The Shortcut Gift Guide 2022: my last-minute tech ideas in time for the holidays
Scroll through my curated gift guide that's filled with ideas for gamers, smartphone lovers, home cinema enthusiasts and fitness fanatics
🔥The hot 40 gift ideas deals below – including Gadget Discovery Club and Microsoft Office at $29.99 on PC & Mac – earn affiliate revenue that supports our team
You’re running out of time for the 40 last-minute gift ideas below. I know finding that perfect gift for that special someone in your life isn’t easy, especially when you have to sift through all the latest tech, gaming and gadgets released over the last year.
It’s about to get harder.
The final overnight shipping day is coming up at Amazon, Walmart, B&H Photo, Samsung, Best Buy, Target and GameStop. Luckily for you, The Shortcut Gift Guide 2022 is here to help like one of Santa’s little elves. I’ve rounded up all the best present ideas – all of which you can order from the comfort of your home – that should suit every friend or family member you can think of. Pets included.
So grab yourself a hot cup of cocoa or a generous glass of eggnog, and scroll down to find the perfect gift for you and your loved ones this holiday season with our team’s extensive gift guide for 2022.
Our holiday picks are below, but you can always get updates from us through email as a FREE or paid subscriber
The Shortcut’s Holiday Gift Guide picks are editorially driven, however, some products labeled with our S logo are boosted to the top through paid sponsorship.
For the memory keepers 📸
I hate deleting any photos I’ve taken on my iPhone, but I also refuse to pay for iCloud to store all my precious snaps. That’s why I love the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe as its two connectors let me easily move my files from my iPhone and onto my iMac quickly and securely.
The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe comes in three capacities: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, so there are plenty of options to suit your storage needs. The plug-and-play ease of the SanDisk iXpand is also a winner, as you don’t need to rely on internet speeds or a connection to get the job done. Ideal.
For the hardcore gamers 🏆
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 delivers unrivaled gaming performance. Whether you’re embarking on a grand adventure in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or immersing yourself in the dystopian future Cyberpunk 2077, the RTX 4090 delivers blisteringly high frames per second. And with, NVIDIA Reflex, it delivers the ultimate competitive advantage. Acquire targets faster, react quicker, and increase aim precision through a suite of technologies built to reduce and measure system latency.
What really separates the RTX 4090 from the competition, however, is its industry-leading ray tracing performance. Ray tracing can have a transformative effect in games, making everything appear more realistic. From convincing lighting and shadows to accurate surface reflections, the RTX 4090 can do it all. Throw in DLSS 3, an AI-powered performance multiplier, and you’ve got a powerful two-punch package that’s a knockout for PC gamers.
For the digital nomads 💻
Gaming laptops have come a long way from their bulky beginnings. They’re not only capable of playing the best PC games at high resolutions and silky-smooth framerates, but you can also use them as powerful workstations that rival desktop performance.
One such gaming laptop that ticks all the boxes is the Razer Blade 15. Armed with a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU, this high-performance GeForce laptop offers unparalleled build quality, exceptional performance and a sleek form factor. The Razer Blade comes in several configurations, including one with a full-HD 360Hz display. Now that’s fast.
Too pricey for you? The Lenovo Legion with the NVIDIA RTX 3060 comes in at only $1,099 at B&H Photo right now with free expedited shipping.
For the competitors 🖥️
The Dell Alienware AW3423DW was one of the first OLED G-SYNC monitors on the market, and it’s still comfortably one of the best. Offering perfect black levels and vibrant colors, your favorite PC games will shine on this 34-inch, 21:9 ultrawide display.
With NVIDIA G-SYNC built-in, you can also enjoy smooth, tear-free gameplay and a blazing-fast refresh rate of 175Hz to give you the edge in games like Overwatch 2 and PUBG. If you haven’t experienced the wonders of G-SYNC and OLED display technologies yet, it’s time to correct that asap.
For the PS5 owners 🎮
If you’re planning on playing more than a handful of the best PS5 games, you’ll need to upgrade your PlayStation 5’s storage. With only 667GB of usable space, the PS5’s internal NVMe SSD can fill up fast – and that’s where the WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD for PS5 Consoles comes into play.
As the first official PlayStation-licensed M.2 SSD for the PlayStation 5, the WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD for PS5 Consoles meets all of Sony’s specifications for PS5 drives, so you enjoy peak performance without worrying about any compatibility issues. With read speeds of 7000MB/s and write speeds of 5300MB/s, your games will load incredibly fast and the built-in heatsink ensures the WD_BLACK stays cool under pressure.
For the tech enthusiast 🔋
Subscription boxes can be an exciting momentary distraction from the knowledge that the rest of your mail consists of either junk or bills you’d rather not confront. It’s one way to surprise yourself on a recurring basis with a new treat you forgot you’re paying for. And it’s even better if someone else is paying for it – which is what makes Gadget Discovery Club such a thoughtful gift any tech-loving recipient is bound to appreciate.
Every three months, Gadget Discovery Club sends out a box full of mysterious electronic goodies. These include devices like webcams, power banks, VR headsets, headphones and speakers. Practical stuff you would have bought yourself had the latest PS5 restock not taken all your gadget money away.
Starting at $89 a box for a year’s supply, each package contains between one and four gadgets valued at more than $125. Every box follows a certain theme – from smart home to health and fitness. With the cutoff for online holiday purchases imminent, a gift certificate for Gadget Discovery is the perfect present for the gadget fanatic you haven’t a clue how to shop for.
For the student and the professional 🤓
For one reason or another, we as a society cannot seem to escape the clutches of Microsoft’s imperishable productivity software suite. Even with the advent of Google Workspace, whether you’re on Windows or a Mac, Microsoft Office apps are all but required in settings both academic and professional.
Sure, maybe you can get away with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for most tasks. However, when that file your colleague or professor sends over ends in .xlsx, you’re in for a rude awakening. As far as free cloud-based services have come along, opening local documents remains a headache many of us don’t have the bandwidth to deal with.
Because of Microsoft’s outrageous pricing on lifetime licenses, a lot of people that need access to Office apps end up subscribing to Office 365, which gets you Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for a monthly fee starting at $69.99 per year. StackSocial, on the other hand, sells Microsoft Office Professional for Windows and Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac at a substantial discount – a one-time charge of $29.99 for the full 2021 suite.
For the home theater enthusiast 📺
The TCL 6-Series is the best 4K TV for the price in 2022, according to our first-hand testing, and it gets that nod from our reviewers thanks to its souped-up 144Hz refresh rate and Mini LED backlighting. You can’t beat the peak brightness of a television like this for movie watching and video game playing.
Best of all, this is a Roku TV, so the interface is incredibly simple to use and it has all of the apps that you need – no separate streaming device required. At 55 inches, 65 inches (the model we tested), 75 inches and the new size in 85 inches, the 6-Series TV starts just under $650, and it’s hard not to like that.
For the blue bubble texter📱
We’ve tested all of the new iPhones from Apple this year, and although the all-new iPhone 14 Plus is a winner for its size and price balancing act, the camera and the display on the 14 Pro Max give it the edge for techies who want it all. The only way to experience the clever Dynamic Island and the always-on display is to opt for the 6.1-inch 14 Pro and 6.7-inch 14 Pro Max.
But let’s be serious. We’re all sticking with the iPhone for one main reason: the color of iMessage bubbles because, for some people, green bubbles and no FaceTime are just not an option in the US. Luckily, it all comes together in a nice package starting at $999 for the Pro models.
For those who flip over phones 📱
We once called the first Galaxy Z Fold the “most forward-thinking smartphone you shouldn’t buy.” Why? We knew that Samsung had a few more iterations before it got its foldable concept right. Sure enough, the Galaxy Fold 4 is that long-awaited phone we can recommend to any early adopter of tech.
The 7.6-inch screen is great for gaming in mini-tablet mode when open, while the 6.2-inch Cover Display offers enough room to type when closed in traditional phone mode. The 50MP main camera is the star of this foldable smartphone with 4x the resolution of the Fold 3 and a 10MP camera with 3x optical zoom. That’s quite an upgrade year-over-year. Multi-tasking has also improved since the first Fold we reviewed almost four years ago. Best of all for your budget, Samsung has been offering strong trade-in values that are hard to resist.
For gamers who want power at a good price 📲
You don’t have to pay a lot for top-of-the-line specs or a big screen to get a solid Android phone, and the new OnePlus 10T proves just that. It’s a cheaper version of the OnePlus 10, but the 10T still comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage, and a 50MP camera.
During the midst of inflation, having a top-specced phone starting at $649 feels right. Gamers on a budget who want an Android 12 smartphone upgrade won’t blink at this phone’s price tag compared to its equally-specced rivals. And, if you’re not blinking, it’s all the more reason to love the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and the next-gen 3D cooling system that just doesn’t quit.
For the gamers who want the ‘Ultimate’ 👾
I’ve always thought I had a pretty good childhood, but I can only look on with envy at the youth of today because of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. A subscription to Microsoft’s popular service gives you access to hundreds of the best Xbox Series X games on console and PC for $14.99 a month, including day-one releases of first-party games that would otherwise cost $70.
When I was younger I had to mow the lawn, spend time with grandma, win a soccer tournament and get good grades to convince my parents to buy me just one video game. Xbox Game Pass changes all that – it’s the best deal in gaming bar none and a small reason why I’m getting bitter in my old age.
For the creators 😎
Putting a tiny camera in a pair of sunglasses is the type of gadgetry that was once reserved for the likes of James Bond, but not anymore. The Ray-Ban Stories not only look suitably suave and come in a range of styles, but you can take videos and shoot video hands-free, keeping you immersed in the moment.
What’s more, the Ray-Ban Stories is equipped with three built-in microphones so you can go from requesting your complicated Starbucks order to chatting with a friend at a moment’s notice. Now that’s cool and convenient.
For the sneakerheads 👟
So, you bought the loudest neon Jordans you could find to replace your dailys, and now you have nothing to wear when you’re out at a “smart casual” function. Not to worry – before you hit the buy button on a boring pair of dress shoes, why not stick it to the man, quietly, in a subtler shade of sneaker, like the Nike Air Force 1 ‘07?
In both men’s and women’s styles, the AF1 ‘07 is a throwback to a throwback. As the name suggests, the shoe was originally released in 2007 as a retro homage to the 1982 Air Force 1 design, commemorating the 25th anniversary of its best-selling sneaker. The Air Force 1 is the Honda Civic of shoes, adored by sneakerheads and casual wearers alike.
While the best looking option for men is probably the LV8, some colors may not be in stock. Plus, if you’re the type to rough it, the LV8 won’t last as long as the AF1 ‘07 Fresh, which was made to stay clean and odorless-ish without creasing after longterm use.
For women, the sustainability-focused AF1 ‘07 SE comes in a few cute and classy colorways, or you can even design your own. If you’re feeling bold, however, and don’t plan on flexing your kicks in a professional environment anytime soon, the AF1 LX comes in a variety of quirky patterns and colorways that are sure to draw attention.
For the action-oriented vloggers 🧗♂️
This is Matt’s favorite camera line to review every year because testing a new GoPro requires some extreme adventures, as seen in his GoPro Hero 11 Black review that includes a ride in a helicopter over Manhattan. Extreme! 🤘
Ok, after all that Extreme! is out of his system, Matt goes back to 364 days of sitting behind a computer desk and six monitors to bring you The Shortcut. This year – in addition to being able to buy the Hero 11 Black – you’ll also have the option to buy the smaller GoPro Hero 11 Black mini with equally smooth video stabilization. It’s a great wearable B-action camera to your A-action-camera, the Hero 11 Black.
For the curious 🧐
Typing questions into Google used to be the easiest way to win an argument against your significant other, but an Amazon Echo broadcasts that fact you were right all along to the entire world (or the room you’re in, at least).
I frequently use my Amazon Echo to answer queries, set timers when I’m cooking, and tune into the radio when I’m begrudgingly cleaning the house. Alexa always hears me loud and clear, and it’s still super satisfying using voice commands to get stuff done, even in 2022. If you don’t have a smart assistant yet, you’re seriously missing out.
For the podcasters 🎤
A good microphone isn’t just a great investment for you – it can also be blessing for everyone else you have to talk to online. If you’re still shouting at your laptop’s in-built microphone, or fumbling around with a cheap headset, the Blue Yeti X is a luxurious audio upgrade that will make your voice sound soothingly clear and crisp.
The Blue Yeti X is also a superb choice if you’ve ever wanted to dabble in streaming, podcasting, or voice-over work. It won’t help you win American Idol, but it will make you a winner with your office colleagues whenever you’re talking on a Zoom call. Just remember to unmute yourself when you do.
For the streamers 🎥
The pandemic caused a seismic shift to remote working, which means we’ve all had to stare at our mugs during online meetings more than anyone could have imagined. To make matters worse, most people’s webcams are blurry, don’t handle low-light conditions very well, and only serve to make you look worse than you actually do in real life.
The Elgato Facecam can fix this common problem with its 1080p 60fps output, cutting-edge image sensor and onboard memory that lets you recall image settings on multiple computers. Elgato says its Facecam is “engineered to make you look amazing”, and it’s hard to argue with that statement.
For the VR voyagers 🥽
Virtual reality has been teetering on the verge of becoming mainstream for the last year or so, and it’s mostly down to the success of the Meta Quest 2. Mark Zuckerberg’s push to make the metaverse happen may never happen, but the Meta Quest 2 has shown what consumers want from a VR headset: a wireless format, a pair of great controllers, and plenty of games to play.
VR will always look silly to an outsider, but those who have the headset on will testify to just how fun and immersive the technology can be. There’s a reason why virtual reality refuses to go away, despite its many detractors, and with Sony’s PSVR 2 just around the corner, 2023 might finally be VR’s year.
For the cold winter warriors 🥶
Going outside in the winter can be dreadful for those living in colder climates. But with a warm enough winter coat, some of that fear can be assuaged. Despite being extremely warm due to their high-quality, down-filled material, Canada Goose jackets are more lightweight than you’d expect.
The company offers a variety of styles, which differ not only in weight and form, but also in protection against the elements. You can find the Thermal Experience Index rating for each jacket on its respective page listing. At the highest TEI level, you’ll find the Canada Goose Mountaineer Parka, which can survive temperatures under -22°F, possibly giving you the best bang for your buck considering it’s under $1,000.
Although it might sound absurd to spend a grand or more on a single article of winterwear, the hype is admittedly justified. Each jacket comes with a lifetime warranty and will last you well over a decade with proper care.
For those who like to put their feet up 🧹
Whenever I vacuum my apartment, I chastise my past self for not purchasing a robot to do the dirty work for me. Vacuuming is a chore, but thankfully we have the technology to lets a disc-shaped servant roam around our homes while we concentrate on more important tasks.
The iRobot Roomba Combo j7 does it all. It can make your place clean and sparkly, empties itself for 60 days so you don’t have to, and makes sure the job is done right. You can ensure your little robot friend does everything you ask it to, and never need to worry about vacuuming again. Bliss.
For the readers 📖
Look, we all need to read more. Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and playing PS5 games isn’t a good enough substitute for the written word, even if they are really fun. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is still the best e-reader out there, and I honestly think it makes reading more enjoyable. Seeing how long you have left in a chapter, not having to hold a big old crusty book while lying on your side in bed, and being able to read in every lighting condition make using a Kindle a pleasure to use.
If you’ve ever wanted to trade doom-scrolling on social media for a page-turning novel, the Kindle Paperwhite is the type of present everyone would be thankful for this holiday season.
For the PC gamer 🖱️
The Alienware 720M also has enough wireless range that you can use it in the living room if you’re the type of PC gamer who prefers to play on the couch as opposed to at your desk.
For the beauty queens 👩🦰
The Dyson Supersonic is basically the supercar of the hair dryer world. It looks gorgeous, dries your hair incredibly quickly, and won’t damage your hair in the process. It’s engineered for balance, meaning it’s easy to hold and comes with five attachments so you can create stylish looks at home.
What I love, though, is that the Dyson Supersonic is acoustically tuned to produce one inaudible frequency instead of the leaf-blower-like noises we’re used to from traditional hair dryers. That alone is worth the price tag for me, but it’s nice to know I’m not frying my hair, too.
For those who like to chill out 🧊
There’s a reason why the vast majority of restaurants serve beverages with ice. A cold, ice-filled drink always tastes more refreshing than something that’s simply been kept in the fridge or – shudder at the thought – served at room temperature.
With the Euhomy Nugget Ice Maker Countertop, you can bring restaurant-quality drinks into your home. Whether you’re having a soft drink, an alcoholic beverage or making a complicated cocktail, you’ll be able to take your tipple of choice to the next level with a nice handful of ice.
For the garden DJs 💃
The Bose SoundLink Flex lets you get the party starter wherever, whenever – but don’t be one of those people who blast their music out while in public places. That’s just annoying.
Provided you’re in an appropriate setting, the Bose SoundLink Flex provides crystal clear sound, balanced treble, and bass, and it sounds great whether it’s standing upright, lying on its back, or hanging from the speaker’s utility loop.
The Bose SoundLink Flex not only sounds great, but it’s sleek enough to fit into your home, durable enough to be taken outdoors, and safe to take to the beach. What’s more, this Bluetooth portable speaker is waterproof and even floats. Bose in the bath, anyone?
For the tired cat owner
Scooping out their litter box is one of the few high-maintenance responsibilities that comes with owning a cat. The unfortunate reality we all have to accept is that, much like humans, cats poop and the daily cleanup routine gets old fast. That being said, we live in a world where just about anything can be automated – litter boxes are no exception.
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect laid the groundwork for what a self-cleaning litter box should be. Unlike many of the off-brand alternatives, it was engineered to prevent jamming and over-sifting, meaning it was a reliable, efficient machine. It also succeeded in an area where a lot of smart home companies fail: app development. Whisker, the Litter-Robot companion app for iOS and Android provides comprehensive metrics on your furry friend’s habits as well as the status of the drawer. When it’s full, it’ll let you know it’s time to change the bag.
For cat owners on a budget, the Litter-Robot 3 still holds up, but the Litter-Robot 4 improves on many of the same features – including Whisker integrations – and adds a few more. In addition to providing notifications and insights, the Litter-Robot 4 adds a scale that weighs your cat after each use, real-time fill level monitoring and best of all, quieter cycling that won’t loudly remind everyone in the house of their proximity to cat poop.
For the helicopter fur parent
The Wyze Cam Pan v2 is the perfect gadget as it turns 360 degrees to see an entire room – handy, considering your pet will rarely be in the same place – has a starlight sensor for nighttime check-ins, and it even has motion tracking. If that wasn’t enough for the Wyze Cam Pan v2 to end up under your Christmas tree this year, you can also chat with your pet using the two-way audio feature. Say no more.
I’m obsessed with my dog, and I’m pretty sure that every pet owner will likely say the same thing about their furry little friend. Having a way to check in on them at a moment’s notice is not only reassuring but a great way to help ease those feelings of separation anxiety that occur every time you leave the house.
For the fitness fanatics 🏋️
One thing you can bank on in 2023 is that your local gym will be packed to the rafters on January 1. It’s inevitable and means working out will be even more of a pain as you’re huffing and puffing next to other sweaty patrons, who are all vying for the same machines.
Picture this, though. You buy Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch – one of the best Switch games around – and get to experience a fantastic workout from the comfort of your own home. And better yet, you’ll have far more fun playing Ring Fit Adventure than you ever will pounding a treadmill for 30 minutes. Think about that before you rush out to renew your gym membership.
For the music maestros 🎧
The Sony WH-1000XM5 is revered for having incredible noise-canceling technology, excellent audio quality, and intuitive touch controls on either earcup. What’s more, these headphones support quick charging, meaning you can get three hours of battery life with a three-minute charge.
If that wasn’t enough, the Sony WH-1000XM5 supports Hi-Res Audio, and hands-free calling, comes with a collapsible carry case, and even has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. This is a superb Sony product.
For the movers and shakers 🎶
If you’re already part of the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) should be at the top of your Christmas wishlist. Apple’s best-in-class wireless earbuds offer phenomenal sound quality, exceptional noise-canceling, and a transparency mode that makes you feel like you’re not wearing earbuds at all. It’s magical.
The 2nd generation AirPods Pro comes with extra tips so you can get the perfect fit, Dolby Atmos spatial audio support, and work seamlessly across your Apple devices. They will work on Android devices, too, but expect a few missing features. Either way, these are the best wireless earbuds on the market.
For the dreamers 😴
Smartwatches may be great at monitoring your activities and counting your steps, but I personally hate wearing a watch to bed for sleep tracking. But that’s where the Oura Ring Gen3 comes in.
This clever wearable is the industry-leading sleep tracker and can genuinely improve your sleep quality over time. Thanks to its beautiful ring design, you won’t have to worry about sleeping with something bulky on your wrist and its 7-day battery life means it’ll last an entire week before it needs to charge.
For the health conscious 💧
Staying hydrated sounds easy, but it’s actually rather hard to do. Not only do you need to get in the habit of chugging some quality H20 – easier said than done – but you also need to make sure your water bottle of choice doesn’t stink.
And I mean that literally, as it’s easy for reusable water bottles to become dirty and smelly over time. Not so with the LARQ Bottle PureVis, though. This clever self-cleaning bottle neutralizes up to 99% of bacteria such as E.coli and intelligently activates every two hours to keep your water and bottle stink-free. Delightful.
For the adventurers 💪
Thanks to its durable design, incredible battery life and impervious durability, the Apple Watch Ultra has already proven to be a hit. It helps that you can throw whatever life has to offer at the Apple Watch Ultra without worry, which means it will appeal to the adventurers in your life who need a smartwatch that can do it all.
Even if you’re not someone who plans on doing 20-mile hikes or diving to the deepest depths of the ocean anytime soon, the larger watch face and up to 60-hour battery life may be enough of a reason to pick the Ultra over the Apple Watch Series 8 this holiday season.
Did we miss something from our list? Comments are open to FREE and paid subscribers of The Shortcut