With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good idea to start thinking about gift options now — lest you wind up with some half-hearted, last-minute present.
Need some inspiration? Here are 10 things I wouldn’t mind getting this year. Everybody has different preferences, of course. But consider this a jumping off-point for your own quest for the perfect gift. (Read more: The 10 best Valentine’s Day gift ideas for him.)
A smartphone wallet case
Sometimes you just don’t want to haul around your everyday bag when you’re just running to the store or visiting a friend. A wallet case, like these from Spigen and Tech21, can carry essentials like a credit card, ID, and work badge, eliminating the need to bring a purse.
Amazon Echo Dot
The $50 Echo Dot is like a smart alarm clock, personal assistant and mini speaker rolled up into one. Saying the trigger word “Alexa” will prompt Amazon’s virtual aide to listen up for users’ commands. Users can add items to their Amazon shopping list, play music through their speakers, call an Uber, or just ask a general question without reaching for their phone.
If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t have a favorite set of Bluetooth speakers but would want to blast tunes directly through the Echo, opt for the larger $180 model, which offers better audio quality.
A quality tote bag
A small purse doesn’t always cut it when you’re traveling or commuting to work. Affordable tote bags like H&M’s leather handbag or this reversible tote bag from Zara are plenty large enough to fit a laptop, tablet, chargers, an umbrella, and anything else your significant other may need to pack on their way to the office.
Fujifilm Instax Polaroid Camera
Polaroid cameras are making a comeback. Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 is an especially ideal choice if you’re buying for a photography enthusiast, scrapbooking hobbyist, or someone who just want fun photos to hang on the fridge or in a college dorm room. Fujifilm offers the camera in a variety of colors, too.
Ringly Smart Bracelet
Some smart wearables may seem impractical or bulky, but Ringly’s gemstone bracelets masquerade as a standard piece of fine jewelry. The slim bangle, which comes in quartz, lapis, moonstone, and labradorite options, can track your steps, calories, and distance walked. It also pushes alerts from users’ phones to their wrist through color-coded lights and vibrations.
If your sweetheart is a bookworm or has a long daily commute, consider getting her a Kindle. The $119.99 Paperwhite model is probably the best bet for most people. Its screen is just as sharp as its more expensive siblings, it offers the same battery life as the $199.99 Kindle Voyage, and it allows access the same library of books as every other Kindle model.
What you’re missing out on by opting for the less expensive version is a brighter screen, dedicated sensors or buttons for turning pages, and an adaptive light. The top-of-the-line $289.99 Kindle Oasis also comes with its own charging case.
To read more about which Kindle is right for you or your loved ones, check out our buyer’s guide.
Nintendo NES Classic
The retro NES Classic game console can be a great gift for casual video game players, as well as those who grew up playing Nintendo titles. The $60 set comes packed with 30 classic NES games from Super Mario Bros. to Metroid and Kirby.
Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View
Virtual reality doesn’t always have to be expensive, and it doesn’t necessarily require a powerful computer. If you’re shopping for someone interested in gaming, cinema, or technology, a Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View makes for a fun smartphone accessory.
Samsung’s headset is powered by Oculus, meaning it’s able to run some of the same games as the pricier Oculus Rift. Google’s VR viewer is more compact and includes a controller that supports motion controls, transforming it into a magic wand or a point-and-click TV remote when watching YouTube. The Gear VR requires a compatible Samsung smartphone; Google’s headset works with the Android phones listed here.
Funko Pop! Vinyl Collectibles
Those seeking a gift that’s more decorative than practical may want to check out Funko’s extensive collection of themed collectibles. The toymaker, which just announced 800 new models this week, makes cartoonish figurines inspired by just about any movie, video game franchise, or TV show you can think of. The choices range from Disney characters to Marvel heroes and popular television series like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, or Doctor Who. If there’s a TV show you’ve binged as a couple or a video game the two of you have spent hours playing together, a Funko could make for a fun yet thoughtful option.
An electric corkscrew and wine charms
Any wine lover will appreciate a gadget that gets rid of anything standing between them and their Pinot or Merlot — especially pesky corks. Electric corkscrews like the Rabbit Automatic or Wine Enthusiast Electric Blue Automatic Wine Opener can effortlessly remove corks on contact. Pair one with a set of wine charms to make your significant other’s glass stand out while you’re hosting company.