tech buyer's guide

Top Picks for the Holidays

Make your list, check it twice and make sure one of these favorites is on it.

2 min

Lego Boost
Ready for hours (and hours and hours) of fun? The Lego Boost 847-piece kit provides step-by-step instructions for creating five sophisticated robot projects, like a guitar that you can play or a kitten that purrs and follows a toy. Beware of tiny pieces if there’s a toddler at home, and you’ll need a tablet to view the instructions and operate the robots.
Microsoft Xbox One X
The long-awaited update to the Xbox console delivers true 4K gaming, rendering graphics with better detail, more colors and HDR on compatible TVs. And unlike the PS4 Pro, it plays HD Blu-rays, too.
Google Chromecast Audio
Google has updated its audio-streaming dongle over time, and with the most recent improvements, we’ve upgraded our opinion to “phenomenal.” It streams audio from most mobile devices to any speaker or receiver, is comparatively easy to set up and is optimized to work as part of a multiroom system. And now it supports voice control when connected to a Google Home.
Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition
Reboot someone’s childhood with a miniaturized version of the 25-plus-year-old gaming console. It may fit in your palm, but it’s packed with 21 excellent built-in games and comes with two wired controllers for multiplayer challenges.

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OnePlus 5
It’s not dirt cheap, but what you get for your $479 is impressive. It starts with 18-hour battery life and expands to a dual-camera setup that takes excellent photos, along with up-to-date components for fast performance. The design isn’t terribly trendy, but that’s not a bad trade-off.
Samsung Chromebook Pro
Not everyone needs to run Windows 10, and many certainly don’t need to pay full laptop prices. The Chromebook Pro is the best of the laptops designed to run apps based on Google Chrome; it’s packed with features like a Quad HD touchscreen, a 360-degree hinge and a bundled stylus.
Apple MacBook 12-inch (2017)
Subtle updates finally turn Apple’s littlest MacBook into a favorite everyday system. Most importantly, it gets the much better keyboard design of the latest MacBooks; plus, new Intel Core i5 and i7 processor and RAM options improve its performance.
STARTS AT $1,299,