With so much music available right at our fingertips there's never been a better time to listen to our favorite artists and songs from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Amazing quality audio isn't as easy to come by, however, especially when you're trying to sift through thousands of portable speakers and headphones to find what sounds best and fits comfortably. We've highlighted a handful of products that are definitely worth considering as a gift for yourself or even your fellow audiophile. And, if your search expands beyond the realm of audio, check out our extensive 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for plenty more exciting gifts for the holiday season.
Sonos Play Speakers
These top of the line speakers are super-simple to set up and provide excellent quality for any genre of music or media. The smallest of the bunch is the Play:1, but you can step it up to the next level with the Play:3 or the brand-new Play:5 that's just been released in time for the holidays. Although slightly different in design, what they all have in common is superior sound. Whether you just want one as a gift or a couple to pair together for a full spectrum of awesomeness, Sonos Wireless Speakers are a safe bet for any audiophile.
UE BOOM 2 Bluetooth Speaker
The UE BOOM 2 rocks 360-degree sound and holds up against water with its IPX7 waterproof construction. This portable Bluetooth speaker sounds great and has thicker bass that adds a richness to any genre of music. An impressive 100ft wireless range allows you to stream your favorite playlists from across the pool deck or inside your home without any hiccups. With an approximate battery life of 15 hours and intuitive touch controls for managing your music, the UE BOOM 2 is a great speaker to carry with you for any trip. It even comes in a variety of unique color combinations to choose from.
Bose QuietComfort 20 Headphones
Bose has crafted these amazing noise cancelling in-ear headphones that allow you to enjoy uninterrupted music that surpasses the quality of many other headphones in its price range. Using TriPort technology and Active EQ to deliver digital quality audio, there's no genre of music that sounds weak on any level. Bose's Stay Hear+ tips are comfortable and stable for long-term use and the inline microphone makes it quick and simple to manage your calls in between your playlists. With the QuietComfort 20 Headphones you get 3 pairs of tips in different sizes, clothing clip, USB charging cable, and a nice carrying case for travel.
Beats Pill+ Speaker
The new Beats Pill+ is a nicely designed mid-range Bluetooth speaker that sports a smooth build and features a stereo active 2-way crossover system for optimized sound across all genres of music. Although the drivers inside are somewhat smaller, the neodymium magnets surrounding them allow for powerful sound output you'd expect to hear from larger sized speakers. The simple interface of the Beats Pill+ offers the ability to skip tracks, play or pause, adjust volume, and even use it as a speakerphone. It's charged using a Lightning cable (included) instead of a traditional Micro-USB, providing approximately 12 hours of battery life a medium volume level. This slightly beefy speaker sounds great and has a unique look that fits nicely in just about any environment.
Grain Audio PWS.01 Bluetooth Speaker
While there are thousands of Bluetooth speakers that lack style and sound quality, this is one exception that sounds as good as it looks. The PWS.01 from Grain Audio packs two 2-inch loudspeakers and a passive radiator that uses a bass isolation system to keep the overall mix crisp, thick, and most importantly — clear. Its beautiful walnut enclosure is matched with a rubber edging that keeps the speaker from sliding around while rocking out. On a full charge the PWS.01 is good for up to 8 hours and even includes a handy mesh carrying bag for travel.
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Bluetooth Headphones
These over-the-ear wireless headphones provide a comfortable way to enjoy music and media for an extended period of time without fatigue. The noise-isolating fit with Skullcandy's soft leather seal lets the powerful 50mm drivers push audio the way it's meant to be heard. The Hesh 2.0 Headphones connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone, tablet, or TV and will stay powered up to 12 hours off a complete charge. There's even a built-in microphone if you need to manage your calls while enjoying your playlist.
Microsoft Store Gift Card
Sometimes the best gift is letting them pick for themselves. They know exactly what they want, and you don't want to be the one that asks them, right? Luckily you can always opt for a Microsoft Store Gift Card. These cards can be used to purchase music, movies, games, apps, and more, redeemable on the web or straight from a smartphone. It's a great last-minute gift that you simply can't go wrong with.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
New Microsoft Edge begins automatic rollout for Release Preview Insiders
Microsoft today started automatically rolling out the new Microsoft Edge to Windows Insiders in the Release Preview ring. This is the first step in a process that will see the old Edge replaced automatically for everyone.
Windows Central app picks up login fix, new icon in latest update
If you've had trouble logging in with the Windows Central app for Windows 10, the issue is now fixed with the latest update. This release also adds new icons and cleans up some of the news categories.
Oculus acquires 'Asgard's Wrath' developer Sanzaru Games
Sanzaru Games is joining Oculus Studios, a press release has just confirmed. This comes a couple of months after Facebook and Oculus just acquired Beat Games.
Don't keep buying AAA batteries, go rechargeable!
Running out of batteries is both inconvenient and annoying, but if you grab yourself a set of these great rechargeable ones, you'll never have to worry about that again.