Sometimes tech gadgets can be amazing, making our lives easier or better with every use. Other times, you must wonder why the gadget exists in the first place. The year 2020 has been no exception. There have been cool tech gadgets, mediocre high-tech gadgets, and some truly awful gadgets. Here are 10 high tech products this year that range from good, to bad, to “what were they even thinking?”
The Amplifi Alien is perhaps one of the most useful tech gadgets I have ever owned. I have gone through a lot of devices over the years trying to get a good wireless network up and running in a way that remains stable for months at a time. But every device seems to fail for one reason or another. But with Amplifi Alien, it is extremely easy to set up an entire mesh network of wireless devices to create a well-covered wireless network in your home. My network has been rock solid, it has a great management experience from your mobile devices, and it has all the features a geek or family needs (e.g. setting up schedules for when internet should be active on different devices throughout your home).
Just a pull of a cord converts your motion into electricity that can be used to power a light or charge a USB device. It also includes a solar panel for charging on those sunny days or when out camping. Whether you are experiencing a power outage, or you are outdoors camping, or you are living small and really care about your carbon footprint, this cool gadget is a good way to meet your off-grid needs.
Anybody who has travelled with kids and a collection of gadgets knows that you can't always find electrical plugs when you need them before your kids start melting down. With this tech gadget, you can always have a gadget with you that you can use to recharge your or your child's favorite device even if you are away from electricity or a simple plug. Call me lazy, but it can also make those long road trips so much more tolerable in this modern day and age.
Are you looking for more devices that you need to keep charged? Or perhaps you want some exercise equipment that you need to pay a monthly subscription for to get the most of it? Do you have over a thousand dollars to burn? Look no further, FightCamp Personal is here to meet those needs! Part exercise gear, part tech gadget, it aims to provide a self-guided and motivational workout experience from the power of your own home. As for me? I’ll pass on this home gadget. Though I could see this being intriguing for the fitness focused.
Have you ever wanted the ease-of-use of a simple electrical plug with the added inconvenience of a tech gadget? Look no further than the Wemo Mini Smart Plug. Here you can get the best of both worlds of plugging a device right into the wall while wondering if it's not working because of the plug gadget not working or you needing to install an update for the plug from your phone. It can be paired with your home automation suite of choice too! That way, you can also live with the satisfaction wondering if you will ever wake up at 2am having your plugged-in device being controlled by a remote person getting into your home automation software.
I’m a musician, and I love music gadgets. But even I’m not sure about this one. Don't have enough cool 2020 tech gadgets in your life? Now, you can experience the joy of playing drums with added latency so you can experience what it is like trying to play drums remotely over the internet or from the moon. Experience the sensation of hearing the drum sounds play well after your stick would normally hit a drum. Who needs the instant feedback of a real drum set, or even a drum machine for headphones-based playing? I remain to be convinced whether this qualifies as cool technology or not.
Do you miss the old days of Polaroid cameras and instant pictures? Do you wish to relive those days of small photos but have it take just a little bit longer to print? Then you need to check out the Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer. It allows you to print photos from your smartphone to a format that harkens back to the days of yore. I would call it a cool gadget, but the only thing "cool" about it is likely the color hues of the photos you print out on it.
Proof that you can create nearly any tech gadget by slapping the word “Smart” in front of it and providing a companion phone app. Call me old-fashioned, but I really appreciate mechanical devices where I can “flip a switch” one might say and they instantly do their job. I have to worry about rebooting and power cycling enough with computers and phones, I don’t need to add light switches to that list. But if you are super into home automation or want to control light switches from your phone, I’m not one to judge how you waste spend your money.
Arguably, 2020 has the been The Year of Zoom. But really, who has a phone or computer to use Zoom with? And why would you waste a general computing device to use Zoom? The tech gadget you need for 2020 is Zoom for Home, a device dedicated solely to Zoom meetings in your home office. Can you use Photoshop on it? Nope. Can you play video games on it? Nope. What does it do? Zoom. That's it. What problem is this solving again?
“Hold on, I need to plug my water bottle in, it’s out of battery.” A sentence I never thought would ever be uttered by a human being in my lifetime. When I start thinking of tech gadgets that have “jumped the shark”, these types of products are close to the top of the list. A “smart water bottle.” At minimum, it feels like an awkward solution to a problem some people may have. At worst, it feels like a solution in search of a problem. Does the bottle have power because it does something cool like helping sanitize the water via UV light like other water bottles are doing in 2020? Nope. What does it do? Well, it can notify you via customizable music alerts and a multicolored LED. Notify you of what? To drink more water. Or, to take your medications. Medications? Yes, of course. Because this water bottle can also store up to 20 pills in it. And it can even notify family members if pills are missing. Medication in my water bottle… just what I want with toddlers running around the house that just love to play with water bottles!
Humans are one creative species, there is no denying that. So much progress has been made in the last 200+ years. At the same time, we find ourselves consuming more and more with each passing month. Nowadays, you can release a new product by just slapping the word “Smart” in front of it and providing a companion app on a phone. We have been so busy asking ourselves if we can. This list of tech gadgets introduced to the world in 2020 is more proof that sometimes it is better to ask if we should.
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