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Best tech gadgets of 2018

Time to take a tour of what I consider to be the best tech gadgets of 2018. There are some that you'll no doubt expect to find in this list, and others that will probably come as a surprise. All have been personally tested for quality, performance, and durability.

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Topic: Hardware
Microsoft Surface Go
1 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Microsoft Surface Go

See it now: Surface Go at Microsoft

I was quite surprised to find out how much I liked Microsoft's new Surface Go. But with a price starting at $399, it has a lot to offer, from decent performance to great battery life. Sure, it doesn't have the silicon horsepower to keep up with a high-end laptop or desktop, but for those who want portability, and only take on average sized workloads, the Surface Go is a great choice.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

The 10-inch screen is also a pleasure to use, and offers enough real-estate for work and play.

Price: From $399 (more information)

Apple iPhone
2 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple iPhone

See it now: iPhone at Apple

Yes, this is without a doubt the gadget that I use the most nowadays, using it for everything from answering emails, controlling my lights and other home automation bits and bobs, tracking my health and fitness goals, and even making the odd call on it.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

It's hard to recommend a single iPhone from Apple's current line up. Each one - from the iPhone 7 to the cutting-edge iPhone XS -- has something to offer at a wide range of prices.

Price: From $449 all the way up to $1,449, depending on model and storage capacity (more information),

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
3 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

See it now: Note 9 at Samsung

If you want the best Android smartphone, and money is no object, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the smartphone for you.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

It has a huge battery, enormous storage capacity that you can expand by adding your own microSD card, a serious amount of RAM, a camera that works well even in tough conditions such as low-light, and the S Pen goes beyond being a gimmick and actually adds value to the package.

Price: From $999 (more information)

GoPro Hero 7 Black
4 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

GoPro Hero 7 Black

See it now: GoPro Here 7 Black at GoPro

There are loads of clones out there, but in my experience, none come close to offering the performance and durability that comes with a genuine GoPro camera.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

The new GoPro Hero 7 Black is packed with features, including HyperSmooth video (which really is impressive), a SuperPhoto HDR feature, and voice control, all in a package that's waterproof to 10m and super rugged.

Price: $399.99 (more information)

Apple Watch
5 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple Watch

See it now: Apple Watch at Apple

I've been through a lot of wearables, but the Apple Watch is the one that I wear daily. I tend to use it mostly as a fitness and sleep tracker, but it also helps be use my iPhone less by bringing important notifications to my wrist.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

And the new Apple Watch 4 builds on the solid foundation of the previous devices, bringing with it a larger display and a built-in ECG.

Price: Apple Watch 4 starts at $399 (more information)

Anker PowerLine+ II Lightning cable
6 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerLine+ II Lightning cable

See it now: PowerLine+ II at Anker

I keep getting asked for the best Lightning cables. Anker PowerLine+ II Lightning cables are my answer. They're tough, durable, come in a number of handy lengths, and do the job well.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Price: $17 for 6-foot length (more information)

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger
7 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger

See it now: PowerCore+ 26000 PD at Anker

The best powerbank I've used is the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD. The Power Delivery feature means that it is fast-charge compatible with a wide variety of devices, and even supports charging USB-C equipped laptops.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

It also comes with a 30W Power Delivery charger, which means you can fast charge both the powerbank and other devices.

Price: $129.99 (more information)

Eyfu RoboVac 30
8 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Eyfu RoboVac 30

See it now: RoboVac 30 at Eufy

Mr Kitty leaves a trail of hair in his wake, so having an automated way to clean up after him is a great time saver.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

I've had a few different robot vacuum cleaners over the years, and I've not been all that impressed with them. They seem to take a disproportionate amount of hand-holding for what they did.

Enter the $269 Eufy RoboVac 30C, which totally changed my mind about robovacs. Not only is it a powerful device that cleans as good as a regular vacuum cleaner (thanks to its 1500Pa of suction strength), but it's thin enough to make its way underneath furniture without getting caught up.

Price: $269 (more information)

Soundcore Flare+ Portable Speaker
9 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Soundcore Flare+ Portable Speaker

See it now: Flare+ at Amazon

I've tested many portable Bluetooth speakers, and none come close to the room-filling, immersive power of the Soundcore Flare+. In fact, I continue to the blown away by just how amazing this speaker -- not much bigger than a soda cup -- can output.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Not only is it powerful, but the built-in battery is good for up to 20 hours, and the case is rated to IPX7, which means that it is totally waterproof, making it ideal for pool parties.

Oh, and it also features a halo of colored LEDs around the base which can put on a crazy pulse and beat driven light show for you!

Price: $99.99 (more information)

Koogeek Bluetooth & Wi-Fi Smart Health Scale
10 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Koogeek Bluetooth & Wi-Fi Smart Health Scale

See it now: Koogeek Smart Health Scale at Amazon

Gone are the days of having to use paper and pencil to track your weight. Oh, and also gone are the days of only tracking your weight.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

With four sensors and BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) technology, Koogeek Smart Health Scale accurately measures your weight, calculates BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat mass, lean mass, bone mass, total body water, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), and visceral fat.

Price: $58.99 (more information)

Amazon All-new Kindle Paperwhite
11 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon All-new Kindle Paperwhite

See it now: Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon

While I do a lot of reading on my iPhone, there's nothing like the comfort of the eInk display on Amazon's All-new Kindle Paperwhite for extended reading sessions.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

As well has having an awesome, glare-free display, the new Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, and even comes with Bluetooth support, which means I can use it to play my Audible audiobooks.

Price: $129.99 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model (more information)

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
12 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

See it now: Echo Dot at Amazon

The third-generation All-new Echo Dot is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to add voice-control to any room. Using this single device you can ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, and much more.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Price: $49.99 (more information)

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
13 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

See it now: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ at Amazon

The latest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has a faster 64-bit 1.4GHz quad core processor, 1GB of RAM, faster dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, and significantly faster 300Mbit/s Ethernet.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Here are the technical specifications of the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+:

- 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU (BCM2837)
- 1GB RAM (LPDDR2 SDRAM)
- On-board wireless LAN - dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac (CYW43455)
- On-board Bluetooth 4.2 HS low-energy (BLE) (CYW43455)
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 300Mbit/s Ethernet
- 40 GPIO pins
- Full size HDMI 1.3a port
- Combined 3.5mm analog audio and composite video jack
- Camera interface (CSI)
- Display interface (DSI)
- microSD slot
- VideoCore IV multimedia/3D graphics core @ 400MHz/300MHz
- With the ARMv8 processor it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10 IoT edition.

Price: $35 (more information)

Soundcore Spirit X Sports Earphones
14 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Soundcore Spirit X Sports Earphones

See it now: SoundCore Spirit X Sports at Amazon

I love listening to music and audiobooks when I exercise, but I find it hard to get earphones that will actually stay in my ears. And the ones that do stay in my ears then have to endure regular drenching in sweat.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

After many hours of strenuous training, my Soundcore Spirit X Sports earphones are still going strong. They're waterproof, sweatproof, and even seawater resistant, last for 12 hours per charge, and are comfortable and stay in my ears no matter what I'm doing.

Price: $39.99 (more information)

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad
15 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad

See it now: PowerWave7.5 at Amazon

Since Apple added wireless charging to the iPhone I've tried a lot of wireless charging pads, and the one I keep coming back to is the Anker PowerWave7.5 pad. It supports 7.5W fast charge on the iPhone, and 10W on compatible Android devices.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

The charging pad runs nice and cool, works when smartphones are in a case, and comes with a Quick Charge 3.0 AC adapter.

Price: $45.99 (more information)

Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD
16 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD

See it now: Aegis Padlock SSD at Amazon

The Apricorn's Aegis Padlock SSD may be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but this drive combines a super tough exterior with ultra secure technology on the inside. The drive features a crush resistant, aluminum enclosure that is both water resistant and completely impervious to dust and grit.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

The Aegis Padlock SSD FIPS 140-2 validation is the cryptography standard required by the US federal government for protection of sensitive data.

All data is secured using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption, and everything is seamlessly encrypted in real-time, which means that your data safe even if the hard drive is removed from the enclosure.

With no moving parts, this is one of the toughest external SSDs I've ever tested.

Price: Starts at $249 for 120GB (more information)

iFixit Manta Driver Kit
17 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iFixit Manta Driver Kit

See it now: iFixit Manta Driver Kit at Amazon

iFixit's Manta Driver Kit not only contains 112 bits designed to tackle pretty much every fastener you're likely to come across when fixing electronic devices in both 4mm and 1/4-inch bit sizes, but it also comes with two premium anodized aluminum driver handles to hold these bits while in use.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Both the driver handles feature magnetized bit sockets to hold the bits, knurled grips for a positive feel in the hand, and have free-spinning tops on them so they can act as precision screwdrivers. They're some of the nicest, highest-quality bit drivers I've come across, are a pleasure to use, and are more than robust enough to handle daily use and abuse.

The kit comes in the tough ABS plastic case, and the magnetized lid doubles as a sorting tray.

This is the perfect kit for someone looking for a driver set that's up to the task of dealing with both small, delicate fasteners, and big, chunky screws.

Price: $59.99 (more information)

YubiKey
18 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

YubiKey

See it now: YubiKey at Amazon

Looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to protect your Google account, Facebook, GitHub, Dropbox, Salesforce admin account (and much more)? Or maybe you're looking for a way to harden your Mac or Windows login credentials.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

Take a look at the YubiKey.

YubiKey is a small authentication key manufactured by Yubico that can be used to secure access to a wide range of applications, including remote access and VPN, password managers, computer login, FIDO U2F login (Gmail, GitHub, Dropbox, etc.) content management systems, popular online services, and much more.

Price: $45 (more information)

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick
19 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

See it now: SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick at Amazon

I'm always too cheap to buy an iPhone with the maximum capacity, so I end up relying on external storage to pick up the shortfall.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

While I like the "flash drive" type accessories that plug into the Lightning port, I find the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick to be far easier and less hassle to use. This is a flash drive - with capacities ranging from 16GB to 256GB - that has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and battery, allowing you to access the data when you're out and about.

The drive can be recharged using a USB-A port, and can stream to three devices simultaneously.

Price: From $15.99 (more information)

Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C
20 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C

See it now: Omni 20 USB-C at Omni

Without a doubt the Omni 20 USB-C is the best, most fully-featured power bank that I've every used. Think of this not as a power bank, but a $200 computer-controlled USB charging station.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

This thing is a beast!

Tech specs:

    - 2 x USB-C output: 60W single/100W total
    - 2 x USB-A output: 15W single/30W total
    - USB C hub feature to allow file transfer and charging
    - USB C input: 45W total
    - Full recharge time: 3 hours
    - OLED display
    - 12-layers of electrical protection
    - 20,100 mAh capacity

    Price: $199 (more information)

    iSesamo
    21 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

    iSesamo

    See it now: iSesamo at Amazon

    Put an end to using screwdrivers to pry things apart! The iSesamo is a thin metal sheet with a non-slip handle that allows you to split open devices. It'll fit into the most microscopic of cracks and take a lot of prying force.

    Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

    It dramatically reduces both the risk of damaging the thing you're taking apart, as well as the risk of putting a screwdriver through your hand!

    For $10, this is a brilliantly useful tool.

    Price: $9.99 (more information)

    Nitecore TIP 2017
    22 of 22 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

    Nitecore TIP 2017

    See it now: Nitecore Tip 2017 at Amazon

    For the past few years, I'd been using flashlights that were powered by throw-away cells such as the CR123A, which are good but wasteful. Recently I moved up to the Nitecore TIP 2017, which features a built-in lithium ion battery that can be recharged using a USB charger and a micro-USB cable and I have to admit that it works very well.

    Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

    With the press of a button the Nitecore TIP can switch from a 240 lumen monster that has a 30-minute battery life, to a 1 lumen firefly that can last for 46 hours. The flashlight has a 1 year standby capacity which means it's great for storing in a toolbox.

    Price: $29.95 (more information)

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