Hands up if you’re a tech geek. We know what that’s like. You spend every waking hour (okay, maybe not every hour) surfing the web looking for some cool high-tech gadgets to show off to your friends. Or maybe you’re just looking for a toy for your gadget-loving husband who can’t stop reminiscing about his Commodore 64.
We atunderstand how you feel. That’s why we made this gnarly list. It’s a list of gadgets — a cheat sheet of the latest gadget tech for this year.
Warning: You will be called out for being a geek, that I assure you. But hey, at least you’ll be the coolest geek on the block, right?
Wow Your Buddies With These 6 High Tech Gadgets
1. Amazon Echo
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard of the Amazon Echo. For the uninformed, the Echo is a wireless speaker and voice-command device that responds to the name “Alexa.” What can you do with Alexa? Hold on to your hats, this is just a summary of what’s possible:
You can ask Alexa to stream songs from Amazon Prime, Spotify, or Pandora. You can control your smart home devices, turn your lights on, or off or set a kitchen timer. You can get weather information, listen to an audiobook, call Uber, order a pizza, or make phone calls.
For example, “Alexa, find me a Chinese restaurant,” “Alexa, play Adele,” or “Alexa, re-order paper towels.” You don’t even have to use “Alexa”. The wake word can easily be changed to “Amazon” or “Echo.” That’s pretty handy if your girlfriend’s name actually is Alexa.
If you’re not sold by now, then just imagine having your very own Star Trek computer at home. You’re welcome.
Think we’re exaggerating about how many things you can ask Alexa to do? Watch these 50 commands you can give your Amazon Echo.
Honorable Mention: Amazon Echo Dot
What’s the Echo Dot? It’s a mini version of Amazon Echo that can be placed anywhere in your home, like your bedroom, kitchen, or study — basically, anywhere you might want to use the Echo. It has a small built-in speaker that connects to the Alexa Voice Service so you can stream music or get the latest news headlines. The Echo Dot can also connect directly to speakers via Bluetooth so you can add voice-control to your existing home stereo system. How cool is that?
If you’re an artist, then you owe it yourself to check out the Glyby. It’s a 3D printing pen that draws on surfaces or in - get this - the air. 3D printing has been gaining some traction over the years. Why? Basically, you can make anything you want from the comfort of your home or doomsday lab. The problem is that 3D printers don’t come cheap, with most costing thousands of dollars. But what if you just want to doodle some ideas and have them come to life, instead of making a life-sized prosthetic hand?
Enter the Glyby. It uses ABS plastic so that anything you draw instantly takes shape. And it does so without any computer software or apps! Simply plug the Glyby into a power socket, and you can start drawing anything with ease. I don’t know about you, but I think this is some pretty magical cool tech stuff!
So you haven’t seen what 3D pens can do you? Watch this ridiculously cool video:
Having Alexa order you a pizza or making pictures come to life is cool, but wait till you check out the AFTERSHOKZ headphones. These are seriously cool headphones that let you listen to music without plugging anything in or putting anything on your ears. Wait, how’s that possible?
Simple — it’s called bone conduction. It’s the transferring (conduction) of sound to your inner ear through the bones of your skull. What it means in English is it uses your head to play your music.
I’m not making this stuff up. Bone conduction technology was originally created as an aid for the hearing impaired, and for specialized communication devices — like underwater use by divers. Its applications are endless, though, and it didn’t take long for headphone manufacturers to fuse bone conduction technology with some cool tech gadgets like Bluetooth headphones.
Why? Think about it, a lot of people put on earphones while commuting. The trend these days is in-ear headphones that effectively block out ambient noise. That’s great if you want to immerse yourself in your music, but what happens when you’re driving in traffic? Did you know that US laws vary from state-to-state regarding the use of headphones? Some require at least one ear to remain open so that you can hear traffic sounds. I bet you didn’t know about that, didn’t you?
AFTERSHOKZ solves this problem by keeping your ears wide open to ambient sounds. You can hear what’s going on around you, and still jam along to your playlist. Check out this video to see how the AFTERSHOKZ works in a real world setting.
4. Sphero 2.0
In 2013, Sphero (previously Orbotix) launched the Sphero — a little white orb that rolls around by itself.
Doesn’t sound very impressive, does it? Except that you get to control the Sphero via your smartphone or tablet. Unlike drones or quadcopters that have an extremely steep learning curve, anyone can learn to operate a Sphero in minutes.
Okay, so the idea of a rolling ball sounds pretty dumb. But wait till you check out this video:
Hi-tech gadgets don’t come simpler than a ball that rolls on its own, glows on its own, floats on water, and plays well with pets and children. Now imagine it with VR technology. The possibilities are endless.
Or bring the Sphero with you to the tee and surprise your golf buddies. I know it sounds childish but make sure your buddies are geeks like you first.
It seems like only a little while ago VR wearables were a distant dream. Today you can have your very own virtual reality headset at an affordable price. And no, we’re not talking about Google Glass here.
If you have money to burn, then, by all means, get the Oculus Rift. If you’re really on a budget, then perhaps the Google Cardboard Kit won’t burn a hole in your wallet. But if you have some cash to spare, and you’d like something a little longer-lasting than cardboard, then you should definitely consider the Samsung Gear VR.
Games, video, panoramic pictures—just try to imagine a whole new world in 360-degree virtual reality. The VR race is on, and Samsung is not going to sit by and let Facebook’s Oculus Rift get all the glory.
For its price, the Samsung Gear VR is worth checking out. VR is the future of all hi-tech gadgets, and we will soon see more of these around. So you might as well get in the game early and get yourself a pair, or risk becoming an outdated-geek. Yikes!
Note: The Samsung Gear VR requires Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, or Note 5 (or newer models of these phones) to run. So make sure you have one of these first.
So, Which Gadget Should I Choose?
Which of these 5 cool tech gadgets would we recommend? The Amazon Echo has been incredibly popular lately. And we’re not just talking about the Echo, it’s the Echo Dot and Tap that Amazon has released that’s got everyone talking. Alexa picked up where Apple’s Siri somewhat failed. Amazon saw the potential of Alexa in our day to day lives, and what better way than to have it control our home devices or do a grocery run for us through the Amazon store?
It’s a race to control our homes. Google announced Google Home recently in their attempt to take on the Amazon Echo, but it’s a hard act to follow. The Amazon ecosystem is a well-oiled machine — almost everyone has bought something from Amazon at some point. So in that vein, the Echo is our recommended product for this year.
But what if you already own an Echo? Then I’d suggest checking out the Samsung Gear VR. Virtual reality technology is only going to get better, with so many companies vying for the number one spot. Everyone’s trying to outdo the Oculus Rift.
Imagine trying to control your Sphero with your VR headset and asking Alexa to order Chinese through a pair of bone conduction headphones.
Crazy? You bet. Impossible? Definitely not. Welcome to the future.
In the meantime, you get to live out this fantasy right now, although ordering Chinese through the AFTERSHOKZ with your Echo in the next room might be a little tricky. But hey, that’s what the Echo Dot is for.