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We've come a long way since Bill Gates posed seductively with an early-model PC. Far from being the domain of basement-dwelling power-nerds (sorry, Bill), these days, tech is for everyone. Whether you're shopping for someone who'd love to supplement their life with some practical gadgets or someone who'd prefer virtual reality to the real thing.
Custom Xbox Controller, Microsoft Local
Show a gamer you know them—like, really know them—by designing a custom Xbox controller in their favorite colors. They'll think of you while they're scoring goals in FIFA or killing NPCs in Red Dead Redemption. It's sweeter than it sounds.
OtterBox Fast Charge Power Bank, REI Local
Whether they're headed on a long camping trip or just can't seem to make it a full day without running through their entire phone battery, anyone relying on devices (and who isn't?) could use a backup charger. This one from OtterBox can fully charge a phone five times before it needs juiced up itself.
Coway Airmega 150 Air Purifier, Nordstrom Local
Some tech is strictly practical: HEPA air purifiers have been shown to reduce Covid risk; they're also useful in our increasingly smoky wildfire seasons. This one, available in sage green and peony pink, pairs good old-fashioned utility with a look that's high-tech sleek.
Misha Zadeh Pansies on Lilac Phone Case, Casetify Local
Featuring a watercolor design from Seattle-based graphic designer Misha Zadeh, wireless charging compatibility, and some serious fall protection, this case has you covered in the thoughtful-and-practical gift department. Just make sure you know what model phone they've got (or will be gifted—'tis the season).
Miele CM5500 Coffee System, Seattle Coffee Gear Local
Step aside, Keurig. Recommended by the folks at Seattle Coffee Gear for its "excellent espresso" and useful features, this machine satisfies true tech fans and coffee nuts alike (so, everyone here?).
HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset, Microsoft Local
Can you blame us for taking our reality virtual? Microsoft's Vive Cosmos system provides newb-friendly simplicity as well as the comfort and motion-tracking oomph required by PC gamers. Beware, though, if you ever want your giftee to return to this reality: It displays texts and takes phone calls, too.
AfterShokz Open Move Headphones, REI Local
Bone-conduction tech is safer for runners, bicyclists, and anyone else who still needs to hear the world around them while jamming. Reviewers have crowned this pair of headphones, designed with athletes in mind (but also well-suited to office workers who'd like to hear their boss coming), one of the best.
Nonfiction Book Subscription, Ada's Technical Books Local
$17 per month
The nonfiction subscription from Capitol Hill's nerdiest bookstore covers more than tech—neuroscience, history, math, and other STEM subjects make an appearance too. But it'll be well received by anyone with a love for reading, learning, and a monthly gift-wrapped surprise.
Model 1 Digital, Tivoli Audio
Modern tech, meet midcentury modern design. Tivoli's latest model connects to Wi-Fi for seamless compatibility while playing true crime podcasts or reminiscing over Spotify playlists. Analog hangers-on in the household will appreciate the thoroughly app-free radio functionality, too.
Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 Self Watering Indoor Garden, Nordstrom Local
Garden-to-table cooking's easier said than done when the garden's nonexistent and the dining table plays triple duty as a desk and catch-all. Such is the life of an apartment dweller. But there's no need to be resigned to it. This micro-plot fits into an eight-by-18-inch stretch of counter space (no sunlight required) and self-waters three plants or herbs. Basil's included, but reviewers report success with cilantro and thyme, too.