Editor’s Note: With the holiday season quickly approaching, we reached out to Randy (tyroneboman) for some gadget shopping tips. He shares his top 5 gadgets to own and 5 to avoid this holiday season. As one of the top-rated Tech Experts on JustAnswer, Randy has helped thousands of customers with their toughest tech-related questions.
5 Gadgets to Own
Fitbit Flex ($99.95)
The Fitbit Flex is waterproof, and can track steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. You can also set goals, view your progress and earn badges. It’s the best all-in-one activity tracking device to own and one of my favorite gadgets this year. It’s easy and comfortable to wear.
LG Tone INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 ($149.99)
These are the best Bluetooth headphones with Harman Kardon signature sound and retractable earbuds with wire management. It fits snuggly and is great to take on runs. It provides great quality sound and lasting battery life. I would recommend this for those who appreciate quality sound on-the-go.
Amazon Echo ($179.99)
Amazon Echo is your virtual assistant. It responds to your voice commands such as, “What’s on my calendar today?” and, “Add ice cream to my shopping list.” It’s hands-free and always on, so all you have to do is say the wake work to get started. Best of all, it gets smarter the more you use it so after awhile, it can tailor its information to best suit what you’re looking for. It’s a great device for those looking for convenience and accessibility at home for elders.
Apple Watch ($349)
By now, most people should be somewhat familiar with the Apple Watch. It receives and responds to notifications in an instant, and can track your daily activity and control music using only voice commands. Of course, it syncs with your iPhone. The downside is that Apple Watch does not work with Android phones.
Samsung Gear S ($99.99)
For those with Samsung phones and who are looking for a less expensive alternative smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S is your best bet. Keep in mind that this smartwatch only works with Samsung phones. The Gear S keeps you in touch and informed when you’re not carrying a phone. Like the Apple Watch, it connects directly to your network and lets you make and answer calls. You can check and send SMS, get directions, track your run, and more, right from your wrist.
5 Gadgets to Avoid
Cheap Android Tablets
Tablets in the lower price point are often more trouble than they’re worth. These tablets are often manufactured using refurbished and generically produced parts. For a little bit more, stick with tablets made by reputable brands from Samsung, Asus or LG. If price is a sticking point for you, opt for an older model of a newer tablet. You’ll get the same quality but slightly less hardware performance.
Beats by DRE
Beats by DRE are a product of really good marketing. Unfortunately, the products are overpriced and you can get better quality for usually half the money. For similar and lower price points, you can opt for Sennheiser, Bose, Audio-Technica, and even Skullcandy.
Smart Jewelry Wearables
Wearables have been super popular in the last few years thanks to smartwatches from Samsung, Pebble and Apple. To make wearables look fashionable, a slew of smart jewelry brands have emerged. However, while these look good and are cheap, they lack much-needed functions. Stick with FlexBit, Garmin, or the iPhone and Android smartwatches.
It’s unfortunate that Google decided to increase the price of their most recent Chromebook. Ultimately, a Chromebook is a web browser operated laptop, which is why you can easily find great ones from Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Hp for under $400. Chromebooks are great for those looking for a lightweight and very simple laptop for emails and web browsing.
LG G3 Smartphone
Nowadays, there are so many great Android-operated phones to choose from. However, the LG G3 S is one you should stay away from. While LG has been known for making good Android phones, the G3 S lacks a lot in specks for a mid-range phone. You’re better off with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini or HTC One Mini 2.