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The best gifts for 2018

We know the drill: You need to buy gifts for all your family and friends, and you have no idea where to start. Don't worry: We're here to help. Start with our gift suggestions at key prices:

Best gifts under $25

Best gifts under $50

Best gifts under $100

Best gifts under $250

Best gifts under $500

Need more? Then read on, because we've collected our favorite products across all categories. These are mostly arranged in "good, better, best" ranking.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Tribit XFree Tune

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Buying for someone that likes great sound but doesn't care about big brand names? The wireless Tribit XFree Tune delivers solid sound, nice bass and great battery life -- all for about $50.

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Jabra Elite Active 65t

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Yes, the Apple AirPods are seriously great. But for a few bucks more, the Jabra Elite Active 65t fully wireless headphones offer better noise isolation, sweat resistance and a more understated look. 

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Sony WH-1000XM3

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Move over, Bose: The new-for-2018 Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones finally take the top slot in the full-size noise-cancelling wireless headphones race, pairing superior comfort with excellent sound quality. It's a great gift for frequent travelers.

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Echo Dot (third-generation)

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The updated Echo Dot is an ideal gift for anyone looking to add Alexa to more rooms of the house. Style and sound quality have been updated for 2018. Just keep in mind this $50 smart speaker will almost certainly be discounted during Black Friday week.

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Amazon Echo (second generation)

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Want an Alexa-powered gift with meatier sound? The $99 Echo is the way to go. Choose between 5 colors and finishes, and buy two if you want to pair them up for true stereo sound. 

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Amazon Echo Show (second generation)

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If you want to add a screen to your Alexa smart home experience, the all-new Echo Show is the way to go. This 10-incher doubles as a video viewer for the kitchen or bedroom, too. 

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Google Home Mini

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Alexa isn't the only smart assistant in town. The Google Home Mini is the perfect on-ramp to Google Assistant, and you'll be able to find this $49 smart speaker for half price during Black Friday sales at Target (and likely elsewhere).

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JBL Link 300

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If you want Google Assistant smart speaker with a meatier sound quality for music, the JBL Link 300 is a solid option.

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JBL Link View

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The JBL Link View, meanwhile, adds a screen to the Google Assistant smart home experience.

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Google Home Hub

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The Home Hub is Google's answer to the Echo Show. And at just $150, it's nicely priced, too. And no built-in camera makes it a more comfortable bedroom companion.

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Sonos One

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Want more flexibility in a smart speaker? The Sonos One supports Amazon's Alexa, and the company is working on adding Google Assistant in the future. In the meantime, it also works with Apple AirPlay 2, so you can stream music from iPhones, iPads and Macs with ease. Oh, and it sounds great, too.

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Apple HomePod

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At $350, the Apple HomePod doesn't come cheap. But its Siri-powered smart features are getting a bit better with each software update, and its sound quality is spectacular.

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Ecobee4

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Our top-rated smart thermostat works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, has a built-in speaker and supports smart sensors you can place throughout your home (one is included in the box, too). That's why it's an enthusiastic CNET Editors' Choice

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Google Chromecast Audio

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At just $35, the Chromecast Audio is one of our favorite audio streamers. It turns anything with an aux input (digital or analog) into a Wi-Fi music system. It works with some iOS apps, but it's best as a gift for Android users.

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus

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This 2017 video streamer is still the best overall choice on the market, with every non-Apple app, an easy-to-use interface, excellent 4K HDR video quality and a remote that controls your TV's power and volume. And it just got a $10 price cut (to $60), making it an even more enthusiastic Editors' Choice.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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If you're buying for someone who already owns an Echo speaker or two, the new Fire TV Stick 4K is a great choice for a video streamer. Like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, it's got TV power and volume control, too.

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Apple TV 4K

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The Apple TV 4K costs more than the Roku and Fire TV Stick 4K combined, but it delivers a buttery smooth high-end video streaming experience with all the bells and whistles. If you're buying for someone who has all their media in Apple properties -- iTunes, Apple Photos, Apple Music -- this is the one to get.

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SNES Classic

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It's the best of the Super Nintendo, distilled into a tiny, magnificent box: 21 classic games, 2 wired controllers and an HDMI cable to easy connection to any modern TV. Oh, and you can save your games at any point -- which is good, because these old-school classics are much harder than you remember.  And all of this great gaming nostalgia costs only $80.

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Nintendo 2DS XL

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Buying for a young gaming fan -- or anyone else -- who wants to classic and current Nintendo games on the go for half the price of the Switch? The $150 2DS XL is just the ticket.

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Nintendo Switch

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Super Smash Brothers Ultimate arrives just in time for Christmas, making the Switch a better gift candidate than ever. It's the only console that lets you play on a big-screen TV or on the go.

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Xbox One S

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Xbox One S -- the slimmed down, updated version of Microsoft's 1TB gaming console -- will be be priced to move this holiday season, with Target (and others) pricing console plus game bundles as low as $199.

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Sony PlayStation 4 Pro

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The PlayStation 4 Pro is the 4K version of Sony's game console. It's got more must-have exclusives than Xbox, including God of War and Spider-Man. And you can get it this holiday season with the latest gaming masterpiece -- Red Dead Redemption 2 -- bundled in at no extra charge.

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Amazfit Bip

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Can't afford to gift an Apple Watch? This smartwatch checks nearly every must-have box -- heart rate tracking, GPS, always-on display, weeks-long battery life, water resistance and Android and iPhone compatibility -- despite only costing $80. 

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Fitbit Charge 3

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The Fitbit Charge 3 is a winning fitness tracker, and it's finally water-resistant, too. 

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Fitbit Versa

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Great battery life, iPhone and Android compatibility, water-resistance and fun custom watch faces make the Fitbit Versa a great gift. And it's going to be 25 percent off at Target (and likely elsewhere) during the Black Friday sales period.

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Apple Watch Series 3

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Yes, it's "last year's Apple Watch" -- but the Series 3 is more affordable than ever, and it's got the bulk of the Series 4 features, too. Look for it to be nicely discounted during Black Friday sales, too.

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Apple Watch Series 4

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If you want to gift the ultimate smartwatch, the new Apple Watch Series 4 is the way to go. It's lightning fast, has fall detection, a big, beautiful display -- and its electrocardiogram (ECG, also known as EKG) is slated to be activated by a software update later this year.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

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Turning to tablets: Amazon's Fire HD 8 is our top budget pick, even at its normal $80 price. And it's sure to be discounted even further during holiday sales. If you're buying for children, opt for the Kids Edition, which adds a protective case, a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (kid-friendly apps and content) and a 2-year replacement warranty for any sort of damage.

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Apple iPad (9.7-inch, 2018)

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Apple's 2018 entry-level iPad remains an awesome home and travel companion for media consumption, drawing (with the optional Pencil) and basic browsing. And it will be selling for $250 during the holidays, down from its normal $329 price.

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Microsoft Surface Go

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Microsoft's answer to the iPad has a lot going for it, too. But if you're buying this as a gift, make sure to invest in the keyboard, too.

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Acer Aspire E15 E5 576G-5762

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Know someone who wants to replace an aging laptop, but doesn't need something that's thin and light? The Acer Aspire E15 has a modern Intel CPU, good battery life, a dedicated graphics chip and that rarest of all things: a DVD drive. All for under $600.

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Lenovo 500e Chromebook

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Chromebooks are great for students, or for anyone who needs basic online access that's largely free of malware fears. And the Lenovo 500e is one of our favorites.

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Dell G5 15

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Want to give a gaming laptop without breaking the bank? The Dell G5 15 is our go-to choice.

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Acer Swift 7

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If MacBook-style sex appeal with Windows 10 is your thing, the Acer Swift 7 -- just 9mm thick! -- is a great choice.

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Dell XPS 13 (2018)

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If you don't mind the "up your nose" webcam mounted under the screen, the 2018 revision of the Dell XPS 13 is otherwise a nearly ideal thin and light Windows laptop.

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)

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For the 2018 MacBook Pro, Apple seriously amped up the specs and power of its top-end laptop. It's pricey, but video editors and digital creatives will demand nothing less.

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Apple iPhone 7

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Let's face it: Modern iPhones are expensive. But the 2016-era iPhone 7 is more affordable than ever, and it's still a great all-around smartphone -- especially if you're buying it for a kid, or someone replacing a pre-iPhone 5S model. Just be sure to spend up for the 128GB model. 

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LG V40 ThinQ

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The V40 ThinQ may well be LG's best phone ever, with 3 rear cameras, a big 6.4-inch screen and the unique cinemagraph feature.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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The aptly named Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung's best phone of 2018 -- and perfect for anyone who's always scribbling. The included stylus tucks neatly into the phone's body, and it doubles as a remote for snapping pics from a distance, too.

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Vizio SB3621

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"Cheap" no longer needs to mean "nasty." Not only is the Vizio SB3621 one of the best sound bars we've seen in 2017, but -- at $150 in the US -- it's also the cheapest. That's why astounding value racked up a five-star rating and an Editors' Choice.

-- Ty Pendlebury

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Yamaha YAS-207

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Yamaha has proven it's still on top when it comes to simulated surround on a budget. If you don't have the space or money for a 5.1 system, get the YAS-207.

-- Ty Pendlebury

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TCL S305 series Roku TV

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If you're buying a TV for a bedroom or other secondary room, the TCL S305 is the way to go, thanks to its built-in Roku streaming system and ultra-affordable price.

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TCL 65R617 Roku TV

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The TCL 6 Series Roku TV is, hands-down, the best 65-inch TV you can get for under $1,000. 

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LG OLEDB8P Series TV

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Want the best of the best? The 2018 LG OLED TV is the beginning and end of your search.

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