Meta-compilation: what is advised to give foreign publications for holidays

    The most common answer to the question “what to give you for the New Year” is “I don’t know, think it up myself”. That is why the gift guide genre captures virtual and printed pages before the winter holidays. We got acquainted with fresh guides on gadgets, chose credible, and then made up the top 5 best gifts according to foreign publications.

    If we talk about trends in the compilation of holiday collections, they fluctuate along with the main trends in the gadget industry. From the point of view of journalists and bloggers, the average consumer is conservative, and the gadgets want practical. He disliked fitness trackers and VR glasses. Copters do not like it either, but rather pull on the headphones and watch Netflix through the media player. But he fell in love with talkative clever speakers and, apparently, is ready to talk for hours with virtual Alex.

    Is it really? Perhaps virtual reality and fitness trackers are back in the niche sphere. The first is not ready for consumers, and consumers are not ready for the second. The success of the Playstation VR is an exception that confirms the rule. The benefits and convenience of virtual assistants are an open question, the answer to which will be given by time.

    The following devices were found in almost every gift guide:

    #one. Smart Watch Apple Watch Series 4

    Neither bent iPads nor Trump's trade war with China interfere with global dominance by Apple. The latest version of the Apple Watch Series 4 smart watch is the most frequently mentioned Christmas present. Like last year’s version, these smart watches work autonomously on GPS, Wi-Fi, LTE networks, make and receive calls. That is, if you do not want to carry a smartphone with you, you can do with smart watches without losing touch.

    Health has become an important focus for the new model. She was the first on the market to acquire the ability to take an ECG, and also - the function of detecting falls. If the user fell and does not respond, then Apple Watch will send an SOS signal to the rescue service. An elderly person can save one such message. Alas, in Russia both innovations do not work. Battery voracious device remained as weak as before: it lasts for 18 hours of work in normal mode.

    # 2. Nintendo Switch Game Console

    Next spring, the Nintendo Switch hybrid console will be two years old. It is no longer new, but stubbornly continues to fall into the lists of the most desirable gadgets. The ever-growing list of games ported and created for it, which in 2018 was supplemented by Fortnite, Rayman Legends, Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! / Let's Go, Pikachu !, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and dozens of others. At the start, Switch was considered exclusively a “prefix for Legend of Zelda”, now even the Dark Souls remaster is launched on it.

    In fact, the Switch is a small tablet with a touchscreen and two removable controllers called the Joy-Con. The docking station of the console simultaneously charges it and connects to the TV with an HDMI cable. That is, by starting to play in public transport (at work, at school, etc.), you can return home, connect the set-top box to the TV and continue the session. A moment that warms the soul of gamers: the console has no regional restrictions. But the network service Nintendo Switch Online - paid (costs $ 20 per year). The battery of the device lasts for 6 hours of play. Special mention is made of Nintendo Labo's Switch Controllers for Switch, which came out last spring .

    # 3 Smart speaker Sonos One

    Sonos was a little late with the launch of smart speakers with support for virtual assistants. The Sonos One column went on sale in October 2017, after the second generation of Amazon Echo, and after the “talking” devices of Google and Apple. Since Sonos is known for its audio systems, music lovers have been looking forward to such a product.

    The sound quality of the speakers is excellent. The “stuffing” of Sonos One is the same as that of the well-proven Sonos Play: 1. In the compact case fit two amplifiers, a subwoofer and a tweeter, which provide a rich sound. The microphone is turned on with a separate button. It is soldered to the LED: while the light is on, the column “listens” to commands, and you cannot turn it off separately. Sonos One is compatible with Airplay and supports a list of 70 music services, including Spotify, Audible, Apple Music, Google Play.


    • cannot be connected with Sonos Play: 1
    • no threads for wall or ceiling mounting
    • there are failures in the work of a virtual assistant
    • indecently expensive (a little less than 200 dollars)

    # 4 Smart column Amazon Echo Dot

    Amazon Corporation has released the next, third generation of its smart speakers in September of the outgoing year. Among them - a new version of the best-selling Echo Dot. The design of the small column has changed: it used to look like a plastic washer, but now the body has been sheathed with a cloth. Actually, the same thing happened with other gadgets of the series, the idea was clearly borrowed from competing smart speakers at Google Home.

    The internal content of the Echo Dot has changed somewhat. The previous version of the microphone was seven, in the new four. Amazon says the speaker has become “70% louder”. The LED ring on the cover, four-button controls, simple Wi-Fi connectivity remained the same. Most importantly, the low price remains the same - $ 50 or less. Cheapness has always been the cornerstone of the popularity of this particular version of "house for Alex." The virtual assistant still does not know Russian, localization can only dream of.

    # 5 Toy robot Anki Vector

    Two years ago, the startup Anki introduced the tiny robot Cozmo . The company producing robotic toys, attracted to the development of the former animator from Pixar. The animated cartoon character turned out to be emotional, playful, with character. In 2018, it released its improved and updated version called Anki Vector .

    The main difference is autonomy. Cozmo works only together with a mobile application. Vector is equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with a frequency of 1.2 Hz, so it does not need a smartphone. Part of the computation takes place in Anki's “cloud”, so Vector requires a Wi-Fi connection. A connected robot recognizes faces, movement of objects, hears and answers questions (in English), rolls around the table and does not fall. When the battery goes down, Vector goes to the charging dock on its own.

    By the way, with Cozmo in the kit there were toys for him - 3 interactive dice. Vector has only one die.

    Despite serious improvements, it is still a toy, a kind of hybrid of tamagotchi and a clever speaker on wheels. A couple of days ago, Sphero announced that it would stop releasing BB-8 robots based on Star Wars. Similar to the Anki robots a little toy was bought. Maybe the reason for the failure of the new pictures of the saga, and maybe the fact that such gadgets are interesting only to their creators and a couple of geeks.

    Honorable Mention from Madrobots: Picooc Smart Scales

    Western publications completely ignore the gadgets of Chinese startups. According to Madrobots, the most practical, useful and affordable gadget that you can put under the tree is Picooc smart scales. They determine 12 body parameters, including the percentage of fat, muscle, water, visceral fat index, basal metabolic rate and weight. Scales mobile application analyzes changes in the body, draws graphs with analytics and gives recommendations on how to keep fit in a healthy way. Different models differ in price, platform width, and support for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.

    No kidding, the Picooc scale is a really useful gadget. The device visualizes the results of a change in training and nutrition regimen that would otherwise be difficult to sense. The appendix of scales shows, whether the diet burns fat or only water, is there a sense from more intensive exercises. Tips are generated detailed, with explanations of how the body has changed and what to do next.

    Look for more gifts in your own New Year guide Madrobots . Until December 31, the entire range of our online store has a 10% discount on the NYHBR promo code.

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