Technology is playing a constantly-growing role in our lives. We can adjust our house’s temperature from miles away. We can charge our electronics with the aid of the sun. Rooms can even sense when people are absent, and dim the lights accordingly. What comes next? Possibly state-of-the-art playrooms that project a virtual veldt complete with parent-eating lions. No need to worry about that just yet, though. In fact, you should relax and enjoy the savings and convenience that modern household tech can offer you.
Here are the 10 best home gadgets for 2013.
MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer – 3D printers generate perfect replicas of objects. Sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s completely real—and the technology is coming home at a rapid pace. The MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer can “print” copies of objects utilizing a sturdy bioplastic.
Voltaic Solar Charger Kits – Voltaic’s solar charging kits are available as portable adapters, panels, and even as backpacks. Each one utilizes the sun to charge up a multitude of electronic devices.
Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch – Remember The Clapper, the device that turned lights on and off with audio cues? This works in much the same way, sans clap. Maestro’s Occupancy Sensing Switch uses sensors to turn on and dim the lights according to whether or not people are in the room.
Fujitsu Lifebook 2013 – All-in-one devices are convenient, but the Lifebook 2013 goes above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a laptop, a camera, a phone, and a tablet. All of its parts buddy-up together for easy travel and storage.
Raspberry Pi – Computers are vital components of our lives, and the Raspberry Pi ensures that everyone gets access to one regardless of income level. This simple credit card-sized board plugs into a TV and a keyboard and is capable of performing many of the same tasks as a full-sized PC.
Google Glasses / Project Glass – Project Glass admittedly looks silly on the face of a human being, but these glasses allow you to surf the Internet hands-free via voice commands.
Basis Band – The Basis Band is a must-have for fitness enthusiasts, or anyone who just wants to know their fitness problem areas. The band reads heart rate, blood flow, heat dissipation and sleep cycles, and then pushes you go beyond your previous limits.
iPhone 5S – We’re almost certain to see the iPhone 5S before 2013 is done. Summer or Fall are popular estimates, and rumored features include improved durability and wireless charging.
Lockitron – Lockitron should see release in 2013 thanks to a successful Kickstarter. This handy device lets you lock and secure your home from anywhere with a simple application. No more driving backwards back up your street to ensure that you locked the door before you left the house.
SmartThings – SmartThings lets you monitor, secure, and control your house through your smartphone. You can also keep tabs on the comings and goings of your family. The device’s first pre-orders will ship in Spring 2013, so if you haven’t pre-ordered, do so.
Cable’s relevancy is fading fast, but televisions are as much a staple of the living room as they’ve ever been. We use televisions to watch movies, stream shows, play video games, and even surf the web. Needless to say, such an important household tool should yield the crispest picture possible and offer every built-in feature that a tech-savvy family could possibly want—but affordability is important, too.
Here are five of the hottest HDTVs for 2013. They’re loaded with options, and they might not even land you in the poorhouse.
42″ Vizio Razor LED LCD 1080p 120Hz HDTV – This Vizio HDTV offers 1080p resolution in a light body that’s razor-thin—less than two inches deep, in fact. Four HDMI ports allow you to hook up to four HDMI devices to the TV, and light-sensing technology automatically adjusts the set’s backlight settings to match the room’s lighting.
Sceptre 40″ Class LCD 1080p 60Hz HDTV, X405BV-FHD3 – This affordable HDTV is thin and lightweight, making it an easy and handsome addition to any room. There are three HDMI ports available for hook-ups, and the screen’s eight millisecond response time lets you enjoy movies and shows without a trace of flicker.
Haier L32D1120 32-Inch 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV – Another affordable option that can be placed or hung anywhere in your home. Multiple AV inputs make it easy to hook up a Blu-ray player or video game systems.
Panasonic TC-P42X5 42″ HD Plasma Television – If you’re looking for the rich, beautiful picture that a plasma set can provide, Panasonic has several offerings for you, including the TC-P42X5. This set features a photo gallery, two HDMI ports, a media player, a USB terminal, and much more.
The Samsung PN51E490B4F – This 3D-capable television from Samsung is surprisingly affordable, typically priced around $700 USD where most 3D-enabled sets reach into the thousands. It also offers a crisp picture despite being 720p. Nevertheless, the packed-in 3D glasses ensure that the set will be a big hit in homes with movie-loving kids.
Barely five years ago, nobody really knew what a smartphone was. Now it’s almost impossible to picture going through life without our apps, our games, our GPS, our compass, our planner, or our calendar. Smartphones have been so firmly cemented in our lives that it’s no longer a question of whether or not they’ll still be around in 2013: it’s a question of how many models will be available, and what will they all offer?
2013 should offer lots of variety for smartphones, not to mention attractive pricing. Looking to upgrade? Or, heck, thinking of finally netting your very first unit? Here are the 10 hottest smartphones for 2013.
iPhone 5 – Apple’s latest iteration of the iPhone (for now) is sure to have a solid presence through 2013. It’s lightweight, it’s powerful, and games and apps run beautifully within its attractive aluminum casing. The larger screen also presents a pleasing alternative for anyone who doesn’t want to carry a tablet.
iPhone 5 S – Unsurprisingly, rumors about the iPhone 5 S already abound. Whispers mention wireless charging and improved durability (that aluminum casing on the iPhone 5 is attractive, but dang, it scratches up like nobody’s business).
HTC Windows Phone 8X – Maybe 2013 will be the year you grab a Windows phone. The HTC Windows Phone 8X features a variety of styles in addition to an ultra wide-angle front-mounted camera lens, high definition sound, and tons of customization abilities.
Nokia Lumia 920 – Another smartphone that runs on Windows 8, the Nokia Lumia 920 is durable and handsome. It has external storage options, a 7 megapixel camera that performs well even in dim lighting, and the touch screen is still responsive even if you’re wearing gloves—a big selling point for people living in chilly climates.
Samsung Galaxy Note II – The Samsung combines the multitasking power of a tablet with the portability of a smartphone. Its pressure-sensitive “S Pen” stylus helps you get tasks done with finesse and precision that’s not as easy to pull off with your clunky fingers.
Samsung Galaxy S III – If you’re not interested in iOS, the Samsung Galaxy S III is an extremely popular Android-based alternative thanks to its multitude of features, processing power, and attractive design. It’s currently one of the most popular smartphones on the market, and its momentum should continue through 2013 despite buzz-killing lawsuits.
Google Nexus 4 – Google’s Nexus 4 smartphone is optimized for Google apps and games. Needless to say, if you depend on Google Maps, it’s a valuable little machine. You can purchase the phone unlocked and without a contract directly from Google.
Sony Xperia T – Sony’s Xperia T has been nicknamed/marketed as the “Bond Phone” thanks to Skyfall. It has a 13 megapixel rear camera and offers removable storage options, but it can’t incapacitate a man. We’re going to assume that Bond’s personal phone can.
LG Optimus 4X HD – Although it doesn’t look as sleek as the Samsung Galaxy S III, the LG Optimus 4X HD is nearly as powerful thanks to its quad-core processor. Many providers offer the phone at a bargain rate with a contract.
Motorola RAZR I – The Android-powered Motorola RAZR I isn’t as powerful as some of the phones on this list, but it’s still a solid and dependable piece of hardware that offers vital smartphone features—and throws in plenty of frivolous ones, too. Another good option if you’re looking to get a decent phone without spending a fortune.