As we all know by now, tech doesn’t slow down.
It speeds up.
The past year has seen significant change as demand rose considerably for those outfitting home offices, investing in home theaters or sound systems, or even those looking for an upgrade.
We rounded up some of the latest tech for remote workers, home entertainment-lovers, audiophiles and tech enthusiasts to help you keep up with the ever-changing market.
Speakers, Headphones and the Latest in Audio
JBLClip 4 – $79.95
The market is full of compact, Bluetooth speakers these days — but not all are created equal. The JBL Clip 4 has an upgraded carabiner, making it an ideal companion for active pursuits. It’s also waterproof and dustproof. But what about the sound? Naturally, JBL doesn’t disappoint. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the sound quality coming from this little speaker.
If you’re not much of a climber, consider these alternatives: Bose SoundLink Micro ($99) or Sony SRS-XB13 ($48).
Beats Fit Pro – $199.99
“The Beats Fit Pro are real and they’re pretty spectacular,” writes CNET, in a review of these wireless earbuds. Tested by athletes and powered by Apple’s H1 chip, these earbuds are ideal for everyday use, especially considering you get 24 hours of combined power — 6 hours with just the buds and another 18 from the charging case.
Several other sets of earbuds come recommended this year too, including Sony WF-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and the Apple AirPods Pro — all at comparable price points.
ELAC Debut 2.0 Bookshelf Speaker – $339.95
With several upgrades to the overall design of these bookshelf speakers, the Debut 2.0 speakers offer more lifelike sound at high and low frequencies. ELAC describes some of the changes: “The revised shape of the aramid cone offers even greater stiffness and damping, far superior to polypropylene or paper. The added strength allows more flexibility in design to achieve a smoother, extended low-frequency response.”
These are high quality speakers that deliver great sound, especially for the money.
TVs, Laptops, Cameras and More
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera – $59.95
These retro-style polaroid cameras have become favored among partygoers, wedding or event planners, and others because of the blended ease of use, affordability, and film novelty. Not requiring any photography skills, one simply points and shoots, waiting only moments before the camera spits out a film souvenir.
And this version comes with improvements from past models: “With its new Automatic Exposure function, there is no need to adjust a dial anymore to take photos based on your lighting. Just snap and shoot.”
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 – $199.99
Built with entertainment in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 boasts a 10-inch screen and a quad speaker system that delivers audio in Dolby Atmos surround sound. The tablet also syncs up with other Samsung devices, like the Galaxy Watch3.
Compared to Apple’s iPads, the Samsung Galaxy offers a comparable entertainment experience at a much lower cost.
LG – 55″ Class C1 Series OLED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV – $1,499.99
If you’re looking for a high-end, blur-free, amazing-picture-quality type of TV, LG has you covered. This 4K TV has a near perfect five-star rating from customers, who praise the TV for its picture quality and OLED goodness. It comes with an array of premium features that will undoubtedly impress gamers and home entertainment connoisseurs alike.
Naturally, such high quality comes with a price tag to match. This isn’t as budget-friendly as other options on the market today. However, if you’re a stickler for perfect black, color integrity, and sharp, sharp details — oh, and want all the extras like built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync Premium compatibility, and more — look no further.
Smart Home Tech, Accessories, and More
Anker Nano Pro Charger (20W) – $19.99
Known for budget-friendly, yet respectable tech, Anker released a 20W charging block. Anker says it charges phones up to three times faster than the traditional 5W block, bringing an iPhone up to 50% battery in less than half an hour. (Can you ever have too many of these?)
Wyze Smart Plugs – $19.97
Compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, these smart plugs can come in handy when looking for help around the house. Using a mobile app, you can control appliances and lights, set schedules and configure triggers (e.g., turn the lights on when you walk into the room) using built-in Wyze Sense technology.
Philips Hue Bluetooth Smart Lightstrip – $79.97
Controlled by an app, these smart light strips allow you to schedule and automate your lights, sync with movies or games, and create the right atmosphere for any occasion.
Click & Grow Indoor Herb Garden Kit – $129.95
This indoor garden makes picking up a new hobby exceptionally easy, with its energy-conscious LEDs and self-watering functionality. New York Magazine ranks it among the best herb garden kits.
New Tech Is Awesome — but Sometimes Complicated. AV HEROs Can Help.
If you wind up with some great new tech this holiday season and it gives you trouble, don’t fret. Our nationwide network of AV HEROs, who are trained and certified tech professionals, can help you set up, troubleshoot and resolve any issues you may encounter.
If trouble arises, AV HEROs answer the call as if a bat signal lit up the sky.