Great Tech Gadgets for Non-Geeks

High-tech items are always popular gift picks; smart home devices, wearable fitness trackers, smart watches, action cameras — the list goes on. But what about those friends and family members who aren’t particularly tech-savvy? Or the ones who don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up high-tech equipment? Here are a few tech-related gift ideas for those loved ones who aren’t exactly up to geek status:

For Your Entertainment

TVs are typically the most-wanted high-tech item, according to the Consumer Electronics Association’s 22nd Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, with 4K Ultra HD TVs on sale for record-low prices. Video game consoles also rank among the top five most-wanted items, and video game accessories will see one of the largest increases in purchases since last year.

May we suggest: buy your low-tech loved ones headphones, earbuds or portable Bluetooth speakers, all popular entertainment items that don’t require high-tech skills to use.

Simple Smart Home Upgrades

Among shoppers buying emerging tech items, 15 percent plan to buy smart home technology, making this the most popular emerging tech gift of the year. Some smart home products, such as the Nest Thermostat with its computer-adjusted automatic temperature maintenance, require some hardware rewiring and software setup to install.

May we suggest: for the homeowner who would prefer less setup, consider a Roost smart fire alarm. The recipient simply installs an app and connects to their home Wi-Fi network (of course, they have to put a battery into the smoke alarm, too).


Wearable items rank next among this year’s most popular emerging high-tech gifts. Those interested in emerging tech should take a look at wearable fitness activity trackers or smart watches.

May we suggest: Popular choices include the Jawbone UP4, with new heart monitoring and tap-to-pay features; the Garmin Vivofit 2, now equipped with features such as audible alerts and an activity timer; and the Fitbit Charge HR, with an LED wrist sensor to track your pulse. Joining these in the wearables category is Lumo’s Lift Posture Coach and Activity Tracker, which uses subtle vibrations to remind you to sit up when you’re slouching.

Smart Sports Equipment

Gift-buyers interested in purchasing emerging tech will buy action cameras, a hot item among extreme sports enthusiasts. Designed to attach to mounts such as helmets, cars and surfboards, action cameras are built small, rugged and simpler to operate than regular cameras so they can capture dramatic points of view during activities such as racing, surfing and hang gliding.

May we suggest: some of the leading action camera models include the TomTom Bandit, the GoPro Hero4 Black and the Garmin Virb XE.

May we also suggest: wireless earbuds for the gym, such as the JLab Epic Bluetooth, and Wilson’s X Connected Basketball, a smart basketball system which tracks your makes and misses and sends the stats to your smartphone.

Smart Car Accessories

This last one belongs in a gray area of geek appropriateness, we think, but we’re including it anyway. What fitness wearables do for your body, the Automatic OBD2 can do for your car. For any car built since 1996, the Automatic OBD2 adapter easily plugs into your on-board diagnostics board to provide you with systems data from your car’s computer, which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In addition to information such as engine diagnostics, the Automatic includes features such as real-time coaching for fuel-efficient driving, cost-free collision and emergency service notifications, and a parked car locator.