by Swapnil Bhartiya

14 Linux-based gifts ideas for your geeky valentine

Feb 02, 2016
LinuxOpen Source

Linux is in the air

For Linux lovers, there is nothing better than getting a Linux running device. And if you’re the Linux fan, what better opportunity to plant the seed of Linux in your valentine’s heart? Here are 14 cool Linux-based devices that I would want to receive — and I bet you will too.

Dell Ubuntu laptop

valentine dell

Image by Dell

You can, of course, install Linux on virtually any laptop, including MacBooks, but if you want something that comes with Linux pre-installed, well, there are plenty of options. But none is nothing better than Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.

Approximate price: $1049,99

Order it from Dell 

Chromebook Pixel

valentine cbook pixel

Image by Google

Chromebooks are mostly known as inexpensive, zero maintenance laptops that canserve a majority of average users. That doesn’t mean there aren’t high-end Chrome OS devices. For that, nothing beats the Pixel Chromebooks that are designed and manufactured by Google itself. These devices come with more powerful processor, more RAM and one of the best touch-screen displays that you will find on any laptop.

Approximate price: $999

Order it from Google

Steam Machine

valentine steam

Image by Dell

You don’t have to buy a Windows machine if you are a hard core gamer. Game distributor Valve Software has been working on its own gaming platform, Steam OS, that’s based on Debian Linux. At the end of last year Valve partners started shipping Steam OS powered gaming consoles called Steam Machines. Unlike Xbox One and PlayStation, these devices are manufactured by different vendors and come in different configurations. There are hundreds of game titles for Steam OS to choose from and then you can also stream games. Alienware Steam Machine is one that stands out for great looks and a decent price.

Approximate price: $449

Order it from Dell

Nvidia Shield Android TV

valentine nvidia tv

Image by Nvidia

Nvidia Shield Android TV is the best of the Android TV devices, competing with the Apple TV 4 and Xbox One for a spot in your livingroom. While Xbox One is a high-end, full fledged gaming console, Nvidia’s Android base, support for Google Play Games and access to Nvidia Now makes it a contender — especially if you are looking for games for kids. You can also plug in an external hard drive and connect accessories such as mouse and keyboard to extend the use of the device. Nvidia Shield Android TV is powered by the latest Nvidia chip, which can push insanely high definition games. And it also doubles up as a full-fledged media streaming box.

Approximate price: $199

Order it from Nvidia


valentine nvidia tablet

Image by Nvidia

NVIDIA SHIELD tablet K1 mobilizes the Nvidia Shield Android TV experience. You can take your games with you when you travel. The tablet is optimized for gaming with its 16:10 form factor and you can pair it with Nvidia Shield Controller so you can play games using the controller. You can also pair the tablet with Nvidia Shield Android TV and either mirror the content on the TV screen or use the tablet as a controller. The tablet runs Android 6.0 and you can install any app from Google Play Store, which means you can also use it as a regular tablet.

Approximate price: $199

Order it from Nvidia

Nexus 6P or 5x

valentine nexus

Image by Google

Last year Google came out with two new Nexus phones. Nexus 6P is a high end Android phone that takes full advantage of the new features in the Android 6.x operating system. It has a great camera and display and a very good battery life. Nexus 5x is a mid-range device.

For Android purists, look no further.

Approximate price for Nexus 6p: $449; Nexus 5x: $299

Order them from Google


valentine chromecast

Image by Google

I love my Chromecast devices. They have turned my basic TV sets into Smart TVs, without making a hole in my pocket. And I can tap into a bigger app and content ecosystem than Smart TV makers offer, without risking vendor lock-in.

Relatively new to the Chromecast lineup is Chromecast Audio, which converts your ordinary speakers into smart speakers and lets you manage your entertainment right from your browser or mobile device.

Approximate price: $35

Order it from Google

ASUS Chromebook Flip

valentine flip

Image by Google

Zero maintenance, always updated operating system, the ability to work offline — all the things you love Chromebooks for, plus it doubles as a Chrome OS tablet. What more could anyone want? 

Still not convinced, read my full review here.

Approximate Price: $279

Order it from Amazon

Pixel C tablet

valentine pixel c

Image by Google

I must admit that Android tablets still have a long way to go to catch-up with the iPad. However, for devoted Linux users, and those who like the freedom of installing any app, not just those Apple has approved, Android tablets are the way to go.

And Google is trying to change the perception about Android tablets with Pixel C. The tablet is designed and manufactured by Google itself and it is one of the best Android tablets I have used.  

Approximate price: $499

Order it from Google

Huawei smartwatch

valentine watch

Image by Huawei

If you are looking to buy a really beautiful Android powered watch, Huawei Smartwatch is the one you should get.

I have used both Android smartwatches and Apple watch, and while both have their pros and cons, I prefer Android watches because they look more like watches than wearable tablets. The only thing that I don’t like in the current breed of Android watches is the inability to take phone calls from them, but that’s me.

Approximate price: $353

Order it from Amazon

Raspberry Pi 2 Kit

valentine pi

Image by Amazon

If your valentine is heavily in to do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics, then there is nothing better than Raspberry Pi 2 kit. It’s like a Lego block that allows you expand features and functionality by adding more hardware components. You can create your own Linux tablet with it. I am serious. For $35 you get the Raspberry Pi board, then add a case, power supply and a microSD card and you have a whole mini PC for under $70.

Approximate price: $69

Order it from Amazon

Mycroft AI

valentine mycroft

Image by Mycroft AI

This is not a gift you will get in the hands of your valentine on February 14th, but you can pre-order it and it will come by April 2016.

Why should your Linux loving valentine care about Mycroft? Because AI.

Apple has Siri, Google has Now, Microsoft has Cortana and Amazon has Alexa, but Linux doesn’t have any such AI virtual assistant. And that’s where Mycroft comes in. They are creating a fully open source AI virtual assistant that can run on dedicated hardware on any Linux machine. The company behind Mycroft ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and they are now taking pre-orders for the device.

Approximate price: $254

Pre-order it now

ASUS Chromebit

valentine chromebit

Image by ASUS

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to Linux. You can pack the entire operating system on a HDMI stick, turning it into walking computer. That’s exactly what Chromebit is. ASUS Chromebit is a Chrome OS powered HDMI stick that turns your old PC monitor or TV into a Chrome OS desktop powerful enough to do everyday computing. It’s extremely easy to use and pairs quite easily with wireless peripherals like keyboard and mouse. If your valentine has an extra monitor lying around and you want to convert it into a kitchen PC, Chromebit is a great gift.

Approximate price: $84

Order it from Amazon

Intel NUC

valentine nuc

Image by Intel

Any Linux user worth his/her salt runs a local file server. It’s mandatory. I run a headless file server using a regular self-assembled PC, but it takes up too much space and creates heat and noise. Intel’s NUC is a perfect replacement. There are different configurations available but most are powerful enough to work as a file server as well as Plex Media server. It comes with one built-in SSD for the operating system, and you can also add one more 2.5” hard drive or SSD in the box. And you don’t have to use it as server; you can use it as a desktop PC, similar to Mac Mini.

Approximate price: ranges from $129 – $402

Order it from Amazon