Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle's 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide

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OPINION
Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle’s 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide

This is the time of 12 months for a product information, and this 12 months I assumed I’d checklist my favourite uncommon merchandise as reward concepts. I’m a giant fan of merchandise most individuals do not have that clear up a selected work drawback, in addition to people who might make your (or my) life simpler, extra snug or extra enjoyable.

I like to present presents that individuals truly would use. In some instances, because of the value, these could also be stuff you’d purchase just for your self, a partner, or a relative you actually wish to impress.

So right here is my information to 2018’s private merchandise which have a little bit of wow related to them.

2-in-1 Laptops

One of the guarantees of a 2-in-1 laptop computer is that it may be used as a laptop computer and a pill. Virtually each 2-in-1 laptop computer I’ve ever gotten to assessment is extra laptop computer than pill. The Surface laptop computer was constructed to repeat the iPad Pro, but the iPad Pro usually is used as a laptop computer, not a pill.

Covered in leather-based, the HP Spectre Folio is the primary giant display 2-in-1 that basically is smart as a pill for individuals who like to write down or draw. The leather-based and padding make it really feel pure when held in your hand, and the mixture of close to 8-hour battery life, gentle weight, and 4G wi-fi immediately made this one among my favourite laptops to hold.


HP Spectre Folio

HP Spectre Folio

Normally I put my laptop computer into my backpack and lug that factor round as a result of I hate carrying a unadorned laptop computer that’s all sharp edges, and I fear about dropping it.

With the Folio, I toss the small USB-C energy provide (which has a pleasant retro material coated twine) into my pocket after which head over to the assembly (I truly do not have to make use of the ability provide but I’m of the idea that it’s higher to be totally charged and never want it than it’s to find whenever you get to the assembly that you simply forgot to cost the factor in a single day.)

For somebody who likes to attract, take written notes, or annotate with a pen, that is best. It actually is the primary laptop computer I’d even think about using at size as a pill. It’s not an affordable date at round US$1,299 (Amazon) but it is actually, actually value it.

Lenovo’s Yoga Book C930 is arguably one of the vital progressive 2-in-1 laptops I’ve ever used. Instead of a keyboard it has twin screens, which is fairly superb if you wish to use each shows.


Yoga Book C930

Yoga Book C930

This is a 10-inch product, placing it within the dimension class of the massive Amazon Fire pill or authentic iPad.

Ten inches is usually too small a display for many to make use of, but with two screens and a small Bluetooth keyboard you immediately have extra display actual property than on a 15-inch laptop computer, but carry weight and portability according to an iPad.

Dual-screen merchandise aren’t new, but they principally sucked up to now. However, over time, screens have develop into extra energy environment friendly, haptics (for the screen-based keyboard) have improved, and we have all gotten used to iPhone-like smartphones which have display keyboards with keys that do not transfer.

The Yoga Book additionally has the superb Lenovo watch hinge, which is a chunk of artwork in and of itself.

I exploit this as very similar to a transportable desktop laptop as I do a laptop computer, and I believe this factor could be best for somebody going to high school who wants the pliability of two screens but desires the carry weight of a pill, to keep away from having to hold a ton of weight. Just a tad over $1,000 (Lenovo web site), but of essentially the most progressive designs I’ve ever used.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Dan Lyons’ new e-book Lab Rats factors to an enormous drawback with the brand new open plan workplace configuration, which has led to large productiveness issues, will increase in stress and despair, and a need both to retire or die early (I’m not kidding — learn the e-book).

One of the methods to mitigate these issues is to get rid of the noise, but most noise-canceling headphones are designed to get rid of aircraft noise and are not tuned or configured to work ideally in an workplace setting.

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are the primary headphones designed particularly for workplace use. While there are higher selections for aircraft journey, I’ve by no means tried a set of headphones that labored as magically as these do within the workplace.


Surface Headphones

Surface Headphones

When I first tried them in a loud workplace setting, I child you not, it was virtually a non secular expertise. These may very well be career-saving for individuals who work in a type of open plan errors. (According to Dan, one of many high groups at Apple so hated the open configuration in Apple’s new headquarters, they stated they’d resign on the spot in the event that they needed to work in it.)

These headphones have options like selective noise cancellation, which permits you both to massively scale back the noise round you or to amplify it (for example, in the event you wanted to take heed to a selected alert or query). I liked these items a lot I purchased a set for every of my siblings. They are round $350 every on Amazon.

Keyboard Smartphone

Consider the BlackBerry Key2. Yes, I do know what you’re considering, I’ve misplaced my thoughts (my spouse, an avid iPhone person doubtless would agree).


BlackBerry Key2

BlackBerry Key2

Here’s the deal: Screen telephones with out keyboards require a ton of consideration. There are not any movies of individuals utilizing a BlackBerry and strolling into visitors, and within the years earlier than the iPhone we did not have the large variety of phone-distracted accidents we now have. That is as a result of you’ll be able to study to blind sort with a keyboard cellphone. Back within the day, the Japanese execs I as soon as labored with used to have the ability to take in depth notes beneath a convention desk with out trying.

This cellphone can be one of the vital safe, and identification theft prices round $300Okay and takes as much as 9 months to repair if it occurs to you.

This cellphone might save the life of somebody who simply cannot keep away from choosing up a cellphone whereas driving.

The BlackBerry Key2 runs Android, so all of your apps work, but the working system is wrapped with BlackBerry safety, making it the most secure Android cellphone at present in market.

I’d be certain my child used this cellphone, if I had a child. It is round $614 (Amazon) unlocked.

Sport Smartwatch

Good luck getting a Fossil Sport Smartwatch, as a result of they had been bought out at each place I checked.


Fossil Sport Smartwatch

The Sport Smartwatch

What makes this smartwatch totally different is that it has an always-on face, which implies it truly works very well as a watch — it truly appears to be like like a watch.

It has the total characteristic set of a smartwatch, and you should use GPS with out killing the watch in minutes (although GPS nonetheless makes use of a ton of energy, so that you usually are higher utilizing your cellphone when you have a alternative).

At round $250 (when it’s in inventory at Fossil) it will not break your pockets. Oh, and it takes off-the-shelf 20mm bands. I unintentionally left it residence — I’m at present touring — and I’m having severe separation anxiousness points in consequence.

This is the primary watch that makes use of Qualcomm’s newest know-how for this class of gadget, and it actually showcases an enormous quantity of useful development over prior generations.

Curved Monitor

Granted, even at Dell’s diminished value of $1,350 (market value $1,700), the Dell UltraSharp 49 Curved Monitor is much from an affordable date, but that is mainly 2 27-inch QHD screens in a single show.


Dell UltraSharp 49 Curved Monitor

Dell UltraSharp 49 Curved Monitor

It is extremely spectacular to take a look at in an workplace, and I virtually actually undergo withdrawals once I go away it to go on a visit.

This factor is large for productiveness, as a result of you’ll be able to have a ton of stuff on the display to reference whenever you write. I believe it could be sensible for a driving or flying simulator in the event you did not wish to use VR goggles, although I have never tried doing that but.

The factor a couple of monitor as a present is that the recipient appears to be like at it for an excellent chunk of the day and has to consider you a minimum of among the time once they do it. Talk about an in-your-face-gift — this doubtless is about as in your face as you may ever get.

Pocket Printer

For these of us who grew up with Polaroid, it doubtless is fascinating that youngsters apparently just like the HP Sprocket printer, which they’ll carry round to print out photos for his or her mates.

I just like the Sprocket Plus myself ($149.95 at Best Buy).


HP Sprocket Plus Printer

HP Sprocket Plus Printer

Easily pocketable, it is nice for adults (I’m considering grandparents) and youngsters who wish to share bodily photos taken from their cellphone. (It works immediately from the cellphone, and it’s battery pushed.)

Tech Clothing

I just lately got here again from a visit utilizing the brand new Baubax jacket, and it’s superb. Built into the hood is an inflatable pillow.

It has a panic whistle on a lanyard within the pocket. It has routing so you’ll be able to put a set of wired headphones into the jacket so they’re each safe and at all times prepared. It has pockets for all the pieces you’ll be able to consider (I think about in the event you had been to fill all of them up TSA could be involved).


Baubax 2.0 Travel Jacket

Baubax 2.0

It has fingerless gloves constructed into the sleeves in the event you get caught out within the chilly, and hooked up to the entrance zipper is a particular pen to make use of in your cellphone whenever you’re sporting gloves. It has a collapsible water bottle, a second bigger inflatable pillow, a thermal blanket, and sure a ton of different stuff I’ve but to find.

It is mainly a bit condominium pretending it’s a jacket. I’m satisfied that if Batman wore a jacket, this may be the one he would put on (it has 25 separate options). The Baubax is offered by Kickstarter for round $159.

Go-To Tablet

At $149 for a reasonably respectable pill, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is simply an unimaginable deal. This is my go-to pill, and through Cyber Monday you possibly can purchase three of these items for $300. Even although I do not want one other I used to be actually tempted to purchase three extra of them simply because the deal was so good.


Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet

Fire HD 10 Tablet

I usually suppose tablets are finest for leisure, and this has sufficient battery life to make it by greater than Eight hours of flying. It helps Amazon Prim films, the Amazon Kindle reader and Netflix.

Not all Android apps will run on it, but truthfully, I’ve solely run into hassle a number of occasions. The video games aren’t dangerous, but I principally watch films or TV, browse the Web or store on this factor.

It’s a very nice worth for the cash, significantly in case you are speaking three for $300. In context, an identical sized iPad begins at $329, and whereas it’s a bit higher, it’s removed from 3x higher. Also, I do not suppose the Amazon integration, significantly with the reader, is nearly as good.

VR Headset

The factor with VR headsets is picture high quality. The finest one in the marketplace is the HTC Pro, but it’s depraved costly, and I simply do not suppose the content material but justifies the value.

The lowest-priced headset that has ample high quality is the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ at $499 (Amazon). I’ve but to seek out something cheaper that did not give me movement illness.


Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset

HMD Odyssey+ – Windows Mixed Reality Headset

This is a type of wow merchandise that individuals will wish to attempt but it does require a good PC to hook up with to be able to insure ample efficiency.

It is among the better-looking headsets as properly, with clear traces and a comparatively sturdy construct, making it much less doubtless that it will likely be broken completely by your youngsters.

Death-Defying Drone

In drones there actually is just one I like to recommend in the intervening time, and that’s the DJI Mavik Pro 4K Quadcopter for a steadiness between efficiency, value, portability, and ease of use. Amazon has it in a bundle for round $999.


DJI Mavic Pro Drone

Mavic Pro

I’ve used DJI drones for a while and so they simply are typically simpler to fly. They take nice photos and are comparatively sturdy, although I’ve but to have one suicide on me.

With a drone, like a digicam, it does you no good if you wish to take an aerial image and you do not have it with you, so the bigger drones, until you’re a skilled, doubtless won’t ever be the place you’re.

I discover that low-cost drones for essentially the most half aren’t definitely worth the cash, and I’ve a six-rotor drone that’s so large I’ve solely taken it out as soon as. It instantly tried to commit suicide right into a tree, as a result of my one acre lot apparently wasn’t giant sufficient for it to really feel snug taking off and touchdown on. (However, it did scare the crap out of my canines.)

The Mavic professional is transportable. It will deal with wind, so it isn’t too small. It has respectable sensors, and it showcases why DJI leads this market.

Wrapping Up

What is fairly scary is that I even have all these things myself, which is why my spouse would not let anybody look into my workplace in the intervening time. It sort of appears to be like like a small Best Buy was hit by a twister.

I did not point out TVs, as a result of the new QLED TV from Samsung that disappears against the wall could be my alternative, but I can not seem to discover one to see if it truly works properly sufficient to advocate — so a TV advice should wait until subsequent 12 months.

Good searching this vacation season, and this is hoping all of us survive into the following 12 months!

The opinions expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t essentially mirror the views of ECT News Network.

Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of curiosity embody AI, autonomous driving, drones, private know-how, rising know-how, regulation, litigation, M&E, and know-how in politics. He has an MBA in human assets, advertising and laptop science. He can be an authorized administration accountant. Enderle at present is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the know-how trade. He previously served as a senior analysis fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.



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