Pride yourself on keeping up with the latest tech? These gadgets and devices are among the best values.
TVs. 4K TVs offer the sharpest picture but many cost thousands of dollars. One set that rises to the top, at an affordable price, is the 55-inch Hisense 55H9G ($700), says Will Greenwald, senior consumer electronics analyst at PCMag. “It offers a bright, colorful picture and hands-free Google Assistant voice control.” Louis Ramirez, deals editor at products review site Tom’s Guide, suggests the Insignia 55-inch 4K Fire TV ($390); often on sale, this set is “one of the least-expensive big-screen TVs around,” Ramirez says.
Soundbar. TVs are slimmer than ever, but that also means they have less room to fit a high-quality speaker system. The best way to turn up the volume is to purchase a sound bar. Both Greenwald and Ramirez like the Roku Smart Soundbar ($150) — it “packs both a solid sound system and a 4K Roku media streamer into a single package,” Greenwald says. It can easily be paired with Roku’s inexpensive subwoofer ($170) or wireless speakers for even more power, he adds.
Tablet. Jason Hiner, editorial director of technology news at product-review website CNET, recommends Apple’s 10.2-inch Eighth Generation iPad ($330), which lets you surf the web and stream videos with ease, he says. “Most of the time,” he adds, “you can also find one on sale for under $300.”
Smartphone. The Google Pixel 4A ($341) is “the best cheap phone you can buy,” Ramirez says. It features a top-notch camera, vibrant display and strong battery life, and it boasts a slim design.
Fitness tracker. Ramirez and Hiner recommend the Fitbit Charge 4 ($99). The device has a built-in GPS to see your pace and distance during runs, a seven-day battery, a swim workout mode, and sleep-quality monitor. Plus, it’s compatible with both Android and iPhone smartphones.
Laptop. With a convertible laptop, you can flip the screen into tablet or stand mode, making it a convenient way to watch movies. “Convertible laptops are a tough crowd to compete in, with excellent entries all around from Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and others,” says John Burek, executive hardware editor at PCMag. Burek’s favorite for budget-minded shoppers is the 13-inch Envy from HP ($838). This model “punches above its price class,” he says, by offering fast performance, full HD resolution and stereo speakers.
Home security camera. The Wyze Cam V3 ($30) “is hard to beat if you’re on a budget,” according to Ramirez. The weather-resistant device records at 1080p HD resolution and features a color night vision mode that Ramirez says is “impressive for a sub-$50 security camera.” Bonus: The Wyze Cam comes with 14 days of free cloud storage.
Smartwatches. Smartwatches can monitor your health in ways that used to require trained professionals, says Jason Hiner of CNET. The most advanced option is the Apple Watch Series 6 ($299), which can detect falls, track your sleeping, activity and blood oxygen levels, and check how well you’re breathing. For a cheaper smartwatch, Ramirez suggests the Apple Watch Series 3 ($199).