Believe it or not, Christmas is coming – and the TV and gadget lovers in your life deserve a festive gift or two, don’t they? But with so many Christmas Gift Guides around the web, I sometimes find it difficult to find presents specifically for TV (and, let’s face it tech), lovers.
So I’ve prepared this roundup of products – from the best streaming devices out there, to earphones and speakers, and even streaming subscriptions that you can give as a gift (even if you only remember at the last minute!).
Just remember that although there are lots of deals and discounts during the holiday season, you should only buy within your means – no discount is ever worth going into debt over.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
I’m a big fan of Amazon’s Fire TV sticks, and the 4K Max is their most advanced stick to date (it only launched a few months ago) – see my full Fire TV 4K Max review.
Its interface is speedy and very responsive (thanks to a powerful CPU), and it supports almost every streaming service in the UK, along with hundreds of additional apps (and even games) – see my Fire TV apps recommendations.
If you’re looking for the ultimate streaming stick to give as a gift – you can’t go wrong with this one.
Cheaper Alternative: Fire TV Stick Lite. It only supports HD (no 4K), and it’s not as fast – but it still supports the Fire TV’s huge app and streaming library.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
The brand new 4K streaming stick from Roku is just as fast and powerful as the Fire TV stick – with the main difference being the operating system.
Roku’s OS is simpler and easier to use, with a grid of streaming channels and apps that you just need to choose from. If you’re buying for someone who wants to get into the streaming world, but isn’t very technically minded – the Roku sticks are a great starting point.
Cheaper Alternative: Roku Express. The entry-level streaming device from Roku – it only supports HD, and it’s not as fast – but it features the same simple interface and wide app/streaming support.
If you want something a bit more unique, the Streambar combines a 4K streaming device with a compact soundbar (see our Streambar review).
For the price, and its size, the Roku Streambar is surprisingly good, with powerful sound that fills the room. And, it has Roku’s easy to use interface already built-in.
Every TV sold in the UK already has a Freeview tuner built-in. However, if you know someone who’s a hardcore Freeview viewer – then a dedicated set-top Freeview recorder can offer so much more:
This Freeview recorder has been at the top of our recommended Freeview boxes list for years – and for good reason.
It’s a 4K box, with either 500GB or 1TB of storage space for recordings, it has a lot of smart features, and – its interface is slick and fast, so it’s a joy to use. And all that at an affordable price – so it can serve as a great gift.
This one’s more expensive, but it serves two functions: the Aura combines a Freeview Play recorder with an Android TV streaming device.
So you get 1TB or 2TB of storage space for recordings, as well as Android TV and Chromecast support, with hundreds of supported apps and streaming services (but it doesn’t support Netflix for now, unfortunately). See my Humax Aura review.
Earphones & Speakers
Watching something good on TV – or even on your smartphone – works best when you have good earphones or speakers. The good news is that in the past year, some of the budget-priced (or mid-priced) audio devices have gotten better and better – without getting more expensive.
So here are some of our recommendations…
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Earphones
Excellent true wireless earphones with top-notch audio quality and Active Noise Cancellation (so they’re perfect when you’re watching something on the train or even on a flight) – and almost endless customisation options. See our Liberty 3 Pro review.
They’re not very cheap – but you’re getting A LOT for your money, and come in four colours – so can be a great gift.
Edifier NeoBuds Pro
Another excellent pair of true wireless earphones – the audio quality is excellent (though not as tweakable as on the Liberty 3 Pro), and the Active Noise Cancellation is truly impressive and is on par with earphones that usually cost a lot more.
See our NeoBuds Pro review.
EarFun Air Pro 2
If you want excellent true wireless earphones at an even more budget-friendly price, the Air Pro 2 from EarFun are a great choice.
They support most of the features one would expect to find on TWS earphones these days, they have a total battery time of 34 hours, the audio quality is quite good – and their Active Noise Cancellation is miles better than what you usually get at this price range. See our EarFun Air Pro 2 review.
Cheaper Alternative: EarFun Free 2 earphones. A very affordable pair of TWS earphones – they don’t have ANC, but the sound quality is quite decent and there are lots of extra features – so these really ace the ‘value for money’ category. See our EarFun Free 2 review.
Cleer Enduro ANC Headphones
If you’d rather buy over-the-ear headphones, the Enduro ANC pair from Cleer is very impressive, and quite affordable.
They provide a well-balanced sound with just the right amount of bass (which is perfect when watching films on your phone or Bluetooth-connected TV), and Active Noise Cancellation that truly works. See our Cleer Enduro ANC review.
Creative Stage 360 Soundbar
Soundbars have also been making a lot of progress this year, and the Stage 360 from Creative is an excellent example: it supports Dolby Atmos, it gives powerful, expansive sound that truly fills your living room – almost turning it into a movie theatre – and it comes with a subwoofer.
However – it’s quite affordable, for what it offers. See our Stage 360 review.
It’s compact, so can easily be fitted under a TV – therefore it’s great as a gift even if you’re not sure how much space your relatives have in their living room.
Edifier S50DB Soundbar
If you want to get a bit more old-school with a soundbar, and looking to gift someone who likes good-looking gadgets – the wooden S50DB from Edifier is the one to look at.
This soundbar is big and heavy – but it sounds as good as it looks, with warm audio that works well for dramatic, action-oriented soundscapes as well as music. (However, it doesn’t support any advanced surround sound formats such as Dolby Atmos). See our full S50DB review.
Edifier R33BT Speakers
Soundbars are not the only game in town: if you want a cheaper alternative, or just looking for good speakers for a computer – the R33BT shelf speakers from Edifier are an excellent choice.
They sound great, they’re quite powerful even though they’re compact, and you can connect them with a 3.5mm AUX cable, or via Bluetooth – so you can easily cast music and sound from your phone, tablet or laptop – also making them great for Zoom video calls.
If you want a special gift for the audio junkie who has everything – Audio Glasses are certainly a novelty and a new exciting category.
The Frames are glasses with integrated true wireless speakers and interchangeable frames (mostly sunglasses, but also blue light blocking frames), that you connect to via Bluetooth.
The person who gets these will enjoy decent audio quality, excellent voice calling capabilities, and the ability to just look cool with a unique fashionable gadget on their head. See our Soundcore Frames review.
Streaming Subscription Gifts
With so many streaming services around these days, no one has them all – therefore, they’re a great gift option. And since you can either give them via a gift card, or virtually – they’re great as a last-minute gift.
Disney+ Gift Subscription
Disney+ (see our full review) can be streamed on most streaming devices and Smart TVs in the UK, and includes content from the worlds of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star – Disney’s general entertainment category for more mature audiences.
The annual gift subscription will be delivered by e-mail, just note that it’s only for new Disney+ subscribers (so it can’t be added on top of an existing subscription).
Netflix Gift Cards
Who doesn’t like Netflix? The father of all streaming services, if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone who likes watching TV and somehow DOESN’T have Netflix yet – this is it.
With numerous TV programmes, Netflix originals, movies and even some reality TV, Netflix has something for everyone (see our full Netflix UK review).
The standard Netflix subscription currently costs £9.99/month, and you can choose gift cards that are worth between £15 and £200. You can find official Netflix cards on Startselect (which sends the code instantly via e-mail).
iTunes Gift Cards
If you’re buying gifts to an Apple fan – gift cards for iTunes are the most flexible. They can be used to then buy apps, films, TV programmes or even full streaming subscriptions on Apple’s app and media stores.
Audible Gift Membership
It’s not a streaming TV service, but Audible still offers great entertainment, with one of the largest audiobooks collections in the world (We gave it a lot of praise in our Audible UK review).
For gift memberships, you choose the number of months you want (with one credit given per month) – and it starts from £7.99 for 1 month/1 credit.
More Gift Ideas
Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (2021)
Tablets are great media-consumption devices – and the Fire HD 10, with its very affordable pricing, is a great gift idea.
It’s an excellent tablet for watching videos, casual gaming and simple productivity apps. The lack of a proper Google app store is the main downside, but you still get most of the major streaming services and games on the Amazon app store. See our Fire HD 10 review.
VonShef Vintage Popcorn Maker
Sure, most of us use a microwave to pop popcorn these days – but taking popcorn out of a nuked bag will never feel – and smell – the same as freshly hot-air popped corn kernels. (Plus, it’s much cheaper this way – raw kernels cost next to nothing…)
What I love about the VonShef popcorn maker is the vintage look, with colours right out of a retro cinema. And it even comes with 6 cinema-style popcorn boxes for that extra flair. Get it here.