I’ve tested a lot of gadgets and gear this year. Picking favourites is hard, because unlike previous years, many of the items that have come into the tech test kitchen in 2016 are really high quality, and work well, so picking the cream of the crop is a challenge. Nevertheless, here are the Top 10 tech gadgets I highly recommend having in your life. You can find them all at London Drugs, who’s sponsored this article (Thanks for supporting the blog!) These are in no particular order.
1. Fitbit Alta
The Fitbit Alta is my go-to fitness tracker. The subtle display and highly accurate mechanics mean it works well to keep track of your activity. Alerts from the band also mean you’ll stay connected, plus with an array of gorgeous jewelry style or leather bands available separately, you don’t need to look like a gym rat.
2. Ring Video Doorbell
I’ve had one of these Ring Video Doorbells for more than a year now and while I may not have felt I needed one initially, I can’t tell you how handy it’s become. When I get packages delivered while I’m not home, I can just speak to the delivery person via my smartphone, and see what’s going on at the door. A new companion camera called Stick Up Camera can be viewed on demand, not just when someone approaches the door, so watch for more on Ring on the blog in 2017.
3. Roku Express+
This is such a smart idea; Roku Express+ has the ability to connect to older TVs without HDMI cables, meaning you can make your old TV ‘smart’. Instead you have the option of using AV or composite cables to connect your streamer. Plus Roku’s easy to use interface and simple set-up process makes streaming easy for anyone.
4. Sony SRS-XB2 wireless speaker
While the Sony SRS-XB2 may look small, it’s packed with power. This portable Wi-Fi speaker features EXTRA BASS™ to really pump up your jam. It plays crystal clear music even at high volume, and the bass is truly impressive.
5. LG Ultrawide Monitor
As a laptop user, I’ve gotten used to working on a small screen, but I still covet this amazing looking LG ultra wide computer monitor. I imagine having multiple windows and workspaces open all at once, and being able to see everything. Sigh. Well… Christmas IS coming…
6. Philips Hue String
Smart lights have become a part of my home. I use them to colour my space, set the mood for holidays or parties and to generally liven things up. I’ve found Philips Hue to be another company that makes easy to use devices that work precisely as advertised, so I love adding to the Philips gadgetry in my home. The Hue String light in particular is fun; check out some holiday light hacks on my blog here.
7. Google Chromecast
Do I own all three of the major TV streaming devices? Yes, yes I do. Do I have a favourite? That’s like asking someone to pick their favourite kid; I love each of them in different ways. Google Chromecast is a very affordable pick but it still does a lot. It uses your smartphone as a remote control, and lets you cast content right to the TV. While it does work with Apple devices, it’s tailor made for Android users.
I’m an Apple user after making the switch about 6 years ago. I love the way all the devices work together, and let’s be honest, Apple products have far fewer problems than other computers and tablets. I love using my iPad for reading, games, looking up recipes, controlling my smart home components (Hue lights, Ring doorbell, etc) or reading the news in the morning with a steaming hot cup of coffee. You may not think you need a tablet, but you’ll be amazed at how often you reach for an iPad Air 2 once it’s in your home.
These next two gadgets I haven’t tested, but you can say they’re on my wish list. Nikon’s top-rated D3400 DSLR Camera is compact and lightweight, because as the old adage says, the best camera is the one you have with you. The D3400 will be easy to take hiking of to events, plus with Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, you can take top quality DSLR photos then zap them right to your smartphone for instant sharing.
I was able to test a 4K TV earlier this year and I loved it. 4K Is Ultra High Definition TV, with four times as many pixels in the screen as HD TV. That means a clearer sharper more realistic image. When it’s time for me to upgrade my existing TV, you can bet I’ll be choosing a 4K model, like this Samsung 40″ 4K TV.
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That’s my Christmas list for this year. What’s on YOUR Tech Top 10? Let me know in comments below.