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a tech gift rests on an IT professional's computer

2017 holiday gift guide for the IT pro

What do the techies in your life want?

November 13, 2017

By Lisa Dare

Look, I’m not saying your top IT staff are going to leave you—for a competitor, probably—if you mess up their gift.

I’m just implying it.

Don’t worry. To take the guesswork out of buying gifts, we asked what gift IT workers want this year. Yes, it’s all expensive tech gadgets. But at least you submit that eyebrow-raising expense report, you’ll know you didn’t squander your budget (and the goodwill of your expense approver) on the wrong gift.

We polled IT workers about their most coveted gifts this year, and did the legwork to see much their choices will set you back. We even researched more ‘thoughtful’ (read: cheaper) solutions. Sit back, pick from our list and collect your Cool Boss points. 

And hey, if you're an IT worker (or just tech enthusiast) who agrees with our suggestions—perhaps you should share this blog with your boss, your spouse and anyone else who might need a little nudge.

The tech gift IT pros most covet

Yes, your IT pros are grownups. They’re also grownups who really, really like video games.

According to our polls, this year’s most coveted setup is the PlayStation VR Launch Bundle. The  surprisingly easy to find package includes Sony’s headset, camera, two motion controllers and a game.

Price: $450

Budget alternative: The $100 Google Daydream View for Android phones or the low-end $20 Google Cardboard (and apologies) for your iPhone users

Runners-up: What else do techies want?

Nintendo Switch

This portable gaming console won a lot of votes.

  • Price: $300

Fitbit

The fitness watch’s slow-burn success is surprising, but IT pros consistently ask for it year after year. The Fitbit continues to be a strong player, and this year’s Alta HR looks sleek while housing functionality like continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep pattern tracking.

  • Price: $170
  • Splurge alternative: The $300 tricked-out Fitbit Ionic lets you listen to tunes and pay for that smoothie pit stop

High-end TV soundbar

As much as you love your staff, an expensive TV is probably out of the question. Plus, they already have one that cost as much as your car. But you can get them better sound for their toy.

One ambitious IT worker asked for the high-end Sonos PLAYBASE, today's coveted soundbar. The Sonos provides theater surround sound in a sleek package that the TV can sit on top of.

Tablet

Another multi-year winner of IT pros’ affections, tablets keep getting better and cheaper. Many people selected the iPad as their top gift choice. 

  • Price: $329
  • Budget alternative: Amazon Fire HD at $80

Echo and Google Home

Unless your staff are paranoid about security and Big Brother…wait, that actually does sound like your staff. But while they probably have concerns about the security implications of always-on home microphones, they also still want to live in a futuristic world in which we make virtual assistants do lots of tedious chores for us, like get off the couch to turn on the stereo or order new K-cups without the hassle of turning on our cellphones.

Your two main options:

The Amazon Echo

  • Price: $100
  • Best features: Stylish options, Alexa's excellent UX
  • Under $50 alternative: Echo Dot
  • Splurge option: $150 Echo Plus with smarthome hub and Dolby speakers

Google Home

  • Price: $130
  • Best features: Google's advanced AI and continual improvements
  • Under $50 alternative: Google Home Mini

Read about the coolest IT jobs coming in 2018

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