Illustrations by Lisk Feng

It’s a speaker, a question-and-answer tool and a convenient way to order more dog food. Part-novelty and part-gateway into "smart home" devices, the Amazon Echo plays different roles depending on how you use it (though Amazon Prime users might find more use for it than others).


This web-connected doorbell camera lets you monitor your entryway remotely – meaning you can finally play sleuth. The Skybell HD could help you answer the neighborhood’s biggest questions: Who’s been stealing all the Amazon packages? Who’s not picking up after their dog?


Think of it as the brains of your "smart home." As more gadgets get connected to the Web, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub offers a single convenient place to manage them all.


So long as the screen isn’t cracked and the battery still holds a charge, there’s little reason to shell out for a new tablet – unless that new tablet is Apple’s iPad Pro. It’s fast, powerful, bright and sharp enough to send any other tablet on the market on an earlier-than-anticipated trip to the junk drawer.


With its new ceramic coating, the Apple Watch Series 2 achieves tech’s rarest duality: it’s both utilitarian and eye-catching. It’s virtually un-dentable, un-crackable and un-scratchable, yet it evokes a sleek, futuristic cool. It doesn’t shine quite like those rose gold models, but it’s a lot harder to ding up.


A dash cam can help keep your insurance premium from going up after a fender bender. A dash cam can assist a police investigation after a smash-and-grab. A dash cam can ensure that even if your car gets wrecked, your YouTube followers will be entertained.


Everyone should keep a headlamp, whether for camping, earthquake prep, or late-night dog walks. And everyone should have one that recharges via USB charger, which is certainly easier to find in the dark than a pair of AA batteries.

(Butch Adams / Black Diamond)

Control of the fate of a nation in the sixth iteration of this beloved turn-based strategy game. Lead your nation toward cultural or scientific advancements, or wage wars for resources or ego. A word of warning: Games that give you absolute power take over your free time absolutely.

( Firaxis)

No gadget will make you faster, stronger or fitter – that’s up to you. But if any gadget will help, it’s the Garmin Fenix 3. This multisport device has you covered from hikes to triathlons, and unlike the sports watches of years past, it doesn’t look half bad.


Few music lovers would be disappointed with a subscription to a streaming service. But do your research first – there are real differences between Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music Unlimited and others. Guessing someone’s preferred music streaming service is as dangerous as guessing someone’s favorite musician.


There are lots of virtual reality headsets coming on the market, but PlayStation’s foray has a leg up in that it makes the emerging medium available to anyone who has a PlayStation 4.

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Apple has gotten tons of attention for its yet-to-be-released cord-free Airpod headphones, but don’t count Samsung out. These Samsung Gear IconX bluetooth headphones feature built-in heart-rate monitoring, connections to fitness apps and in-case charging.


"Rocket League" takes the parts of soccer that have made it the world’s game and adds stuff Americans like (cars and lots of weapons). It’s a simple, silly video game that’s just plain fun.

(Rocket League)

Know a PC gamer but don’t know the first thing about gaming? Get a Steam gift card and let the lucky recipient pick and choose what to play.


The Tesla Model 3 promises to be a game-changing electric car when it hits roads next year. But considering the wait list is already stretching to 2018, this one is best for someone who already has the gift of patience.

(Tesla Motors)

There is no gift better than one that actually gets used. And who wouldn’t want a free ride from one of the nation’s two biggest app-based ride-hailing services? Uber gift cards start at $15. Online purchase will be available soon, in meantime visit to find a store near you. Lyft gift cards start at $20, and can be purchased at participating Starbucks stores. Visit for more.


You don’t need to be an aviation pro to get great aerial photos from the Yuneec Breeze – a drone that’s easier to fly than most with similar image quality.

(Yuneec Breeze)

Snapchat maker Snap Inc. seems to have achieved what Google Glass couldn't: convincing people it's not weird to wear a camera on your face. The video-recording sunglasses are perfect for capturing scenes the way you saw them. But only the committed will get a pair — the company is selling them from roving vending machines that seem to pop up and disappear faster than a Snapchat message.

(Handout )

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Credits: Illustrations by Lisk Feng. Credits: Ricardo DeAratanha, Vera Castaneda, Calvin Hom, Rene Lynch, Kathy Pyon, Steve Elders, Ruthanne Salido, Alice Short, Alene Dawson, Kavita Daswani, Roy M. Wallack, Melinda Fulmer, Jessica Ritz, Ben Muessig, Jeanette Marantos, Terry Gardner, Janet Kinosian, Davis Alexander, Amy Scattergood, Ingrid Schmidt, Kenneth Turan, Tre’vell Anderson, Amy Kaufman, Meredith Woerner, Glenn Whipp and Evan Wagstaff. Design and development by Lily Mihalik.