There’s no shortage of premium tech to satisfy the smartphone-sized hole in your heart. Every day the extended list of gadgets to splurge on grows, holiday budgets be damned.
The laundry list of year-end releases can be overwhelming, and not every breathlessly hyped product launch delivers on the goods. And as the much-beloved iPhone 6 shows, newer isn’t always better. Unfortunately, telling the difference between fluff and substance is sometimes easier said than done.
Fortunately, regardless of how many pages worth of devices you’ve booked marked, there are still bound to be some fail-safes. These five splurge-worthy gadgets in particular are virtually certain to wind up on many of the most tech-obsessed consumers’ end of year lists.
1. Best Tech 2018: iPhone XS and XS Max
Apple’s flagship smartphones releases were bigger and more powerful than any of their predecessors. The XS Max came packing a 6.5-inch OLED screen, larger than any display on any previous iPhone. The duo also came retrofitted with Apple A12 Bionic processor, which enabled blazing fast computing speeds as well as game-changing camera features.
The XS and XS Max start at $999 and $1,099 but can cost all the way up to $1,349 and $1,449 respectively. The pricier models both come with 512-gigabytes of storage capacity, which Apple says is enough to hold up to 200,000 photos before a user has to clear our their camera roll.
These smartphones will be most appealing to iPhone users that skipped on the iPhone X last year. The XS Max is 6.20-inches in height and 3.05-inches wide, almost identical to the iPhone 8 Plus but with a much better screen-to-bezel ratio. If you’re tired of those big black bars at the top and bottom of your screen, this might be the move.
2. Best Tech 2018: Magic Leap One Headset
The mysterious Magic Leap mixed reality headset is finally available for purchase. The secretive Florida-based startup kept their product under wraps for seven years but its launch revealed the system can be used as spatial web browser, a portable entertainment center, and a hub where users can store and interact with photos, videos, and 3D content.
This isn’t your average VR or AR device. Instead of coming with games like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, the Magic Leap lets users overlay an array of virtual content in the world around them. To start, this takes the form of trippy figures and shapes, 3D models of furniture before purchasing it, or interactive news articles from The New York Times.
But much like Apple gives its developers the ability to craft their own virtual worlds with ARKit 2.0, the future of the Magic Leap lies is in the hands of developers passionate enough to create new apps and games for its platform. But the headsets won’t come cheap, the steampunk-style goggles start at $2,295 and are only shipping to limited cities in the United States.
This is perfect for augmented reality enthusiasts that want to have a crack at developing their own AR and VR content.
3. Best Tech 2018: Amazon Echo Sub
The Amazon Echo Sub will shake the walls of your next house party by seriously boosting Alexa bass. The subwoofer can be wirelessly connected to any Echo device to amplify the songs you’re grooving to on Amazon Music.
It delivers 100-watts of deep bass sound through its 6-inch woofer. If you’re underwhelmed by Alexa’s volume, adding this $129.99 speaker will change your mind. Interested consumers will have to wait a bit, though, the Sub won’t be released until October 11.
4. Best Tech 2018: Sony WH-1000XM2 Headphones
There is an endless roster of noise-cancelling headphones across the internet, but these have been rated a some of the best by the likes of CNET, TechRadar, and Tom’s Guide. They start at $349 with black and gold color variants.
This over-the-ear headset is wireless and has been said to provide industry-leading noise-cancelling technology as well as crisp sound quality. Sony states they can provide up to 30 hours of battery life for globetrotters that want drown out the noise of the airport.
To top it all off, users can tap the right earphone to activate their phone’s voice assistant at any time. Smartphone power-users with tons of playlist will definitely be eyeing these.
5. Best Tech 2018: LG C8 OLED Series
LG touts some of the most eye-popping TVs in the game, and the C8 OLED Series is the perfect example. The 4K display ranges from 55-inches to 77-inches, which will run you $1,999 and $6,999 respectively.
It comes with built in Google Assistant capabilities, which can be activated with the click of a button on its remote control. Home-entertainment buffs will be ogling at this razor thin, quarter-inch deep screen. And if they already have a Google Home device it’ll fit in perfectly.