So, it has come down to this. A week left until Christmas and you haven’t finished your shopping yet. Leaving it to the last minute does make things challenging, especially when you’re looking for high-tech gifts.
However, there is still time. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is offering free next-day delivery right up until Dec. 22 for in-stock items. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is doing even better, with free Prime two-day shipping until the 22nd; plus in some cities, Amazon is also offering one-day shipping on Dec. 23 and same-day shipping on Dec. 24.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is offering that online orders up until Dec. 23 can be picked up in-store on the 24th. Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google is has expedited shipping up until Dec. 20 with delivery by the 24th.
There are other online retailers offering extended shipping times, and of course there are brick-and-mortar stores too, but for this last-minute holiday guide, I’m going to stick to products you can order online through the four listed retailers.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Google Home
Smart speakers are on track to be one of the most popular high-tech gifts of 2017. And while Amazon’s Echo is the market leader, Google makes some compelling alternatives.
It’s a little late to consider the Google Home Max — just released, it’s already showing a 2 week-3 week lead time before shipping. Too late…
But, you can pick up the original Google Home smart speaker and have it delivered in time for Christmas. Even better, Google has it on sale for $50 off for the holidays.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Apple Watch Nike+ Series 3
Wearables are still a hot category, and when it comes to smartwatches, the Apple Watch remains on top.
The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE introduced cellular connectivity, allowing users to cut the iPhone cord.
Perhaps the coolest version of the Apple Watch Series 3 — at least for someone who likes a funky wristband, likes the Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) logo, or is big into fitness — is the Apple Watch Nike+ Series 3. You get all the Apple Watch features, plus a choice of custom bands, custom Nike watch faces and the Nike+ Run Club app pre-installed.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Beats X Earphones
Apple’s Beats headphones continue to be a category leader, and if someone on your shipping list has an iPhone 7, iPhone 8 or iPhone X, they can’t use traditional 3.5mm corded earbuds.
So this might be the year to consider going wireless.
Apple has the Beats X wireless earbuds — with eight hours of battery life and two hour charge in 5 minutes– in a range of colors. They’ll deliver in time for the big day and they’re also $50 off…
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Google Pixel 2 XL
Good luck getting ahold of an iPhone X before Christmas…
However, Google will ship you a Pixel 2 XL in time for holiday gifting.
Like the iPhone X, the Google Pixel 2 XL has a big, OLED display. Google has had some issues with its version (LG makes Google’s while Samsung makes Apple’s), but it’s still a very nice flagship smartphone, with probably the best Android experience out there.
And it has what many tests have showed to be the top-performing smartphone camera available.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Playstation 4 Pro
In the battle for game console popularity, Sony Corp ADR (NYSE:SNE) is winning this round with the Playstation 4.
The mid-cycle upgrade model — the PS4 Pro — is a more capable version, with seriously enhanced graphics. Bundles are getting hard to come by this late in the game, but you can still order a PS4 Pro from Walmart with delivery in time for Christmas.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Xbox One S
If a gamer on your list leans more toward the Xbox camp, Amazon has some good deals on Xbox One S console bundles.
And more importantly than price at this point, is the fact that you can click “buy” now and still get one of these in time to slip it under the tree.
One of the better values is the 500GB Xbox One S with Battlefield 1 bundle, currently going for $229 on Amazon. That includes the best-seller game, one wireless controller, an HDMI cable, one month of free EA access and 14 days of free Xbox Live.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa
One of the best high-tech gifts you can give anyone who’s an Amazon Prime member is an Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa.
The product name is a mouthful, but it says it all. Amazon’s popular Fire TV video streamer, this time in an HDMI dongle form factor that plugs in to the back of a TV. This version supports 4K Ultra HD streaming and HDR, so you get the best possible video (at least when connected to a 4K TV). And the remote includes Alexa voice control.
Amazon has the price cut to just $54.99 for the holidays (in comparison, an Apple TV 4K starts at $179), and you can get one at the last minute and no-one will be the wiser.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Google Chromecast Audio
The Google Chromecast Audio has been a holiday gift guide staple since its release, and for good reason.
It’s affordable (just $35), retro-looking and colorful. As a Google product, it has serious high-tech cred.
But the real magic is the way the Google Chromecast Audio can turn any old school stereo or wireless speaker into a streaming speaker. Just plug it into the AUX input, and wirelessly cast audio from a smartphone using popular services like Spotify.
Holiday Gift Guide 2017 (Last-Minute High-Tech Gifts): Apple Gift Card
Finally, the old fall-back: a gift card. But if there’s someone on your list who uses Apple products, an Apple Gift card is actually a hugely useful high-tech gift.
They can use the card to buy apps, buy e-books and rent or buy movies through iTunes. My favorite use is to pay the monthly Apple Music service fee using Apple gift cards. Just redeem the card and the balance goes into the iTunes account, where it automatically pays that monthly fee.
You can order Apple gift cards online from Apple, but if you check store flyers, many retailers often offer then at a 10% to 20% discount.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.