Asus Chromebook Flip CX3 on lap

WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Gifts for Teens and Tweens

It’s that time of year again! We’re back with the WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guides! Not sure what to get that special someone on your list? It has been a particularly tough year, and we all deserve some joy. There are lots of tech gift to suit an enduring passion, new hobby, personality, or style. Here, we’ll look at great gift ideas for a teen or tween on your list who has never known a world without tech.

Asus Chromebook Flip CX3

Asus Chromebook Flip CX3 on lap

For parents who want to get a relatively affordable computer for their grade or high school kids to use at home, but still want the experience to be somewhat seamless as they transition from school to homework, a Chromebook is ideal. Many educational institutions use Chromebooks already, and because everything is stored in the cloud, kids can work on assignments from home in programs like Google Drive and Google Docs, as well as Google Classroom, and access everything as-is from school-based computers as well. The Chromebook Flip CX3 might be on the higher end of the pricing scale at $999, but it has an advantage that makes it a versatile option: the screen flips 360° so they can use it as a tablet as well for downtime. Plus, in tented mode, it becomes a mini screen for watching videos, TV shows, movies, and more. The 2-in-1 device offers military-grade durability as well. It comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, fanless design, 11-hour battery life, 14-inch screen, up to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage, and is tested and certified with Asus Wi-Fi Master for Chrome OS. Finished in an attractive new AI Blue colour, kids will love the look, too. Plus, it comes with a stylus and one-year Google One subscription with 100GB of cloud storage.

Amazon Second-Gen Echo Buds

Echo Buds

A pair of true wireless earbuds will probably be on many kids’ wish lists this year, and Amazon’s second-gen Echo Buds, at $155, are an affordable option. They feature custom-designed Active Noise Cancellation technology, can be wirelessly charged, and feature microphones for using them with phone calls as well as music, podcast, and Audiobook playback. Naturally, they also offer hands-free control via Amazon Alexa. Simply ask Alexa to play music, call a friend, family member, or business contact, or play a favourite playlist and she will oblige. You can also use Alexa when the buds are connected to your phone to do things like set reminders, add items to your shopping list, start a meditation session, and more. The Buds do support Google Assistant and Siri as well. They are lightweight and sweat-resistant and offer up to five hours of battery life per charge, up to 15 with the included charging case. Pop them inside for 15 minutes to get an additional up to two hours of listening time. Grab a pair in either black or glacier white.

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Smartphone Printer

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide smartphone printer

This is the generation of digital, so physical prints, or even snapping photos from an actual camera, isn’t necessarily on the radar. This instant printer melds both worlds, allowing kids to continue to take photos from their smartphones as they are prone to do while also being able to make fun little prints for sharing, decorating, and keeping for posterity. Link Wide creates wide Instax instant prints from the photo roll on a smartphone via the free Instax Link Wide app (required for full functionality), connecting with the printer via Bluetooth. In addition to smartphone compatibility, Link Wide is also compatible with the Fujifilm X-S10 mirrorless digital camera, allowing those who do have an actual camera to send their images directly from the camera to the Link Wide printer. Lightweight and fast, the Link Wide transfers an image and starts the print in about 12 seconds, supports continuous printing, and is capable of generating about 100 Instax instant prints per battery charge. There are two printing modes: Instax Rich, accentuating deep, warm colours, and Instax Natural, which emphasizes the inherent tones of the image. The app features editing tools including cropping, approximately 30 filters, collage capabilities, adding text to the printed image, as well as digital stickers and frame templates. Additional app features include Sketch, Edit & Print (import sketches and handwritten text, add them to photos, add sticker icons, and print); printing photos from videos (select a frame within a video and print it); QR Print Mode (add a QR code to scan with a smartphone to your photo, with the ability to record sound, link to a website, tag your location on the print, record a hidden message). Get it in ash white or mocha gray for MSRP of $190, with Instax Wide Black instant film for MSRP $15.

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Earphones

Sennheiser CX Plus on woman

For kids who need something higher end than the Amazon Buds, there are Sennheiser’s CX Plus true wireless earphones, which feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), smart interaction, and all-day wear. Enjoy high-fidelity sound via the German-engineered TrueResponse transducer and bespoke acoustic system with deep bass, natural mids and clear, and detailed treble. The Active Noise Cancellation function is complemented by the Transparent Hearing feature that makes it easy to focus on external sounds when desired without the need to remove the earbuds. Using customizable touch controls, tailor commands to ensure that controlling audio, calls and accessing voice assistants is convenient and intuitive. Each earbud is equipped with a pair of dual mics that optimizes speech for calls and voice assistant access to ensure crystal clear voice pick-up. The independent earbud use allows the right and left earbuds to be used individually or as a pair. Smart Pause automatically pauses audio when the earbuds are taken out and instantly resumes playback when replaced. The earbuds also automatically power up when removed from their charging case and switch off when put away, so they are ready when you need them. The CX Plus True Wireless also offers Bluetooth 5.2 compatibility and SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive codec support for high resolution, low latency audio that syncs with video content. Bluetooth connections can be managed via the Sennheiser Smart Control app, while the built-in EQ delivers a personalized audio experience and a Bass Boost preset. With IPX4 rated splash resistance, the battery and charging case together provide 24 hours of playback time. Get a pair in black or white for an MSRP $230.

HP 11-inch Tablet PC

Available in December starting at US$599, this computer has a rotatable camera and 13 MP front camera. As HP’s first Windows 11 tablet PC, you can leverage Windows 11 Snap Layouts in both landscape and portrait mode using the built-in kickstand to view content, edit between two apps, and share content while on a video call. There’s an optional detachable magnetic keyboard that can also work in portrait and landscape mode, or use the optional HP Rechargeable Tilt Pen, HP Palette software, and Windows Ink. Seamlessly move between devices to create, work, and play with the HP Tablet and its SuperSpeed USB Type-C port.

Microsoft Surface Go 3

Microsoft Surface Go 3

As the most portable Surface touchscreen 2-in-1, the Surface Go 3 starts at $520. It boasts faster Intel Core processors, all-day battery life, and built-in Microsoft security. Optimized for digital pen and touch, it easily transforms from laptop to tablet, making it a versatile device for teens and tweens to use for schoolwork and downtime.

Apple iPhone 13 Smartphone

iPhone 13 colours

For a deserving teenager who has been getting good grades and working hard, and who might be ready for their first phone or a phone upgrade, there’s the newest iPhone 13. Available in five colors (pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and PRODUCT(RED)), it has a new dual-camera system with a new wide camera, sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) along with the new A15 Bionic chip and a Super Retina XDR display with Ceramic Shield front cover. Entry-level storage starts at 128GB, double the previous number. It’s also IP68-rated for water resistance and offer an advanced 5G experience. Grab one unlocked for $1,099 or pay less on a monthly contract with a wireless service provider in your area.

Jabra Elite 3 Earbuds

Jabra Elite 3

A nice entry into the true wireless earbuds space, the Jabra Elite 3 (US$79) feature 6mm speakers and four-microphone call technology, a music equalizer, Qualcomm aptX HD audio, and seven hours of battery life (28 hours including the charging case). They offer noise isolation with HearThrough awareness, and are designed for comfortable, all-day wear. They come in trending colours including lilac, light beige, dark grey and navy.

Totem KIN Play Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Totem KIN Play in black

A great pair of speakers for a teen/tween’s room, they can connect their source of choice, from a turntable to a gaming system, computer, or TV, or use Bluetooth, and enjoy an enhanced audio experience. Available in satin black or white, they employ a powered/passive design with custom engineered drivers and amplifier, front-mounted multi-controls, and magnetic grilles. Enjoy 120-watt stereo amplifier sound with a subwoofer output.

Google Pixel Buds 2 True Wireless Earbuds

Google Pixel Buds 2

For those who live within the Android ecosystem, especially those who own a Pixel smartphone, Google’s newest branded earbuds offer the same sound quality as the previous generation ones along with access to Google Assistant, and real-time translation in a low-profile and more affordable design. Selling for $139, the earbuds feature custom-designed 12 mm dynamic speaker drivers along with Bass Boost. A spatial vent helps reduce ear pressure, making them comfortable to wear for long periods of time without the plugged ear feeling. Each earbud connects to the main device playing audio, and has strong individual transmission power, says Google. Adaptive Sound increases or decreases the volume based on your surroundings, so you can adjust based on your setting, whether you’re listening at home or while jogging past a loud construction site. Beamforming mics, meanwhile, focus on your voice and reduce outside noise during phone calls. Once the call is over, say “Hey Google, Play my music” to resume the playlist. Get up to five hours of listening time on a single charge or up to 24 hours using the charging case. Get a quick charge in about 15 minutes for up to three hours of listening time when you need to use them in a pinch and the battery is running low. Because they are sweat and water-resistant, you can confidently wear them during a workout or on a rainy night. With a compatible phone with Android 6.0 or above, get real-time translation in up to 40 languages as well as ask Google Assistant to do everything from telling you the weather to checking your calendar, calling someone, reading notifications, queuing up your music, and more. Get a pair in clearly white with gray undertones or dark olive.

Sennheiser MKE 400 Directional Compact Shotgun Mic

Sennheiser MKE 400

Ideal for teens and tweens who love to create videos for TikTok, YouTube, and other similar apps, this mic offers improved directional audio when used with DSLR/M cameras and mobile devices, helping eliminate background noise. Replacing the older model of the same name, it features a headphone monitoring output with volume control, has a rugged internal shock-mount, internal windscreen, and automatic on/off function. It also comes with a variety of accessories. For outdoor use, a furry windshield is included: place it over the integrated windscreen for maximum wind protection while recording. The microphone’s low-cut filter also does its part in removing problematic low frequencies like the hum from air-conditioning systems or the rumble from wind. The three-step sensitivity switch adjusts the audio level to the mic input of the camera, helping you address all the differences in dynamics that you encounter on a shoot. Plug any headphone with a 3.5 mm (1/8”) jack directly into the MKE 400 and conveniently check levels and audio performance while rolling. The MKE 400 includes 3.5 mm TRS and TRRS locking cables to be used with DSLR/M cameras or mobile devices so you can easily switch from one device to another. The mic’s cold-shoe mount with ¼-20 thread allows for universal mounting atop of cameras, gimbals, or even at the end of a boom pole. The mic is powered by a pair of AA batteries that offer up to 100 hours of continuous audio capture. Get the MKE 400 on its own in Canada for $259.95 or in a Mobile Kit that includes a Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp and Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod for $299.95.

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag

For a forgetful teen or tween, or one you want to make sure never leaves their keys, wallet, a bag, or other valuables behind, Apple’s AirTag is an accessory that allows you to locate any device to which it’s attached using the Apple Find Me ecosystem. Attach the AirTag to a valuable item like a school backpack, keychain, jacket, or gym bag, for example, and it can tap into the Find My network to locate the item if you have lost or misplaced it. Location data is kept private and anonymous, with end-to-end encryption. Each AirTag has its own built-in speaker to play a sound to help you locate keys that are in nearby or, if it’s out of Bluetooth range, you can pinpoint the last known location on a map using the Find My network of users (in countries where the service is available). Put the AirTag in Lost Mode and you will get a notification once the item is in range or whenever it has been located. If another iPhone user finds your item, they can tap it using their smartphone or any other NFC-enabled device and be taken to a website that advises them of your contact phone number, if you have provided one. Get an AirTag for $39 ea. or in a four-pack for $129, but keep in mind that you should also grab a loop or key ring to secure it, of which Apple offers a both polyurethane and leather.

Sonos Roam Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Sonos Roam

A perfect smart speaker for a teen or tween to keep in their room, take with them outside to the backyard, or move around in or outside of the home, the Roam is Sonos’ first truly portable Bluetooth speaker. Weighing under a pound, it connects to a Sonos system over Wi-Fi. When you leave the house, it automatically switches to Bluetooth and re-pairs with your device. With a new Sound Swap feature, hold the play/pause button on the speaker to switch the music to the nearest speaker on the system so you can easily move music from one room to another. Using the Sonos app, you can group any of your Sonos speakers to Roam when streaming with Bluetooth. Roam works with more than 100 streaming services, including Sonos Radio, and is easily controlled with the Sonos app, by voice with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2, or directly from your favourite music service app. Available in shadow black or lunar white, Roam is dust proof and fully waterproof with an IP67 rating, and silicone end caps and physical buttons that protect it against drops or bumps. It offers up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a single charge and up to 10 days of battery life when not in use. To recharge, use any Qi wireless charger, the included USB-C cable, or purchase the custom magnetic wireless charger separately from Sonos. It sells for $229.

Samsung Chromebook 4 And 4+

Samsung Chromebook 4 Plus

Choose between the Samsung Chromebook 4, which has an 11.6″ screen or the larger 4+ with a 15.6″ screen, both of which are light and compact enough for students of all ages to take it with them everywhere. Featuring military-grade durability for withstanding drops and bumps, the 4 boasts up to 12 hours of battery life and the 4+ up to 10 hours, which is long enough for a typical workday or day at school. Recharge it quickly when needed via a USB-C charger. Options include up to 32GB of storage, 4GB memory, and an Intel Celeron processor N4000. The Chromebook 4 lineup is also equipped with Gigabit Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to stream high-definition content, load webpages, and transfer gigabytes of data as needed. The high-speed data transfer rate is up to 5Gbps, and you can connect either to a 4K monitor and switch to Ultra HD for presentations, gaming, or streaming movies and TV shows. Loaded with Google goodies, you’ll get access to the Chrome browser and can download apps from the Google Play Store. You also get Google Assistant built-in for controlling the device by voice to do things like update your calendar, reply to a message, make a note, check the news, and more. Just say “Hey, Google” followed by your command to get started. The Samsung Chromebook 4 starts at $360 and comes finished in Platinum Titan, while the Samsung Chromebook 4+ comes in Satin Grey and starts at $460.

Kanto YU Passive Speakers

Kanto YU 5.25-inch passive speakers

Kanto’s YU Passive 5.25″ speakers are ideal for using as desktop speakers. Available for $199 per pair, they feature a 5.25-inch Kevlar woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. Measuring just 10.7 inches high by 6.9 inches wide by 8.1 inches deep, it uses the same high-quality drivers as the acclaimed Kanto YU6 and YU4 active speakers to deliver a wide sound field with precise imaging. The two models are available in black or white vinyl wrap to complement any home, office or desk setup. The cabinets are constructed from acoustic-grade MDF to eliminate unwanted internal resonances for detailed and uncoloured sound. Knurled five-way speaker binding posts enable easy connectivity and include standard 1/4″-20 mounting holes for securing the speakers to optional Kanto floor standing or desktop speaker stands.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT-USB turntable

This entry-level turntable is perfect for a teen or tween who has gotten into vinyl, while still combining modern technology via Bluetooth wireless, USB, and analog connectivity. It comes with a pre-installed Audio-Technica phono cartridge and a built-in phono preamplifier, plus audio and USB cables, a 45 RPM adapter, and a removable dustcover. Its wireless connectivity enables the turntable to be paired with compatible Bluetooth headphones, wireless speakers, or other devices. The AT-LP60XBT-USB supports the Qualcomm Bluetooth aptX codec. If desired, it can also be used as a standard wired turntable. Available in an elegant black finish, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-USB plays 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records. It comes with a Dual Magnet phono cartridge that is integrated into the tonearm, with no setup or adjustment required. The stylus is easily user-replaceable (model ATN3600L). The switchable phono preamp enables it to be used with audio systems and powered speakers that do not have a dedicated phono input. Its USB output allows the turntable to be connected to a computer to convert records to digital audio files, using recording software of the user’s choice. The AT-LP60XBT-USB also includes a die-cast, anti-resonance aluminum platter with felt mat and an external AC power adapter that reduces noise by keeping the power supply outside of the turntable. MSRP US$179.

Make it real Color Fusion Nail Polish Maker

Make it real color fusion nail polish maker

Some young tweens and teens love to do their nails, and this set adds a tech twist. Select a colour from the recipe book or use the free companion iOS or Android app to colour match to your outfit. You can mix over 200 nail polish colours in glossy or shimmer finishes, all of which are unscented and water-based, making them safe for kids. Insert a base capsule, set the colour formula, remove the pod, insert it in the bottle, twist on the brush cap, shake, then paint. There’s enough in the kit for up to 120 manicures or pedicures, along with styling tools, nail art, and step-by-step instructions. $20

Almond Cow Milk Maker

Almond Cow milk maker

A lot of young kids suffer from lactose intolerance or are just particular about what they eat and try to avoid dairy as part of a diet. If your teen or tween has you grabbing almond, soy, or oat milk at the grocery store, consider this machine, which would let them make their own to use with hot beverages, cereal, smoothies, or even to drink on its own or add to recipes. Add any type of nut, grain, or seed along with water, press a button, and in under a minute, you’ll get up to six cups of delicious milk alternative. It even works for potato and coconut milk. You can order it online for US$247.

Waterpik Sonic Fusion 2.0 Toothbrush

Waterpik Sonic Fusion 2.0

Trying to get kids to both floss and brush their teeth can be a chore. With this high-tech toothbrush, they will love that it can accomplish both at once. And it’s reportedly effective at removing 99.9% of plaque when used correctly. It has three modes that you can swap among via the push of a button: brush, floss, or brush and floss together. They’ll love the fact that it saves time and it’s cooler than a boring electric toothbrush and dental floss. Get one for $250.