iTunes gift vouchers are pretty boring, so here are some better gift ideas for the music lovers in your life.
Sonos' Play:1 is the perfect entry point into the world of connected speakers, offering a big sound in a small form factor. Rather than pairing with a phone over Bluetooth, Sonos speakers connect to your home wireless network, and are controlled via an easy-to-use app available for iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac.
Sonos speakers are super simple to setup, and as a bonus, compatible with almost every music streaming service under the sun. And if you really love someone, you can get them two! Or another one next year.
Bose QC35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose's QC35 headphones are one of the best options available if you're after a high-end pair of noise-cancelling headphones. They sound great, are incredibly comfortable, and collapse in a surprisingly compact form factor.
The QC35s are the first time Bose has made their flagship headphones wireless. Notably, this means they work with both iPhone and Android devices, whereas previously you had to purchase a model designed specifically for your phone. When listening to music over Bluetooth with noise-cancelling on, you'll get about 20 hours of battery life. Perfect for that friend or family member who wants to drop out of life for a bit.
Meizu's EP51s are Bluetooth earbuds that sound far better than their budget price tag would entail. They're not amazing, but they're easily the best value Bluetooth headphones you can currently get. Their battery lasts for about four hours, they're hard to dislodge from your ears, and they come with a handy little carry case.
You'll need to import these (I got my pair through eBay), but they're a great gift for gym junkies or anyone who catches public transport to work.
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
Got someone in your life who'd prefer to be making music, rather than listening to it? Teenage Engineering's range of AAA-battery-powered lamepunk synthesisers could be the perfect gift to help them keep creating on the go.
Pocket Operators are available in six different flavours, each with a unique sound (options include lead, sub-bass, drum machines, 8-bit). These can then be daisy chained for an even bigger sound. But even just one gives you enough to start jamming.
In-built speakers make Pocket Operators a great standalone gift, but they can also be connected to an external speaker or headphones.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 is a palm-sized Bluetooth speaker that's as much about style as it is substance. It's a little pricier than entry-level Bluetooth speakers in its size class, but it in our opinion, it looks and sounds better. The A1 can comfortably fill an entire room, and while it favours midrange frequencies, this doesn't come at the expense of treble and bass. 24 hours of play time and a cute leather strap are the icing on the cake.
BeatsX are the cheapest headphones available that feature Apple's W1 chip. W1 technology complements Bluetooth, and allows the headphones to seamlessly pair with all of the Apple devices associated with your iCloud account. This means you can take the headphones from your iPhone to your Apple Watch to your MacBook without having to pair them over and over again.
The wireless buds also offer eight hours of battery life, and feature quick charging; a five minute top up gives you another two hours of play time.
BeatsX are perfect for the friend or family member with too many iProducts in their life.