A perspective image of hearts through a tunnel
Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Here’s the Tech Your Partner Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your partner this Valentine’s Day, consider something in the realm of tech. They’ll appreciate it much more than a gift card, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, or liquor. (Ok, maybe some would still love those, too!) Pair a cool tech gift with a thoughtful greeting card, maybe even a homemade one, with a loving message. What should you get? Here are some ideas that are sure to please.

For the Content Creator: DJI Osmo Pocket 3

DJI Osmo Pocket 3

If your love loves to create content, particularly for social platforms, they’ll want the DJI Osmo Pocket 3. I reviewed it in arguably the most intense scenario possible: during CES 2024. The device was used to record almost every video I shot and published from the show, and it worked masterfully. Go all out with the Creator Combo that includes all the accessories they’ll need, including the DJI Mic 2, handle with thread, mini tripod, extra battery pack, windscreen for outdoor recordings, magnetic wide-angle lens attachment, and even a handy carrying case. It will become their new favourite recording device, whether it’s for widescreen videos on YouTube or vertical ones for TikTok. The Creator Combo is $929.

For the Gamer: Meta Quest 3 VR Headset

Meta Quest 3

Help them take their gaming to a new level with the Meta Quest 3 VR headset. It offers new mixed reality technology so they can explore more unique experiences, from playing a virtual piano to entering a new dimension right from the living room. With 10 times more pixels than the Meta Quest 2 as well as double the graphic processing power, it’s worth the upgrade even if your partner already has the previous generation model. It even supports spatial audio for a fully immersive experience when they want to escape for some gaming downtime. Get it for $650.

For the Fitness Buff: Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9

I still wear an Apple Watch Series 8, and honestly, if your partner has one, it’s worth hanging onto. But if they are wearing an older version or they have yet to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon, the Apple Watch Series 9 will be a perfect match for any iPhone owner. They can track workouts, including ones from Apple Fitness+ when using the free trial that comes with the Watch, receive notifications from numerous apps and the phone itself, pay for items with Apple Wallet, and more. It really is a companion on your wrist. This gift is the perfect combination of tech and jewelry, and starting at $549, it’s less expensive than a new designer wristwatch. Consider going with the pink option, which perfectly fits with the Valentine’s Day theme.

For the Android Phone User: Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

I’m predominantly an iPhone user, but I also have a Google Pixel 8, and it’s an absolute dream for taking photos and videos. With the latest AI features coming to the device, like Circle to Search, Magic Compose, and Photomoji, it’s a worthwhile option to consider for an Android user. Google Pixel phones are among the more affordable in this space yet they perform wonderfully. I love the Best Take feature for being able to effectively stitch together expressions from different photos of the same group or pair to get the perfect photo. The Google Pixel 8 Pro is a step up in many ways, including the addition of a handy temperature sensor. Go for the new mint green finish so the phone really stands out. The Google Pixel 8 Pro starts at $1,099, or you can opt for the Pixel 8, which starts at $749.

For the Audiophile: iFi Diablo 2 DAC

iFi Diablo 2 DAC

David Susilo reviewed the iFi Diablo 2 DAC earlier this month and declared that from build quality to faithful reproduction of recordings, it’s a total winner. It employs a dual-mono design and offers nuanced audio output, he says, that can capture the subtleties in various tracks. Testing with his own recordings that he knows inside and out, Susilo says the iFi Diablo DAC “reproduced my recordings faithfully, warts and all.” He would recommend it mainly for serious audiophiles who will be able to use the DAC with a high-end pair of headphones (as in ones that cost in the $1,000+ range). At US$1,299 for the DAC itself, this makes total sense. It’s a big investment, but for someone who will savour every audible moment from it, it’s worth it.

For the Early Adopter: Solos AirGo 3 Xeon 5 Smart Glasses

Solos AirGo 3 sunglasses

If your partner loves being an early adopter of tech (think Phil Dunphy from Modern Family), get him something really cool he might not even know about yet, or maybe does and has been dying to get. Forget the Apple Vision Pro (it’s insanely expensive) or the Meta Ray-Ban smart glasses. Go with the simpler, more affordable Solos Airgo 3 smart glasses. I reviewed a prescription pair last year, though you can get them as regular sunglasses, too, just in time for summer. They can play music without plugging your ears, and your partner will be impressed by the audio quality for both music and phone calls. They can also be used to access ChatGPT, asking basic questions on the go as you explore a historic city while on vacation, for example, or your kids need help with their homework and you don’t have the answer they need. The coolest feature, however, is live translation. They’ll have to pay for a subscription after the trial is over to access all the AI goodies. But even without one, the Solos AirGos are a pretty neat pair of Bluetooth glasses or sunglasses. The Xeon 5 smart glasses are $272 in Canada and come complete with UV protection. Select the style, lenses, and order online with free shipping on orders above US$199 ($45 fixed shipping rate for anything under.) Grab an extra magnetic charging cable for $20 so they can keep one at home and one at the office and you’ll be over the amount required for free shipping.

For the Student: Targus CitySmart EVA Pro Backpack

Targus CitySmart Eva Pro backpack

What did I pack that DJI Osmo Pocket 3 in to travel to CES? My carry-on, of course, which was this backpack. It’s a stylish backpack that fits a lot more than it looks like it does. It isn’t ultra-compact but not massive either. For a student or worker who travels, this will be a nice upgrade from the old Jansport they have been sporting. With aching shoulders, they might be finally read to switch from a briefcase or messenger to a backpack that distributes weight evenly. During my review period, I found the bag to be comfortable to wear all day (yes, I wore it from morning to night, several days in a row throughout the show). I loved how easy it was to organize items so I didn’t have to rifle around for smaller items like charging cables, a pen, or power bank. I could even stuff my packable jacket inside when I brought it to the Convention Center (it was cooler than usual in Vegas). From students to workers, this bag is worth considering. At about $200, it’s more expensive than your average backpack but not overly so.

For the Griller: Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545 Charcoal Grill and Smoker

Masterbuilt AutoIgnite

I have been using a Masterbuilt smoker for several years and love it. The brand was at CES 2024 and I attended an event there to check out the latest products coming this year. I have my eye on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series XT, the step-up model to the one I have at home (Masterbuilt Gravity 560), but you’ll have to wait a little longer for that one: it’s available starting in April. For now, consider surprising your grill-loving partner with the Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545. At US$499 (So expect anywhere from $650-$700 in Canada), it has a QuickStart Auto-Ignition button and, like other Masterbuilt products, can be monitored and controlled by the app. The app, one of the weak points of the experience from years past, has been vastly improved, the company advises. What makes this grill so cool is that you can fill the MiniHopper with up to four pounds of charcoal and the grill’s smart tech will handle the rest for your up to five-hour smoke – you’ll only need to check on it once for a 10-12-hour brisket smoke job. There’s also a QuickSear hopper griddle plate for side dishes like veggies, bottom storage area, and removable components so clean-up is a breeze.

For The Fashionista: Urbanista Copenhagen True Wireless Earbuds

Urbanista Copenhagen true wireless earbuds

If your love values fashion as much as tech, you can combine the two with the ultra-fashionable Urbanista Copenhagen true wireless earbuds (distributed exclusively in Canada by Erikson Consumer) in the Dusty Pink finish (it’s also available in Midnight Black, Pure White, and Sage Green if pink isn’t their thing). At $99, these earbuds feature a design inspired by the city of the name they bear. Get up to 32 hours of playtime using the included charging case along with voice assistant support and Bluetooth 5.2. They have touch controls and a noise reducing microphone, perfect for making calls on the go. It’s a simple anf affordable pair of earbuds they’ll keep in their backpack, purse, briefcase, or even pocket for listening to podcasts while running, music while commuting, or for calls while at the office.

For the Health Nut: Withings Body Smart Scale

Withings Body Smart scale

A scale might sound like a loaded gift: is my partner trying to tell me something? But when it comes to a smart scale, it’s about much more than just the number on the scale. And if your true love is on a mission to get fit or keep tabs on their health and wellness, they’ll probably love this scale. It reports back not only weight but also details about body composition, including visceral fat, muscle mass, body mass index, and more. In the app, you can also learn about your metabolic age and basal metabolic rate. The best part if they have an Apple Watch is that the data from the scale can sync with Apple Health and vice versa, so you get a nice, holistic picture of your health and wellness. Read my review of the stylish scale, which sells for US$100.

For the Work-From-Homer: De’Longhi Magnifica Evo Espresso Machine

De'Longhi Magnifica Evo espresso machine

I’m a coffee convert. While I would always order fancy coffees when out, I was content with a quick cup of black coffee from my single cup coffee maker for years. That is, until I switched to a premium expresso machine and realized the difference an awesome cup of coffee can make for your morning or afternoon. The De’Longhi Magnifica Evo espresso machine is an automatic machine that does the work for you. Add coffee beans or grounds, choose your desired strength level, then push one of the pre-defined buttons to get everything from an espresso to black coffee, or even a latte macchiato or cappuccino. For the latter drinks, add milk (or milk alternative) to the frother cup, clip it onto the machine, and it will do its thing. You’ll get perfectly frothed milk that looks like it was made in a local café. Along with this machine, which sells for about $1,000, you can consider getting them a premium bag of coffee beans (I only ever use fresh beans) and a bottle of flavoured syrup. It sounds like a hefty investment, but when you price it out, you could come out ahead. A $5 latte every morning from the drive-thru 5 days a week easily equates to over $1,200 a year for coffee. Think of it this way: the machine will pay for itself in the first year or two!

For The Single Friend: Hayu or Netflix Subscription

Hayu reality TV streaming

Not everyone has a special someone in their life. Don’t forget about the single friend or family member on your list. While Bridget Jones would suggest that watching a sappy rom-com with a tub of ice cream is the thing to do when you’re single on Valentine’s Day, why not stick with a guilty pleasure instead (but still with the ice cream)? Hayu is the source for every trashy and not-so-trash reality show around. Sign them up for a plan for six-month plan so they can watch all their favourites and have enough time to plow through all the seasons. At $33.99, it’s an affordable option that they can decide to continue after if they want for $6.99/mo. or buy the full year for $61.99/mo. There’s access to more than 300 shows, including the ability to stream a show the same day it airs on linear TV. Shows include popular ones like Vanderpump Rules, all the Housewives franchise shows, Below Deck, Million Dollar Listing, and more. They can revel in all the fake drama while forgetting about any that exists in their own life.

Love is Blind
Love is Blind. Johnie Maraist in episode 501 of Love is Blind. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

With the new season of Love is Blind out on Valentine’s Day with its first few episodes, you might want to consider Netflix as well. It’s the perfect show to watch then gossip with girlfriends or in chat groups about all the ridiculous and shocking things going on. Netflix is also home to other popular dating reality shows, like Perfect Match, Too Hot to Handle, and Indian Matchmaking. Or, if you want to make them feel better about not rushing into something, consider recommending Escaping Twin Flames: after seeing that shocking docuseries, they’ll be happy to be single until the real right person comes along. The cheapest Netflix plan with ads is $5.99/mo. but you could also consider adding them to your subscription for an additional $7.99/mo., keeping it for at least a month so they can watch the new Love is Blind season and chat with you about it.