September is barely over. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just showed off the new iPhone 7 a few weeks ago. Halloween costumes haven’t even been dug out of closets yet. And we’re already talking about the hottest gadgets for the 2016 holiday season?
It’s never too early to get your Christmas shopping done. Having a heads up on what cool gadgets are likely to be popular this year lets you start prepping now for Black Friday, so you can get a good deal and score a gift that’ll make an impact.
Here’s our list of the 10 hottest gadgets for the 2016 holiday shopping season.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Amazon Echo
The Echo is Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) hands-free, Alexa-powered speaker.
It definitely does music, but that’s not the reason to buy it. There are plenty of Bluetooth speakers that sound as good for less money.
Unlike those other speakers, the Amazon Echo is also a smart home centerpiece. It’s one of the hottest gadgets around these days…
Thanks to Alexa — Amazon’s digital personal assistant — your voice is all that’s needed to order products from Amazon, switch on your home’s smart lights or even order a pizza from Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ).
1Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Yes it looks like the iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, it’s far from perfect.
However, Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus is shaping up to be the ideal gift for any Apple fan who hasn’t upgraded recently.
The Plus may be more expensive than the regular iPhone 7, but it has been outselling its smaller sibling and quickly sold out at launch.
The dual-camera system with optical zoom is the key difference and makes the iPhone 7 Plus a powerful choice for those who use their smartphone as their primary camera.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
Anyone who buys (or receives) an iPhone 7 is going to want Bluetooth headphones.
You can use the Lightning adapter Apple includes with your old wired headphones, but that’s a little ugly — now is really the time to go wireless.
There are better headphones for the money than Apple’s Beats (I recently reviewed these 1More MK802s that sound great at a fraction of the cost), but let’s face it: Beats are the most popular.
This year, the must-have version will be the Beats Solo3 wireless on-ear headphones. They have 40-hour battery life and feature Apple’s W1 chip (for easier pairing) that third party cans lack.
Plus you can get them in all the iPhone colors, including Rose Gold and Gloss Black.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Xbox One S
It may not do 4K — at least not for games, although it will support 4K video — but expect Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One S to be popular this Christmas.
If you already have an Xbox One, wait for the 4K, VR-supporting Project Scorpio to arrive next year. But if an Xbox is already on your shopping list, the Xbox One S is a big improvement over the original.
It’s 40% smaller, supports HDR and 4K video, boosts storage up to as much as 2TB — and you can get it in white.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: PlayStation 4 Pro
If a gamer on your list wants the most powerful console currently available (well, available by November 10 at least), that would be the new PlayStation 4 Pro.
Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) doubled the power of its PS4, offering HDR support, 4K gaming and boosted frame rates for the PlayStation VR virtual reality system.
Keep in mind, a 4K TV is also required to take full advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s capabilities, so you may have to shell out for one of those too.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Oculus Rift
Among gamers, it’s a hot ticket thanks to impressive hardware, developer support and games like Edge of Nowhere, although a reasonably powerful PC is needed to run the equipment.
Order it now if you want one. While they’re currently in stock, the virtual reality headsets have been backordered by as much as four months at different points this year.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Apple Watch Series 2
While the original Apple Watch may not have been a runaway hit, it was the most popular smartwatch ever.
With the recently announced Apple Watch Series 2, Apple keeps the look but adds compelling features that are bound to boost its popularity.
Among the key changes are a new waterproof dive rating (so it can be worn while swimming), a faster CPU, built-in GPS and an even bigger focus on fitness — including a partnership with Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE).
The Gold Edition is gone, but if you want a luxury version, there are Hermes choices starting at $1,149 and a new White Ceramic option that starts at $1,249.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Pebble 2
Do you have someone on your Christmas list who wants a smartwatch, but $400 for an Apple Watch is a little steep for your budget?
The Pebble 2 is going to be a popular alternative this year and is well worth checking out.
The original Pebble smartwatch set Kickstarter sales records and is still popular because of its simplicity, cross-platform compatibility, long battery life — and inexpensive price.
The follow-up Pebble 2 improves on the original with a built-in heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, notifications, Pebble Health and new case colors.
It still offers an impressive seven-day battery life, and sold through the Kickstarter for just $99, with general retail version at $129.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: Fitbit Charge 2
Apple may rule the smartwatch roost, but when it comes to fitness wearables and activity trackers, Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) is king.
The Charge HR was the company’s previous best-seller, but the new Charge 2 is destined to take over with fitness enthusiasts.
A larger OLED touch display has the room for more information, including customized watch faces and notifications, and bands are interchangeable so you can switch up the look.
Unlike fitness-oriented smartwatches, the Fitbit Charge 2 is all about fitness, health and activity. It’s light and can be worn to bed. It also offers five-day battery life and sleep tracking.
Hottest Gadgets for 2016 Holiday Shopping: GoPro Karma Drone
When it comes to cool gadgets, it’s tough to beat a drone. They were popular gifts last year and looks to be even more so this Christmas.
GoPro may be new to the drone market, but it packed the Karma with features. The new drone folds into a compact package for easy carrying, it can use a Hero4 or new Hero5 series GoPro camera and its 3-axis gimbal can be removed with the included Karma Grip as a hand-held steadycam.
The Karma also offers a compelling combination of easy flying and advanced capabilities.
Starting at $799, it’s priced to take on the drone market leaders like DJI.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.