Top Tech of 2020 – Our Holiday Tech Guide
We have been fortunate to review a ton of tech over the past year, and wanted to highlight our favourite items in this years Top Tech guide for 2020! All of the times on this list have been personally used by our staff, and come with our highest recommendations. We have everything from TVs, to mobile phones, to vacuum cleaners, so lets get started!
#1 Google Pixel 5
We just recently finished up our review of the Google Pixel 5, and for those looking for everything they could possibly want in a cell phone for an affordable should be taking a second look at this device. While the Pixel 5 might not have the bells and whistles of the more expensive iPhone 12 or the Samsung Note 20 Ultra, it provides more than enough for the average persons needs, coupled with what is still the industries best camera to date.
From our review,
And ultimately, I think Google nails it here with the Google Pixel 5. It’s stripped out nice-to-have, niche features that most people will quickly forget about, and instead delivers a fantastic Google experience that we all expect with a few necessary upgrades, specifically to the battery. What good is super powerful phone if it cannot get you through the day? Yes, you can play games. Yes, you can take pictures. Yes, you can multitask multiple apps. Is there more you want out of a mobile phone? Did we mentioned reverse charging? While not having it all, it still feels like Google Pixel 5 has it all, and we would recommend this Google flagship to anyone!
You can buy your Pixel 5 from the Google Store here!
#2 iRobot Roomba i7+
The Roomba i7+ is everything promised, and then some. This fantastic robot vacuum will have your house looking great, with minimal effort from you at all.
What is setting iRobot devices apart from the competition is the iRobot Genius Home Intelligence system. From the iRobot team:
iRobot unveiled the iRobot Genius™ Home Intelligence earlier this year – a powerful new robot platform that unlocks an expansive range of digital features and experiences for the company’s line of Wi-Fi connected products, including the Roomba robot vacuum and Braava jet robot mop. The interface for iRobot Genius™ Home Intelligence is the newly redesigned iRobot Home App that takes users beyond standard app control to give them a personalized, home cleaning command and control center that accounts for their unique homes, schedules, cleaning preferences and smart home integrations
The Genius™ Home Intelligence is really the best reason to purchase a Roomba vacuum this year. The system will do a variety of things, most notably:
- allow you to create zones where the vacuum will not go, handy this holiday season to keep it away from your tree
- suggest a schedule for when you vacuum should run. We’ve already scheduled an after dinner run each evening
- creation of Clean Zones – when you make a small mess on you floor (say spilling the coffee grounds) you can send your Roomba out to clean that specific spot, than head home to it’s base
There are so many great features that we love in the iRobot Roomba i7+. Our full review will be available soon, but it’s getting a high score and comes highly recommended!
You can find out more about the Roomba i7+ and purchase by visiting the official website!
#3 Hisense TV
Purchasing brand new consoles like the Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5 is already a huge cost, but when you factor in a 4K television to complete the setup, you could be looking at thousands of dollars. Unless, of course, you go with the Hisense 55inch Q8G Series 4K ULED Android Smart TV
with Quantum Dot Technology. This budget friendly TV provides all that 4K glory that you want for your new gaming systems at an incredibly affordable price. According to the website,
ULED technology, focuses on the most important areas of picture quality as it uses sophisticated processes to transform your entertainment, while Quantum Dot technology and Wide Colour Gamut brings the entertainment to life with billions of colours perfectly expressed.
Full disclosure. Our TV was provided by Hisense so that we could let you in on all the awesome features, but if you look around the web and on YouTube, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of reviewers and influencers who are giving high praise to this lineup of televisions. While we are using the 55inch, you can always go bigger too!
Although it doesn’t have HDMI 2.1 – which will allow you to play games at 4K, 120 Frames Per Second on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, we’ve detailed in the past why that isn’t so important right now. With so few games taking advantage of 4k 120, there isn’t a huge reason to make that a priority. ANd if it is a priority, expect to pay a lot more for your television.
This lineup of TVs fits perfectly with the next console generation, and comes highly recommended from us. You can find out more and purchase your own by Vision Electronics!
#4 Chromecast with Google TV
We’ve never been a fan of the Google Chromecast in the Roffel family, despite everything else in our home being Google. We use Google Pixel smart phones, and a wide array of Google Home products, including the Nest Hub and older (yet still great) Google Home. Yet, the Chromecast never really fit into our every day lives, due to the lack of a remote. With the older devices, you either needed to use voice control, or have a cellphone handy. It wasn’t ideal.
In our full review, we had this to say,
With 4K and HDR support, movie and TV show aficionados will find lots to love about the new Chromecast with Google TV. The device itself is small and discrete, and hides behind your TV nicely. The included remote and brand new user interface makes navigating and using Google’s latest streaming device a breeze. There are a number of reasons you might not want this device – only 8 GB of onboard storage, no 4K upscaling to name a few – the average North America viewer will love how Google has brought all your streaming services together, and will enjoy a clean interface with a fantastic remote. And for only 69.99 CAD, it fits right in with most of the competition.
With Chromecast with Google TV, we now get a remote, a great interface, and the ability to curate all your favourite shows in one place, across multiple streaming services. We have Netflix, Disney+, and TekSavvy TV all running on our Chromecast, and we are really loving the experience we are getting!
You can buy the Chromecast with Google TV here!
#5 Lenovo Duet Chromebook
Whenever we can get a Chromebook powered by Google, we jump at the oppertunity. Although we don’t have a full review to share with you, we’ve been using the Lenovo Duet Chromebook, and have been liking it a lot! The name Duet is really fitting here, as you have a nice pairing between a soft, flat keyboard and a touch screen tablet. When put together they make a great Chromebook, and when separate, a very versatile tablet!
We’ve been suing this one a lot for virtual school learning over the past two weeks, and it’s been great. The ability to swap between the keyboard and the tablet has made jumping between Google Classroom and SeeSaw so easy, even for our 6 year old in Grade 1. If you are looking for an affordable, versatile Chromebook / Tablet this holiday season, look no further than this one!
You can get the Lenovo Duet Chromebook right now from Best Buy Canada!
#5 Google Nest Wifi
I live in a crazy side split home, and getting a great WIFI signal from one side of the house to the other is incredibly difficult. We’ve used mesh WIFI systems in the past, but found the nods included in the bundle only work well if there is a direct line of sight between the two, which is virtually impossible for us to achieve. Our own Google Nest WIFI – sent to us by Google Canada – arrived this week, and we are most excited to try it out because it appears as if a direct line-of-sight isn’t required for this mesh WIFI system.
For those unaware, Mesh WIFI systems use a central point and single (or multiple) additional WIFI nods placed around your home. As the signal goes out, each nod creates a “mesh” of WIFI that ultimately covers every square foot of your home.
What makes Nest Wifi an ideal system, however, is two main things:
- The devices are pretty minimal in their design, an don’t look like some futuristic machine with antennas sticking up all over. They look inconspicuous, and will fit in with most home décor, right out in the open and on a shelf. While a direct line-of-sight isn’t required, Google does advise against putting these devices away in closets or cupboards. The minimalistic design makes them easy to put almost anywhere.
- All your WIFI nods will serve as Google Home devices, and act just like your Google Home mini would. You can ask it questions, listen to music, and much more, just by talking to it. If you are like me, and already have a Google Home product in the room where your cables enter your house, you can easily switch off the microphone for the WIFI unit, and opt out of the Google Home features.
We haven’t taken the Nest WIFI for a complete spin yet, so we cannot comment on how well it will hold up long term, but our early impressiosn with the device are very, very good.
You can get the Nest WIFI from Best Buy Canada!