As we fade out of 2012 and step up into 2013, we get to look forward to everything the new year will bring us: Prosperity, new chances, and tons of cool gadgets. As tech evolves, we’re granted new ways to work, rest, play, and even exercise.
Here are 10 of the best new gadgets for 2013.
Neural Impulse Actuator – Video games are still attempting to move away from the controller, and one of the latest attempts is the Neural Impulse Actuator. This headband streams your body’s biosignals directly into any PC game, negating the need for a computer or a mouse. That’s right: It is now possible to kill dragons with your mind.
HD media router – If you live in a house that swears by tech, you’re going to need an HD media router sooner than later. It allows multiple people in a household to play games, make VOIP calls, watch streaming movies, and lots more without glitches or lags.
TSir wristband charger – If you’re on the go a lot and you start to feel a little nervous when your phone drops to 40% battery power with no outlet in sight, you’re definitely going to want to consider getting the TSir wristband charger. It powers up almost every portable device that utilizes a USB connection, making it ideal for long trips and extended waits in a queue.
USB hubs – These days, USB hubs are as important as electrical outlets. Guess what: That demand is only going to grow. If you haven’t done so already, use a USB hub to split up one USB connection into several and plug in as many accessories as you want.
Wearable Video Cameras – Remember when you used to have to lug around a heavy camera to capture family memories? Not anymore. Wearable cameras like the GoPro HD Hero clip onto your person and leave your hands free. Said cameras are a particularly good option for extreme sports fiends looking to capture footage of their adventures.
Xbox Next/720 – We don’t know what Microsoft aims to call its follow-up to the Xbox 360, but the “Xbox 720” or “Xbox Next” are popular guesses. The Xbox 360 is nearly seven years old, and we’ll almost certainly hear more about its successor in 2013—if we don’t get to buy it outright. We don’t know what it’ll be like, but given Microsoft’s success in the hardware market, it’s hard not to be excited.
PlayStation 4 – Likewise, we don’t know what Sony has in mind for the PlayStation 4, but we can lay down bets that we’ll hear and/or see something in 2013. What features will the PlayStation 4 have? What lessons did Sony take away from the PlayStation 3’s slow start?
Wii U – Unlike the “PlayStation 4” or the “Xbox 720,” the Wii U is a tangible thing that you can play with. With its unique tablet controller, creative MiiVerse community, and the strength of Nintendo’s franchises, it’s going to be fun to see the Wii U come into its own through 2013.
Wireless Activity Tracker – If getting into shape is in the cards for 2013, you might want to invest in a wireless activity tracker. These devices keep tabs on your exercise regime, including distance, pace, and calories burned. Some models also alert you when you’ve reached your daily goal.
Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle – If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you already know that public water fountains dish out some mysterious-tasting fare, and bottled water isn’t great for the environment. Consider Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle, which makes tap water or natural water more potable within 60 seconds.
It’s obvious that 2012 was a very busy year for technology. Apple upped its game with the iPhone 5 and new iterations of the iPad, but this was also the year that other electronics companies decided they weren’t going to sit on the sidelines and let Apple grab all the pieces of the tablet pie. We also saw Nintendo fire the first shot in the upcoming console war, and Sony rose up to challenge the Nintendo 3DS handheld with its PlayStation Vita. And if Rover strays too far from all this excitement, it turns out you can fit him with a GPS device to bring him back home.
Here are 10 examples of the best technology and gadgets of 2012.
iPad Mini – The iPad Mini is Apple’s answer to its growing 7” tablet competitors. The iPad Mini’s screen is nearly 8”, and the whole thing is compact, light, and supports the same games and apps as a regularly-sized iPad. Needless to say, it’s delightfully portable.
iPhone 5 – The iPhone 5’s aluminum casing is incredibly lightweight. The phone itself boasts a high resolution 4” screen, and offers a larger, clearer picture that previous iterations of the iPhone.
Wii U – Nintendo’s Wii U fired the first shot against Microsoft and Sony in the upcoming console race. The innovative tablet-style controller lets you play games on or off the television, putting an end to living room battles. The Wii U’s online community is called the MiiVerse, and it’s already filled with people scribbling their thoughts, tips, and doodles in real time.
Samsung Galaxy S III – The Samsung Galaxy S III’s power, versatility, and large 4.8” screen has made it a popular choice for Android lovers across North America. The S III contains eye-tracking ability, a Siri-style voice-activated assistant, and removable storage options.
Samsung ES8000 Series LCD HDTV – Samsung’s ES80000 HDTV series comes with some impressive new features that evolve HDTVs to a new level. Its dual core processors allow for swift online surfing, it has voice and motion controls, and, of course, its picture looks great. This is one more big step that blurs the line between computers and the television.
PlayStation Vita – Sony’s follow-up to the PlayStation Portable has two touch screens: One in the front, and a particularly creative addition in the back. Look for lots of great exclusives available at retail and on the PlayStation Network, including new entries in the LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper franchises.
Microsoft Surface Tablet – Microsoft’s sleek and intriguing entry in the tablet market includes a cover that doubles as a keyboard. If you use your tablet for work but detest using an on-screen keyboard, the Microsoft Surface may give you a happy medium. There are two version of the tablet: One runs on Windows RT, and the other is packed with Windows 8 Pro.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display – The 13-inch Macbook Pro with retina display is a powerhouse, and it offers an incredibly crisp and clear display. It’s light, portable, and will gladly take on any task you throw at it—all while looking beautiful.
Tagg GPS Pet Tracker – Nothing causes stress and panic like a beloved family pet that’s slipped its boundaries and gone “exploring.” Tagg’s series of GPS pet trackers lets you find your furry friend with the aid of a computer or a mobile phone.
Google Nexus 7 by ASUS – The Nexus 7 is a tablet computer developed by Google and Asus. It has a 7” inch screen, runs on Android, and is optimized for games and apps on Google Play. At $299 USD, it’s also priced extremely competitively.
If you’re looking for gift ideas, it’s hard to go wrong with toys. That said, you still want to get the most value for your buck. You want toys that are durable, fun, refreshing, and even educational. There’s no shortage of great stuff out there—which can make shopping for a neat toy even more confusing. This list highlighting 10 great toy picks should take some of the muddle out of your decision-making.
Sbyke S-16 – Frankly, the Sbyke looks like the product of muddled love between a skateboard, a bike, and a scooter, but it’s a hot toy—and it’s also a great in-between vehicle for younger bike/scooter enthusiasts who still need a little practice with balancing. Older kids will have a good time attempting to pull off tricks, too.
Switch & Go Dinos – Dinosaurs are always a popular toy pick. Robots and cars are safe bets, too. So you can imagine why VTech’s Switch & Go Dinos, which transform from cars into robot dinosaurs, will completely make any robot-crazy kid’s day. Each dinosaur is also equipped with a screen that tells dinosaur facts.
FurReal Friends – The FurReal Friends line of stuffed toy pets is a warm and fuzzy alternative for kids that love animals, but suffer from allergies. Popular picks include GoGo My Walkin’ Pup, the Hop N’ Cuddle Bunnies, Baby Butterscotch pony and the Walkin’ Snuggimals dog breeds.
Imaginext’s Samurai Castle – This samurai-themed playset is a good choice for kids enthralled with tales about warriors and swordfights. The Samurai Castle is packed with fun secrets, including a hidden exit, a zipline, and a firing canon. The playset comes with everything a kid needs for an epic battle, including armed samurai and ninja warriors.
Barbie Mega Bloks – Barbie has so many playsets, it makes sense that she’d eventually opt-in for a fixer-upper. Mega Bloks’ Barbie line has tons of accessories kids can assemble themselves, including the Build ‘N Style Convertible, the Build ‘N Style Beach House, and even a Build ‘N Style Ice Cream Cart.
Apptivity – Apptivity blends the tactical and the digital by letting kids using specialized toys to interact with iPad applications (included with purchase). Real Hot Wheels cars run along tracks that are generated on-screen, WWE wrestlers tussle in virtual rings, and the guys and ghouls from Monster High socialize in digital hallways. Don’t worry—Apptivity toys are screen-safe and won’t scuff up your iPad!
Monopoly Zapped – Few board games have undergone an overhaul as often as Monopoly, so it makes sense that the classic game of buy-and-sell would be re-outfitted for the digital age. Players utilize the game board and an iPad app to buy, sell, and auction property. iPad not included.
Angry Birds – The Angry Birds franchise has a robust presence at retail. What, you thought those temperamental birds would let themselves remain cooped up behind a tablet screen forever?
Jake and the Pirates Musical Ship – Between scurvy and an assured death at the end of a rope, the lifestyle of a pirate was anything but glorious. But the nice thing about being a kid is that you don’t have to know about any of that. This music-playing pirate ship is chock full of secret passages, and is equipped with a working canon.
LeapFrog LeapPad 2 – The LeapPad 2 is a great in-between step for young kids who may not be ready for their own tablet just yet. It’s durable, and is able to download exclusive learning and entertainment apps from the LeapFrog Connect App Store. Also see handheld educational video game system the Leapster GS, great for portable learning and entertainment.
Looking for other great options? Target’s got a great deal on Disney’s Ultimate Princess Doll collection; Hasbro Games is offering 21st century versions of Star Wars, Twister, Monopoly and more, as well as low-tech tabletop versions of Angry Birds; Imperial Toy’s Kidz Bop musical microphones and guitars rock; and Playskool’s Spider-Man toys are fun for boys as well. The good news: Whichever way you turn, there are tons of great options to please kids, and kids at heart.