There’s a long list of gadgets released in 2017, and I get to test and review a lot of them. But when it comes to some of the best of the best this year, the list is very short. Why? My top gadgets and devices have to work well, be bug-free, be useful — and it helps if they also add an element of fun or productivity to life too.
While you could do your shopping at a lot of stores, London Drugs is a great place to stock up on tech. Why? For starters they’re a proud sponsor of this blog and our work here and for that we say thanks! The other reason we love London Drugs here is because they’re a family-owned, Canadian company with a long history of bringing in innovative products that enhance people’s lives.
Top 10 Tech Gadgets of 2017, in no particular order:
This versatile Dyson fan is both a heater for cold winter nights and a fan so it can do double duty in summer. Made with Dyson’s state of the art technology and engineering, it offers different air flow patterns, meaning you can get directed heating and cooling or more diffused air. Plus with built in air monitoring and purification, your in-home air will always be clean and pure. A full review is here.
Apple iPad Pro
I recently upgraded my Apple iPad to the Pro version. The screen is better and clearer, the operating system is faster and I can do more without the need for my laptop. I love reading books on my iPad at night and adding the Texture magazine app also means I can take a stack of magazines on the airplane without weighing down my bag. An iPad is the ultimate in versatility — and it’s great for travel.
Google Home smart speaker/digital assistant
Before I had a chance to review Google Home, I thought; why would anyone need a talking speaker? But after spending many weeks with Google Home, I have to say I’m now a convert.
This device is the voice-controlled personal digital assistant you never knew you needed in your home: it gives you weather forecasts on the spot with no typing or searching, it can set timers and alarms, it can answer homework and trivia questions and it plays a variety of music. It can also control may of your smart home devices like lights and plugs, just by asking it to. Read all about it in my full review.
Philips Hue light Starter Kit
Some of the smart lights you can control with Google Home include the full Philips Hue line. I love smart and colourful lights at home, since the right light can set the mood perfectly. I’ve found Philips Hue is one of the easiest smart light kits to set up and to use. This 3-pack of bulbs and the Wi-Fi hub gets you started, and you can add on as you please.
Which leads me to another of my selections…
Philips Hue LightStrip
I’ve long wanted under-cabinet lighting in my home, but installing it and paying an electrician to wire it hasn’t been high on my to-do list. The Philips Hue LightStrip is a length of flat LED lights with an adhesive back so you can stick them up under cabinetry with ease. They plug into an AC outlet so there’s no special wiring skills required.
As I say, these lights also work well with Google Home, where you can control the lights just by saying, “Ok, Google, turn the lights off”.
Read more about how easy it is to have Google Home work with Philips Hue here.
Fitbit Ionic smart watch
Fitbit brought out a few new devices this year and these make my list because of their smart upgrades. The Fitbit Ionic has all the fitness and activity tracking you’ve come to expect from Fitbit, but it’s also got the ability to hold hundreds of songs right on the device now, meaning you can leave your phone at home on those intense runs.
Fitbit Flyer headphones
A cool thing I like about popping into London Drugs is that you never know what you’ll find. The selection is eclectic, diverse and even a bit quirky. Did you know you can get virtual reality gear there? Or one of my favourite carry-alls? Keep reading for more…
Samsung Gear VR headset
Virtual Reality is exploding in popularity, and all you’ll need to experience it is the right VR headset. If you have a Samsung phone, these Samsung Gear VR goggles will allow you to enjoy virtual reality worlds right at home. Your phone, like a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ will slide right into these goggles and convert your phone into a VR portal like magic. You have to try it to understand, but if there’s a teen on your list who’s interested in tech, this is a great gadget. Just make sure they already have a compatible Samsung smartphone.
This gadget (or is it a gadget transporter?) snuck up on me this year. I wasn’t looking for a new backpack, nor was I familiar with Targus before I had a chance to test and review it. The Mobile VIP backpack is a gadget lover and traveler’s dream. It’s sturdy, durable and comfortable, but it’s got just the right pockets and slots for everything from a laptop, to a tablet, plus phones and cables and more. Check out the full write-up here.
You probably already have a router or a Wi-Fi hub at home, so you might wonder why you’d need a new one. Google Wi-Fi makes managing your network at home ultra easy. You can control when the Wi-Fi is on or off, so you don’t have to argue with the kids about when it’s time to turn the gadgets off and do homework. You can also set permissions for Wi-Fi access to allow some devices (like mom and dad’s) to function on Wi-Fi all the time, while the younger kids get more limited access and the older kids can have more freedom. This device lets parents keep tabs on who’s online and what they’re up to.
These 10 gadgets are on my must have list for 2017, and if my budget were unlimited, I’d have every one in my house. Special thanks again to London Drugs for sponsoring this blog. Keep them in mind for your holiday shopping needs this year, since in most cases you can avoid the mall and get great service by heading to one of their stores in western Canada.