Best in Tech: A Recap of the Best Small Gadgets You Need


In a world that is becoming increasingly more reliant on technology, there are plenty of new gadgets released every month. From of the growing hunger for newer, more impressive tech, it’s understandable that keeping up with trending new tech items can be exhausting. Basically, if you haven’t thought “My phone is already outdated? What do you mean a new model was just released?! This is brand new!” sometime within the past month, you are in the minority.

While you totally don’t need every new tech item, there are definitely a few that are worth your consideration. But which gadgets are worthy in a never-ending wave of new-releases? To combat the confusion between the hundreds of new products released this year, we are going to run through our Best in Tech picks and tell you what might be worth the upgrade or purchase.

Apple Watch

From counting your steps, measuring your heart rate, and acting as a mini phone to alert you to new calls and texts, the Apple Watch truly does it all. You can even replace your credit card with one by placing it under most in-store card readers. (That’s right, no more fumbling with your wallet during checkout and feeling the burning eyes of the person waiting behind you!) The Apple Watch’s multitude of uses makes it popular with almost anybody and it’s stylish, too.

In September, Apple unveiled their newest Series 4 watch. While it is about $100 more expensive than the previous model, the Series 3, there are some upgrades to the new Series 4 watch. The biggest difference is the screen size of Series 4 watch. 2 millimeters larger than the Series 3 screen, the Series 4 is the largest Apple Watch yet. The Series 4 watch also includes some updated haptics and sensors, but other than that, we’d be lying if we didn’t tell you that the two models were almost identical as they share all of the beloved key features.

Both models are waterproof, hold the same amount of charge, and have the same amount of storage space (16GB). Really, the only choice you have to make is how large you want the screen, but the features of both watches give the Apple Watch a place on our Best in Tech round-up.

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Portable Speakers

If we are totally honest, portable speakers used to be garbage. We shudder to think about the early models that were all the rage in the mid-to-late 2000s. The tinny, crackly sound, the weird size or shape that never made them convenient to actually use, and the frustration that they would never hold a long enough charge or could eat through a pack of batteries in a minute. Those portable speakers. But today, you are seriously missing out if you don’t have one, which is why they are a Best in Tech pick of ours.

It is quite impressive how incredible portable speakers are today when you compare them to the earlier models. Portable speakers are finally easily portable, have insane sound quality, and are pretty durable, too. Additionally, most models are waterproof and drop resistant (within reason, of course). Did we mention that many can hold weeks’ worth of charge, too? Portable speakers are great for use around the house (hello, parties!), but are especially useful outside. Despite their small size, portable speakers deliver loud sound. There won’t ever be a problem hearing music, despite what your environment may be. Phone speakers just don’t cut it unfortunately, but a portable speaker totally does.

Most models won’t run you more than $120, which is a steal for years worth of use. Ready to invest? Models released within the last year (or two!) are great. JBL, Sony, Bose, and Beats all make great models that we love.

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Amazon Fire Stick

This was the year of Alexa, that’s for sure. While Amazon had wild success with it’s smart speaker, the Amazon Echo, we much prefer another Amazon device: the Amazon Fire Stick (sorry, Alexa). While the beloved, quasi-creepy robot voice still makes an appearance on the Amazon Fire Stick, this Alexa won’t make a grocery list or answer questions that you were too lazy to Google. Instead, the Amazon Fire Stick is the best way to stream video and music on a screen or television, making it a Best in Tech pick of ours.

With streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu, apps for major TV networks, and of course an app to Amazon’s stock of movies and shows, the Amazon Fire Stick has no shortage of content. All you have to do is speak into remote of the device, say “Play ‘The Office’.” and you are on your way to binge-watching heaven. The Fire Stick also offers web browser apps that essentially turn your TV into a mini computer. Did we mention it also has games, too? We hate to say that cable boxes are on their way out because of the Fire Stick, but with the pure functionality of the device, you might end up cutting out your computer, video game console, and more one day, too. Get whichever Fire Stick that is out currently, and don’t look back.

The best part? Fire Sticks are very inexpensive when you consider the immeasurable hours of entertainment you’ll get from one. Additionally, many similar streaming devices don’t have speech functionality or are insanely expensive, if not both! The Fire Stick is a great choice and despite Alexa not having her notorious, robust functionality as she does on the Amazon Echo, she is our favorite binge-watching pal without a question.

Bluetooth Headphones

We’ve spent too many runs (…ok… brisk walks.) fussing with our headphones. From earbuds falling out with any slight tug on the wire to becoming completely tied up by one, wired headphones ruin any groove. Investing in a bluetooth pair of headphones is a necessity and that’s why they’re a Best in Tech pick of ours. Not only is there no wire to fuss with, but there is NO WIRE to fuss with! We aren’t going to say that making the switch to bluetooth headphones is life changing, but it’s pretty close to it.

Most bluetooth headphones come in two styles: classic, over-head headphones and earbuds. Because earbuds have less to cling on to, they often come with a small wire that fits around the back of your next for extra security, but don’t worry, the wire is firmly out of the way. Classic headphones are great if you like your ears fully covered and the cool, old-school look. Either style you gravitate towards, investing in a pair of bluetooth headphones is a must. We love Sennhiser, Sony, and Beats to name a few great brands!

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We don’t want to start any Mac vs. PC or iPhone vs. Samsung debates so will leave computers and phones off the table for now. However, there were some pretty amazing new tech releases this year that we totally loved.

But, while there are always a lot of awesome, new gadgets to buy, remember that it isn’t always necessary to. Sometimes, just because things are shiny and new doesn’t mean that they are necessarily better. Upgrading every device the second a new one is released is wasteful, especially if your current model already works. Do your research and find products that you know will last you a while and you’ll be set. Thankfully, all of our Best in Tech picks are good to stand the test of time… that is until flying cars are released.


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