Windows Central graduate gift guide

Not sure what this year's grads are yearning for? Show how proud you really are with something from this list of the best grad gifts of 2016.

Surface Book

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Scholars need a good laptop these days. Microsoft's Surface Book is a full laptop with the versatility of a tablet. It boasts a 13.5-inch touchscreen that detaches from the keyboard, a Surface pen, and a weight of just 3.48 pounds.

The Surface Book comes loaded with Windows 10 Pro, up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, and a 2.6GHz Intel processor, meaning your grad will be able to tackle anything thrown at him. From business school to art class, this is the laptop for everything.

See at Amazon

Dell XPS 13

There's no room in your grad's future dorm room for a desktop PC! She needs a laptop, one that can keep up with the daily demands of impending college life. Dell's XPS 13 delivers the power and features of a desktop computer in the form of a laptop.

Its dazzling 13.3-inch InfinityEdge screen is powered by a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 11 hours, and its integrated webcam records in 720p — for high-quality video chats. Your grad will be able to tackle several tasks at once with the Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, and, if he's late for class, will be able to boot Windows 10 in seconds from a 128GB solid-state drive.

All this and a backlit keyboard? Your grad will love this powerful machine.

See at Dell

littleBits synth kit

If your graduate loves music, loves to create, and doesn't mind losing herself in a project, the littleBits synth kit might be the perfect gift. It's basically like Lego that makes music rather than castles — featuring magnetized modules that snap together with ease, a keyboard, and unlimited combinations, your graduate will be on his way to musical stardom in no time.

There are many different types of littleBits kits that can be combined with the synth kit; you will have gift ideas for years beginning here. If you're not already sick of hearing your teen's music, let her create her own with a littleBits synth kit.

See at Amazon

Celluon PicoPro

Your graduate — if he's shipping off to college next fall — might be concerned about the size of the dorm room. How will he have enough room to screen high-brow art films? Celluon's PicoPro projector solves these problems and more. It's about the size of your hand, it delivers 720p video, and it can be connected to your Windows 10 devices wirelessly using MiraCast.

Imagine your graduate setting up the projector in the common room to earn points with the other students as they play video games on the big screen. Connect any device with an HDMI cord, find a flat place to lie the projector down, and go; no need to fiddle with focus controls.

This multipurpose projector gives you a big-screen experience from the palm of your hand, ideal for any graduate.

See at Amazon

Vizio 43-inch 4K TV

Vizio 43 inch 4K TV

Your graduate is going to need some time to relax, so why not get her a new TV? Vizio's 43-inch 4K TV is the perfect addition to her new home (because she's moving out, right?) with its intelligent design and brilliant display. Five HDMI ports means your graduate can plug in all her currents devices, and Vizio's Spatial Scaling engine makes 720p and 1080p look near 4K.

College dorm rooms often do not have much room; finding a suitable spot for a TV can be a pain, and even then light from the window or the roommate's lamp can ruin the experience. This TV has a dynamic backlight that lets you change lighting in 28 different zones across the screen.

See at Dell

Xbox One

Your graduate has a long summer ahead of her before heading off to college and you'd like to have her at home as much as possible. We might have just the thing to keep your graduate around the house. The latest and greatest Microsoft console comes with a legacy that speaks for itself. It is able to play DVD and Blu-Ray movies and has extensive media capabilities. Stream content from Windows 10 devices or browse the internet using the built-in Microsoft Edge browser. The Xbox One, with over 600 games to play and a growing number of Xbox 360 games becoming backwards compatible, has never been more attractive.

Microsoft is right now offering a deep discount on Xbox One bundles that includes a $50 gift card and a free game. For a gift that will keep on giving for years to come, check out the Xbox One.

See at Microsoft Store

Roku streaming stick

If your graduate is one of millions of people addicted to video streaming, please consider treatment...or a Roku streaming stick. The stick itself is the size of a thumb, has access to over 3,000 channels (including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, HBO Now, and Crackle), and plugs unobtrusively into the HDMI port on your TV.

The Roku streaming stick has eight times the processing power of the previous generation streaming stick, meaning your graduate won't have to wait more than a few seconds to begin streaming. Couple this with a designated remote control and your graduate might stay parked on the couch forever — or until you kick him out.

See at Amazon

JBL Charge 2+

Most graduates have their music stored on a phone, or stream music via phone. Microsoft phone's speakers are alright, but let's face it; they're nothing compared to a standalone speaker. Enter the JBL Charge 2+. This speaker roughly resembles a soda can but brings a lot more entertainment. Featuring a 12-hour rechargeable battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and JBL's promise of deep sound, the Charge 2+ is the perfect addition to any party; it's splash-proof, so it'll fit right in poolside. Just don't submerge it.

For use around the house (or dorm room) the speaker is able to charge other devices via its USB port, and can even answer calls with its built-in microphone — imagine a powerful speakerphone. For any devices without Bluetooth capability the speaker has an auxiliary port.

This speaker is a great addition to your graduate's dorm room and will draw remarks from partygoers everywhere.

See at Amazon

Microsoft Band 2

The Microsoft Band 2 will remind your graduate of his achievements each time he looks at his wrist. If he's going off to college next year, the Band 2 can help organize class schedules, due dates, and real (romantic) dates. The Band 2 is able to track heart rate, calories burned, and even sleep quality, perfect for the athlete graduate.

Pair the Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows phone and let your graduate control Cortana from her wrist, as well as receive texts and calendar alerts on the curved AMOLED screen. Make sure you choose the right size to fit your graduate's wrist.

Whether she's leaving for college next year or preparing for life in the real world, the Microsoft Band 2 will be a welcome addition to her lifestyle.

See at Amazon

What did you get your graduate?

Lets us know in the comments section below what great gift you got for your grad.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.