The last installment in our five-part holiday gift guide series this year is tailored for power users—those who know their way around technology and feel uneasy settling for gear that doesn’t provide high performance.
The nine gadgets we’ve rounded up below may be overkill for most of the people in your life, but they should satisfy those who consider themselves enthusiasts in some way.
Per usual, we’ve curated these recommendations based on hands-on testing we’ve done over the course of 2019. If none of these items fit your shopping list’s needs, though, take a look at our previous gift guides for the home, the office, the road, and affordable gadgets for additional inspiration. For now, though, let’s indulge a little in the latest and greatest tech.
The Razer Viper is marketed as a competitive gaming mouse, and it works well for that purpose. But it’s excellent for everyday use as well. The main draw here is lightness: at just 69 grams, the Viper is a breeze to slide around. It has a flatter shape and might appeal more to “claw” grippers than its peers, but it’s contoured gently on the top and sides, with a slightly flared-out bottom that gives room for your palm to rest. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to mice design, but something this light and uncomplicated should present little fatigue over the course of the day.
Beyond that, the Viper’s RGB lighting is limited to subtle changes on the Razer logo, so it doesn’t come off as gaudy the way other gaming mice do. The main right and left buttons feel quick and crisp, due in part to an optical switch design that makes double-clicks rare. They should also keep the Viper more durable over time. (For what it’s worth, we’ve tested the mouse for four months and have encountered no reliability issues thus far.) The scroll wheel is a bit on the slower side but still comes off smooth. The optical sensor has up to a 16,000 DPI resolution, which is overkill, but it tracks smoothly and consistently across surfaces all the same. Razer’s companion software is far from required to get the Viper working, but it’s unobtrusive enough, and it can be used to fine tune DPI presets and adjust more granular settings like lift sensitivity. The cable is exceedingly light and flexible. And the whole design is ambidextrous, so lefties aren’t left out in the dark.
There are things to nitpick about the Viper. The side buttons are consistent but sit fairly flush against the side of the mouse. The hard rubberized texture on those sides isn’t as grippy as it could be. And while we like the DPI adjustment button being on the bottom of the device, since it makes accidental presses less likely, others may prefer it being more readily accessible on top. It’s not the cheapest mouse, either. But as a gift, the Viper is highly comfortable and performant for power users of all kinds.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
While there are plenty of storage solutions for your home or office data, SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD is a good option for data you need with you wherever you go. The surprisingly small, portable SSD is IP55-rated, so it will withstand water and dust, as well as shock and vibrations. It can even be dropped from up to two meters without suffering any damage.
That’s impressive for an SSD that can fit comfortably into the palm of your hand. While it has one USB-C port on it, it comes with both USB-C and USB-A cables so it can be connected to almost any PC. All of this combined makes it one of the easiest SSDs to travel with, and one of the most convenient to use for most people.
Available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB options, the SanDisk Extreme SSD is also one of the fastest portable storage solutions that we’ve tested. It’s similar to Samsung’s T5 SSD in data read and write speeds, making it one of the fastest you can get that also has a truly portable (and durable) design. Samsung’s T5 SSD is more affordable, but SanDisk’s Extreme SSD is better for power users because it has that extra layer of protection in its design along with the same ease of use as Samsung’s device.