For any of our readers who might have a Thai girlfriend, wife or love interest, there’s always the difficult question of what to buy them at Christmas (or whether to buy anything at all!). Aside from an envelope stuffed full of cash, what’s the best present to buy?
It’s never an easy decision, especially because Thais don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, but in this day and age it seems that the festive season is almost as much a part of Thailand as it is for many people from the west.
It might be a little cynical to suggest money, but that may not a bad option as it means they can purchase something they actually need and want. In any case, in the Christmas spirit it’s always good to show that you care, so why not buy them a Christmas tech gift such as a mobile phone?
Five Christmas tech gifts
Here our five ideas for tech gifts (in no particular order) that you might wish to bestow on your other half this December 25, or simply if you’re on the look out for a new gadget for yourself…
1. Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
You may have noticed that Thais love talking on the phone, using the Internet and playing with smartphone apps. Facebook in particular is an especially popular pastime, so a decent smartphone means they can spend even more time keeping in touch with friends and posting selfies.
The best smartphone to buy a Thai girlfriend could be the Note 4 due to it’s massive 5.7-inch screen and the fact that it runs Android, which means it’s easy to get lots of free apps and can also be ‘side-loaded’ with content from a memory card (something which can’t be done on an Apple device). The Note has a very high resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, which means that the screen is really clear – great for photos, games and the Internet.
Samsung is a popular brand in Thailand so you can find some good deals on the Note 4. At the moment, the typical price for a new one is around ฿25,000. If that seems a bit pricey, you might also consider the cheaper (but still very good) Samsung Galaxy Grand which is around 10,000 baht but still has a whopping 5.25-inch HD screen.
If you want to buy a similarly large phone and have the very latest, why not consider the Google Nexus 6 instead?
2. Tablet: Apple iPad Air 2
We were in two minds which tablet to recommend – on the one hand there are dozens of fantastic Android tablets which won’t break the bank and will do anything that you really need to. However, the iPad Air 2 is just such a well designed and powerful tablet that it’s one of the best that you can buy. It really makes sense if you have other Apple devices such as an iPhone and a Mac, but if not, then you may be better off buying an Android-based machine instead.
No doubt there will be some comments posted that suggest buying a Samsung tablet instead – and indeed that would also be one of our top purchases – there are lots of different sizes available and prices to meet any budget. Since the tablet is for your Thai partner, then of course it makes sense to ask them first!!
The best alternative to the iPad Air 2 is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5″, which costs around ฿20,000.
You can read more about the iPad Air 2 in our review.
3. Laptop: Acer Aspire Switch 10
These days, a laptop might be considered a bit of an unnecessary luxury if all you are doing is using Facebook, making video calls, playing on the Internet and checking emails. However, any Thai lady that has access to a laptop would hopefully be able to use it for much more than that – perhaps it would be useful if they’re running a business or want to learn more computer skills.
Laptops in Thailand range from the incredibly cheap (but usually come without Windows) to the very expensive (Apple). Therefore it’s difficult to recommend a specific model, but we’d suggest a relatively budget machine from the likes of Acer or Asus, and insist that it comes with Windows pre-installed (if not you’ll need to ask a tech-savvy friend to remove the Linux or similar operating system that might be installed and pick up a copy of Windows from any of the IT shops found in shopping malls). Typical costs are anywhere from ฿10,000 to ฿20,000.
Ideally, you should choose a laptop with fairly decent specs – it might cost more in the short term, but in the end will stay fast and usable for much longer. These days, at least 8 GB of memory, a 500 GB hard drive (or more), as well as an Intel Core i5 CPU or better should be recommended.
Since we were forced to choose a specific model – we decided on the Acer Aspire Switch 10 which is a laptop/tablet hybrid and suits most every day tasks whether used in laptop mode or as a tablet. In Thailand, it can be found for around ฿16,000 baht.
If you’ve got lots of money to spend or you’re just feeling particularly generous, one of the very best ultra lightweight laptops that you can buy is the 11″ MacBook Air from Apple – it’s not cheap (around ฿31,000) but has amazing battery life, and has also been called one of the best laptops you can buy on most of the tech review sites.
4. Smart watch: Pebble
The Pebble watch is one of the very first and best smart watches. It’s a great option for anyone that wants to get into smart watches that do more than just tell the time. There are various apps that you can download, and it does most things pretty well – such as notifications and the like.
Because it uses a so-called E-Ink (or electronic paper) screen much like Amazon’s popular Kindle book reader, it’s also very energy efficient, at least compared to rivals which typically need to be charged every day (such as the Sony Smartwatch 3) and the screen can be read even in direct sunlight.
The Pebble can be found for around ฿6,000 in shops such as iBeat and some of the popular electronics stores in Bangkok.
5. Fitness tracker: Jawbone Up 24
The Jawbone UP24 is a newer version of the original Jawbone UP activity tracker, which counts how many steps you take every day and how much exercise you are getting, in addition to some great features to monitor your sleep and how long you spend in your sleep cycle.
For anyone that has a passing interest in keeping fit or just finds it interesting to see how much they sleep, the Jawbone UP 24 is a great little device, that communicates with your smartphone to keep the companion app up to date with all the statistics. It’s not particularly cheap though, as it retails for around ฿5,000 in Thailand.
It’s a great gift for anyone who intends to stick to their New Year’s resolutions of losing a few pounds and getting some exercise.