- The year is far from being over, but there are already plenty of promising new gadgets worth checking out.
- From cheaper new Pixel phones to Apple’s improved AirPods, these are our favourite new devices of the year so far.
Although major product unveils from Apple and Google are usually reserved for the fall, the first half of 2019 has already seen a slew of new gadget announcements. Companies like Samsung, Apple, Google, and Fitbit have debuted new devices worthy of your attention.
Here’s an unranked list of the best new gadgets we’ve had the chance to try so far in 2019.
Google Pixel 3a/3a XL
Google’s new pair of smartphones proves that you don’t have to pay nearly $US1,000 for a high-quality mobile device. Even though the phone starts at $US400, making it hundreds of dollars less expensive than the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S10, it doesn’t make any big compromises. It has a large OLED screen, a camera that’s very similar to the Pixel 3’s – including its Night Sight feature for shooting in the dark – and even a headphone jack.
If you’re not confident that Apple’s AirPods will remain snug in your ears during an intense workout, the $US250 Powerbeats Pro could be the headphones you’ve been searching for. Because Apple is Beats’ parent company, the Powerbeats Pro also offer several of the same advantages as the latest AirPods, including the ability to summon Siri with just your voice and automatically connect the earbuds to your iPhone just by opening their case. Plus, theyoffer noise isolation unlike AirPods and a more secure fit, making them a great choice for working out or commuting.
Virtual reality headsets have come a long way in recent years. While early models launched in 2016 were clunky and cumbersome to set up, newer iterations are lighter, cheaper, and make it easier to get started. The $US400 Oculus Quest is the best example of this yet. It’s completely wireless and functions on its own, meaning you won’t need to attach it to a computer or slot in your smartphone in order to get it to work. It also offers more powerful specifications than Facebook’s other wireless headset, the Oculus Go, and inside-out tracking.
Apple’s $US160 second-generation AirPods improve on the first generation in minor but important ways: You can now activate Siri hands-free, the buds are faster when switching between devices, and you now have the option to charge them wirelessly. Pair those improvements with all the reasons we already loved AirPods – i.e. the convenience they bring for Apple device owners – and they make a compelling choice for Apple devotees.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung’s flagship phones are always a top choice for Android fans, and this year’s Galaxy S10 lineup is no exception. They offer some of the best displays you’ll find on a smartphone, especially now that Samsung has virtually eliminated the bezel framing the screen with its new “Infinity O” display. This essentially makes it look like Samsung punched a small hole in the screen for the device’s front-facing camera sensors, giving the phone’s display a more seamless and borderless look. The Galaxy S10’s ultra-wide angle camera also captures much more of the scenery than was possible before. The standard S10 was priced at $US900 when it launched, while the S10 Plus started at $US1,000. Both phones have since gotten a $US100 price cut on Samsung’s website.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
While we loved the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, it was Samsung’s smaller-sized Galaxy S10ethat really impressed us. The more affordable S10e lacks the pricier models’ triple camera system and in-screen fingerprint sensor, but its more compact design, colourful screen, and cheaper price enable it to shine even without these extras. The S10e started at $US750 when the phone launched earlier this year, but is now listed at $US650 on Samsung’s website.
Apple’s newly announced $US500 iPad Air is a much-needed addition to the company’s tablet lineup. Before Apple unveiled the new Air, shoppers only had the basic $US330 iPad or the Pro, which starts at $US800, to choose from. It’s the best choice for users that don’t want to spend close to $US1,000 on an iPad Pro but still want a larger screen, better performance, and more storage space than the entry-level model provides.
Apple’s tiniest tablet got a major upgrade in 2019, marking its first refresh since 2015. The $US400 miniature iPad now has Apple Pencil support, runs on the same processors that power the latest iPhones, and features an upgraded display. Although Apple has many options available in its iPad lineup, the 7.9-inch mini remains the most convenient for those who want to take it with them everywhere they go. And the smaller size lends itself well to the Apple Pencil, considering it almost feels like you’re scribbling in a notebook.
OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus smartphones have always rivaled those of Samsung and other high-profile Android device makers at a cheaper price. But with its curved glass design and buttery smooth display, the $US670OnePlus 7 Pro feels like a bigger leap forward than ever before. OnePlus also employs a creative, although unproven, tactic for achieving that edge-to-edge screen look that’s become popular over the last two years. Rather than carving out a notch or punching a hole in the screen for a front-facing camera, OnePlus’ camera just seems to magically appear when you need it. When switching to the camera app’s selfie mode, a tiny camera pops out from the top of the phone. Of course, since the OnePlus 7 Pro only launched in May, it’s impossible to know how well that pop-up mechanism will hold up after years of wear and tear. But it’s an impressive phone nonetheless.
Fitbit Versa Lite
With its Versa Lite, Fitbit nails the basics in an affordable yet still very capable package. It doesn’t offer the bells and whistles of more expensive Fitbit products, like the ability to show how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, count swimming laps, and display workout routines on the wrist. But it delivers where it counts for a fraction of the Apple Watch’s price, even offering some benefits that Apple’s more premium watch lacks, like longer battery life and native sleep tracking.
Samsung CRG9 Monitor
Samsung bills its newly announced CRG9 curved gaming monitor as a “super ultra-wide” screen, and it’s not exaggerating. The $US1,500 monitor measures 49 inches diagonally with an aspect ratio of 32:9, making it feel like you’re looking at two 27-inch monitors stuck together. But most importantly, it has an upgraded 1440p resolution compared to its predecessor’s 1080p resolution – a much-needed improvement to justify that price tag.