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Echo Dot (third-generation)

It's getting down to the wire. Saturday, December 22 is the last day you can order stuff on Amazon and other outlets with two-day shipping and get it in time for Christmas. 

Still not sure what to get? At CNET we've reviewed hundreds of devices this year, from phones to smart speakers, to PCs, to TVs, to thermostats. And the best ones make great gifts, whether you're looking to spend $30 or $2,000. 

Time is of the essence, however. Depending on when you read this, that perfect gift may not arrive in time. If that's the case, try searching the web site of your local store instead of Amazon (Walmart, Target and Best Buy are good candidates) and making a dash if it's in-stock for pickup. Or check out our list of last-minute gifts that don't need two-day (or any) shipping.

We begin with the 2018 Amazon Echo Dot. It's an ideal gift for anyone looking to get started with Alexa or add the voice assistant to more rooms of the house. Style and sound quality have been updated for 2018. Two things to keep in mind: This speaker has been on sale for $30, after going as low as $25 during Black Friday sales. And the older model is still available for $20 to $25, too. 

>> Page through the other 53 top gift picks here

Need more? Check out our choices by price:

Best gifts under $25

Best gifts under $50

Best gifts under $100

Best gifts under $250

Best gifts under $500

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on the subsequent pages, too.

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Amazon Echo (second generation)

Want an Alexa-powered gift with meatier sound? The bigger Echo is the way to go. Choose between five colors and finishes, and buy two if you want to pair them up for true stereo sound. This one remains on sale at its Black Friday price of $70 -- that's $30 off.

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Amazon Echo Show (second generation)

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

Alexa isn't the only smart assistant in town. The Google Home Mini is the perfect on-ramp to Google Assistant. It was priced as low as $25 during Black Friday sales but can be found for $30 now, and discounted as part of bundles, too. 

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JBL Link 300

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

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JBL Link View

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

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Google Home Hub

The Home Hub is Google's answer to the Echo Show -- and no built-in camera makes it a more comfortable bedroom companion. At less than $150, it's nicely priced, too -- though it was widely available at $99 during Black Friday. 

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Sonos One

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.


Apple HomePod

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. It retails for $350, but Best Buy and Target have sold it for $100 off in the past few weeks.

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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.


Tribit XFree Tune

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

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Jabra Elite Active 65t

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

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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Google Chromecast Audio

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. It normally sells for $35, and you can find it discounted as low as $20 this season.

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus

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. (Online sales sometimes see it dip as low as $49.)

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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.


Apple TV 4K

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.


SNES Classic

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.


Nintendo 2DS XL

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

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate has arrived 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

Xbox One S -- the slimmed down, updated version of Microsoft's 1TB gaming console -- has been priced to move this holiday season, with Walmart (and other retailers) offering it bundled with an assortment of great games for as little as $220. The step-up Xbox One X -- which offers full 4K gaming -- is also discounted to $399.

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Sony PlayStation 4 Pro

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 -- though, at $400, it's not cheap. The better deal was the entry-level PS4 bundled with Spider-Man for just $200, but that one sold out at most places well before Thanksgiving hit.

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Amazfit Bip

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. (It's often marked down to $70, too.)

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Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a winning fitness tracker, and it's finally water-resistant, too. Normally $150, it's often marked down by $20 this season.

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Fitbit Versa

Great battery life, iPhone and Android compatibility, water-resistance and fun custom watch faces make the Fitbit Versa a great gift. Normally $200, it's been sold for as little as $150 during this year's holiday sales.

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Apple Watch Series 3

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. This one has been periodically discounted to as low as $300 (for the 38mm model) in recent weeks.

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Apple Watch Series 4

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) feature is now available.

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Kindle Paperwhite 2018

Buying a gift for a serious reader? The new-for-2018 Kindle Paperwhite is arguably Amazon's best e-reader to date, with a better screen, waterproof body and better audiobook integration. And it's been discounted by $30 at Amazon for the past few days, too.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

Turning to tablets: Amazon's Fire HD 8 is our top budget pick, even at its normal $80 price. And it's been frequently discounted to as low as $50 during Amazon's repeated 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. Normally $130 (for the 32GB model), it's often discounted to as low as $90.

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Apple iPad (9.7-inch, 2018)

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's been selling for $250 during the holidays, down from its normal $329 price. Step up to the 128GB model for $100 more if you want more room for movies and apps.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Want to split the difference between a tablet and a laptop? The Surface Pro 6 is probably your best choice. You'll need to spring for the keyboard -- and maybe the pen, too -- but we've seen some great combo deals this season bringing the total package down to as little as $800.

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MacBook Air 2018

It's not without its compromises -- no old-fashioned USB-A ports, an unfamiliar keyboard and a higher price -- but the MacBook Air has finally been updated. It's the first, best choice if you're buying a new laptop for a Mac fan.

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Acer Aspire E15 E5 576G-5762

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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Dell G5 15

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

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Razer Blade 2018

If you want laptop gaming without compromises, spend up for the 2018 Razer Blade.

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Acer Swift 7

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)

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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Lenovo Yoga C930

The Yoga C930 sneaks in to December as one of our favorite laptops of the year. It's got one of the best 2-in-1 hinged designs we've seen to date, and it's well worth its premium price tag.

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HP Chomebook x2

Buying for someone who prefers the simplicity -- and security -- of a Chromebook? The HP Chromebook x2 is our favorite model of the year, with a 2-in-1 design, great keyboard and solid performance.

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Moto G6

A great, basic smartphone for $200? The Moto G6 proves it can be done.

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iPhone 7

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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OnePlus 6T

Looking for $1,000 worth of phone for about 42 percent less? The OnePlus 6T delivers hero phone performance and features -- including an in-glass fingerprint reader -- at the price of a midrange phone.

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Google Pixel 3

We already loved the Pixel 3, which added waterproofing, wireless charging and automated spam call screening (really!) to Google's phone line. But the addition of the Night Sight camera feature via a recent software update snagged this phone a CNET Editors' Choice as the best phone camera you can buy, hands-down. It can deliver usable photos even when you're shooting in nearly dark environments. 

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Apple iPhone XR

Our other favorite 2018 phone is the iPhone XR. Starting at $749 -- and with trade-in offers that can get it closer to $500 -- the XR delivers the bulk of what you'll get with the much pricier iPhone XS, but for hundreds less. If you're buying for someone upgrading from any iPhone other than the iPhone X, this should be your starting point.

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LG V40 ThinQ

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. It's a great alternative if you don't want a Samsung or a Pixel, for whatever reason.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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 SB362An-F6 sound bar

Ignore the alphanumeric soup of a name, and just know that the Vizio SB362An-F6 is the best-sounding sound bar you can buy for about $100.

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Yamaha YAS-108 sound bar

Spend up to $200, and the Yamaha YAS-108 adds HDMI connectivity with support for 4K HDR video and DTS Virtual:X surround sound.

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Polk Command Bar

The Polk Command Bar is a full-on Alexa smart speaker that happens to live inside a great-sounding sound bar. It's dipped to as low as $200 this season, but you can still find it for around $250 -- that's $50 off the usual asking price.

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Sonos Beam

If you want more flexibility in a smart sound bar, the Sonos Beam includes Alexa and Apple's AirPlay 2 streaming -- and Sonos says that it will also offer Google Assistant at some point in 2019.

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TCL S305 series Roku TV

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

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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Vizio P Series Quantum

With an even better picture than the TCL 6 series, the ultra-bright Vizio P Series Quantum makes the highest-quality HDR video shine (literally). If you can find this one on sale and want a 65-inch size, it's a keeper.

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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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