In 2015, significant progress was made in bringing the cloud and automation to personal devices. From Amazon’s Echo to smart watches and fitness trackers to 2-in-1 laptops and self-learning devices, multi-functionality was the name of the game — all made possible by cloud and machine learning. In this slideshow, we’ve pulled together a list of innovative gadgets that feature the latest in connectivity and automation.
Amazon Echo is designed around your voice and connects to a cloud-based voice service called Alexa. Connect it to your local Wi-Fi and you can ask it questions to gain all sorts of useful information. With far-field voice recognition, the device is able to pick up your voice from across the room, even while playing music. It can create shopping lists, provide current news, control lights, set timers, update your calendar, and provide traffic updates. You can also ask Alexa to reorder previous purchases from your Amazon Prime account, stream music, and play audio books from Audible.
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ is available from a wide variety of cellular providers including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. With a 5.7″ Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440-resolution display, you can watch videos and images come to life on your screen. The Galaxy S6 edge+ allows you to keep your top five contacts and apps at your finger tips for quick access by displaying them on the edge screen, which also lights up to discreetly let you know who’s contacting you. Built-in technology allows you to recharge wirelessly.
Cost: Varies by carrier
Lenovo Yoga 900 Laptop
Looking for a 2-in-1 laptop? Check out the Lenovo Yoga 900, which comes equipped with the latest Intel Core i7 processor, Windows 10, and JBL speakers with Dolby DS 1.0 Home Theater certification for an immersive audio experience. The Yoga 900 weighs in at a mere 2.8 lbs and has a 360-degree watchband that lets you bend, flip or fold the device to best suit your apps.
Cost: Starts at $1,199
Samsung Gear S2
With elegant curves and premium finishes, the Samsung Gear S2 will turn heads. The intuitive circular face and bezel let you navigate effortlessly to get to what you need. And with access to important notifications at a glance, you can get more out of every moment of your day. The Gear S2 is compatible with most Android devices and offers wireless charging, a wireless S Health app to monitor your active lifestyle, and access to a wide variety of third-party apps.
Cost: Starts at $249.99
Cut the cord and set your music free with Bose SoundLink on-ear wireless headphones. The sound is powerful and clear; you can switch easily between music and calls with intuitive controls, and it will play for hours with a long-lasting rechargeable battery. The headphones are 40 percent lighter than comparable headphones for a comfortable fit.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
Having begun the multi-touch phenomenon with the first iPhone, Apple takes the next step in innovation by introducing 3D Touch. Along with recognizing familiar gestures, such as swipe, pinch, etc., the iPhone 6s series will also recognize force, enabling new gestures, including peek and pop.
A light press will give you a peek at the content you’re interested in; continue pressing and it pops you directly into the content itself. While peeking, you can flick up for more action options, flick right for common actions like marking an email as read, or flick to the left to delete it. Third-party developers are also taking advantage of 3D Touch by providing actionable options without having to even open the app.
Cost: Varies by carrier
Satechi 5-Port USB Charging Station Dock
Pressed for time and overwhelmed with managing power cords for multiple mobile devices? Check out theSatachi 5-Port USB Charger, which allows users to charge up to five devices at the same time via five 2.4A USB ports. It also comes equipped with a Qualcomm Quick Charge port than can provide 5v/9v/12v of power.
Acer Aspire R14
The Acer Aspire R14 is a 14″ convertible laptop that comes with a 360-degree dual-torque hinge that allows it to open in four positions – laptop, tablet, display and tent. The laptop comes equipped with 802.11ac wireless networking, a Zero Air Gap display, Acer TrueHarmony Plus and Dolby Audio technology, and an anti-smudge treatment that resists oil and grime accumulation on the screen. It also comes loaded with Windows 10 running on Intel Core i processors.
Cost: Starts at $479.99
With the Apple Watch, you can receive and respond to notifications in an instant, track daily activity, and control music using only your voice. Connect Apple Watch to Apple Pay and you can quickly and conveniently pay for groceries in a snap. There are also 10,000 apps available in the app store.
Cost: Starting at $349
Marble DOCK for Apple Watch
Looking for an elegant charging solution for an Apple Watch? Check out DOCK for Apple Watch Marble Edition. Featuring a brushed metal rotating arm, you can comfortably use and navigate the watch face as you charge.
Nest Learning Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your preferences as you use it and, after a few days, begins to automatically adjust to your schedule. The mobile app also allows you to control the thermostat while away and receive notifications when a problem arises with the temperature in your home. The device lights up when you walk into a room, displaying the time or current temp.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 / Surface Book
The new Surface Pro 4 offers the versatility of a laptop and tablet and weighs only 1.73 pounds. It has a 12.3-inch PixelSense display with high contrast and low glare, and can easily switch from laptop to tablet with a multi-position kickstand and keyboard. The device comes with 6th Gen Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 processors and sports a battery life of up to nine hours.
Cost: Starting at $899
The Surface Book is a high-performance laptop that weighs just 3.34 lbs. It has a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with 3000×2000-resolution, and is calibrated for true-to-life color. The laptop comes with the 6thGeneration Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and up to 16 GB of memory and sports a battery life of up to 12 hours.
Cost: Starting at $1,499
Streaming digital media has become a mainstay in today’s world. Apple TV has taken this idea and run with it, adding apps, games and more. Apple’s Siri has also been integrated into the device, allowing you to tell Siri what you’re looking for and find it faster.
Cost: Starting at $149
The Fitbit Surge amps up functionality by providing built-in GPS tracking that give you pace, distance, routes and elevation climbed, providing continuous heart rate monitoring, and connecting to smartphone features such as call and text notifications. You can control your music, too.
Cost: Starting at $249.95
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a portable, lightweight tablet that comes with 32 GB of storage, plus an additional 128 GB with the microSD™ card. It supports Microsoft Office — allowing to you work on documents across multiple devices; has split-screen capability — allowing you to use two apps at once; and offers Quick Connect to quickly connect and sync devices.
VEYEM Portable Ergonomic Stand
The VEYEM Portable Ergonomic Stand is designed to improve ergonomics, reduce desk clutter and increase productivity. The stand elevates your portable monitor vertically above your laptop, positioning your screen at eye-level.
Apple iPad Pro
The new iPad Pro has the largest screen on any iOS device to date, but weighs only a fraction more than previous iPad devices. The 12.9-inch diagonal Retina display (2732 x 2048 px) is able to support a full-size on-screen keyboard and an image depth of 5.6 million pixels.
The tablet includes the new A9X chip, a third-generation 64-bit chip that provides two times the memory bandwidth of A8X and two times faster storage performance. It has an average battery life of about 10 hours, but comes with a new variable refresh rate to help save battery life. The refresh rate will respond to on-screen action, slowing to save energy when things aren’t moving so quickly.
Cost: Starting at $799
The Huawei Watch was inspired by the classic designs of luxury watches but has the cutting-edge technology of a smart watch. Powered by Android Wear, the watch features iOS and Android compatibility, built-in Wi-Fi and Google Now voice commands. More than 4,000 apps are available from the Google Play Store. The watch also includes built-in health and fitness-tracking capabilities.
Cost: Starting at $299
GoPro HERO4 Session
HERO4 Session packs the power of GoPro into a small, lightweight camera featuring a rugged, waterproof design, easy one-button control, 1080p60 video and 8 MP photos. The camera maximizes battery life by automatically powering off when not recording.
Stamina InMotion Compact Strider
The elliptical motion of the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider gives you a low-impact, calorie-burning, cardiovascular workout in a small footprint. Whether you are pressed for time, space, or both, the InMotion Compact Strider is your fitness solution. Since you can use it sitting or standing, it is the perfect fit for the home or office to tone your calves, thighs, and glutes while getting your heart pumping.
LG Watch Urbane
It may look like a traditional timepiece, but the LG Watch Urbane is really a smart watch packed with technology like Android Wear that lets you send texts, check scores and get turn-by-turn directions simply by saying “OK Google.” You can also get alerts, track and record your heart rate and steps, and even synch to your favorite music. Add a pair of Bluetooth-ready headphones, and you’re working out phone-free. The LG Watch Urbane is compatible with Android 4.3 or higher and iOS 8.2 or later.
Double Robotics Telepresence Robot for iPad Tablet
Having your own Double in the office means you can be free to roam around anywhere without having to schedule a meeting. Place an iPad tablet in this mobile robotic base and control it via a remote iOS device or computer (Chrome browser preferred) from anywhere in the world. This device takes telecommuting to a whole new level by allowing you to have a physical presence in the office and speak to co-workers at anytime. Go to meetings and video chat remotely.
The Jawbone UP2 makes fitness fashionable. This device keeps track of activities, sleep patterns, food consumption and more. The Smart Couch app encourages you to make informed healthy choices and helps you celebrate along the way.
Brookstone Pocket Projector Micro
The Brookstone Pocket Projector Micro projects images up to 50″ diagonal on just about any flat surface. The built-in speaker fills the room with sound without the need for a separate speaker. Plus, the 15-lumen LED lamp is perfect for watching movies or playing games in a semi-dark room.