Daniel's 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

New gadgets are always popular gifts, but it never hurts to get an idea of what tech the professionals would recommend. I've tried out a lot of tech this year, and if you know me, I tend to have a discerning opinion on these things.

Here are my top items, from laptops to chargers to fitness bands that I use every day and recommend as gifts for others! There's a little something here for everyone to make their holidays a memorable one.

HP Spectre x360

Not only do I think this is the best laptop, it's also priced right too. With Windows Hello, the ability to become a tablet, fantastic build quality, and an excellent typing experience HP deserves a lot of credit. Featuring the latest Intel processors, the Spectre x360 is my top laptop of 2016.

$1159 Buy Now

Surface Book with Performance Base

While the HP Spectre x360 is my favorite laptop for regular people, the Surface Book with Performance Base is the Rolls Royce of portable computing. Featuring a powerful GTX 960M video card and +10-hour battery life, the Surface Book got better this year thanks to this upgrade. It's not cheap, but it's the best out there for Windows 10.

$2399 Buy Now

Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag

If you need a slim, low-profile day bag for your 14-inch or smaller laptop, Surface Book, or Surface Pro, then this is your best bet. The bag fits everything from a Razer Blade down to the Surface Pro 3 and has pockets for a Surface Arc Mouse and papers or a Kindle.

$50 Buy Now

Surface Ergonomic Keyboard

Not everyone loves ergonomic keyboards, but they are the best choice if you type a lot for long durations. The new Surface-branded one brings Bluetooth 4.0 support, lasts up to a year on the included AAA batteries and the Alcantara lining feels great when resting your palms. For those who want the best in typing, this is the best.

$130 Buy Now

Razer Blade

For the gamer in your life, you need the new Razer Blade. Featuring the powerful NVIDIA GTX 1060 video card and my preferred Full HD matte display, the Blade is a premium gaming experience. Sure, you can find cheaper gaming laptops out there, but none with this build quality, typing experience, and overall balance of features. Plus, the keyboard glows with personalized colors!

$1999 Buy Now

BASEQI microSD Adapter for Microsoft Surface Book

Save some money on your Surface Book or expand its storage with this slim microSD card holder. With it you can add 256GB of microSD storage to your Surface Book for a lower price than buying it built in.

$25 Buy Now

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

My go-to mouse when traveling is the Surface Edition Arc Touch mouse. It's super portable — it lays flat and includes dongle-free Bluetooth 4.0. It the most fun mouse to use and when it snaps flat to transport it also turns it off. Brilliant! This great little travel mouse works great with any Bluetooth-equipped PC (which is most of them).

$70 Buy Now

Xbox One S Gears of War 4 Special Edition Bundle

The best gaming and media console also the best-priced. It comes in plenty of prices and configurations (I prefer the spacious 2TB hard drive version), meaning there's an Xbox One S for every need and budget. Plus, you get capable 4K UHD Blu-Ray player with HDR, a slew of streaming apps like Netflix, and even upcoming Dolby ATMOS high-end audio support. The One S is just an all-around win even if you're not a hardcore gamer.

Bonus: Get the 2TB Gears edition for a laser-etched console that is sure to grab anyone's attention.

$399 Buy Now


I played the original DOOM back in 1993 and was eager (but leery) of the reboot. It turns out I had nothing to fear — the new DOOM is a fantastic throwback that also embodies modern technology. The story of the lone 'Doomguy' is captivating, the music is ripping, and it's just a classic, fun game. The recent updates including Arcade Mode only make it better.

$35 Buy Now $17 at Walmart

Gears of War 4

While the story mode for the 4th iteration is shorter than I'd like, it was still fun enough even for a Gears novice like myself. The fourth iteration of the Gears franchise is a kind of rebirth, so you don't need to be familiar with the previous three. Online multiplayer and the classic Horde mode keep you playing for hours on end once you complete the campaign.

$39 Buy Now

The Bourne Ultimate Collection

When it comes down to James Bond versus Jason Bourne, I know which camp I'm in. Luckily, you don't have to choose, but if you like the Bourne series you can grab all five movies (even the odd fourth one) for just $40. My favorite part of this complex set is the re-watch ability due to all the intricate government espionage details.

$40 Buy Now

Alcatel Idol 4S

While only on T-Mobile, this VR-ready phone is your best bet if you're committed to Windows 10 Mobile. The Idol 4S is a looker of a phone with a thin, metal-and-glass design. It has an impressive processor, plenty of storage, and a fingerprint reader for security. It's also nicely priced for what you get.

$469 Buy Now{.cta .shop .no-cart.nofollow}

Fitbit Blaze

If you want the best fitness band around Fitbit's Blaze is where it's at. The smartwatch-like design and display give you plenty of data to glance at while exercising and the heartrate monitor keeps tabs on your cardio. It's also incredibly light and packs a battery that lasts 4-5 days so you won't have to worry about charging every night.

$179 Buy Now

KADES Fitbit Blaze Leather Retro Cowhide Bands

One of the best features of the Blaze is the interchangeable bands. I prefer this super affordable one that gives you a black frame and leather strap for a classic "rugged" look that doesn't call attention to your wrist.

$20 Buy Now

Balerion Fitbit Blaze Charging Dock

Charging the Blaze is a bit weird with its charging cage, which is why I prefer this desk dock. The Blaze is easy to snap in, and it looks good charging there too. Best of all, you don't have a floppy charging cage to contend with, and you won't break the bank doing it.

$14 Buy Now

Spigen A200 Car Mount

Big, bulky car mounts are a thing of the past with this neodymium magnet accessory. Simply stick the corresponding badge to the back of your phone (or in its case), and your mobile will just stick to the vent mount. Nothing is permanent, and setup takes less than 2 minutes. It's cheap and it just works!

$8 Buy Now

Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones

When at the gym, you don't get much better than Bose's latest wireless sport headphones. With six hours of battery life, the larger-than-normal ear buds are the most comfortable on the market. They're sweat proof and offer that signature Bose sound quality.

$149 Buy Now

AUKEY 6-port USB Charger with Quick Charge 3.0

The HP Elite x3 and Alcatel Idol 4S both use Quick Charge 3.0 for fast battery refreshes. It's the technology of the future, so why not buy this backward compatible 6-port USB charger? You get four regular USB fast charge ports and two even-faster Quick Charge 3.0 ports.

$35 Buy Now

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.