The year is coming to a close, which means most of the top items at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show are now available. Other device makers like Apple have also unveiled all their latest products for the year. If you want to tech out your home before the holidays, here are 10 pieces of technology that will get you ahead of the curve in 2016.
Virtual Reality Headset
The next step forward in gaming and entertainment is virtual reality (VR) headsets. This year’s models are a little bulky, but when worn over the eyes you become completely immersed in a virtual world. Experts believe 2016 will be the year for virtual reality now that a few excellent headsets are available to consumers. The OculusRift is one of the top-rated VR headsets on the market. Right now these will primarily be used for gaming, but interactive movies and social media applications are already being tested.
Given the way flat screens have been improving, it’s not surprising that manufacturers have found a way to fit in more pixels – 8.3 million to be exact. This year 4K officially became the pinnacle of TV viewing. If you’re in the market for a new television a 4K model will help you future-proof your TV, because that is clearly the direction things are headed. Content is limited right now, but Netflix has 4K offerings, more live sports will soon be broadcast in 4K and GoPro videos have been 4K for a few years.
If you have thousands to spend on a 65” TV the LG65EC970V is being hailed as the best 4K television available. Anyone looking for a more budget-friendly option will be blown away by the Panasonic TX-40CX680B.
But without the right programming and entertainment packages, all that high resolution will go to waste. Before selecting a television, make sure to check out all the TV options in your area, because without access to the latest shows, games and movies you won’t be able to make the most of that beautiful 4K resolution.
Updated Blu-Ray Player
If you’re updating your television you’ll also want to invest in a cutting edge Blu-Ray player that can keep up. Many of the top Blu-Ray models now support 4K content plus a whole lot more. The Panasonic DMP BDT460 is a great investment that will age well in the coming years. It can play 3D and 4K content that looks pristinely beautiful paired with a 4K TV.
Now that the major kinks have been worked out, it’s time to invest in a smart watch. But not just any smart watch. True to form, Apple has taken the market to new heights with the iWatch. This wearable is capable of just about everything, but the activity and fitness apps may be the most beneficial features.
Wireless Ear Buds
If you haven’t yet gotten a pair of wireless ear buds you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing. The Orcas Wireless Ear-buds are a little pricy at just under $100, but they give you the freedom to move around without missing a second of music or audio coming from a Bluetooth device. They’re comfortable and sweat-proof, which is perfect when you’re working out. They also have a built-in microphone so you can talk on your phone even if it’s in another room.
Everything is getting smarter these days, including luggage. If you travel a lot the Bluesmart suitcase is a great buy. This small piece of luggage automatically seals when you’re not beside it, can weigh itself, has a battery that can recharge your phone and has built-in GPS so your bag will never be lost at the airport.
Electronics companies are always finding new features to add to their top smartphones, but literally adding pieces hasn’t been possible until 2015. Project Ara is aimed at making modular phones the future of communication. The goal is to give consumers more control over how their phones are made and how they function. Things are still in development, but you can get involved to possibly get in on the pilot launch that’s planned towards the end of the year.
3D Home Printer
In the last few years 3D printing has went from sci-fi fantasy to reality. The technology has improved so rapidly that a number of companies came out with small home versions this year. And they are more affordable than you’d think. The 3D printer that everyone is talking about is the Lulzbot Mini 3D Printer. The manufacturers actually use 3D printed parts to make the printers.
Smart Home Security
Keeping your home secure is a certainly a top priority. Locking your door is always the first line of defense, but today’s home security systems help you keep an eye on things like never before. This year MyFox debuted products made specifically for the U.S. that are simple to use despite the amazing amount of control and monitoring they provide. Along with cameras that can be accessed online, MyFox security systems also have sensors that alert you if a door or window even vibrates.
Wearable Stress Monitor
Stress is a huge problem in today’s busy world. But wearable technology may be the solution for helping us to de-stress. Spire is a small device that monitors your breathing and movements to gauge when you’re getting anxious. Spire will vibrate to remind you to relax when things get tense. You can also set goals using the app to work in more mental breaks and meditation time.