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Top tech gadgets (April 2017 edition)

Gadgets to make your life simpler and more fun.
Amazon Echo dot
1 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon Echo Dot

I have a love/hate relationship with voice-controlled devices, but the Amazon Echo Dot is an exception.

The Echo Dot is small, unobtrusive, adorable, easy to use, and very flexible. And once you master a few commands, it's actually very powerful.

Excellent bit of kit, especially for those who are subscribed to Amazon Prime, and it's only $50.

Nest Protect smoke + CO alarm
2 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Nest Protect smoke + CO alarm

This is ideal for those of us where every cooking session seems to end with a few minutes of frantically waving a dishcloth at the smoke alarm.

The Nest Protect alarm combines a high-end smoke and CO detector with handy features such as an automatic path light and the ability to hush it remotely using a smartphone instead of a dishcloth.

Nomad Key
3 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Nomad Key

No point carrying around a battery pack to recharge a smartphone if you don't have a cable with you. My portable cables of choice are the $20 Nomad Keys. There's one for the Apple Lightning port and a micro USB version for Android and other devices.

Amazon Fire HD8
4 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon Fire HD8

A powerful and fully-featured tablet for $90 would have once been unthinkable, but the Amazon Fire HD8, with it's 8-inch display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and 12-hour battery is a force to be reckoned with.

The ideal tablet for someone who just wants to keep things simple.

Anker PowerCore Mini
5 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerCore Mini

The Anker PowerCore Mini is a small, portable battery power pack that can help top up my smartphone to keep it going through the long days.

A steal for $12!

Kingston Digital 64 GB DataTraveler SE9 G2 USB 3.0
6 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Kingston Digital 64 GB DataTraveler SE9 G2 USB 3.0

I've had reservations about storing USB flash drives on my keys because most are plastiky and easily broken. Kingston's DataTraveler SE9 G2 seems to have what it takes to survive the challenge. And best of all it costs about $25 for 64 gigabytes of storage.

Apple TV
7 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple TV

One of the easiest-to-use home entertainment hubs out there, the Apple TV is a great way to get an existing television to do a lot more. And it's not bound to the Apple iTunes store either - with apps such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, Watch ESPN giving access to a whole raft of entertainment.

And starting at $149, the Apple TV is one of the cheapest things you can pick up at the Apple Store!

Ring doorbell
8 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Ring doorbell

See who's at your door without opening the door (or even getting up). Ring is also great when you're away from home as it allows you to communicate remotely with the people at your door.

Setup is easy - you might have to drill a few holes, bit it works both as a wired and wireless solution, and there's a built-in battery that's good for weeks of use.

HP Chromebook 14
9 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

HP Chromebook 14

If games consoles are for people who don't want to have to futz about with drivers and patches, Chromebooks are the laptops for people who don't want the hassle or expense of a Windows or Mac laptop.

Another advantage of Chromebooks is that all the hard work of backing up your data, patching the operating system, and keeping it safe from hackers and malware, is all handled for the owner in the background.

And with a system like the HP Chromebook 14 starting at $300, it's an affordable way to give the gift of a laptop.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
10 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is the best way to read books on an electronic device. The screen has no glare so it's easy on the eyes, and you can read it anywhere from the dead of night to bright sunshine.

And with a battery life that measured in weeks, no hours, the reading doesn't have to stop.

Tile
11 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Tile

Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker that's great for people who lose things. Attach a tile to keys, luggage, wallet, umbrella or even bicycle, and find it quickly and easily.

Logitech Harmony Companion
12 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Logitech Harmony Companion

Get rid of your remote control clutter by replacing them all with a single, programmable telly gun such as the Logitech Harmony Companion.

This one remote control works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices right out of the box. From TV, cable and gaming console, to AV receiver and the Roku media player, all the way to smart lights, locks, thermostats, and even Alexa.

Sony PS4/Microsoft Xbox
13 of 13 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Sony PS4/Microsoft Xbox

Console gaming is PC gaming without all the hassles of drivers and system specs and patching. Sure, a console can never match the performance and graphical quality you can get from a PC, but for the price they are unbeatable.

When it comes to the PS7 vs. Xbox One, I really can't play favorites - to me they both feel just as good, and in the end the choice comes down to personal preference.

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