Google makes a huge array of different products and a huge portion of the world uses Android every day. My two esteemed colleagues have covered the full breadth of Android and Google-y gifts for those you care about, but I’m doing just the bare essentials with my gift guide. Here we go…
Nexus 5x – from $379
For the majority of people, a phone bought today will be used daily for the following two years. It’s something worth splurging on as it can improve your day-to-day life. A lot of people have used Android, but mostly through Samsung’s, LG’s, or HTC’s skin. Switching to a Nexus is a night and day difference in terms of performance and visual look.
I opted for the smaller Nexus 5X as I prioritize one handed use. Fortunately, I haven’t encountered serious performance issues with my phone (and I think those that have will see them remedied through future software updates. What you get with the Nexus 5X is a really good camera and a surprisingly useful (almost essential in 2015) fingerprint sensor. The screen is great and the active display is more useful than not. The Nexus 5X is available from the Google Store starting at $379, though you can get the 32GB model at $429.
Ringke FUSION– $11.99
To ire on the side of safety, I recommend getting a case. I circumvent the whole “a case hides the industrial design of a device” by getting a clear translucent one. There are a lot of generic accessory makers on Amazon that sell cheap cases. Some are good, but be sure to read the reviews first. My clear case of choice for the Nexus 5X is a thin one made by Ringke.
USB Type-C Cables – From $12.99
Rounding off my list, I’d recommend getting somebody a USB Type-C cable, both a Type-C to Type-C and a Type-C to Standard A. There are a lot of knock-off ones, so I’d recommend getting it straight from the Google Store. You can never have enough backups and they come in useful when you’re traveling.
Jaybird X2 – from $129
The last thing I’d recommend getting is a Bluetooth headset. Yes, that means another thing to charge every couple of days, but living wire-free is quite awesome and freeing. The best Bluetooth headphones out there are the Jaybird X2 at $129, a little bit more for other colors. It’s water resistant and great for running in addition to day-to-day music listening.
WHAT YOU DON’T NEED (IMO)
Android Wear can be useful, but I don’t think most people will continue using it after the initial novelty factor has worn off. The first generation Moto 360 I’ve been wearing for nearly a year is useful for quick glances and music controls, but I can easily live without it. A smartwatch is just not yet essential to your life.
However, if somebody in your life does want a smartwatch, I recommend getting the most aesthetically pleasing one to them. Liking how it looks will keep it on their wrist longer. A watch is a piece of jewelry after all.
Android tablets also get a pass in my book. If you have a big enough Android phone, it will make all the arguments for a content consumption 7-inch tablet moot. Most apps do not even take advantage of the larger screen. Let’s see if the Pixel-C can raise the quality of Android productivity apps in the coming year.