During the last three decades, we’ve witnessed sweeping technological innovations, and 2018 has advanced this trend. With every passing year, tech companies face even greater challenges to be inventive and distinguish themselves from the competition. Many of these innovations take the form of gadgets that we use in our everyday lives — making us feel like we’re living in a futuristic, Jetsons-like world. So, against this techno-cultural backdrop, here are some of our favorite picks for the “Best New Gadgets of 2018.”
Best Gaming Console: PS4 Pro
As the first 4K HDR Sony console, the PS4 Pro creates a breathtaking gameplay experience for 4K TV owners. Although the longstanding rivalry between Microsoft’s Xbox consoles and Sony’s PlayStation series rages on to this day, we believe that the PS4 Pro currently edges out the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S due to a combination of excellent games, solid hardware and generous online offerings.
The PS4 Pro improves upon the already powerful PS4, as with its 1TB hard drive, the PS4 Pro powers 4K and HDR technologies. Plus, the gameplay on the PS4 Pro will look smoother, crisper and cleaner due to beefed-up processing speeds that enhance the frame rate. The sole factor preventing the PS4 Pro from being the quintessential gaming console is that it does not include an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive. Instead, you’ll have to rely on streaming services to get your fix of 4K media. Alternatively, if you subscribe to Sony’s PlayStation Now service, you can use the new “download” feature to play rented games without a patchy Wi-Fi connection affecting the resolution.
The PS4 Pro sells for $399.99 on Amazon or Best Buy websites.
Best VR Headset: Oculus Go
The Oculus Go (by Facebook) is a VR headset that is beyond compare. Only an exceptional VR can trigger a reflexive, visceral reaction — such as making your heart pound when you parachute out of a virtual airplane — and this level of quality is hard to come by. Most consumers seem to settle for mediocre experiences that use smartphones and suffer from smudgy lenses and blurry images. The Oculus Go is a flagship VR headset that can create a fully immersive experience without the assistance of an expensive, high-end gaming PC. Its 2560-by-1440-pixel LCD dedicates more pixels to your eyes than even the Oculus Rift. And the headset’s built-in speakers add to your sensory bliss, pouring choreographed sounds into your cerebrum that can make you think you’re ringside during an MMA bout.
The Oculus Go also offers more than 1,000 VR experiences, including everything from riding monster roller coasters to serene meditation programs. This visor, weighing only 16.5 ounces, doesn’t feel like a watered-down version of its predecessor or an uninspiring phone accessory — that’s because the Oculus Go is neither. This exceptional gadget is a huge leap in VR’s efforts to branch out of its current gaming “niche” and permeate the mainstream community.
The Oculus Go sells for either $179.00 (32GB) or $229.00 (64GB) on the Oculus Go website.
Best Phone: Samsung Galaxy S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is admittedly not that different from the S8+. However, there are several reasons why the Galaxy S9+ is the best phone on the market, and its most standout feature is its superb low-light camera. Samsung has lauded and promoted the camera on its S9 range, and for a good reason. The back of the S9+ features dual 12MP cameras, each with a remarkable f/1.5 maximum aperture, making its low-light performance unparalleled in the market. Furthermore, the S9+ includes the large “infinity” screen that the Samsung Galaxy series has become so famous.
Together, with the many casinos and other prominent tech-market trailblazers that adopted facial recognition technology, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ has innovated in lockstep. The S9+’s technology combines Samsung’s secure iris scanner with its (albeit less-secure) facial recognition unlock technology. Our only slight criticism of this impressive gadget would be that the AR Emoji feature is somewhat overrated, but if you’re in the market for a mobile phone with the finest camera and the best screen, then this should be your choice.
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ sells for $739.99 (64GB), $789.99 (128GB) and $859.99 (256GB) on the Samsung website.
Best Tablet: Apple iPad Pro
The iPad Pro is the latest tablet for professionals to take huge leaps forward in form and function. This gadget no longer uses the fingerprint sensor and instead, features a face-scanning camera from the iPhone XS. The iPad Pro ditches the Lightning port for the universal USB-C port and can wirelessly charge the newly redesigned Apple Pencil when magnetically attached to the tablet. The Apple iPad Pro is also brighter and lighter and shaped by a more angular design.
The Apple iPad Pro sells for $799.00 and up on the Apple website.
At the time of writing, the holiday season is upon us, and consumers everywhere are clamoring to find the best gifts for their tech-loving friends and loved ones. We hope that this list serves as a helpful start. Let’s continue our march into the future!