We are very lucky to be able to get hands-on time with a lot of gadgets throughout the year. We get to test multiple types of devices. That ranges from several phones, tablets, wearables, headphones, and accessories. After reviewing or having some hands-on time with many gadgets, these are the ones that I’d recommend.
Fitbit Charge HR (Activity Tracker)
I’ve been lucky enough to review 4 Fitbit activity trackers. They all get the activity tracking part right, but for a great overall look at your activity, I’d recommend the Fitbit Charge HR. The Fitbit Charge HR helps you track on a few levels. You can go one-on-one, just you and the Fitbit (along with the app), and get on the road to getting fit. Track your steps taken, stairs climbed, calorie burn, heart rate, and workout sessions. Meet and keep track your target heart-rate and step goal with the Fitbit Charge HR. Or you can join the fun with friends and other Fitbit users and do daily and/or weekly challenges. I think it’s one of the best activity trackers out there.
We’ve come a long way in wearables. You will have plenty to choose from that are decent as well. So what makes the 2nd gen Moto 360 Android Wear watch different? You can customize it on Moto Maker. Pick from a small or large display, and leather or metal band to make your Android Wear smartwatch your own. I love that it looks a lot more normal, and a lot more like my taste (rose gold).
I raved about these last year. They’re wireless, can sense when you take them on/ off, and have a mic that allows you to listen to your surroundings (so you don’t have to take your headphones off). Don’t forget they give you great, balanced sound. The BackBeat Pro headphones also double as ear-muffs during the cold months in the North east. If over-ear is overkill for you, roll with the Plantronics BackBeat Sense. The on-ear headphones are smaller, and lighter with the same features.
Drones have gotten insanely popular. There are many to choose from. If you’re serious about the drone life, check out the Typhoon Q500 4K drone from Yuneec Aviation. Not only does it look cool, but it has great features that make the drone experience fun — even for first timers. You’ll get smooth, clear footage with the 3-axis precision gimbal and 4K camera. The Typhoon Q500 knows no-fly zones, so you won’t have to worry about flying near airports. It also stays nearby the pilot (control center), without getting too close. Definitely great for a drone enthusiast.
If you enjoy wireless earbuds, there are plenty to choose from. The Jaybird X2 Wireless Earbuds are the upgraded version of the Jaybird BlueBuds X. These earbuds are sweat-proof, which help in strenuous gym sessions. They also last up to 8 hours.
Mobile devices happen to be what I review most. I’ve gotten hands on time with many of the flagships released in 2015. Here are some of my faves for different reasons.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5:
I’ve always loved the Note series. With the Galaxy Note 5, the stylus has improved, you get (fast) wireless charging, and one of the best Android cameras out there. When your phone helps you get work done as well as play, that’s always a winner. If the S-Pen (aka stylus) isn’t your cup of tea, you can roll with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (or Edge+). The Edge (Edge+) has a curved screen that serves for notifications and quick access to your favorite apps and contacts.
Price varies by carrier.
Enjoy having a good camera, prefer to manage the camera settings? The LG G4 has a great camera. For those serious mobile photographers, they will enjoy the manual camera settings on the G4. It’s also one of the few phones to have a removable battery, and an expansion slot. You also have the choice of leather backs which look pretty sweet.
Prices varies by carrier:
iPhone 6S/ 6S Plus:
iOS 9 brings some of the features we’ve always wanted (seen on Android) to the iPhone. Preview emails, and other notifications. The 12mp rear camera takes great pictures. The front-facing camera has a selfie flash that really does help out in dark situations. The 2nd gen TouchID is so fast (which is what you want in a fingerprint scanner) And if you’re a Siri lover, she’s gotten way more intuitive and helpful.
Price varies by carrier
Moto X Pure Edition:
If you’re not a big fan of the way some of the phones, you will enjoy designing your phone on the Motorola Moto Maker. It’s a usual bar body, but you get pick the finish, storage size, and even engrave it. You get a mostly clean version of Android with Motorola Assist, and Gestures. It’s also unlocked so it can be used on any carrier.
Cases and Accessories
So many cases so little time. I have 4 different cases, for your different needs
Incipio Octane Case:
It’s available for many phones, but I’ve used it on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. It gives decent protection without bulking up the slim phone.
My rose gold iPhone 6S Plus is slim and slippery. I don’t want to cover the rose gold color, because I think it’s so pretty. I also don’t want to use the phone without a case. The Speck CandyShell Clear case is designed for impact and it keeps showing off the pretty design of your phone.
If you want a super protective case without the bulk, UAG cases are great. The low profile design gives you good grip, while staying impact-resistant, and protecting the corners. The UAG cases are available for iPhones, Samsung Galaxy Notes, iPads, and Microsoft Surface 2-in-1
If you need the greatest protection, I recommend the Voyager case. It protects the body and screen of your phone. Made to absorb impact, the Voyager case can protect your phone from the nastiest falls. And if you need to keep your phone handy, the Voyager case comes with a holster too.
If you have a phone that supports wireless charging, the next step is to get a charging pad. The VU Solo Wireless Charging Pad from TYLT is affordable. Set the alignment ledge to fit your phone, so it stays in place; and that’s it.