2020 has been no doubt the most unusual year in decades. It is primarily due to the untimely Covid-19 outbreak, which not only took thousands of lives but also created uncertainty in terms of livelihoods.
As 2020 draws to a close and Christmas festival is just days away what is the better way to cap off the eventful year? Well, we can spend some quality time with family and close friends.
If you have the budget to splurge, it is better to buy thoughtful tech gifts such as a smartphone with top-notch cameras to create memories and also wellness gadgets such as a smartwatch to help develop a healthy lifestyle.
DH is listing some of the best smart gadgets to gift your loved ones this Christmas festive season.
Apple iPhone 12 or 12 mini
Except for the size and battery capacity, Apple's new iPhone 12 (6.1-inch) and the 12 mini (5.4-inch) have the same design and hardware. They are powered by a 5nm class A14 Bionic, the world's most powerful chipset. They work buttery smooth be it doing day-to-day tasks or playing power-intense games. Also, they support 5G cellular connectivity, making them future-ready phones.
Also, they have one of the best camera hardware in the industry. Both the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini boasts feature-rich dual 12MP camera -- Ultra Wide(ƒ/2.4 aperture) and Wide(ƒ/1.6 aperture lens).
Apple iPhone 12, 12 mini prices start at Rs 79,900 (64GB) and Rs 69,900 (64GB), respectively in India.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
If you are a long-time Android phone user, Samsung's latest Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is a good option. Its feature-rich S Pen stylus makes the device most versatile. With scriblling noise of pencil, it offers really good natural writing experience.
Also, it has a powerful Exynos chipset in addition to a very capable 108MP triple camera module and takes fantastic images (read our review in the link below)
The new Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G covers all bases and sets new standards to emerge as the top Android phone of 2020. For a starting price of Rs 1,04,999, it will serve you well for a minimum of three years thanks to long-term Android OS support, really good build quality, versatile S Pen (no phone brand can match its user-experience), and powerful processor.
Also, it supports 5G, making the device future-ready in India.
Must read | Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G review: Powerful, unique and future-ready
Samsung Galaxy M51
It comes with a 6.7-inch full HD+ (2400x1080p) super AMOLED Infinity-O display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 3), peak brightness up to 420 nits, 20:9 aspect ratio, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor with Adreno 618 graphics, 6GB/8GB RAM, 128GB UFS 2.1 storage (expandable up to 512GB), Android 10-based One UI 2.1 OS, FM radio, Dolby Atmos sound system, 3.5mm audio jack, dual-SIM slots, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz) and Bluetooth 5.0.
OnePlus Nord 5G
It comes with a 6.44-inch full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection,7nm class Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core processor, 6GB/8GB/12GB RAM, 64Gb/128GB/256GB storage, Android 10-based OxygenOS 10.5, quad-core camera module--48MP (with Sony IMX586 sensor, f/1.75, OIS + EIS Hybrid stabilization) 8MP 119-degree ultra-wide camera (with f/2.25) + 5MP depth sensor with (f/2.4) + 2MP macro sensor on the back, 32MP+8MP dual-front camera and a 4,115mAh battery with 30T fast charger. Its price starts at Rs 24,999.
Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X boasts Microsoft-AMD custom-designed processor with the latest Zen 2 and next-generation RDNA architecture.
The Xbox Series X comes with accelerated ray tracing, which promises a superior level of visual quality and lighting compared to any console in the market.
The powerful Xbox console comes with Microsoft's patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology, which will allow developers to get the best out of the Xbox Series X GPU and the next-generation SSD.
It also promises to deliver a high level of fidelity and immersive gaming experience over the previous console generations. It costs Rs 49,990.
There is also a watered-down version of Xbox Series S, but a capable gaming console for Rs 34,990.
Apple's latest Watch Series 6 comes with a really good upgrade over the predecessor.
In addition to SpO2 sensor, always-on altimeter, and faster new-gen chipset, Apple has made sure, users don't miss out on any health and fitness tracking features in the Watch Series 6.
Must read | Apple Watch Series 6 review: Best smart wearable money can buy
Apple has done a great job of software and hardware optimization to deliver the best smartwatch user-experience, health monitoring, and fitness tracking, so much so that, you won't miss the personal gym trainer. The Watch Series 6 price starts at Rs 40,900.
The new Watch SE is a cheaper alternative to the top-end model. Most of the features including the design language and hardware are similar to the new Series 6. But, it differs in terms of chipset and other aspects.
It boasts ceramic and sapphire crystal casing with a Retina LTPO OLED display having 1,000 nits brightness. It will be powered by S5 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor and lacks U1 chip (ultra-wideband), always-on display, ECG, and SpO2 reader.
Everything else is the same as the Series 6. It comes with an always-on altimeter, Fall detection, W3 wireless chipset, second-generation optical heart rate sensor, Irregular heart rhythm notification, and water-resistant (up to 50 meters). Its price starts at Rs 29,900
Besides the Watch Series 6 and Watch SE, the 2019-based Watch Series 5 is still a really good option compared to others in its class.
Must read | Apple Watch Series 5 review: Top-notch health companion
Apple Watch alternatives
One qualm with Apple Watches is that they are only compatible with iPhones and iPads. Android phones users can look for Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 or Huami's latest Amazfit GTR 2.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is a solid smart wearable build to last long and with the Samsung Health app, users can develop a disciplined routine to improve physical fitness, food intake, mental, and sleep.
Also, it helps in cutting down on screen time on the phone. With notifications on messages and calls, you can make the decision to ignore or answer them on the Watch before lifting the phone from the pocket.
Read more | Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Reliable fitness companion
Amazfit comes with trademark features such as blood-oxygen saturation (SPO2) measurement OxygenBeats and BioTracker 2 PPG (photoplethysmogram) that measures and monitors blood-oxygen saturation levels in real-time, Amazfit GTR 2 allows the user to better understand their health.
It also boasts the PAI Health Assessment System offers a simplified summary of all the important data connected to the heart rate and tracked activities. It is compatible with the ZEPP application on the mobile.
Amazfit GTR 2 comes in two variants-- Sport Edition for Rs 12,999 and an elegant Classic Edition for Rs 13,499.
Internet of Things
Amazon Echo Dot 4th gen
Amazon has done a fine job with the spherical design for the new Echo Dot, which resembles a crystal fortune ball, but with a fabric finish. It will get you the latest updates on the sports, real news, weather information, event or appointment schedules so that you can plan the day's routine accordingly.
Also, it can play clear music with less distortion and help you with step-by-step food preparation in the kitchen. Have to say, Amazon has improved the machine learning capability of the Alexa digital assistant feature.
Google Nest Audio
Google's Nest Audio has a visually appealing aesthetic design and the numerous use-cases offer the freedom to the owner to install it in any part of the house to get things done. Its sensitive microphones can detect voice commands even with noisy background and users can turn or change light colours on smart bulbs, change channels on TVs with inbuilt-Chromecast and other IoT gadgets. Additionally, it can offer to get quick access to real-time weather, latest news, cricket scores, other sports updates, and more. Most importantly, it excels in delivering a really good audio experience.
Apple HomePod mini
Apple HomePod mini sports a compact design with just 3.3-inches tall. HomePod mini features an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience.
With this design, customers can place HomePod mini anywhere in a room and hear a clear and consistent sound. The three-microphone array is tuned to hear 'Hey Siri,' and a fourth inward-facing microphone help isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing. Outside, it has a premium fabric finish.
Inside, HomePod mini comes packed with an Apple S5 chip, an Apple-engineered full-range driver, a neodymium magnet, and a pair of force-canceling passive radiators, which enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.