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The Best Tech of 2018
#1
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25. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
The only place where it’s okay to have a dongle plugged in is behind your TV, where nobody can see it. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is bulkier than ever before, but it comes with a slew of features including 4K, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+ support. An improved Alexa remove makes it hands-down the smartest streaming media stick there is. Not to mention, it’s pretty cheap.

Price: $35
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24. GoPro Hero 7 Black
After a few years of stumbling around, GoPro came back swinging hard this year with the Hero 7 Black. Rather than cram more megapixels and increase video resolution, GoPro focused on making the action camera more social and easier to use. Features like TimeWarp, a revamped touchscreen interface, better audio recording, and gimbal-quality video stabilization give users better reasons to buy and use it over a smartphone or DSLR.

Price: $399
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23. MacBook Pro (2018)
The new MacBook Pros will cost you, but they’re worth it because they’re extremely pro-worthy laptops. The 15-inch MacBook Pros can be spec’d out with a powerful Intel Core i9 chip and Vega 20 discrete graphics. But it’s the 13-inch MacBook Pro that’s the most pro-like than it’s ever been with a quad-core processor that rivals a 15-inch MBP from a generation or two ago. For Mac users, the new MacBook Pros are the best Apple’s ever made (if you can deal with the keyboard).

Price: Starting at $1,699
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22. Sony 1000XM3 noise-cancellation headphones
Ask any frequent flyer what the best noise-cancellation headphones are and there’s a high chance they’ll recommend the Bose QC35 II’s. They’re still good, but Sony’s 1000MX3’s are better. They sound better, fit better for longer periods, and the ambient listening mode is a solid touch. If you’ve got money to burn on really great wireless headphones, you really can’t do better than the 1000MX3.

Price: $348
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21. DJI Mavic 2 Pro and 2 Zoom
DJI is still the king of drones. The Mavic Air is great if you value compactness over features. However, if you want it all, then you gotta step up to the Mavic 2 Pro or 2 Zoom. Both offer similar features, with the 2 Pro having the larger image sensor and adjustable aperture and the 2 Zoom having a more versatile optical and digital zoom.

Price: $1,470 (2 Pro) and $1,175 (2 Zoom)


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20. Oculus Go
Facebook’s Oculus Go went uncontested as the simplest standalone VR headset released this year. The more powerful Oculus Quest with more advanced motion-tracking comes out in 2019, but if you just want to watch a video on a massive screen or shoot a few zombies in VR, the Oculus Go is a no-fuss headset that makes it dead easy to lose yourself in virtual worlds.

Price: $199
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19. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018)
If you already own a Kindle e-reader, you probably don’t need a new one. But if yours is breaking down or you want one that’s 10 percent thinner, 10 percent lighter, and has a 10 percent brighter screen, and is waterproof, Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite is the only e-reader to even consider. The new e-reader also integrates with Audible and has Bluetooth to connect to a wireless speaker. The Kobo Forma and Kindle Oasis are larger, but they’re also pricier. For most book lovers, the new Paperwhite is just right.

Price: $99.99
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18. Dyson Airwrap
Reinventing appliances is what Dyson does best. First came the Supersonic hair dryer and this year the company blessed us with the Airwrap. Whereas a traditional curling iron uses heat to curl, add volume, or straighten hair, which can damage it, the Airwrap uses jets of cool air to do the same without the risks. It’s a Dyson product so it costs a pretty penny, but well worth not having damaged hair.

Price: $499.99
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17. Dolby Dimension
Not everyone can or wants to pony up thousands of dollars to piece together a home theater system capable of replicating cinema-quality audio. That’s where Dolby’s first product, the Dimension wireless headphones, comes in. These premium cans are designed for binging on any screen at home. Not only do they sound incredible, but they also have a sweet “LifeMix” ambient listening mode that lets you listen to your entertainment and outside sound.

Price: $599
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16. Sony PlayStation Classic
The early 3D graphics don’t hold up quite as well as the 2D sprites in games on the NES Classic and SNES Classic, but that doesn’t mean Sony’s PlayStation Classic isn’t fun because it is. The games list could’ve been better, but the adorable micro-console still has a few gems that’ll have you swearing at the TV with another friend well into the night.

Price: $99.99


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15. Plume SuperPods
Mesh WiFi routers have all but solved the problem of poor WiFi signal at home. We previously liked Plume and the new SuperPods version one-ups the original with faster tri-band WiFi connectivity and two Ethernet ports instead of one. In our tests, Plume really squashes WiFi dead zones and speeds up connections where they might normally get slower download and upload speeds.

Price: $199
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14. Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei’s mostly known for its phones, but it came out of left field with the MateBook X Pro and, honestly, it’s one of the best thin-and-light laptops of the year. Besides the thinnest bezels around its display, a webcam that’s hidden, a keyboard with good key travel, and a handful of ports, the laptop also sports discrete NVIDIA graphics and 512GB on the $1,500 model. If you can stretch up, the MateBook X Pro is a helluva value.

Price: $1,349
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13. Pocophone F1
Phone prices keep increasing with no end in sight, which is why it was so surprising to see Xiaomi launch the Pocophone F1. At about $300, the Pocophone launched out of the gate with a modern design mimicking the iPhone X and its nearly edge-to-edge display, the latest Snapdragon 845 chip, and long battery life. Sure, the cameras and build quality are exactly what you pay for, but if you don’t have a fortune to blow on a premium phone, the Pocophone gets the job done pretty well.

Price: $278
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12. Amazon Echo Dot (2018)
The third-generation Echo Dot is a prime example of how economies of scale should work for gadgets: the hardware improves while the price stays the same. The new Dot is slightly chunkier than the previous model, but Amazon upgraded the sound quality so it no longer sounds as tinny. It’s still lacking in bass, but at least now you can actually play music through it. Plus, it supports wireless stereo pairing, so connect it up to another Dot and you’ve got yourself a party.

Price: $29.99
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11. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
There were plenty of excellent, high-quality Android phones, but none come with a stylus along with a list of seemingly every feature you could ask for in a phone the way Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 does. Bigger screen, bigger battery, headphone jack, more storage, faster wireless charging, etc. — check for all of them. The upgraded stylus, which doubles as a Bluetooth remote for taking selfies and presenting slides, is a clever use for the writing and drawing instrument.

Price: Starting at $849.99


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10. Fitbit Charge 3
Smartwatches aren’t for everyone. They’re often bigger and bulkier than a fitness tracker. And if all you want is a kickass fitness tracker, then Fitbit’s Charge 3 is your guy. The wearable has just enough smartwatch features to not overwhelm users. The slimmer and sleeker design, easier-to-use touchscreen, and long battery life make it arguably the best Fitbit to date.

Price: Starting at $129.95
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9. Google Home Hub
Amazon pioneered the smart speaker with the Echo and then the smart display with the Echo Show. But Google seems to have perfected it with the Home Hub. You can still use voice controls to summon the Assistant and play music, get the weather and control smart home devices, etc., but the Home Hub really shines as a digital photo frame to display your favorite pictures from Google Photos. And with everyone so concerned about privacy, not including a built-in camera is actually a strength instead of a weakness.

Price: Starting at $129
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8. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Sorry Samsung, but Huawei now takes first place for making the Voltron of phones. Despite not being sold in the U.S., the Mate 20 Pro has it all. There’s more advanced features such as Face ID-rivaling face unlocking security, an in-display fingerprint reader, triple rear cameras, and a battery even more monstrous than the Note 9's. The U.S. government might be against Huawei (without evidence, though), but that’s not stopping the Chinese tech giant from trying its best to steamroll the current phone champs.

Price: Starting at $1,197
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7. iPad Pro (2018)
Apple’s iPad Pros finally got a much-needed design overhaul. It’s no laptop replacement the way the Surface Pro 6 is, but it blows past laptops in other ways. The new iPad Pros gained Face ID; the Apple Pencil 2 now wirelessly charges when it’s clipped to one side; there’s a USB-C port; and the A12X Bionic chip is an absolute performance beast. iOS is still the tablets’ biggest crutch — hopefully that’s addressed in iOS 13 — but that doesn’t change the fact these are the best tablets around.

Price: Starting at $799 (11-inch) and $999 (12.9-inch)
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6. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
You could argue Microsoft got the Surface Pro right with the Pro 4 and Pro (2017), but I think the new Surface Pro 6 is the 2-in-1 finally polished to perfection. While the hardware’s the same (besides the slick matte black option), the performance upgrades make the tablet truly fly. Copycat Surface Pros are bountiful, but none are better than the original. It took years, but the Surface Pro 6 is a laptop replacement in every sense now.

Price: $799


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5. Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
The Pixel 3 and 3 XL aren’t a huge departure from their predecessors. While the design has barely changed (there’s wireless charging and better water resistance now), Google puts more into AI and machine learning. There are two cameras for selfies and group selfies and while the rear camera is improved, Night Sight is the Pixel 3’s killer feature. It literally produces bright images from photos taken in the dark, which are beyond what the human eye can see. The Google Assistant call screening is also a godsend and Duplex is slowly making its way to the phones.

Price: Starting at $699 (Pixel 3) and $749 (Pixel 3 XL)
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4. OnePlus 6T
OnePlus stepped up twice this year and challenged the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, first with the OnePlus 6 and then with the 6T. The OnePlus 6 was excellent, but the OnePlus 6T is better. Its notch is smaller, the screen’s larger, the battery lasts longer, and there’s an in-display fingerprint sensor. And, it’s the first OnePlus phone to be sold at T-Mobile and work on Verizon. At last, OnePlus’ U.S. invasion is taking shape.

Price: Starting at $549
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3. iPhone XS and XR
Back in 2017, Apple said the iPhone X's edge-to-edge display and Face ID represented the future of the iPhone, and the company doubled down on that strategy big time this year. We got the excellent iPhone XS and XS Max, which are the best and most feature-packed iPhones yet. But the real showstopper was the iPhone XR. It's cheaper (starting at $750) and has few compromises. If you don't wanna blow $1,000 on a new phone, the XR's one of Apple's best-valued phones in a long while.

Price: Starting at $999 (iPhone XS) and $749 (iPhone XR)
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2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
I never thought I’d write Microsoft and "best laptop of the year" in the same sentence, but the Windows maker earned it. While Apple frustrated customers with higher prices and paltry performance improvements to the new MacBook Air (and didn’t rethink the controversial butterfly keyboards), Microsoft sped to the top with the Surface Laptop 2. The clamshell costs less, has quad-core performance, doesn’t need dongles, and has a touchscreen. Plus the keyboard is fantastic. Best of all, it comes in matte black!

Price: Starting at $799


1. Apple Watch
Series 4

People often forget the iPhone was not a runaway success. Neither was the iPod. And neither was the MacBook.
It wasn't until a couple of years of iterations that all of those devices evolved into the class-leading products they are today.
So it was perhaps unfair for people to declare the Apple Watch a failure when it launched in 2015. Sure, Apple was really slow out of the gate in defining what the smartwatch's real purpose was.
But with each new model, the Apple Watch has become more focused and more purposeful. It's still a tiny smartphone on your wrist — more than ever now that some models offer built-in LTE connectivity — but new versions of watchOS have made it clear Apple sees the device as a health companion of sorts.
Apple Watch Series 4 builds on the top-notch fitness-tracking and heart-monitoring features found on Series 3 and earlier with even more advanced health-monitoring functions.
New features like the ECG app, irregular heart rhythm notifications, and fall detection challenge the Apple Watch's utility as a wrist-worn computer and steer it closer towards being a powerful medical device.
Apple Watch Series 4 is by no means a replacement for a doctor. Rather, it's a companion that encourages you to be more conscious of your health. Its small-but-powerful sensors are there to quantify what's happening with your heart and body so you can take action (if needed) sooner rather than later.
There are tons of imitation Apple Watches and companies like Fitbit and Samsung are trying all kinds of ways to make their smartwatches different, but none of them come close to the kind of health-monitoring capabilities the Apple Watch Series 4 offers.
The Apple Watch has matured a great deal over the last three years, and on Series 4, Apple seems to finally understand what its essence is. Series 4 is a huge step forward for the smartwatch and further widens its lead.
Price: Starting at $399 (40mm) and $429 (44mm)
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