Buying a friend or family member a new smartphone, tablet or mobile accessory this season doesn't have to be a daunting task. In the following article, I have listed out the best mobile-related gifts this holiday season which include the hottest mobile gadgets currently on the market. Whether your intended recipient has an iPhone or Android (or needs a new phone), there is bound to be something on this list that can cater to your needs or budget.
The list is in descending order by price, and I’ve included the current sales price (as of the time this guide was written) of each item next to the product name. For those interested in purchasing, I would recommend clicking through to the product page to see the current pricing as it may fluctuate over time and doing this will ensure the most accurate pricing. Note: New mobile-related products may be added or removed as the holidays approach so check back often for more gift ideas.
iPhone 7 Plus – $769 (Apple)
The most advanced iOS smartphone on the market, the iPhone 7 Plus packs is the newest oversized smartphone from Apple. With increased internal specs and a brand new dual-camera design, it blows away previous generation models in overall processing power and image performance. Note: This model does not offer a 3.5mm headphone jack, but comes with compatible headphones and a lightning to 3.5mm adapter.
iPhone 7 – $649 (Apple)
The second best iPhone out right now, the 7 received a great deal of changes from last year's iPhone 6S without the dual-camera upgrade. Despite this, the camera technology is still significantly better along with the internal hardware upgrades making for a fast and efficient iPhone experience without the bulkiness of the 7 Plus. Note: This model does not offer a 3.5mm headphone jack, but comes with compatible headphones and a lightning to 3.5mm adapter.
Google Pixel – $649 (Google)
The best Android smartphone currently on the market and one of the hottest smartphones this holiday season. Google's Pixel is the first smartphone officially sold under the Google brand and with its success thus far we expect the Pixel line to be a major player for years to come. Touting the “best smartphone camera ever” and a sleek design that resembles an iPhone, the Pixel makes for a great holiday gift.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – $599 (Amazon)
With the Note 4 debacle that took place over the past few months, the Galaxy S7 Edge remains the top dog from Samsung this holiday season. While it is rather late in the life cycle of this model with a new S8 expected in just a few months time, the discounted pricing on the S7 Edge makes for an appealing option for those on a budget.
iPad Pro 9.7″ (32GB) – $579 (B&H Photo)
Apple's newest flagship tablet, the iPad Pro 9.7″ offers the latest technology advancements and a lot of processing power in the standard iPad form-factor. Compared to the 12.9″ model, you have added features like upgraded cameras, an improved display (brighter and more colors) and a ‘True Tone' feature that automatically changes your screen's temperature to match the lighting around you, simulating the use of real paper.
Apple Watch Series 2 (42MM) – $399 (B&H Photo)
The 2nd generation to Apple's original smartwatch, this version has internal hardware improvements making it faster and more responsive. Apple's Series 2 display is two times brighter than the original, and it is now water resistant up to 50 meters. While a bit pricey, the Apple Watch Series 2 remains the top smartwatch the 2016 holiday season.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones – $349 (Amazon)
Regarded as some of the best noise-cancelling headphones, the QuietComfort 35 from Bose is perfect for a frequent traveler or someone who prefers to work in noisy public spaces like a coffee shop. This version of the QC line is wireless meaning you will be able to stream your audio via Bluetooth to the headphones without the need for any obnoxious cord getting in the way. You’ll get 20 hours of battery life in wireless mode and 40 hours when using the wire. A built-in microphone allows you to make/receive Bluetooth calls via a connected smartphone.
Galaxy Gear S3 – $349 (B&H Photo)
The newest flagship smartwatch from Samsung, the Galaxy Gear S3 takes the same approach as last year's S2 model with a new look and slightly improved specs. Running Samsung's mobile Tizen OS, it is more limited than the Apple Watch though still offers a great deal of customization and integration support to suit most consumer needs. This is the best overall smartwatch for Android users this holiday season.
Amazon Kindle Oasis – $289.99 (Amazon)
While pricey, this top of the line Kindle is ideal for someone who wants the best e-Reader currently on the market. With a crisp, high-resolution display that reads like real paper and months worth of battery life thanks to the included leather charging cover. If you want the smallest and most powerful Kindle e-Reader ever made, then the Oasis is what you should buy.
Blu VIVO 5 Smartphone – $199.99 (Amazon)
The VIVO 5 is one of the best budget smartphones on the market, recently hitting the market without a contract. Offering competitive specs such as a beautiful 5.5″ HD AMOLED display and 13MP rear camera, this phone is perfect for someone who wants a lot while only spending a little. Running Android 5.1 Lollipop, the VIVO is something to consider if you are on a budget.
Clamcase+ Power For iPad Pro 9.7″ – $159.99 (Amazon)
While the touchscreen on an iPad is convenient, sometimes it is more convenient to have a physical keyboard for taking notes or responding to emails. With the Clamcase+ Power for iPad Pro 9.7″, you not only get the benefit of a protective case with a built-in keyboard, but the hinge mechanism can be reversed to act as a table-top stand. With the ‘Power' model, you gain a 6000mAh battery built-in into the case with enough juice to charge an iPhone 7 up to two and a half times.
Beats By Dre Powerbeats 2 Wireless Earbuds – $139 (B&H Photo)
The Beats line is marketed to be more of a fashion statement than perform like true high-end headphones, but those who are not overly picky with their audio needs (audiophiles) probably wouldn't know the difference. The Powerbeats 2 offer a sleek design with wireless Bluetooth connectivity and an integrated battery that can hold 6 hours of playback.
Pebble 2 + HR Monitor – $129 (Amazon)
A newly released product that originally raised $12.8M on a Kickstarter campaign, the Pebble 2 is the best budget smartwatch on the market this holiday season. With support for both Android and iOS, this watch has plenty of smart features packed within it though it is missing some of the unnecessary bells and whistles or premium build quality that higher-end models like the Apple Watch harness.
Samsung Gear VR – $99 (Amazon)
Also listed in our gaming gift guide, the Samsung Gear VR is one of the most affordable ways to experience the world of virtual reality coupled with a compatible Samsung smartphone. Besides experiencing gaming in VR, you can utilize this headset to download virtual experiences (Cirque du Soleil has several free ones available) or watch 360-degree content on YouTube or other supported platforms.
Kindle Fire Kids Edition 7-inch Tablet – $99.99 (Amazon)
A full-fledged Kindle Fire tablet in a kid-proof case with a 2-year warranty against breaks or damage. This is an ideal give for someone who is constantly giving their child their smartphone or tablet to play games or stream their favorite kids shows. With a $99 investment, you can provide your child with their own device, worry-free of accidental damage with plenty of educational eBooks, games or video content, and excellent parental controls.
Olloclip Core Lens Set For iPhone 7/7 Plus – $99 (Olloclip)
Mobile photography has become a huge market as smartphone camera technology is becoming extremely advanced. The problem with smartphone cameras is their fixed lens which makes it difficult to achieve certain shots that a DSLR or mirrorless camera could produce. The Olloclip Core Lens Set helps make this possible with a clip-on lens system that includes a Fisheye, Super-Wide, and Macro (15x) glass.
Apple Pencil – $94.99 (Amazon)
Often described as the best mobile stylus on the market, the Apple Pencil is small and sleek with a premium feel. When coupled with a compatible iOS device, the Apple Pencil closely mimics the feeling of using a traditional pen or pencil allowing you to sketch, draw or write in a digital form. Note: This product ONLY works with Apple's 9.7″ or 12.9″ iPad Pro models and no other iOS devices.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet – $89.99 (Amazon)
The all-new Fire HD8 from Amazon offers 12 hours of battery life, 50% more RAM and double the storage of its previous generation Fire HD model. One of the best budget tablets on the market, the Fire HD 8 now harnesses Amazon's powerful Alexa voice technology for automating tasks and answering questions. Capable of streaming all your favorite media services or downloading thousands of apps or games.
OtterBox iPhone 7/7 Plus Symmetry Series (Clear) – $39.95-$49.95
The newest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models are some of the sleekest models ever made, and their color finishes like Jet Black are stunning. Unfortunately, the risk of damage usually results in the beauty of the device being covered with a dull case. With the Symmetry Clear series from OtterBox, you will be able to use a translucent case that adds all the protection benefits while showcasing the design and color choice of your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Also available for Samsung's Galaxy S7/S7 Edge.
SteelSeries Stratus XL Android Controller – $44.99 (Amazon)
Gaming on mobile devices is not always the most comfortable experience especially when using Samsung's Gear VR headset. Fortunately, there are third-party controllers for Android that make the gaming experience more comfortable with a more traditional controller design. The Stratus XL from SteelSeries is one of the best supporting Android 3.1+ devices and even works with PCs running Windows 7, 8 or 10.
Tile Slim Bluetooth Tracker – $28.99 (Amazon)
Often misplace your wallet, mobile device, laptop, backpack or purse? Those days are over with the new Tile Slim. Taken from the same concept of the original Tile Bluetooth tracker, this version is more advanced with a slimmer profile. Can be easily stored or stuck to any valuable assets, this can save you a lot of time that would have been spent looking the missing item. The integrated battery does not need charging and lasts up to a year.
Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker – $24.97 (Amazon)
Another new Bluetooth tracking device from Tile, the Tile Mate is geared specifically for keychains or other small items. It offers a smaller footprint than the original Tile with the necessary hole for looping onto a keyring. The integrated battery does not need charging and lasts up to a year.
Amazon Basics 10,000 mAh Power Bank – $23.99 (Amazon)
Needing to recharge your phone when you are away from a power outlet is frustrating, but this can be easily avoided with a battery pack like this. This model is affordable and lightweight with 10,000 mAh of battery capacity, enough to recharge an Apple iPhone 6s over five and a half times before needing to re-energize the power bank.
ToughTested Pro 8ft Charging Cable (Lightning) – $23.91 (Amazon)
My go-to charging cable for iOS devices, the ToughTested Pro models are built to be tough and withstand the long-term wear and tear that charging cables typically endure in their lifetime. The 8ft of length is excellent for travel with plenty of room to reach poorly placed hotel room outlets, and the polymer braided sleeve is not only durable but appealing to the eye.
dbrand Vinyl Device Skins – $18.85 (dbrand)
Available for all major smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming devices, the vinyl skins from dbrand are affordable and of a high-quality. With 24 different color/texture variants that you are free to mix and match, you can make your device stand out while protecting it from basic wear and tear. I use these regularly on my smartphones and MacBooks as they offer notably better quality (as well as customer service) than their biggest competitor, SlickWraps.
Kanex EdgeGlass (iPhone 7/7 Plus) – $18.59 (Amazon)
Breaking your screen is easier than ever with the larger displays on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus so applying the proper protection can save you from a costly screen repair. The EdgeGlass by Kanex offers complete edge-to-edge protection made from shatterproof, tempered glass. The scratch-resistant surface is lightweight yet durable, perfect for those who have a habit of scratching or cracking their smartphone's screen.
Gift Cards (Price Varies)
Make it this far into the guide and still not sure what to buy for someone who loves entertainment or smart home products? Purchase a gift card to a popular streaming service or major electronics retailer and let them put it towards a product that you know they would like.
- Amazon (one of the largest online retailers)
- Netflix (the most popular premium video streaming platform)
- Spotify (the most popular premium music streaming platform)
- iTunes (Apple-owned marketplace for downloading digital content)
- Best Buy (popular retailer of mobile devices and accessories)
This concludes up our holiday gift suggestions someone interested in mobile devices or related accessories, I hope it has been helpful! If so, we would appreciate it if you shared this guide with any family or friends who may also benefit.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.