2019 Gift Guide: Keep Your Friends & Family Productive with These Essential Smartphone Gifts

Keep Your Friends & Family Productive with These Essential Smartphone Gifts

Christmas is just one week before Jan. 1. That means a lot of New Year's resolutions filled with promises to better ourselves with increased productivity, focus, and work ethics — but getting started can be challenging. Give the people in your life a leg up this holiday season with these smartphone gifts to keep them on-task in 2020.

Know how much you want to spend? Click one of the links below to jump ahead:

Stocking Stuffers for Less Than $25

Help Your Android Friends Charge Up

We all try to keep our smartphones charged, but the cables that come with our devices often end up lost or broken before long. Help a friend out by buying an extra USB-C power cable for the Android users in your life. Amazon, for example, makes a reliable cable:

Image via Amazon

Don't Leave the iPhones Hanging

Your iPhone friends need extra cables just as badly as your Android ones. Apple still uses a proprietary Lightning port, so you'll need to buy that type of cable if you want your friends to have a happy holiday. Give Maitron's 3-pack of braided cables a try. Amazon reviewers call them durable, good quality, and cost-friendly chargers:

Image via Amazon

Help with the Typing

Modern smartphones are actually compatible with Bluetooth keyboards. If you know someone who's always typing away on their iPhone or Android device, they might appreciate an ultra-portable wireless keyboard, like Artek's:

Image via Amazon

Add a Little Extra Control

It's not just keyboards that work with smartphones these days. You can connect a Bluetooth mouse with your phone as well. Androids have been able to do this for some time, but with iOS 13, iPhones gain this ability too. Dekean makes an affordable option that reviewers love. In fact, it has a perfect five-star rating on Amazon:

Image via Amazon

'Who Wants a Stylus?'

Steve Jobs' infamous quote didn't age too well. As it turns out, a lot of people want a stylus with their phone. But if your friend isn't using a Samsung Note device, their phone likely didn't come with a stylus. Buy them one on the cheap, like Meko's offering. Maybe instead of listening to Steve, we should listen to the Amazon reviewer who says: "Where have you been all my (touch-screen) life?!"

Image via Amazon

From the Phone to the Big Screen

Know someone who gives a lot of presentations? Their phone can actually help them out. Using an HDMI adapter, you can plug your phone into a TV, monitor, projector, etc.

If you're buying for an iPhone owner, check out Geamon's HDMI adapter. It doesn't break the bank, and reviewers find it a convenient solution for projecting content on a bigger display. What else could you want?

Image via Amazon

On the Android side, there are plenty of options on Amazon, but you can't go wrong with Uni's USB-C to HDMI adapter. "Excellent quality," "Works excellent," and "Reliable and Solid" are just a few of the happy reviews we see.

Image via Amazon

Great Gifts for Friends Between $25 & $99

Give the Gift of Connectivity

These days, if you aren't connected to the internet, you likely aren't productive. Help your friends stay connected with a mobile hotspot. Amazon reviewers like Huawei's offering, albeit with a warning that setup can be confusing:

Image via Amazon

Work Smarter, Not Harder

A good smart speaker can make a workspace so much more fun, while also offering helpful tools to stay focused. In terms of balancing affordability with plenty of features, look no further than Amazon or Google. The Echo Dot and the 2nd gen Nest Mini both offer features in a bite-size package. Both are relatively affordable when compared to larger smart speakers, but for the best deal, you can't beat Google's $49 price tag.

Image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

No Plugs, No Problem

The advent of wireless charging marks a way to charge your iPhone or Android by doing nothing other than placing your device on a charging pad. It's hard to get too distracted by charging your phone when it's as easy as that.

Samsung makes a couple of wireless chargers that we love, as noted in our iPhone accessories gift guide. You can't go wrong with Samsung's standard charge pad. It chargers quickly, up to 9-watts, and looks pretty cool if you ask us.

Image via Samsung

For Those with Multiple Wireless Charging Devices

Do you have a true techie on your list? Maybe someone with a wireless charging smartphone and pair of headphones? Consider Samsung's Duo charger, which, as the name implies, allows you to charge two items at once. The best part? One of the chargers is also a stand, making it perfect for accessing a smartphone while working.

Image via Samsung

Block Out the Noise & Get Some Work Done

There's nothing like a pair of good noise-canceling headphones to drown out the sounds of the office, coffee shop, airplane, what have you. You don't need to drop a bundle of cash to find quality headphones, either. As indicated in our audiophiles gift guide, Mixcder makes a great pair of noise-canceling headphones, all for $69.99. At that price point, Mixcder is the brand to beat.

Image via Amazon

Don't forget to check out other gifts for the music lovers in your life:

Turn Their Samsung Device into a Full-Blown Computer

If your giftee has a recent Samsung device, they can turn their phone into a true desktop computer, using Samsung's DeX Station. For just over $70, your friend's Samsung phone just got a lot more useful.

Image by DetroitBORG/YouTube

Keep That Coffee at the Perfect Temperature

Coffee is the ultimate productivity resource, but anyone addicted to the stuff knows there's a small window where the temperature is just right. Stop your friend from running to the microwave — instead, buy them an Ember Mug, which keeps your drinks at a specific temperature you set on your smartphone.

Image by Dave Lee/YouTube

Best of all, your friend will have the option to keep the mug on the accompanying charging coaster, or rely on Ember's one-hour battery life to take the mug around the office.

Splurges for $100 & Up

Block Out the Noise & Look Hip Doing It

There's no doubt that Apple's AirPods are the hottest earbuds on the market. Now that the company just released an updated pair with Active Noise Cancellation, they're sure to fare even better.

Image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

Create a Conference Call Anywhere

If your giftee is a professional always on the phone, don't force them to rely on their crappy smartphone speaker. Instead, get them a portable Bluetooth speakerphone like eMeet's, perfect for creating conference calls no matter where they might be. Just check the reviews if you aren't sure. One user lauds the speaker's "remarkable voice audio quality," while another calls it a "nice design, easy to use, all around good product."

Image via Amazon

Bring the Big Screen to Them

If you want your friend to be able to display their iPhone or Android device on a computer monitor, perhaps make it a reality yourself! There are tons of monitors out there to choose from, but consider this 23.8-inch display from HP. It comes recommended by an Amazon editor, and has a lot of reviewers impressed for the price.

Image via Amazon

Make Their Year with a New Phone

Of course, when it's all said and done, there's no better smartphone gift than a new smartphone itself. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to pick out what phone would be best for your workaholic friend. We're, of course, here to help:

Best Android for Getting Work Done

Oh boy. This is a tough one. To be honest, you really can't go wrong with this year's batch of flagships. All have their plusses and minuses, but, for the most part, all are solid, well-made smartphones. If you had to twist our arm? We'd recommend the Note 10+. Why? Well, that giant, gorgeous display is perfect for getting work done, and the accompanying stylus is just the cherry on top. Samsung was the first to popularize the "phablet," and for good reason.

Plus, the Note 10+ pairs wonderfully with DeX, so your friend can go from working on their phone to instantly working on a "computer." It's tough to beat that setup.

Image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

The Best iPhone for Getting Work Done

Unlike Android, there aren't nearly as many options when it comes to iPhones. Apple released three new devices this year, and has a selection of past devices available for purchase. Of course, you can find good deals on used and discontinued iPhones all over the internet, but if you're asking us, we'd recommend the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Is it expensive? Yes. But that cost goes towards three amazing cameras (is this the ultimate portable scanner?), as well as a giant, excellent display. Your friend will have no problem getting their work done on the 11 Pro Max, and will be forever indebted to you.

Image by Jonathan Morrison/YouTube
Cover image by Headway/Unsplash

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