Top 10 Tech Products to Own in 2018 Reviewed
Visions of flying cars and teleportation were once purely futuristic. Now, the idea seems not only futuristic but realistic as the way in which we live our lives seems to rely more and more on the constant developments in the world of tech. Those who used to see this world as strange and almost intimidating are now able to see how attainable being a part of this world is and how beneficial all these new developments are. Technology really is making a profound impact on our day to day lives and developers promised us great things for 2018. A third of the way into the year it seems as if there is already a surplus of cutting edge products waiting to wow us. Here are the 10 most interesting and innovative tech products we got to review this year!
Best Smart Lock: The August Smart Lock Pro
The August Smart Lock Pro is a smart lock that allows keyless locking and unlocking of your front door via an app on your smart phone. It uses Z-Wave technology to detect when you arrive home whilst also letting you generate access keys for family members, friends and roommates. And what's more, you don't actually need to change the lock in order to use the August Smart Lock Pro meaning that it's great for homeowners and renters alike. The smart lock attaches simply to the existing deadbolt so there's no need to change keys. This lock is one of the most versatile smart locks on the market. Firstly, it has an optional DoorSense feature which uses magnetic, add-on hardware to let you know if your door is open or closed. We also loved the fact that the lock is compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Home. It's super easy to check on your locks via voice commands and what's more, by speaking out a pin, you can even unlock the door using Alexa. Finally, we love the design. It's discreet and sleek and doesn't stand out as a flash piece of tech equipment, making your house a crime target. The instillation process is seamless and the app and website are both extremely helpful. Of course, at around $250 this product isn’t cheap but it's definitely an investment. For more info about smart home security click here!
Best Portable Game Console: The Nintedo Switch
Imagine a world where in the middle of a game you can grab your console and continue to play on the go. With the launch of the Nintendo Switch around a year ago this is now a reality. This console allows you to play video games on a TV as well as on the go. It's the first time that gamers can take a huge game like Zelda, anywhere from the morning commute to a vacation by the pool! The user experience is also quality as activating the console takes a matter of seconds and switching from sleep mode to gameplay is seamless too. Supplied accessories include the dual Joy-Con controllers which slide into the rails on each side of the console. Just ensure they are fitted properly before you pick it up to play because if not, the console will fall. The console itself looks like a bulkier version of a tablet, a super slim and discreet console, equipped with touch screen and 720p viewing. Battery life is between 3 and 6 hours depending on which game you're playing, the brightness and whether or not you're using WIFI.
Unfortunately, this games console does come with some disadvantages too. On a sunny day, it can be difficult to properly see the screen. In addition, the kickstand is flimsy and can make viewing seem unbalanced from different angles. Unfortunately, there is also no wireless audio. On the whole, Nintendo do seem to be listening to customer feedback and for this reason, the console seems to be getting better and better each week. If you love Nintendo then this is definitely the console for you.
Best Smart Refridgerator: The Samsung Refrigerator With Family Hub 2.0
I know right? A smart refrigerator. It's something you can live without but after reviewing this product, we decided that it's definitely something that we can live with too. This product comes with a huge number of features, some more useful than others, but there is no denying that all of them are super impressive. What we love is that it still ensures that this smart fridge is at the center of the family hub, just like a traditional fridge. On the four glossy doors is a touch screen loaded with apps. You'll find a shopping list app, a photo app, a calendar app and a whiteboard app too so you can let your mom know that you used the last of the milk. A more impressive aspect of this smart fridge is the fridge camera which allows you to see what you have in stock, as well as expiration dates so you can check what you need to stock up on from afar. There's no denying that this fridge is an investment at around $4000 but if smart products are what do it for you then it's definitely worth it. After all, the user experience is good, it's extremely usable and looks great too. The only issue is that you can't delete or download other apps and we were also surprised that there is no voice control here. Maybe however, there will be more developments in the future so watch this space for more information!
Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo
More and more people are purchasing smart speakers to upgrade their home experience. A smart speaker is a wireless speaker and voice command system that is combined with a virtual assistant. They are voice-activated to respond to requests to play music, answer questions, make calls, report weather, and activate connected smart home devices (such as turning on your lights upon request). Amazon's smart speaker products are typically considered the best out there and the end of last year saw the release of The Amazon Echo 2nd Generation. It has seven microphones so it can hear you and reacts even when music is playing. You can use it to connect to other smart home devices such as lights, thermostats, door locks, cameras, televisions, and more, and you can easily shop compatible products on Amazon. The Drop-In feature lets you call between different rooms in your home, so no need to yell when dinner is ready. One thing to note in terms of privacy, however, is that you don't need to "answer" when someone drops in, though users will hear a chime when a drop-in call begins. You are able to limit the drop-in feature so you do have some control over this. You can also use it to listen to a Kindle or Audible book. New skills are constantly being added so there is always more to get out of your Amazon Echo. These skills range from games to guided meditations to giving you a rundown on the latest local or national news. To read reviews of the Amazon Echo click here!
Best Wireless Keyboard: Corsair K63 Keyboard
The gaming industry is a strong force to be reckoned with in 2018 and Corsair have managed to enhance the world of couch gaming with their wireless keyboard. It's great for those that enjoy gaming on an HTPC without having to use a controller but its also great for those looking for a clean gaming area as pesky keyboard wires are the most difficult to hide. The keyboard itself looks great. The frameless design works in conjunction with Cherry MX Red keys, blue LED back lighting and a slanted cushioned palm rest making it as functional as it is stylish. We also loved the power switch and small USB charge port on the rear side which come in handy. In terms of how the product functions, there are no delays or drop-outs and gamers can expect to enjoy glitch-free fun despite the wireless aspect. Battery life can reach up to 75 hours with the backlight turned off however it a shame that with the backlight on full power, the battery life is just 10 hours. At just over $100 we can't argue with the price. If you are looking for a wireless gaming experience with a slick, modern look then the Corsair K63 is for you. What's more, Corsair offer a two year warranty as opposed to the usual one year warranty offered with most gaming products!
Best Airpods: Apple's Airpods
Apple's Airpods are Apple's first completely wireless headphones and the perfect solution to the removal of the headphone jack. The connection is great, the set up is smooth and the battery life is pretty good at up to 5 hours. These headphones work in the way that the 3rd generation iPod Shuffle worked. You control your music solely through the use of the buttons on the headphones. One of the downsides is that because the Airpods are so small, it is sometimes a bit fiddly to control your music. For example, it feels slightly slow to have to double tap the earbuds to skip a track or raise the volume and using Siri can sometimes feel frustrating although she does work well. In terms of style, they are in line with the classic, no fuss, white Apple branding although slightly bulkier than wired headphones. Although they are generally comfortable, the sizing is one size fits all which is problematic for some who find them loose and therefore worry that they could slip out and become lost. Thanks to Apple's custom Bluetooth chip, the W1, there is automatic pairing with all Apple products running on iOS 10 or later. The process is quick and smooth and there is no need to activate and deactivate Bluetooth repeatedly until you get a signal. In addition, the Airpods automatically pair when you put them into your ears and disconnect when you take them out. Although sound, battery life and pairing are great, we found that the user experience could do with some work. There is no denying that Apple have produced another great product however for the price, we would rather wait and see what round two brings us.
Best High-End iPhone: The iPhone X
For those of you that read that as 'iPhone Ex' we don't want to embarrass you but it's actually pronounced 'ten', like the Roman numeral, released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. We've already seen the removal of the headphone jack with newer iPhones but with the iPhone X, Apple have also removed the home button added wireless charging. The screen has gorgeous OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology meaning that you no longer need a backlight, just electricity for the screen to work. What's more, say goodbye to leaving your phone in rice overnight to revive it from a water-based crisis as like the iPhone 7 and 8 its water proof! The most impressive feature in our eyes is the fact that instead of finger print security, the iPhone X scans your face in order to unlock. The face recognition generally works well but some have claimed that it can sometimes feel slow.
This product doesn’t come cheap. At just over $1,000 its Apple's most expensive product due to the huge leaps in technological advancements. Aside from the price tag, we found that another downside to this product is that users need to adjust majorly to how they would usually interact with an older iPhone (up is down, down is up, you will need to learn more swiping tricks and more). In addition, it's super fragile and some even claimed that it's the most breakable phone on the market. At $1,000 we would recommend shelling out a bit extra for a great case as the iPhone X screens are expensive to replace.
Best Smart Shower: Moen U Smart Shower
Aside from sleeping, showering is probably the best way to refresh yourself after a long day and the Moen U Smart Shower allows you to up the ante with this part of your daily routine. Not only can you preset different temperatures for different family members but the smart shower will also warm water and pause the flow when it's ready. Each personal setting has a temperature preference, a greeting and the option to choose which nozzles you would like. Like with all smart products, you activate it with your smart phone, the shower then prepares the water temperature and sends you a notification when the water has reached the desired temperature. The temperature control is super accurate and allows for a luxurious showering experience and at just over $2,000 for a four-outlet version we wouldn't expect anything less. The only thing is that shower heads and instillation aren’t included so you'll need to pay a bit more as the average person wouldn't be able to install it. Another aspect we were disappointed with is that although the pause setting works super well, the water tends to cool while the product is paused which is disappointing. The effectivity of the temperature controls is also affected by your water pressure and the size of your water tank. You can't expect to suddenly have high water pressure after this product is installed. Once installed however, the control panel is simple and the whole notion of a smart shower does help to save electricity and water. Last but not least, we love that this product is compatible with both Siri and Alexa!
Best 3D Scanner: Bellus 3D Face Camera Pro
If you're looking to produce the selfie of all selfies then make yourself familiar with the Bellus3D Face Camera Pro, and fast! This product is a 3D scanner that creates detailed 3D models of faces in a matter of minutes by using no less than 500,000 reference points! Not only is the whole notion pretty cool for the average person, it' great for reconstructive surgeons and game developers too! In addition, this product can be used to virtually try on makeup, try on glasses and preview cosmetic surgeries. This product has an infrared depth camera with 1.2-megapixel infrared sensors which scans your face. The regular front facing camera then captures closer details like pores and skin tone. The subject slowly moves their face from side to side to produce an accurate image and the ring light ensures even lighting throughout the scan. In order to use it, it needs to be connected to your phone or tablet and the camera needs to be activated. Features include a type of face ID security which authenticates users (similar to that of the iPhone X, also reviewed here). Unlike smart products for your home, this product won't exactly improve your quality of life however it is a super clever and exciting product for lovers of tech. The price includes the camera only and not the tablet or smart phone. However, if you're reading this article, it's safe to presume you already have at least one of the two!
Best New Gaming Accessory: 3DRudder
We loved the August Smart lock for how convenient, forward thinking and aesthetic the product is. We also really liked how seamlessly it fit into the notion of a smart home, something that is really trending amongst tech novices and tech lovers alike. Out of the products we reviewed, not only can the smart lock be controlled from your smart phone but the Amazon Echo, the Smart Shower and the Smart Refrigerator can be too. Although the August Smart Lock Pro is our overall winner all the products we reviewed were of a high caliber. The fact there is such a vast difference between each product and their functionality meant that it was difficult to rate each product against its tech competitor however each product we tested left was feeling excited and wanting more. We are super looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year has in store for the world of tech and hope you are too!