Flowers and chocolates are all well and good (and they’re perhaps the best last-minute option), but if you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone (or for yourself), then nothin’ says “I love you” like a new piece of tech.
Once the wrapping has been ripped open, and your significant other discovers what’s in the box, your tech appeal will skyrocket once they realise you’ve been listening, and have gotten them a gift that’s so not a cliché.
However, keeping on top of what tech actually deserves a place of privilege in your better-half’s life can be hard. To save you the trouble of doing the deep research yourself, TechRadar’s Australian team has scoured the interwebs to find this timely selection of tech gift ideas for any budget, with all of them screaming “you are special”.
But hurry, as Valentine’s Day 2021 is just around the corner and if you’re planning on shopping online, you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time for delivery.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1
Does your partner love taking pictures? Then capture those special moments together instantly with a brand-new instant camera. And nobody does it as well as Fujifilm. The brand’s Instax Square range allows users to capture larger prints than the Instax Mini range, and the SQ1, released in 2020, does so at an affordable price and with easy-to-use features. The adjustable lens barrel and built-in mirror are great for close-ups and selfies, and there’s an automatic flash that’s smart enough to keep those romantic, moody lighting memories looking good. Admittedly it doesn’t look as classy as the older Instax Square SQ6 (designed to resemble the Instagram logo), but it is better suited to newcomers.
Read our in-depth Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 review
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential
Think size matters? Not when you can wake up your significant other with their favourite song each morning. Lenovo’s new Smart Clock Essential is a tiny smart display that brings Google Assistant into the bedroom with you without being intrusive. The 4-inch non-touch display shows the time, the day, the outside temperature and a small icon for the weather at all times, but you can also stream music whenever you want – even cast from a music streaming app. There’s a built-in nightlight and a USB port for charging another device, and there’s no camera on board that can spy on your nighttime activities. Best of all, it’s affordable.
Apple Watch SE
Keen on really pampering your partner? Then get them the most affordable Apple Watch yet without skimping on the features. The Apple Watch SE might be cheaper than the latest Series 6 Watch, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth every penny. It’s just as good as the Apple Watch 6, with just the always-on display feature missing. And that makes the battery life go further, even when all the fitness and productivity features are being used all day. It looks great on any wrist and there are plenty of alternative straps to choose from if your significant other is style-conscious. It’s the perfect gift for an Apple fan, and definitely one of the best smartwatches available today.
Read our in-depth Apple Watch SE review
Whoever said tech and style don’t go hand in hand has never really tried the Bose Frames. Use them as regular sunglasses, and play your favourite music while you’re out and about, while looking good at the same time. In fact, there’s a new Bose Frames style that’s designed for the fitness enthusiast too. So whether you’re running together, or taking that romantic stroll, there’s a style to suit everyone and any occasion. The Bose Frames Tempo is the more sporty, athletic one with a very decent eight hours of battery life and bigger sound, while the Tenor and Soprano are about everyday use, with up to five hours of battery and a very good soundscape. With no earphones to block ambient noise, you can hear everything that’s happening around you and yet not disturb anyone nearby either – your music is just for you.
SodaStream Source Element
A great way to enjoy Valentine’s Day evening is to relax at home with your special someone and enjoy a drink, or two. SodaStream’s Source Element has three levels of fizz to tingle your taste buds, available right there on the appliance’s LED display. The carbon dioxide canister is refillable and there are plenty of places throughout Australia that will do it for you, including some major supermarkets and petrol stations. So join your partner in keeping the planet plastic free this Valentine’s Day and gift them a SodaStream – it’s healthy for you and good for the planet too.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Is your special someone keen on keeping their crowning glory groomed impeccably? There’s really not much needed than a simple hair dryer. But there’s nothing ‘simple’ about Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer and the hype behind it is not all hot air. With a powerful air flow, a beautiful and unique design, and a quiet motor, this is the best money can buy. And, because there’s love in the air, there’s a red edition of the Supersonic hair dryer available to buy directly from Dyson. Moreover, if you buy directly from the manufacturer, you’ll also get a bonus gift – a stand for the dryer – worth AU$99 as well.
Read our in-depth Dyson Supersonic hair dryer review
Amazon Kindle Oasis
If your special someone is an avid reader, then set their heart aflutter with a Kindle Oasis. This ultra-sleek ereader from Amazon can store thousands of books, and it’s a delight to have and to hold. Its all-metal casing means it has a premium feel to back up its many features, which includes an automatically adjusting backlight that will change hue as the day progresses. There’s seven inches of screen real estate and the 300ppi E Ink display makes pages appear exactly like a physical printed page. Did we mention it’s waterproof? Perfect for bathtime reading, or by the pool and beach.
Read our in-depth Amazon Kindle Oasis review
One gift that’s sure to make your significant other’s eyes light up (with colour) is the latest from Nanoleaf, the company that specialises in lighting products with a difference. The Nanoleaf Shapes come in three different, well, shapes – Hexagons, Triangles and Mini Triangles. You can use just one shape or you can mix and match them to create your own unique designs that will convert a boring wall into an interactive and bright display of colour and your personality. Not only will the lights dance to those love songs you’ll be listening to on Valentine’s Day, you and your partner can even play some games on them as they’re touch-sensitive. You can either create your own light patterns and games, or choose from thousands already available on the app. The Shapes can be controlled by voice assistants, by touch or via the app and, of course, the coloured lights are perfect for setting the mood too.
Read our in-depth Nanoleaf Shapes review
Scribble sweet nothings for your partner on this smart pad. You can use the pen to write on any paper you like, then use the companion app to convert it into a digital version which you can send to your loved one. Heck, you can even create a shopping list for Valentine’s Day on it and make sure your better half walks through the door bearing bags of goodies. Anything more important can also be saved to other cloud services like Dropbox, so both of you can access them whenever you need to.
Sony PS-LX310BT turntable
Dust out those vinyls and put on those romantic tunes this Valentine’s Day as this Sony turntable is affordable and feature-packed. Our colleagues over at What Hi-Fi? gave the Sony PS-LX310BT a full five stars in their review, thanks to its ease of use. It’s fully automatic and Bluetooth enabled, making it a great option for first timers. There’s no need to scour YouTube to find out how to set this up – it’s box-to-Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Elvis or Frank Sinatra in about five minutes. Need we say more about how to make Valentine’s Day special?
DJI Mini 2
Sky’s the limit for romance this Valentine’s Day and you can capture all those beautiful memories together from a whole new angle. The DJI Mini 2 is currently the best compact drone money can buy, and can capture all that love in 4K clarity at 30fps. It’s small enough to be slipped into any bag or even a jacket pocket, and is easy to fly thanks to a redesigned controller. It’s a joy to fly, even if you’ve never used a drone before, and offers a maximum range of 10km. Flight time is up to 30 minutes, which is a pretty competitive battery life for consumer drones, and everything the Mini 2 captures is of impressive quality. There’s no obstacle avoidance as on DJI’s more premium quadcopters, so you will need to be careful when you fly it, but it’s still a great gift that you can enjoy together (even with the kids).
Read our in-depth DJI Mini 2 review
Ember Smart Mug 2
Nothing says “I love you” more than a hot cuppa for your significant other when they’re too busy (or harried) to make themselves one during a work day. And you can help keep that beverage warm for longer by getting them an Ember mug. This ceramic heat-controlled smart mug keeps hot beverages, well, hot for longer at temperatures between 50°C and 62.5°C, making for the perfect sip. A fully charged second-gen Ember mug can keep a cuppa warm for an hour and a half, needs to be hand-washed, but can be submerged in water up to a metre deep. Note that Ember smart mugs are only available through Amazon in Australia.
Peak Design bags
Whether your loved one needs a new backpack for everyday use or a tote that converts into a backpack for everyday use, there’s a Peak Design bag for everyone. Heck, there are duffel bags, slings and messenger bags too. Every single one of these has been designed to be the peak… sorry, the best bag money can buy. They’re versatile, built out of premium materials and there are plenty of accessories to improve their organisation. There are clips and pouches that can convert a simple backpack into an overnight bag or a well-organised camera bag. While these might cost you extra, they’re a great investment for someone who needs a bag for travel and daily commutes. You can get a Peak Design bag either directly from Peak Design, or from leading retailers.
Chromecast with Google TV
Don’t have a smart TV so you and your boo can curl up on the couch together and watch those rom-coms on Valentine’s Day? You can fix that by just getting Google’s latest iteration of the Chromecast. It adds Google’s TV platform to your, well, TV, giving you instant access to popular streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. It will even let you ‘cast’ from your phone or computer, allowing you to watch videos on a larger screen. And since it’s the Google TV platform, there’s even games available for you to enjoy. There’s a remote control too – an improvement over the older Chromecast models.
Read our in-depth Google Chromecast with Google TV review
Elgato Eve Energy smart switch
Smart devices are convenient, but then to set up a smart home with lots of these devices can be a hefty investment. You can, instead, use smart plugs and switches in strategic locations to make your regular appliances, like your electric kettle or lamp, into a really smart one. And one of the most easy to use and affordable options is the Elgato Eve Energy. Just plug it into an existing outlet, then plug in your appliance, and viola, you’re good to go. It works with Apple’s HomeKit and, unlike other smart plugs, connects via Bluetooth and not your home’s Wi-Fi. The app is easy to use as well, and will even keep tabs on your energy consumption. So surprise your loved one with automated lights or have the kettle going first thing in the morning without them having to get out of bed.
Read our in-depth Elgato Eve Energy smart switch review
TicWatch C2 Plus
While the Apple Watch SE (listed higher on this page) is the best wearable for Apple fans, there are more affordable options that are just as good, but run on Google’s Wear OS. And our pick from those is Mobvoi’s TicWatch C2 Plus. It’s a minor upgrade from the original C2, but it doubles the RAM, so you get much smoother performance from the wearable. Powered by Google, you’ve got access to Google Assistant, Google Fit and Google Pay – it’s all on the wrist, even your notifications. Battery life is impressive and the watch face is customisable to suit anyone’s style. And it’s often on sale – in fact, Mobvoi is discounting the TicWatch C2 Plus by 25% (down to just AU$236.24) if you’re keen on saving some cash.
Read our in-depth TicWatch C2 Plus review
JBL Flip 5
Whether you plan to spend a romantic day on the beach, by the pool or have a picnic in the park, you can serenade your boo with your favourite love songs played on the JBL Flip 5. It’s a small package that packs a massive punch, with up to 12 hours of battery life and good, bassy sound. It’s also available in different colours, is quite affordable and perfect for getting the party started. It boasts an IPX7 rugged design and will switch off automatically if you haven’t used it for a while. It might be a no-frills Bluetooth speaker but it won’t disappoint with its sound quality.