There’s a lot to be excited about in tech this year. After all the shit we’ve been through in 2018 (and 2017, and 2016), you deserve some rest, relaxation, and fun courtesy of circuit boards and wiring. Though we’re not ready to endorse self-driving cars or commercial space travel, we are ready to let computers and the people who invent them make our lives a little nicer. Here’s the best new and cool tech for you to buy—or simply lust after—this year.
Bose didn’t try to make the Swiss Army Knife of earbuds with its new Sleepbuds. These are designed for sleep and sleep alone. They fit snuggly into your ears, blocking excess and playing calming tones instead. These tones, like ocean waves and falling rain, overpower frequencies from common annoyances like traffic and partner snoring. You can’t play music through them, but that’s a good thing. Let sound tech get you a good night’s sleep.
NINTENDO NES CLASSIC EDITION
You caught us: Technically, this Nintendo console dates back to 1985, and was then re-released in 2016. But this year saw the NES Classic’s re-re-release, with Nintendo promising more in stock for all those nostalgic gamers who couldn’t snag it the first two times around. Packed with 30 OG games, it truly captures the retro spirit of gaming.
SHINOLA BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS
Shinola makes good products; these are no exception. By incorporating stellar audio tech from Barefoot Sound, this set of bookshelf speakers brings recording studio-quality sound to your living room encased in well-crafted, hand-stained oak cabinets. With Bluetooth, AUX, and USB input, they’re as versatile as they are nice to look at.
FITBIT VERSA WATCH
Fitbit’s Versa watch competes directly with Apple Watch, and it’s competing against it well. Besides giving Tim Cook something to think about, the Versa is armed with a music library, Bluetooth to connect to your wireless headphones, and all the health tracking and personalized coaching you could ever need on a workout. Unlike the Apple Watch, it doesn’t have cellular data—but it will sync with your smartphone to show texts, calendar events, and other notifications. And unlike the Apple Watch, it doesn’t cost $249.
HTC VIVE PRO VR HEADSET
For a lot of us, VR hasn’t yet infiltrated our lives. But if you’re already plugged into the virtual reality gaming world, HTC’s Vive Pro headset just might be the best experience your money can buy. The graphics are spectacular, and it tracks even your slightest movement. It’s comfy, too.
APPLE IPAD 9.7″
Take cracks at tablets all you want, but one day, they’ll finally figure out how to make laptops obsolete. The new Apple iPad, while not all that different from last year’s model, comes at an affordable price point and is super easy to use. That’s thanks to a faster processor, a long battery life, and the addition of the the Apple Pencil. Get it with Wifi and cellular, and your laptop might start collecting dust.
MOODO SMART HOME FRAGRANCE BOX
Admittedly, the home scent arena is clogged with fancy candles, expensive aroma sticks, and high-tech diffusers. But make room for one more: the Moodo smart home fragrance box from Agan Aroma. It connects to your phone, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home, and allows you to mix scents so you can customize exactly how your home smells. The scents come in packs of four, with themes like Mediterranean Dreams, Beach Party, and the Gardens of Kanazawa.