A great gadget should be something that excels in both wow factor and actual practical use cases. Although we’re only halfway through the year, we’ve already gotten to see some really amazing consumer technology be released.
From smartphones to wearables to things that are just plain weird, here are the 10 best gadgets of 2015 so far:
The Typo iPad Air Keyboard had a lot to prove. Not only did the product’s company come with some baggage to accept, it also has the highest price point of any iPad keyboard at $189. Fortunately, what you get with this keyboard is something that finally compares with what you get on a Surface product. The keyboard is clicky and sized well, feeling much more like a solid laptop then a junky tablet accessory. It’s expensive, but if investing some money in turning your iPad into more of a work machine, it’s worth the cost.
Speaking of the Surface, Microsoft finally released a cheaper Surface product that doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time. The original Surface and Surface 2 suffered from using an ARM processor that kept it from really being anything more than a confusing mess of operating systems and features. The Surface 3, however, was finally given the processing power to make it a true tablet/laptop hybrid. At $499, it’s a pretty fair competitor with the iPad Air 2—and is even good enough to win over some who are looking at buying a Windows laptop. The best part is that with Windows 10 coming, the Surface 3 will finally get software worthy of the great hardware.
The G4 doesn’t have the same jaw-dropping, bezel-less design that the G3 had, but the G4 still has the goods where it really counts. More specifically, it’s got one of the best smartphone cameras on the market and one of the highest resolution displays you’ll ever see. Furthermore, it’s really the only flagship smartphone worth buying that still has expandable storage and a removable battery.
Dell’s mission to rid the world of fat bezels has made the jump to Android tablets with the Venue 8 7000. The lack of bezels on this 8.4-inch tablet really is remarkable, but it’s not the only great thing about the design—it’s also even thinner than the iPad Air 2! It’s admittedly a little odd-looking, but you’ll quickly get used to it once you realize even the chunky bottom piece is being used thanks to the front-facing speaker grill. So far, it’s easily the best Android tablet of the year.
The Apple Watch isn’t the only smartwatch in town. Pebble was one of the very first on the market and its latest device, the Pebble Time smartwatch smashed Kickstarter records for its crowdfunding campaign in March, reaching millions in days. Pebble’s new model, the Pebble Time, goes back to the drawing board in terms of both software and hardware—and both for the better. However, the battery life and lower price are two things that truly set it apart from the host of other smartwatches out there and make it far more than just an Apple Watch alternative.
As stated above, Dell seems determined to remove the thick bezels from every one of its devices. The most stunning representation of this design mission is its new ultrabook, the XPS 13. Dell has created possibly one of the most beautiful laptops we’ve ever seen and photos really just don’t do it justice. Other than that, the XPS 13 is a fairly standard, though high-powered ultrabook—though we’d highly recommend going for the $1,299 Touch version to get the QuadHD 3200 × 1800 display.
This gadget is perhaps the strangest one on our list, but it also captivated the attention of the tech world unlike any smartphone or laptop could. The Echo is essentially Siri for your home—you can ask it pretty much any question and can perform a variety of Siri-like functions with just its microphone and speaker. In many ways, it’s still very much an experiment (and it’s honestly a little weird how disconnected it is from your smartphone), but the technology really is there to make for a truly exciting piece of home technology.
Apple surprised the world when they announced the next version of their popular laptop, just called the MacBook. It’s a laptop so thin that it’s almost hard to believe they squeezed everything into such a tight package.
The truly spectacular thing about the MacBook’s size though is how it forced the people at Apple to re-engineer and re-design so many aspects of a functioning laptop—from the trackpad and the keyboard to even the ports (hello USB-C). It might be a bit spendy for what you’re getting spec-wise right now, but there’s no question that the MacBook is the future of laptops.
Speaking of head-turning design, the Galaxy S6 Edge has one of the most interesting smartphone designs you’ll ever see. Unlike so many of Samsung’s failed design experiments, the curved display on the S6 Edge actually enhanced the experience of using it. Because it wraps around the edges of the front of the device, the S6 Edge really feels like a bezel-less smartphone. On top of that, you’ve also got the best smartphone released this year so far.
It’s hard to talk about gadgets from 2015 without talking about the Apple Watch. No other device is going to gather a crowd of people around when worn in public—and it’s not just due to the hype. The design of the Apple Watch is fantastic and immediately iconic, not unlike what Apple has done time and time again with its new product launches. The Apple Watch has a long way to go in terms of realizing the dream of a smartwatch that actually earns its spot on your wrist, but in a couple of years you’d better believe it will.