Christmas is going to be quite different this year. We may not get to see all the people we love, so there’s even more reason to choose them the perfect gift. We’ve gathered these science and tech gifts in a variety of categories, so you’re sure to find Christmas gift ideas for the science lover or techie in your life.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, we have plenty more guides around the site to help you choose the perfect gift, whether it’s science books, cool gadgets, video doorbells, wireless earbuds or smart speakers.
We’ll be adding more items, so check back for even more science gift ideas.
- Best tech gifts
- Best science board games
- Best books for science lovers
- Best science gifts for kids
- Best tech gifts for music lovers
- Best outdoor gifts
Best tech gifts
Herman Miller x Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair
Working from home during lockdown has left me with the posture of a melted candle. To rescue my back, I’m considering a new office chair and this reinvention of the “gaming” chair by Herman Miller, an office furniture designer with collection of iconic pieces to its name, is at the top of the list.
Their design throws out the “it’s just been pulled out of a boy racer’s Citroen Saxo” aesthetic that’s usually associated with anything made for gamers, and opts for a breathable, curved piece that supports your spine along its full length.
- Buy now from Herman Miller
Apple Watch SE
We’re grown to love Apple’s smartwatch, and the new budget iteration the Watch SE is no different. The fitness tracking is intuitive and intelligent, recognising when you’re working out and what you’re doing. It’s waterproof too, so it’ll follow you in the pool or out in the wild. There’s Apple’s fall detection inside as well, alerting emergency contacts or the authorities if it detects a fall or a seriously abnormal pulse.
Apple has introduced family mode too, so that you can give one to the kids, sans iPhone. They can use them as Walk-Talkies, send texts, play music and call you via the watch. Plus Apple Fitness+ is on the horizon will beam fitness classes to your phone while keeping an eye on the metrics provided by your watch.
From £269, Apple.com
Belkin Boost Charge 3-in-1 Wireless Charger Special Edition
Liberate your desk or nightstand from a tangle of charging wires with this wireless charger designed for Apple devices. It can power up an iPhone, Apple Watch and earpods at once, and manages to look remarkably smart when not in use. If you’re not an apple devotee, Belkin offer a range of equally handsome wireless chargers for Android devices.
Yeelight Staria Bedside Lamp Pro
This wonderfully simple design hides a smart little light. The lamp itself can connect to your smart home kit, whether that’s controlled by Alexa, Siri or Google, letting you turn it on, adjust the brightness and warmth and set timers via your smartphone.
This means you can also set up scenarios, like setting the lamp to an hour-long timer when you’ve sat your phone on wireless charging point hidden in the base.
From £55, Yeelight.com
- Buy now from Amazon UK
Dyson Lightcycle Morph
When the days are short and the nights long, good lighting can help keep you sane. Dyson’s Lightcycle Morph is perhaps the ultimate work light: as the day gets darker the LED bulbs inside gets brighter, maintaining a consistent ambient light level while you work.
The smart hinges and joint means you can point the light anywhere, and you can adjust the warmth and intensity of the light for different moods like “precision” and “relaxation”. Set it to “synchronised” mode and the LEDs inside will adapt, whether it’s pointed down at the desk or upwards towards a wall.
The net result is that you’ll feel more alert, and certainly experience less eye strain if you work in front of a monitor all day.
Philips Momentum 278M1R/00
Philips is bringing its atmospheric Ambiglow tech to a new range of gaming monitors. The tech creates a halo of light around your monitor, amplifying what’s on screen by beaming the colours at the edges of the display outwards into the room.
On a desktop monitor, this trick is not that useful when editing spreadsheets, but it really transforms your office space into a gaming one by night. Plus, the display is ultra-HD, HDR-ready with a fast response time to reduce input lag – particularly useful in games that require fast-twitch responses.
Hario V60 coffee drip scale
One for the coffee obsessive – you know, the kind that don’t put sugar in their hot drinks. Hario’s pour-over coffee kits are the best, inexpensive way to make a decent cup of joe without breaking into a coffee shop.
If you know someone who has one of those, this scale and timer means you can tinker with your brew by adjusting how much ground coffee you put in and how long you brew it for. Then, when you’re dialled in, you can recreate the perfect cup every time. Bonus points for looking like something Breaking Bad‘s Heisenberg might have in his kitchen.
Apple iPhone Mini 12
5G is going to take off in 2021 and the iPhone mini is potentially our favourite phone to take advantage of the huge speed boost the new network will provide.
As part of their new 5G range, Apple has shrunk its flagship, the iPhone 12, to create the Mini, a smaller, lighter phone you won’t need hands like Shrek to navigate. Plus, they’ve shaved £100 of the price without cutting any of the features included in its bigger sibling.
This includes a ceramic shield, which they say offers four times more fall protection than any smartphone glass, the new ultra-powerful A14 bionic chip and a new camera better equipped for night time photos.
With daylight hours dwindling, the Lumie Halo could be just the ray of sunshine you need. In ‘day mode’, it boasts 10,000 lux, which is the recommended intensity to try alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It’s easy to set up, unobtrusive, and has made my dingy, north-facing home office feel much more bearable. And when I’m up against a deadline and working late, I switch it to the sunset-like ‘evening mode’ to take the edge off.
Hard shell, long neck or an ambush predator? Your goal is to give your species useful traits so they will thrive. The points system is based on the total amount of food that your species eats, which is a measure often used by biologists to quantify the success of a species. Just try not to get too attached to your creatures, as the threat of extinction is never far off.
$40 (£31), NorthStarGames.com
Okay, so 2020 might not be the best year to recommend Pandemic. But despite the subject matter, it’s great fun, and it’s refreshing to play cooperatively with your friends rather than against each other. Together, you travel the world, suppressing four diseases and sharing knowledge. Between the epidemics and the threat of running out of time, it often ends with a nail-biting race to the finish.
Lovelace & Babbage
In this quickfire game, you play as a 19th-Century computing pioneer to programme the Analytical Engine. Your goal is to complete tasks using the Engine and your character’s abilities. A bit like the numbers round in Countdown, you perform mathematical operations to reach targets and win points. As the game goes on, you unlock more complicated operations to earn extra points.
- Buy now from Amazon UK
Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships
Looking for a way to navigate her life as an adult with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder, Dr Camilla Pang found concepts in science that could help explain social phenomena – how fear can be broken down into something manageable is reflected in the way that light refracts through a prism, for example. Accessible scientific explanations are combined with engaging anecdotes to create a manual for understanding humans.
Humankind: A hopeful history
Some accounts of human history are filled with war, conflict and despair. While these tales offer us lessons for the future, there is another way to learn from our mistakes, says historian Rutger Bregman. Despite what some believe, he says people are inherently good. We are not naturally selfish, nor are we fundamentally evil, and he provides examples from science, literature and history that show why we should be hopeful, even in this trying time.
The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)
A book about the end of the world might not appeal at first, but this witty wander through cosmology is a strangely refreshing read. Cosmologist Dr Katie Mack explains major concepts from across the sciences that reveal what we do and do not know about our Universe. From string theory to quantum physics, this is an accessible guide to the five ways that astrophysicists think the Universe could end.
BBC Science Focus magazine subscription
Ok, this one isn’t a book. But a BBC Science Focus magazine subscription is still a great gift for the science lover in your life (or for yourself!).
Every issue is packed full of news, discoveries, ideas and innovations to keep you up-to-speed with the complexities of the fast-moving world around us. There are interviews with the brightest names in science, stunning science photo features, and your questions answered.
And with 52 per cent off a year’s subscription, now is an excellent time to sign up.
- Buy now from Buy Subscriptions
Lego Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina
Has there ever been a string of words more likely to get people of a certain age checking their bank accounts? While I can’t condone spending this much on Lego, my heart says otherwise.
As well as Luke and co., there are 21 minifigures included – three of which have never been released – and the entire 3,187-piece set spans 52 x 58cm when fully built. Created for what Lego calls the “discerning hobbyist”, this set is strictly for adults… which is just as well, considering what’s about to happen to Ponda Baba.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
This new take on Mario Kart looks so much fun that I’m considering having kids, just so we can play it together. Mario Kart Live gives you the kit to turn your living room floor into a race circuit. You then pilot a remote-controlled kart via your Nintendo Switch, which provides you with a cockpit view direct from the kart’s camera.
Here’s the twist: augmented reality tech overlays Mario Kart’s usual cocktail of chaos – mushrooms, shells and banana skins – on the real world. Here’s the catch: you’ll need at least two Switches and two karts to have any real fun.
From the doctor who wrote the bestselling memoir This Is Going To Hurt comes a tour through the body. Kay’s Anatomy is like a Horrible Histories for the human body, answering questions like: What’s in a bogey? Do hideous creatures really live on our eyelashes? How does food become poo? Probably best to have your Christmas dinner before opening presents, if you intend on gifting this one…
Lego International Space Station
For something that won’t leave you wincing at your bank account balance, there’s the much more sensible Lego recreation of the ISS, which celebrated 20 years of carrying passengers in low-Earth orbit this year. The 864-piece set includes a teeny-tiny Space Shuttle, a pair of gold-visored astronauts and a stand for displaying it.
Mattel The Child Real Moves Soft Toy
Star Wars fans young and old, and most of the internet along with them, are besotted with this little walking turnip from the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian.
This scale animatronic toy is remote controlled via a wrist strap ‘tracker’, a replica of the device used by the show’s villains to track down the little critter. The Child will plod about, gurgle and coo, and force murder others when threatened, just like in the show.
- Buy now from Disney Store
Need a last-minute stocking filler? You couldn’t do much better than this dinky Bluetooth speaker from Sony. The XB01’s build is optimised to boost its bass, delivering punchy sounds – there are no tinny vocals here.
There’s a line-in and USB socket for wired input, and Sony says the speaker will play for six hours continuously before needing a recharge.
Everyone makes a portable Bluetooth speaker these days, but Marshall’s nostalgically styled Emberton is one of our favourites. It’s not much bigger than tin of beans, but it pumps out a big, bassy, room-filling sound. It looks best nestled next to some books on a shelf, but it’s light (700g), waterproof (IPX7 rating) and offers 20 hours of playtime between charges, so it’s equally at home in the great outdoors.
Lockdown has left me with a new appreciation for peace and quiet. Short of duct taping two pillows my head – which I haven’t ruled out – a comfortable pair of noise-cancelling headphones is the best way to find some zen.
These headphones are my pick. Sony’s brilliant noise-cancelling tech frees your ears up to listen to the deep, warm, voluminous sound produced by the internal chip that also contains a DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and an analogue amplifier. The end result is a generous sound that feels like you’re in the room with your favourite artist.
From £350, Sony.co.uk
Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4000c Turntable
Bang & Olufsen is delving into its design archive and modernising some of its most cherished products. First up is this record player rebuilt piece by piece with modern materials and electronics.
There’ll only be 95 units available, and with a spendy price of £9,000, we don’t think Santa will be dropping one down our chimney any time soon. Sure is nice to look at though…
- Buy now from Bang & Olufson
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20
For something a touch more modern from Bang & Olufsen, there’s the new Beolit 20. With its cutesy picnic basket handle, the Bluetooth speaker is designed to picked up and taken with you around the house, lasting around eight hours between charges.
And with three full-range speaker drivers and a big subwoofer inside, this portable speaker system should be a room filler. There’s a wireless charging pad at the top for juicing up your smartphone’s battery. Get two, and you can pair them together to create a stereo sound system.
Patagonia Nano Puff
Forecasters are predicting a bitter winter. Patagonia’s Nano puff is one of the best ways to keep the cold at bay and it’s just got even better. The newest version uses 100 per cent recycled insulation, which means the entire jacket is now made of recycled material.
The coat is designed to be an all-rounder, breathable but sturdy enough to shield you from the wind and rain, and when the Sun comes out (remember that?) it packs down to the size of a travel pillow.
- Buy now from Amazon UK