Canadian Reviewer's best tech Gift Guide 2018
Monday, December 3, 2018 at 10:17AM
Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla in Apps & Launches, Arts and Culture, Breaking news, Canadian Reviewer. Canada, Events and Launches, First Looks, Gadjo Sevilla, Lifestyle, Mobile, Retail News, gift guide


By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

2018 has been an amazing year for consumer technology. We’ve seen a multitude of smartphones with stunning camera capabilities and powerful performance. Laptop computers and professional-focused tablets and 2-in-1’s is stretching the boundaries of portable computing and are forcing us to ask, “what is a computer?” The real question for 2018 is, “what isn’t a computer?”

Smart home technology and personal assistants have become smarter, more integrated and are starting to emulate real people. They’re also coming with displays and a variety of sizes to suit more needs. Below is a list of products that we’ve used and reviewed and would be happening to recommend as technology gifts for 2018.


Fitness Trackers - Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 3 has undergone a Zen makeover. The design is sparer and more unobtrusive, the buttons are now capacitive, and the display and menu are simplified so that you’re only two or three swipes away from starting an exercise, reading notifications or checking the time.

Built form lightweight but durable aerospace-grade aluminum that has a smooth slightly curved case and a durable Gorilla Glass 3 cover make this one of the tougher Fitbits in the market.

The range of bands and materials and designs offered by Fitbit ensures you have everything from sporty to stylish, depending on your mood and need. I particularly like the perforated sport bands as well as the sleek Horween leather bands that can be easily switched out without tools.

Robot Vacuum – iRobot Roomba I7+

The company that started the robot vacuum segment has once more re-invented the genre. The iRobot Roomba I7+ uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to learn the layout of the area it must clean. Users can geofence specific areas for cleaning, use an app to remotely start the cleaning process and get feedback and data of what is going on.

The Roomba I7+ has a smarter docking station which helps the vacuum empty its bin when full, so it can resume its cleaning duties. This means you only need to empty the larger bag once a month instead of each time you clean. The Roomba I7+ cleans spectacularly, docks itself to charge, and empties its own bin. What’s not to love?

Even smarter is the multi-surface rubber brushes and 10X suction for great cleaning on various services and the Roomba I7+ even measures Wi-Fi signal strength in your home.

Flagship Smartphone -Google Pixel 3

There is no shortage of great phones in the market. Our pick is the Google Pixel 3 (or the Pixel 3 XL, if you prefer a larger display). Running the latest Android OS and features, the Pixel 3 has gained water resistance, fast wireless charging, loud dual front-facing speakers and various Google Assistant refinements and arguably the best camera performance on any smartphone.

The Pixel 3’s photographic prowess is unmatched for a smartphone that has one rear-facing camera. The front facing camera is similarly accomplished, managing wide-angle selfies and groufies. The Night Sight setting, which can manage photographs from extremely poorly lit conditions, is game changing for night photography.

Gaming – Nintendo Switch

Now is the perfect time to get into the Nintendo Switch, there’s a plethora of games on the console and now with outstanding titles like Diablo III coming to Switch, gamers can enjoy on the go or while connected to a TV.

The Switch is also available in a variety of special editions tied up to specific games. There’s also a lot of accessories (which make excellent gifts to give as well). Nintendo has really hit its stride with the Nintendo Switch, hardware is solid, software is great, and the game library is growing with a-list titles and engaging indie titles. It’s a gift for all ages that will thrill users.

eBook Reader - Kobo Forma

With the ability to show text in landscape or portrait mode, the new Kobo Forma is a formidable eBook Reader that brings slim styling, water resistance, super clear eInk display technology and a sturdy 8.0” HD Mobius Carta E Ink screen that looks great and travels easily.

For Canadians who have library cards, the Kobo Forma can be used to read borrowed eBooks thanks to the integrated OverDrive app. This is a gift that's designed to delight avid readers with a long list of ebooks to get through.

Smart Speaker – Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen

Amazon leads the charge in the smart speaker space and their entry-level Dot 3 speaker is a good place to start.

Offering a more organic design, softer plastic and fabric and the ability to pair speakers across rooms, it becomes a formidable and delightful gift to give.

Better audio, more refined microphones and continously improving software keep the Amazon Echo Dot ahead of the curve.

Get news briefings, control lights, check on Amazon orders, call phone numbers, get it to read your Audible books and create specific skills to further extend functionality, the Echo ecosystem is growing and fits into people’s lifestyles and homes quite easily.

Wi-Fi Router – Google Wi-Fi

The best Wi-Fi router for two years in a row is the Google Wi-Fi. Not only is this a smart router (which optimizes signal delivery depending on what devices it connects to), it also can be programmed to set screen-time and Internet access controls for children. Despite being small and elegant enough to fit anywhere, Google Wi-Fi is super robust and can manage all the devices in a household.

Streaming Stick – Roku Stick

The Roku Streaming Stick + Media Streamer is your key to unlock a world of limitless entertainment. Use it at home or take it with you to hotels, dorm rooms, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Roku works with all top movie and TV streaming services, including Netflix, Google Play, and YouTube.

Best of all, it has a physical remote or the option to use the app. The Roku Streaming Stick + is great for travelling and carrying all your services and subscriptions with you wherever you go.

All-in-one PC - HP EliteOne 1000 G2 27-inch 4K UHD all-in-one

This is a business-focused all-in-one PC that brings high points for style, design and materials. The HP EliteOne 1000 G2 improves on the all-in-one idea by giving users a lavish 4K Ultra HD display as well as powerful 8th Generation Intel Core I5 and i7 processors.

Some of the finer innovations include a pop-up privacy camera which hides away when you don’t need it. The ability to charge smartphones thanks to a wireless charging port right in the base. This is a formidable desktop that’s great for watching videos as well as creating them on that superb display.

Laptop – Apple MacBook Air (2018)

One of the most iconic computer products of all time makes a comeback in time for the holidays. With a new Retina Display, improved processing power, TouchID functionality and a new keyboard and USB Type C/ Thunderbolt connectors, the MacBook Air is set up for modern times.

The look, feel, and design is recognizable, and the updated features are welcome additions. What’s not so welcome is a higher starting price for the 2018 models. MacBook Air is now available in Space Grey, Gold and Silver.

Convertible Tablet PC – Microsoft Surface Pro 6

In terms of a tablet-first 2-in-1 device that’s an actual computer running a desktop-class software and apps, nothing comes close to the Surface Pro 6.

Even if the design and form factor is long in the tooth and there’s a confounding lack of USB Type-C, Microsoft has made these the powerhouse devices for professionals and artists.

The Surface Pen remains the best and least latent drawing tool and it can integrate into various apps and services.

The Surface Pro 6’s quad-core processors and solid display ensure performance for any tasks and will suit anyone from a student to a mobile worker. 

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