The Sonos One can be configured to work with Alexa or Google Home, and with its focus on music, it delivers better sound quality than most similarly priced rivals. The One is compatible with Spotify to Apple Music to Amazon Music to Pandora, and nearly everything in between. And if you set up two in the same room, they can be easily paired for stereo sound. Read our Sonos One review.
This Lego jalopy includes a pullback motor and a pop-out engine block when it crashes. There are actually four in the series, and they can be combined in pairs to create larger vehicles, too. They’re great for kids 7 years and older, and unlike some Lego sets, they’re very affordable.
Introduced in 2017, the Switch delivered a unique value proposition: Instantly transition from playing games on your TV to playing on the go. And as a Nintendo product, it was the only game console that offered the likes of Zelda, Mario and Super Smash Bros. But the $300 price was a deal-breaker for some. The Switch Lite fixes the price issue, coming in at a cool $200 — but it forgoes the ability to connect to a TV. Ultimately, though, it’s a win-win: Anyone who wants the Switch big-screen experience can still get the $300 Switch, which has been reissued in an updated version with longer battery life. But if you only want to go mobile, the Lite is a great alternative. Read more.
Long rumored and finally here, Apple’s first foray into the world of active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones is undeniably impressive. Unlike standard AirPods, these press into your ear canal to isolate the listener from external noise, but they deliver an impressive noise-canceling effect, too. And unlike many true wireless headphones, they are excellent for talking on the phone. Read our AirPods Pro first impressions.
Whether you’re an Android owner or just don’t want another pair of white earbuds, Sony’s excellent WF-1000XM3 are your best alternative to the new Apple AirPods Pro. These were the first active noise-canceling true wireless headphones we could enthusiastically recommend, and they work equally well with iPhones and Android phones. These are a great gift for any frequent traveler — or just a music lover — who doesn’t want to be part of the all-white AirPod Army. Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.
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