Although the clock is ticking, there’s still a little bit of time left to get the perfect gifts for family and friends. Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some of the hottest tech in our gaming, iPhone, laptop, tablet, camera, smartwatch, and home tech gift guides. But for those still deciding what to buy, we’re making things simple and tying it all together. So keep reading, as we help you cross off your gift list — and save money in the process.
Jump to best gifts for:
- Outdoor enthusiasts
- Movie buffs
- Younger kids
- High-school and college students
- Under $100
- Swappa’s Quick Picks
Best affordable gifts for gamers
Let’s kick things off with gamers. In this era of social distancing, we’re staying home more than ever, so it’s no surprise that gaming has exploded in popularity. But let’s be honest — it can be hard to buy a game system or accessory if you’re not a gamer yourself. But don’t worry; we have a video game gift guide for that.
As we mentioned in our gaming gift guide, the first thing to consider is where your gamer will be playing. Those looking to game on the go have two options: Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite. The hybrid Nintendo Switch is more versatile since it’s both a home console and a portable console, whereas the portable-only Switch Lite is a better choice looking for something to play exclusively on the go because of its smaller size and lighter weight. Regardless of which you pick, you’ll have access to a massive library of over 3,500 games. And buying on Swappa means you save at least $50 compared to other online marketplaces.
What if your gamer doesn’t care about portable gaming and would rather play competitive online multiplayer games? This is where the PlayStation and Xbox come in. Now you’re probably aware that the PS5 and Xbox Series X just launched a few weeks ago to widespread critical acclaim. They deliver the absolute best 4K gaming experiences that you can get today — but they don’t come cheap.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a similar 4K gaming experience on last generation’s souped-up PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Starting at just $190 — about a hundred less than you’d pay on eBay — these consoles give you access to a similar 4K gaming experience at a fraction of the cost of a new PS5 or Series X.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the most affordable point of entry into massive game libraries of over 2,500 games, look no further than the original Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Even though they’re a few years old now, they still have plenty of great games. And you don’t have to worry about getting left behind, since both Sony and Microsoft have committed to delivering new games for these older consoles for several years to come.
And if you’re looking for the best stocking stuffers, shop for gently used games and accessories on Swappa Gaming. Here, you’ll find hundreds of games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and The Last Of Us 2 for a fraction of what you’d pay at GameStop (a.k.a. GameFlop).
Best gifts for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts
Now that we have gaming covered, let’s consider the opposite end of the gift spectrum. The hottest gifts that you can buy this holiday season for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts are fitness trackers and action cameras. There are only a few players worth considering in either category, but that’s fine since whichever you choose, Swappa helps you save.
Let’s start with smartwatches and fitness trackers. As we talked about in our smartwatch gift guide, the best smartwatch for iPhones is without a doubt the Apple Watch. Over the years, Apple Watch has grown from a novelty item into a genuinely useful piece of wearable tech that keeps track of your workouts, keeps you connected, and lets you spend less time glued to your iPhone screen.
There are many great Apple Watches to choose from, but we’d recommend saving money by shopping a generation or two back. This means the Apple Watch Series 4 and the Apple Watch Series 5. They both support the latest watchOS 7, so you get many of the same features for less. Pick up a gently used Series 4 for $140 or Series 5 for $249 today!
If you don’t live in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch isn’t an option. But don’t worry — you still have plenty of great alternatives such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch and FitBit Versa. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active2 and Galaxy Watch3 run Tizen OS, and they offer the most feature-complete smartwatch experiences you can get on Android. Starting at just over $100, both are incredibly compelling options for anyone looking for the Apple Watch experience on Android.
Alternatively, fitness-focused users are best served by the budget-friendly FitBit Versa line. Starting at well under $100 on Swappa, the Versa and Versa 2 give you all the fitness and health tracking features you want, without the fluff you’d find on other wearables. No matter which smartwatch you choose, you’ll always get the best deals on Swappa.
Lastly, if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, you’ll want to capture and preserve some of those memories. As we covered in our camera gift guide, there are plenty of outdoor-focused cameras to choose from — but without a doubt, the GoPro HERO cameras are the best in this category. These rugged cameras are lightweight and pack ultrawide lenses, making it easy to record all your outdoor activities.
You can find plenty of great deals on GoPro HERO cameras starting at just $105 for the 720p HERO 3 Plus. And if you want to capture the highest resolution action shots, consider springing for the top-of-the-line HERO8, which starts at just $269 on Swappa. Upgrading to the HERO8 gets you 4K resolution and 12MP stills, so you can concentrate on the action and the camera does the rest.
Best gifts for movie buffs
If you’re into consuming content — and really, who isn’t? — you’re going to want some sort of streaming device. You can find pretty much every option worth owning on Swappa — from Apple TV and Roku to Chromecast and Nvidia Shield, it’s all there. But with so many options, how do you pick?
If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, your choice is clear: Get an Apple TV. If you have a 4K TV, you should buy the Apple TV 4K. Prices start at just $135 on Swappa, meaning you save about $50 compared to the Apple Store. If you don’t have a 4K TV, you can save money by going with the older Apple TV 3rd gen for just $40 on Swappa.
Apple also offers the newer Apple TV 4th Gen, which brings an updated UI, faster processor, and Apple’s new Siri Remote — but the 3rd Gen model can still play all of your content just fine. Based on current pricing, we think that the two sweet spots for most consumers are the Apple TV 3rd Gen and the Apple TV 4K.
If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem and instead find yourself streaming YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon content, the best affordable option is the Google Chromecast Ultra. Starting at just $35, this hockey puck-shaped streaming device is the cheapest entry point into 4K content streaming. And with useful features such as screen mirroring and more, the Chromecast Ultra can do it all.
Alternatively, those who want a physical remote should buy a Roku device. And at just $50 on Swappa, the Roku Ultra is a 4K-capable streaming powerhouse that is compatible with practically every streaming platform and mobile OS around.
Best tech gifts for younger kids
If you have younger kids, you already know how important it is to stay connected with them at all times. Not only does this help them feel cared for, but it also ensures that you’re only a few clicks away in the event of an emergency. So if they don’t have one already, it may be a good time to consider getting your school-age kids their first cell phone.
As we talked about in our iPhone gift guide, there are plenty of considerations when buying a first phone for a younger child. Basically, we recommend starting off with something smaller and less expensive. Currently, we can’t think of a better first iPhone than the iPhone SE 2nd Gen. It’s small, fast, and lightweight, making it ideal for smaller hands. And if it does happen to take a spill, the iPhone SE 2020 starts at under $300, making it affordable enough to replace or repair if need be.
The story’s the same when getting a first tablet. You’ll want something your kids can hold comfortably in their smaller hands — and something that won’t cost too much to replace if it breaks. We can’t think of a better first tablet than the iPad Mini 4. Although it’s a few years old now, it still runs the latest version of iOS and can still play all the most popular games. And starting at around $150, it’s downright cheap to replace if it takes one too many drops.
Finally, undoubtedly the most fun present for a younger kid is the Nintendo Switch Lite. With a massive library of over 3,500 games, the majority of which are family-friendly titles, the Switch Lite is the perfect portable game console. As we mentioned in our Switch vs Switch Lite comparison, both game consoles have plenty of edutainment and vocabulary-building titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Scribblenauts: Showdown, and many more. And with plenty of epic side quests in titles such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there is never a shortage of games on the Switch.
Best gifts for high school and college students
If you’re buying a present for high school or college students, you don’t have to worry as much about inadvertent drops and spills. Instead, you’ll want to focus on functionality — something that will help them stay productive in the modern digital classroom but also let them unwind a bit after hours. We think that an ultraportable laptop is the best way to do this.
As we covered in our laptop gift guide, you’ll want to stick with MacBooks and Surface devices, as these first-party devices generally get the best software support over the long haul. So which MacBook or Surface is the best?
Both Apple and Microsoft add incremental updates to their laptops every year. This means that the newer models are usually better than the older ones. However, newer laptops are also more expensive than older ones, and sometimes their differences don’t amount to much in terms of overall usability. That’s why it’s important to find that perfect “Goldilocks Zone,” where you get a modern laptop that will serve you for several years without breaking the bank.
The MacBook Air 2018 is the quintessential affordable, yet capable laptop. Powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 and up to 16GB of RAM, the Air 2018 is capable of handling almost anything you throw at it. Featuring modern industrial design and a vibrant 13.3-inch Retina display, it’s a productivity and multimedia powerhouse. Best of all, it starts at just $649. If you want something a bit cheaper, consider going back a year and picking up a 2017 model. It may not offer the same Retina display, but it’s just as fast and can still run the latest macOS Big Sur. And with a starting price of just $440, this MacBook definitely doesn’t break the bank.
If your recipient prefers Windows, you should look no further than Microsoft’s Surface lineup. Configurable with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and up to 16GB of RAM, Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro 7 is an absolute powerhouse. And starting at just $672 on Swappa, this hybrid laptop/table is actually affordable when you buy newish.
Best gifts for parents
Last, but certainly not least, are parents. When buying tech gifts for parents, it’s important to consider usability and look for products with accessible design and an intuitive user interface. There’s nothing that exemplifies this mantra better than a tablet — and simply put, there is no better tablet than the iPad.
So what’s the best tablet to give to your parents? The standard iPad is the best tablet for parents. Their large screens make for a comfortable viewing experience, and modern processors ensure that inputs and gestures feel as natural as manipulating real-life objects such as photos and book pages. And with plenty of accessibility features for individuals with visual or hearing difficulties, iPads are the natural choice for parents.
The 7th and 8th gen iPads feature vibrant 10.2-inch displays, up to 128GB of storage, and 10 hours of battery life. The iPad 8th Gen improves upon its predecessor with a faster processor, though both are more than capable of general use for years to come. Starting at just $265 for the iPad 7th Gen and $294 for the 8th Gen, these affordable iPads have everything you could possibly want in a tablet for your parents.
Best tech gifts under $100
Now let’s recap some of the best tech gifts that you can get for less than $100. Starting with gaming, the cheapest entry point into console gaming this holiday season is the Microsoft Xbox One. Starting at just $95, it’s a great option for anyone looking to give the gift of gaming — and save money while doing so. The $40 Apple TV 3rd Generation is a great streaming device for anyone using an iPhone or iPad — and if you’re looking for a cheap cross-platform 4K streaming device, pick up a Roku Ultra for just $50. And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for an outdoors enthusiast, look no further than a GoPro HERO3 Plus, which starts at just $90.
Swappa’s quick picks
With so many great choices at every price point, it’s easy to lose track of what to buy. Here are our quick picks to help take out the guesswork this holiday season:
- Best gaming gifts: Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
- Best for outdoor enthusiasts: Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, or GoPro
- Best home tech for movie buffs: Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra
- Best for younger kids: iPhone SE2, Nintendo Switch Lite
- Best for high school and college students: any recent MacBook or Surface
- Best for parents: Apple iPad 8th Gen
- Best tech gifts under $100: Xbox One, Apple TV 3rd Gen, Roku Ultra, GoPro HERO3 Plus
No matter who you’re shopping for, there are tons of great tech gifts to give this holiday season. And shopping on Swappa can save you hundreds compared to retail. So what are you waiting for, cross off your holiday gift list for less today on Swappa!