Google’s Home Hub is a little easier for sharing photos between family and friends (particularly in Australia where Amazon has yet to enable a key photo-sharing feature), but the Echo Show is much better than the Home Hub for person-to-person communication, so we think it’s a better gift for people who have the gift of the gab.
The Home Hub runs Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, so it’s also a great device to use when you’re in the kitchen (you can just say commands such as “Alexa, set a steak timer for three minutes”, obviating the need to touch anything with your bloody hands), and it’s got pretty decent speakers built in, too (much better than the ones in the Home Hub) so it’s great for listening to streaming music services such as Spotify. $349
FitBit Charge 3
We like FitBits because they tend to have a better battery life than most other fitness-oriented smart watches (and who in the world needs yet another gadget to charge every night?), and because they’re cross platform, so you can challenge your family and friends to see who does the most activity, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re all on iPhone, Android, or a mix of both.
The newest FitBit, the Charge 3 has a seven-day battery life and tracks all manner of things about you including your heart rate, your blood oxygen levels, your sleeping, swimming, walking, running and even your breathing. It can also be used to make contactless payments, provided your bank supports it.
And for women, the Charge 3 includes Female Health Tracking that can be used to track menstrual cycles and symptoms including headaches and cramps, as well as fertility windows. $230 to $270
HP Spectre Folio
HP’s latest notebook PC, the Spectre Folio, was quite literally created by women for women. Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page wanted a computer her female customers could carry without feeling they were carrying tech, so she worked with HP’s engineers to come up with the Spectre Folio, which is clad in leather that’s just like the leather in a high-end designer handbag.
As we found in our full review, it’s not the most powerful Windows computer on the market, but it’s easily the most stylish.
The leather cladding does make the Spectre Folio very easy to grip, and quite scratch resistant when it’s getting tossed around at airport security. (Though, just as an aside, 2019 should see the beginning of the end of airport notebook abuse, with a new generation of scanners capable of scanning notebook PCs when they’re still in carry-on luggage.)
Such is HP’s attention to detail with the Spectre Folio, even the charging brick looks nice, and has a a USB-C lead covered in braided fabric. $2799 to $3799
Epson FastFoto FF-680W photo scanner
Do women volunteer for the role of “custodian of family memories”, or do they get dragooned into it? Either way, the role shouldn’t be a chore, and if ever we’ve come across a device that takes the “choredom” out of chores, it’s Epson’s FastFoto photo scanner, one of the best devices we’ve reviewed all year.
The FastFoto FF-680W does exactly what the name says. It scans in photos, fast. Old family photos by the boxful, all scanned into JPEGs or TIFFs and stored safely away on a server somewhere, in the twinkling of an eye.
We scanned in thousands of old family photos in just hours (at a rate of 87 photos a minute), shovelling them into the FastFoto’s feeder almost as fast as we could, with almost no feeder jams, no mis-feeds, and near-perfect image correction when the photos went in backwards or at an angle.
The only problem with the FastFoto is, it’s so effective at turning all old photos into files in a hurry, you only need to own it for a morning before you’ve run out of stuff to scan. So either you re-gift it to someone on Boxing Day, or you hold onto it scan in old bills and bank statements, so you can throw out the originals and make room for simplicity. $799
Cygnett ChargeUp Pro power bank
You can carry a complicated array of chargers and adapters with you when you travel, with different plugs for different hotels and airports you stop in. Or you can carry just one, big battery with you, that at least for short trips will handle all your recharging needs.
Cygnett’s power bank was fabulous enough to include in our 2017 men’s gift guide and now there’s an updated version that’s worth putting under this year’s Christmas tree. The new ChargeUp Pro power bank holds a whopping 27,000mAh worth of charge, the largest battery capacity you’re legally allowed to carry onto a plane. That’s good for eight to 10 recharges of your typical mobile phone, three or four recharges of a typical full-size tablet, or a gazillion recharges of a FitBit.
What’s more, these USB-C chargers can also be used to power newer notebook PCs, including the HP Spectre Folio, though even with the biggest 27,000mAh model, don’t expect to get much more than a single recharge. $50 to $180