11 great gifts for Linux users

Swapnil Bhartiya

11 great gifts for Linux users

The holiday season is upon us and in addition to office celebrations, it’s also time for buying gifts for the Linux geek in your life. Here are 11 cool toys (err, gadgets) for grownup boys and girls -- all powered by Linux -- for budgets large and small.

raspberry pi 2

1: Raspberry Pi 2

Raspberry Pi is nothing short of a revolution. This $35 device is no bigger than a credit card but with computing power equivalent to those early Pentium processors with graphics roughly equal to the first gen Xbox. The beauty of Pi 2 is that you get this computing power in a form factor that can be used in so many different ways. The perfect gift for the DIYer in your life.

You can order the Pi 2 from element 14

chromebook flip

2: Chromebook Flip

I own a Chromebook Flip and what I like the most about this 10.1 inch device is that it transforms from a laptop into a Chrome OS powered tablet -- offering the best of both worlds. At $239 you get a device that will never get any virus; that will always run the latest operating system; and that will never need any maintenance whatsoever.

Order Chromebook Flip from ASUS

amazon fire tv
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3: Amazon Fire TV Stick

Amazon Fire TV Stick is among my favorite devices due to its physical remote. Amazon Prime membersl get free access to Amazon Prime movies, TV shows and music. And then there are 3rd party apps and services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. The stick also comes with voice capabilities for an extra $10, but it’s not as good and smart as is Siri on Apple TV. So if you are planning to give one, save yourself the $10 and buy the regular stick for $39.

Order Amazon Fire TV Stick now

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4: Chromebit

This is a new class of device that essentially is a whole computer on an HDMI stick. Just plug the stick to the HMDI port of a TV or monitor, connect wireless peripherals and you have a PC running under $88. Chromebit runs has the same processor and RAM as the Chromebook Flip so it has decent computing power. It runs on Chrome OS, so everything that’s good about the OS will be at your disposal. It could be a neat gift for those who have an extra monitor laying around.

Order Chromebit from Amazon

nvidia shield

5: NVIDIA Shield Android TV

NVIDIA Shield Android TV is the best gift for mobile gamers. This $197 device doubles as a gaming hub and entertainment powerhouse...because it supports 4K UHD videos. It runs Android so you can install a wide range of apps on it including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Sling TV (includes ESPN), Disney, Showtime, CBS All Access, Pandora, NBA, Plex and Kodi. And you have access to high-end games that are available on SHIELD or through GeForce NOW. The device has 16GB of onboard storage but you can expand it to 128GB with a microSD card. It comes with a game controller.

Order NVIDIA Shielf Android TV now

nexus 6p
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6: Nexus 6P

For Android purists there is nothing better than Nexus devices: these are the devices that offer the ‘pure’ Android experience out of the box without any meddling by OEMs or carriers. I have been using a Nexus 6P for a while and found it to be a great phone. Nexus 6P runs on Android 6.0, a.k.a. Lollipop, and has one of the best cameras available -- even for low-light shoots. It has Google Now baked in, along with Google Now on Tap, so you have access to the much needed info at your fingertips.

Order Nexus 6P from Google

Google Store

7: Chromecast

Chromecast is a must-have device. And now there are two Chromecasts: one for video and one for audio. At $35 you can’t go wrong here. It literally turns your ‘feature’ TV into a smart TV. You can watch YouTube, Netflix, play games and even use it for work and ‘stream’ presentations through projectors.

Buy Chromecast from Google

nest 3
Google Nest

8: Nest 3

I started using Nest almost a year ago and have become a huge fan of the device. Now there is third generation Nest available for $249. The new device is thinner with a bigger display. It connects to the Internet wirelessly and can be controlled from a web browser or through iOS and Android apps. So the next time your loved one has gone over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house and forgot to turn the heat off, she can just pull out her smartphone and set things straight.

Order Nest 3 from the official site.


9: Huawei Watch

I have used many different smartwatches - LG Urbane, Moto 360 and Apple Watch -- and I have to say that they are not for everyone. A smartwatch is essentially a notification device. So if your giftee is someone who gets a lot of email, messages, tweets, etc. and finds them distracting, a smartwatch might be a smart gift.  I recommend the Huawei Watch. You can find one on Amazon for $399.

Order the watch from Huawei

google cardboard
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10: Google Cardboard

I recently bought my first Google Cardboard ‘headset’ and fell in love with it. It’s an amazing, inexpensive device that turns a smartphone into virtual reality gear. There are many different Cardboard devices out there ranging from $16 to $200. It's a great gift for kids and even better for grownups. All basic Google Cardboards with work on any Android or iOS smartphone.  If you are planning to buy a high-end version, make sure it’s not locked to certain phones. I would suggest trying out a cheaper version first.

Order the cardboard from Google

pixel c slideshow

11: Pixel C tablet

This is the first Android tablet that Google has designed and built. Pixel C reflects the same craftsmanship, in terms of hardware and design, that you see in the premium Pixel Chromebooks. The 10.2 inch tablet has a stunning 2560 x 1800 (308 PPI) display housed in anodized aluminum body. The tablet is running the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The 32GB version is being sold for $499 and 64GB is available for $599.

Order the Pixel C