Great Holiday Tech 2018

My top hi-tech picks!
A JamesGames  Review!
By: James Oppenheim | Created: 2018-11-24 09:45:32 | (Updated: 0000-00-00 00:00:00)

On November 28, 2018, at 9AM EST I'll be talking about these products, my holiday shopping list on Doctor Radio, SiriusXM Channel 110.  You can call in with your questions!  The prices on tech items listed below were correct as of the day after Cyber Monday, but are widely fluctuating depending on the seller and, sometimes, even the time of day.  My best advice: shop around.  

Apple Watch Series 4 (from $399) This year's Apple Watch features a larger, thinner display, enhanced fitness options and even an accelerometer that can make an emergency call if it detects that you've fallen.  Still, the price is high, even higher if you opt for the cellular option that works without an iPhone.  (However, keep in mind that the cellular functions are tied to your account so may not work overseas).    Alternatives:  If you're a runner you should look at the Garmin Vívoactive 3 Music, GPS Smartwatch ($249) which will track your runs while providing music on your wrist.  Fitbit still makes some of the best sports bands including the Fitbit Alta HR ($99) and more fully featured Fit bit Versa ($199.95). 

For your health

RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale Smart BMI Scale ($27.99)  You can find scales for ten times the price, but this one has the important bells and whistles and integrates with many major fitness apps.

MOORAY SPORT Abs Stimulator Abdominal Trainer ($36.99) Physical therapists I've talked to are sceptical about the almost magic pill approach to building abs by electrical stimulation.  Even positive reviews of these units talk about needing to use them consistently over a long time.  Still, hope springs eternal. 

TENS Electronic Pulse Unit ($24.99) Electrical stimulation can provide relief from back pain and the price of these TENS units has come down to a level that if you have back pain, after talking to your doctor, it is easy to give it a try to see if it helps.

Cherry MW 4500 Mouse ($19.99) My wife found relief for her wrist pain with this inexpensive mouse  that changes the position of your hand to lessen discomfort.

Nima Starter Kit, Peanut Sensor with Test Capsule ($249)  The Nima Starter Kit could be a literal lifesafer for someone with serious peanut allergies.  You put in a bit of food into a capsule, insert it into the portable reader, and learn if it senses peanuts.  The downside is that it only tests the portion of the food that goes into the capsule, so false negatives are a possibility - use common sense in evaluating its results.

PSVR Bundle with Creed ($398)  I've been a fan of VR sports and one of the cheapest ways to get into the very real action in VR sports is with Creed, a boxing game that comes with the VR headset that works with the PS4, sold separately.  The game is also available on-line for PC based VR game sets. If you already have a VR set, the Creed game is only $19.99.

Audio for the Gym and Beyond

The removal of the standard headphone jack from the recent iPhones was a real pain.  It meant those of us wanting to use wired headsets needed an adapter.  I like the Blackloud Soundot headsets ($79.89) that plug directly into the charging port at the bottom of your iPhone.  Even better, they include a built in FM tuner, so you can listen to music even if you don't have a WiFi connection.

Jaybird Tarah Wireless Sport Headphones ($99) Designed for your workout, the Jaybird Tarah headsets have a small band across the back to help keep them in place.  They are Sweat and water resistant and sport a 6 hour battery.

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling, with Alexa voice control ($299)  If you're looking for travel headsets, Bose still dominates.  The latest version not only has noise cancelling, but also Alexa built in.

Speaking of Alexa, i'm a huge fan of Amazon's Echo line of smart speakers, like the newest version of the Dot ($29.99).  If you want a portable smart speaker with Alexa baked in listen to Ultimate Ears Blast (from $99).  

Gamers will love the Arctis Pro Wireless Headset ($328).  Not only does it have wireless, lossless sound quality, and Dolby Audio, a battery charger and second battery included mean you'll never be out of power.

Last time I was on Doctor Radio we talked about the Pelaton Exercise Bike ($1999) that brings live workouts to your home cycle experience.  This year Norditrak enters the space with the Norditrak Commercial S22i Studio Cycle (From $1499).  This bike has a feature that you will either love or dread:  The instructors can increase the incline or resistance of your bike as you take a class! 


DJI osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal ($119) is one of my favorite gadgets this year.  You clip your smartphone into it and get incredible stabilized videos and also (on supported phones) special features like timelapse and super-large panoramas.  DJI also makes some of the best Drones from the beginner's DJI Spark ($298, remote sold separately) to the advanced DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone Quadcopter with Hasselblad Camera ($1499). 

One of the coolest ways to display your pictures is on the Meural Canvas 27 (From $595).  This matte finish screen can show your photos or you can subscribe to their art collections.  

As for cameras, for travel I love the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 ($497) and the beautiful results you can get from the 1" sensor in the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI ($1198).  If you're looking at a swappable lens system, the big trend this year are mirrorless, not DSLR cameras.  My favorites the Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 28-70mm Lens ($1998) and Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP Full Frame High Resolution Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera ($2798).

Loupedeck+ Plus Photo and Video Editing Console ($249)  If you're editing photos in Lightroom or videos in Premiere Pro you should consider this keyboard sized panel of dials and buttons that make editing easier and faster.


I've tested two intriguing video projectors and wildly different price points, and I love them both!  The PIQS Q1 Home Theater HD Projector ($599) uses an LED instead of a bulb to project a bright HD image without generating a lot of heat.  It has a built-in projector, WiFi, and even Netflix streaming thanks to its Android based operating system.  Put up a sheet, a screen, or even project it on a wall and you'll get amazing results.

Ten times the price of the PIQS, the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector: S718QL ($3999), still costs about a quarter of SONY's model.  Besides being able to project at 4K resolution, it can do it while only about 3-4" from the screen or wall, hence the appellation "ultra-short-throw".  This allows it to work in rooms which couldn't otherwise handle a projector.  It's bright output makes it even viewable if there is some light in the room.

Having a strong signal throughout your home is fundimental to being able to stream with AppleTV, Roku, or Amazon's Fire devices.  Upgrading to a mesh system like the NetGear Orbi Voice Whole Home Mesh WiFi System ($429) uses a satellite unit to extend the reach of your wireless signal, and this can  make all the difference between smooth video and Max Headroom stuttering.  The satellite unit can play music and responds to many Alexa commands (though at the time of this writing it couldn't yet play SiriusXM).  

Finally, sometimes its good to turn of the TV and read a good book.  Although I still like picking up an old-fashioned book, you know the kind with paper pages, the Kindle readers keep getting better and better.  This year's Kindle Paperwhite model  ($129) is even waterproof, making it perfect for bathtub or pool reading.  Other models are available for as little as $79, but the Paperwhite makes reading a pleasure.

Note: may receive a referral for purchases made through the links above.  If you find a better price with a seller you trust, by all means, use it! The editorial decision of which products to select rests entirely with our discretion.