Let’s face it — somewhere inside us all is a greedy five-year-old who wants that wonderful, beautiful, fascinating toy that seems completely out of reach. But what that toy is depends very much on who we are. So, just out of curiosity, we asked the staff of The Verge to tell us something that they would love to get for the holidays — if money (and opportunity) was no object. (And the rule was that idealistic longings like world peace or the end of the pandemic didn’t count — for this once, we were not going for idealism.)
So let’s see what hidden longings lie in the hearts of The Verge’s staff…
There’s something magical about getting lost in the woods and having to find your way out with just a map and a compass, especially if it’s a relatively safe environment where you’re not too far away from help. However, telling your spouse or parent about these wandering exploits can elicit annoyed questions like “What if you broke your arm again?” and “What if you get lost on one of the long wilderness trips you’re planning?” and “You’re not doing any more backpacking until you get a satellite communicator!” (You, like me, may have noticed that the last one is not a question.)
What I’m saying is that I wish someone would get me a Garmin inReach Mini, a $350 GPS / tracker / personal locator beacon. That feels brutally expensive for a gadget that, hopefully, I won’t ever actually need (especially when I could spend that money on a custom quilt to make nights more comfortable). But until my phone can actually contact people from the wilderness, having some sort of satellite communicator is a necessity for my loved ones’ peace of mind. I just don’t think I can bring myself to pay for it, despite how useful being able to access maps, texts, and weather without cell service would be. — Mitchell Clark, news writer
Several years ago, I learned about anechoic chambers, which are soundproof rooms that also absorb internal echoes. (You can find articles about them with titles like “The quietest place on Earth.”) They seem wonderfully weird — like “hear your own internal organs” weird, although I think the claim they drive you insane after 45 minutes is an urban legend — and I’ve wanted to visit one for ages.
As far as I can tell, public rentals are fairly rare, though, and New York City’s only chamber doesn’t list the option. My best bet might be a $250 minimum tour at Orfield Laboratories, which would require also paying for a trip to Minnesota. So I’m not really *hoping* I’ll get this for the holidays, especially not during the pandemic. But it’s fun to dream about. — Adi Robertson, senior reporter
I’m a fairly avid cyclist. Let me rephrase that: cycling is the only form of exercise I don’t absolutely detest. I know I should be taking better care of my body, but during the winter months, I have absolutely no desire to get on a bike, let alone go outside. Even if there isn’t snow on the ground, biking in cold weather involves more layers than I care to count, not to mention occasionally covering my feet in foil like a baked potato so they don’t get frostbite.
I currently get around this utterly ridiculous process by using a $60 bike trainer I purchased off Amazon, but if anyone wanted to spoil me this holiday, they could chip in for a Tacx NEO bike smart trainer. And while we’re at it, go ahead and buy a decked-out iPad Pro so I can catch up on my stories while working out.
This entirely excessive bike trainer provides data readouts for your speed, cadence, and power via a built-in LED screen, can adjust resistance on the fly, and even has built-in fans that adjust their speed based on how fast you’re moving, which is an absolute godsend when biking indoors. All of these integrated meters and measurements are definitely more important to people who are legitimately training in the off-season, but I’m just interested that they can help me level up in Zwift, my current favorite app for gamifying my workouts. I currently use a Wahoo speed and cadence sensor that is zip-tied to my bike to get the same, albeit less accurate, effect.
As for the iPad Pro, this is a definite indulgence on my part. As someone that would be using this almost exclusively for media consumption, much of the functionality of this overpowered tablet would be lost on me, but since the bike trainer comes with a tablet stand, I may as well set it up with a tablet that would pay my rent for a month. — Alice Newcome-Beill, commerce writer
I have been wanting to travel the world for years, but I haven’t visited as many places as I’d like to yet because 1) there was kind of a pandemic going on, and 2) it’s also kind of expensive. However, if money was no object, I would love somebody to gift me one of those around-the-world travel tickets that go for $10,000 so I could wander the streets of Rome, Lima, Cairo, Beijing — gosh, I could go on.
And hey, if we were really allowed to dream it up here, I’d love one of those $15,000 cruises to Antarctica as well! I’ve always been curious what life is like in one of the most isolated places in the world, and that’s been on my bucket list since I was about 10 years old. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find myself a rich friend. — Sheena Vasani, commerce writer
My wife and I are about to move to a new place, and while we are already budgeting for responsible big-ticket items like a couch and a desk, I cannot wait until we are able to spring for an LG C1 OLED TV so that I can make games on my PS5 and Xbox Series X look even better. The TVs don’t come cheap — a 65-inch model is currently $1,800 at Best Buy — but they’re loaded with features, including support for 4K resolutions, 120Hz refresh rates, and Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It would be a major upgrade from the 21.5-inch computer monitor I use for gaming now, and I’ll be having my eye on one until I can finally spend the money. — Jay Peters, news writer
I don’t know what I would do with the $1,000 Lego Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon — once I’d built it and marveled at my handiwork, of course. It’s not like I’ve got a place to store a Lego set that big. Unlike, say, a reconfigurable pirate ship / island or a space shuttle, the UCS Falcon is so big it’d probably be unwieldy to whisk it around a room playing Lego with my daughters.
Nor do I expect anyone to ever buy it for me, particularly now that its original, already extravagant $800 price tag has gone up by a full fifth (when you can buy it at all). But it would make for an incredible afternoon week fortnight of building, and I’d love to spend time doing that with a friend or two. — Sean Hollister, senior reports editor
I’m by no means a professional, but I’ve been ice skating consistently since I was nine. This past year, with all the rink closures, has been the longest time I’ve been off-ice in, maybe, forever. Unlike others who took up running or indoor cycling during the lockdown, I only took some virtual ballet classes at home and swam laps in our building’s pool, so I am far from being in skating shape.
Unfortunately, there is really no substitution for the lateral movements and agility I get from exercising on a slippery surface: most gym equipment only trains forward motions and movements. As an adult, it’s hard to find indoor ice time that fits with a busy work schedule, and outdoor rinks are very sensitive to our unpredictable winters in the Northeast. Short of blanketing my entire apartment in synthetic ice tiles and skating inside my home — which would be a dream come true but would also wreck my expensive blades — the next best thing is to get a sliding board like the one from Brrrn to rebuild my skating muscles.
The Brrrn sliding board doesn’t look like much for a $300 piece of exercise equipment. It’s basically a shiny strip of board with adjustable wooden stops on both ends that prevent you from sliding off the slippery surface. You need to wear these booties over your sneakers so you can exercise safely on the board and spray the board with polishing spray to maintain the slick surface. Thanks to its compactness, I can easily slide the board from under the couch to in front of my television for a quick sliding session. This way, I’ll have no excuse but to get back into skating shape to enjoy my favorite sport again. — Gloria Sin, reviewer (mobile)
OK, so if we’re really going for a “money no object” gift idea, then I’d have to pick Sennheiser’s $1,600 HD 800 S headphones. Yes, that’s too much to ever consider spending on a pair of headphones, and it’s an even more extravagant purchase considering their open-back design would make them inappropriate for listening in all but the quietest of home environments.
But goddamnit, it’d just be nice to be able to sit back at my desk at home and know that I’m listening to music in the highest possible quality, without having to make any compromises for size or noise isolation. I’ll stick with the wireless noise-canceling headphones for commuting and true wireless headphones for exercising. But if we’re just talking about having a pair of headphones for home listening? It’s gotta be the HD 800 S for me, please. — Jon Porter, reporter
If my family and friends truly loved me, and I mean this in all seriousness, someone would gift me $5,000 for more tattoos. I’ve got somewhere around a dozen tattoos now, but the artists I go to are not cheap — and rightfully so. I’m not even sure if $5,000 is a good estimate for the designs I want, but it’s a start! If it’s any consolation for my loved ones, they’ll be remembered fondly for the rest of my life every time I look at the ink. That, and maybe our followers on TikTok would think I look cool. — Kaitlin Hatton, social media manager, e-commerce
I’m a bit of a wristwatch enthusiast. Not a snob by any stretch, but I do have that unexplainable love for timepieces you wear on your wrist. I use an Apple Watch, but nothing about it gets me going like an analog watch — whether it’s quartz, mechanical, solar, cheap, expensive, or whatever. I love and appreciate so many watches that offer anything unique or authentic in their story, design, engineering, and general enjoyment, and you’ll never catch me not wearing one.
While I have a sensible and modest collection of watches, ranging from a $9 Casio and sub-$200 Seiko to a $600 G-Shock, I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with a slightly pricier watch that can’t even be bought anymore. The Unimatic Modello Uno U1-HGMT Limited Edition for Hodinkee is a watch made by a small Italian company that features a GMT complication and a monochromatic sensibility that speaks to me. I have wanted a GMT watch for a while, pretending I’m some kind of jet-setting traveler, but the most notable ones out there are usually super-expensive options from the likes of Rolex, Tudor, Breitling, etc. Many of them are a bit too posh for me, even if I do love a Tudor Black Bay GMT. But the Unimatic struck me in a unique way.
It’s not every day you see a mechanical watch from a small independent brand that’s made in Italy, and you don’t always see a design quite like this. Maybe it’s my Italian-American heritage or my obsession with all things black and gray, but if this limited edition of 500 watches was not sold out, I’d be looking to splurge and spend the $1,395 in hopes of it being a forever companion — even if I had to be cliche and “gift” it to myself as a wedding present to go along with my real forever-companion. So I choose this as my favorite gift to get for the holidays, money no option. It fits my exact style, and I wouldn’t feel like I have to apologize for it like I would something crazy-expensive like an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (which I also secretly fawn over). I’d even take a used one with a little wear-and-tear since the edition is sold out. A watch should have a story that makes you love it and also be able to share stories of its own. — Antonio G. Di Benedetto, commerce writer
2TB Seagate storage expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S
If my Secret Santa wants to be really generous, then I have an idea. I can’t justify spending $399 on a 2TB expansion drive for my Xbox Series X, especially after I already bought a 1TB card earlier this year…. and an Xbox mini-fridge.
New-gen games are taking up ridiculous amounts of space, and waiting for a title to download seems like an entirely unfair punishment for failing to set priorities for the games I keep around. Will adding more storage make me better at the one game I actually play or help me dig through a backlog of games that has only grown longer during the pandemic? I mean, maybe? How will I know if I don’t try?
Sure, I could delete any of the Game Pass games I’ll never actually play and free up some of the nearly 2TB of storage that’s already inside my monolithic console, but you could also mind your business. Unless, of course, you want to buy me an overpriced peripheral that I absolutely don’t need — then go ahead, get involved. (The 2TB drive will be available in December.) — Richard Lawler, senior news editor
Life during the pandemic has been surprisingly hectic, so much so that I’ve neglected one of my favorite outdoor activities — birdwatching. You’d think that driving to a park and watching the activity of these feathered dinosaur descendants would be just the thing for a brief respite from the cares of the week, but for some reason, I haven’t been able to push myself out to any of my formerly favorite haunts.
Perhaps part of the reason is that my binoculars are, well, pretty much shot. They weren’t very high-end to begin with, and the last time I looked through them, the lenses were so grainy and out of sync that they were less useful than just squinting at the bird I was trying to identify. So I’m in line for a new pair — but even the less expensive binoculars tend to be, well, not cheap.
Binoculars are very individual — you really have to try them out in order to decide which work for you — so I can’t really say which I’d like the most. I have some in mind in the mid-$200 range (such as the Athlon Optics Midas that were recommended by Wirecutter), but if money were no object, I’d be trying out the $2,750 Zeiss Victory SF binocs. Zeiss is famous for its optics, and having a pair of those hanging from my neck would be a real treat. — Barbara Krasnoff, reviews editor