With the holiday season speeding towards us, we asked one of our Tech Experts, Randy Boman (tyroneboman) for some tips on the best gadgets to buy this year. He also kindly shared his biggest gadget no-nos! As one of JustAnswer’s top Tech Experts, Randy has helped thousands of customers with their questions.
Fitbit Flex - £79.99
Randy rates this as “the best all-in-one activity tracking device to own this year” and his own favourite gadget. Comfortable and easy to wear and use, the Fitbit Flex tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. It’s also waterproof. You can also set your goals, view progress and earn badges for achievements, really helping you to get fitness on track and keep up with those New Year resolutions!
LG Tone INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 - £89.99
Both beautiful and accoustically brilliant, Randy suggests these are the best bluetooth headphones on the market. They come with retractable earbuds and wire management. The Harman Kardan signature sound is impeccable and the headphones fit snugly. Battery life is long-lasting. They are especially recommended for those who want quality sound on-the-go – perfect for that early-morning jog.
Amazon Echo – approximately £220
The perfect gadget for those who like things you can’t buy on every high street. Amazon Echo is not officially available in the UK yet, but can be bought on sites such as Ebay.
Amazon Echo is a cylindrical, home audio system with Bluetooth, Wifi connectivity, and an integrated personal assistant, complete with a mobile app allowing you to manage your calendar, shopping lists etc. It responds to voice commands, waking up with the command word “Alexa.” Best of all, it’s responsive, and gets smarter as you use it more and more often.
Apple Watch – approximately £300
Run your life by raising your wrist – what could be easier? Apple’s latest, most personal product is yet another success. It syncs with your iPhone (but not Android phones) and receives notifications, takes commands, and plays music. It has Apple Pay to make life easy and many apps. There’s a range of styles so you can buy the one that best suits you.
Samsung Gear S – approximately £300
If you’re looking for an alternative smartwatch, and you have a Samsung phone, this is the one that Randy likes. It will only work with Samsung phones, though. Like the Apple Watch, you can connect directly to your network, and make and answer calls. You can get directions, track your jogging and much more, all from your wrist.
Gadgets to avoid
Cheap Android tablets
Don’t do it! Randy’s convinced that tablets at the lower price points can be more trouble than they are worth. They are often made with refurbished or generic components. It’s best to stick to reputable brands such as Samsung, Asus or LG. If price is a major issue, then consider an older branded tablet – you still get the quality, and just a small dip in hardware performance.
Beats by DRE
Great marketing, mediocre product. Especially for the price. You should be able to get better quality for half the money. Look out for Sennheiser, Bose, Audio-Technica, and even Skullcandy at similar or lower prices.
Smart Jewellery Wearables
To keep up with smart wearables such as Apple Watch and Fitbit, a number of jewellery brands have popped up in recent years. Avoid these. They might look pretty, but they lack functionality and quality. Again, stick to the brands.
Google have increased the price of their latest Chromebook – which means you can now get awesome laptops for far less money from Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, and HP. The Chromebook can still make a great lightweight alternative laptop for emails and browsing.
LG G3 Smartphone
With so many great Android smartphones to choose from these days, Randy just isn’t keen on this one, thinking it lacks spec for a mid-range phone. You’d be better off going with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini or HTC One Mini 2.