Shopping Super-Smart: Brilliant Holiday Gifts for Tech-Fetishists

A child in France gets ready to open Christmas presents. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

Let's be real: Getting trumps giving like, bigly. Yes, 'tis payback-time, friends and neighbors, so anyone who really cares can send me any of the below baubles and bangles, postage included, por favor. And of course, here's to another merrymaking trip around the sun. Could be a bumpy ride, so hold onto your sleighbells.

Foreo ISSA Electric Toothbrush

It's two minutes out of your morning, but a sparkling smile is ample reward for your sacrifice. The ISSA difference is in its antibacterial silicone bristles, great for sensitive gums and for giving plaque the old heave-ho. It's USB-chargeable and shifts from first to eighth gear with a button-push. Compact and quite stylish, in case you're planning to brush in public. ($149)

Epson XP 440 Small-in-One Printer

Epson proves there is such a thing as a (nearly) free lunch: it prints, copies and scans; leaves a dainty footprint a mouse would envy, works wirelessly but doesn't fax…and so what—it isn't 1991, is it? Text and graphic quality are fine for most uses, and certainly for the ultra-modest price—50 smackers won't even buy you a decent ribeye and a glass of rotgut red these days. ($49.99)

The Epson XP 440 Small-in-One printer has printing, scanning and copying capabilities. Epson America Inc.


I am a tech-fetishist, so much so that I would buy this gadget just for its 23rd century sci-fi aesthetics—it looks like a prop from Woody Allen's Sleeper. What does it do? Cat enters "robot," deposits waste in clumping litter; seven minutes hence, device rotates, separating clean litter from dirty, then awaits next visitor. You open a drawer, pick up enclosed bag of ordure and discard. Great for multiple cat families (my son has three; daughter four!) Best of all: Carbon filter absorbs odor, so no telltale bio-aroma. ($449)

Soundcast VG7

Wherever you turn, there's yet another Bluetooth speaker on the market, but the VG7 is the alpha-male among them. Prissy it ain't—this brawny, portable outdoor speaker weighs in at 21 pounds in order to house a 30-watt, 7-inch subwoofer amp and another one for its four 3-inch drivers. Add it up and you have big-bass for miles, making you de facto King of the Pool Parties. A full charge provides 15 hours of endless jams, so use with discretion lest the cops show up to hose y'all down. ($799)

Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones

Leave it to the Danes to make headphones that look and feel even better than they sound, are Bluetooth-wireless and can even noise-cancel that throbbing techno-slop playing at your fitness center. The charge is good for 20 hours, so keep climbing those pneumatic stairs 'til it hurts. ($179)

Bushnell Excel GPS Rangefinder Watch

Since it's always summer here in Cali, if I'm wearing a watch, it's only to determine how far I am from the next flagstick. Sure, it'll also tell time, but I have nowhere better to be than wasting away at the local municipal course. All I need to know is how many yards away that water hazard is—and Excel is equipped to tell all. Receives texts too (at peril of losing what concentration you can muster), and even roughly analyzes your swing speed and tempo. Like you need more data. ($199.98)

Ecco S-Drive Golf Shoes

While you're busy figuring out what latitude and longitude you're hitting your pitch-shot from, your feet may as well be comfortably-housed in Ecco's lightweight S-Drive brogans. Looks and feels like a high-end running shoe, but grips the ground for dear life while you're flailing away with that driver. ($160)

Krups 4 Slice Belgian Waffle Maker & Fry Delight Air Fryer

My dilemma: Why air-fry your chicken when you're already committing carbicide with the waffles and maple syrup? But you don't have to be paralyzed by that paradox: let Krups play Jekyll to your Hyde and fry up crisp, low-to-no oil drumsticks while the non-stick waffle-maker cooks up a fluffy cake just for added peril to your arteries. An audible alert tells you it's time to add hot sauce and say your prayers. You've been warned. (Waffle Maker, $59.99; Air Fryer, $156.99)

This air fryer is an easy way to fry up drumsticks that don't have too much oil. Krups

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor HD Antenna & Skystream Two Streaming Media Player

This is for all of you committed cable-cutters out there—a great way to save 100-plus clams per month and still consume enough programming to turn your brain into mush. The Winegard indoor HD antenna will deliver all of your local channels in crisp fashion, and the Skystream Two "Android TV" box offers a bewildering array of films, sports and you-name-it on a platform called Kodi, which is legal now, but may not be at some future date. (Antenna: $59.99, Skystream Two: $199.99)

Plume Adaptive Wi-Fi

This array of devices is meant to end the Bandwidth Wars in your home, assuring you that Junior can behead gladiators while Dad streams football and Mom listens to Johannes Brahms just to stay calm. Sold as singles or three- and six-packs, Plume plugs into wall outlets to create a single, wall-defying wireless network (managed by a smartphone and mobile app). ($329)

iRobot Roomba 980

Sometimes modern life seems like a confirmation of everything The Jetsons foretold so many moons ago. Who'd have thought in 1962 that some 50 years later your cam-equipped vacuum cleaner could be ordered about the house with a telephone, mapping your humble home as it cleans? This Roomba runs two full hours on lithium batteries, and loves gobbling up cat hair like it was caviar. It had better, at the upscale price! ($899.99)

The iRobot Roomba 980 is able to make its way around a whole level of the consumer's home. iRobot

Microsoft Surface Pro i5 Laptop

This is the Chinatown of digital devices: "I'm a tablet, I'm a laptop—I'm a tablet and a laptop!" The shapeshifting 2-in-1 has a hefty battery life, 4GB of RAM and a crisp 12.3-inch PixelSense Display (which responds nicely to a pressure-sensitive touchscreen stylus). Windows 10 Pro and Intel's Core i5 are the heart and soul, and a detachable keyboard (purchased separately, ouch!) transforms the very portable, 1.7-pound tablet into a credible alternative to Apple's MacBook Pro. ($999)

Onvocal OV Headphones

You've heard of high-tech wearables (smart vests, eyewear, etc.) but now we have an entry in the headphone category called hearables. Push a button on your Onvocal OVs and contact your personal digital assistant while walking down Main Street. For instance: "Alexa, turn on the oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes." This assumes you have an Amazon account and the proper hardware at home. Sound is customizable through a proprietary app, and a full charge gives you nine hours of pestering poor, put-upon Alexa. She needs to get a raise. ($199)