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.
Kids to together like ice cream and nuts, like peanut butter and jelly, like—well, you get the idea. Even though video games have reached far beyond the youth market, young people are far and away the most enthusiastic patrons of the pastime and there are still plenty of safe, fun games for them to enjoy.
In fact, this list of 2012’s best games for kids shouldn’t exclusively be viewed as a collection of games that are for children; every game named is capable of ensnaring any player of any gender or age. The important thing is that they’re thematically safe and easy to learn.
Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Windows, Mac) – This sequel to 2012’s Epic Mickey for the Wii lets to players adventure side-by-side as Mickey Mouse and his compatriot, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The duo team up to save the Cartoon Wasteland once more, and much like the first game, splashing paint or thinner on the scenery plays a big part in getting things done.
Skylanders: Giants (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS) – It’s no surprise that 2011’s monster hit Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure received a sequel. As was the case in the first game, this action/adventure experience pairs up a digital experience with collectable plastic toys that become “real” in the game world. The merger is sure to continue to be a hit with kids.
Super Mario Wii U (Wii U) – Kids love Mario games, and for good reason. Nintendo is launching the Wii U alongside its latest side-scrolling Mario platformer, and both look great. Four players can work through the game simultaneously, which should put an end to “I’M NEXT!” battles.
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita) – The Lego property and comic book heroes tend to fit together like, uh, Lego bricks. This open-world action/adventure game starting Batman and his pals (and enemies) is colorful, fun, and will delight young new fans and veterans alike.
Scribblenauts Unlimited (Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Windows) – Scribblenauts Unlimited is more than a fun game with a great sense of humor. It’s also an opportunity to let kids practice creative problem solving. Players reach the goals outlined in each stage using a magic notebook that can make almost any object come to life.
Paper Mario Sticker Star (Nintendo 3DS) – The latest entry from the weird but wonderful Paper Mario game series combines action, platforming, and role-playing. Of course, there are battles to be fought—lots of them—which Mario accomplishes by collecting and utilizing stickers. The shinier, the better.
Pokemon Black Version 2/White Version 2 (Nintendo DS) – Pokemon lives. Pokemon Black Version 2/White Version 2 are direct follow-ups to Pokemon Black/White for the Nintendo DS. That equals a lot more exploration, a lot more story, and, needless to say, a lot more Pokemon-catching.
Minecraft (Xbox 360, PC, iOS, Anrdoid) – Though Minecraft was released to a mainstream audience in late 2011, it has endured through 2012 as one of its most popular games. The world of Minecraft is as open-ended as a world can get. Players can choose to survive against enemies and hunger while they build shelters and forage for food, or they can simply build, build, build whatever their hearts desire.
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) – Rhythm games that utilize licensed music (Guitar Hero/Rock Band) may have overstayed their welcome, but rhythm games that feature original, odd visuals and music are still thriving. Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii is one of the best entries in the rhythm genre, as it features unique graphics and incredibly catchy tunes. It’s easy to play, but scoring a coveted “Perfect” on every stage is going to take hours of practice.
Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS) – If you remember the original Kid Icarus for the NES, you might be a little old. But you can be any age to appreciate Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS. It combines non-stop shooting and action with one of the funniest game scripts to hit gaming in a long time.