The first of three “best of lists” of gadgets you didn’t know you couldn’t live without.

I’ve looked at, demo’d and reviewed well over 100 gadgets this year. Some were pretty awesome while others were, odd to say the least.

There was the Norshire Car Wash/Jumpstarter/battery charger/emergency road assistant device, a bed that gives the effect of sleeping on a cruise liner and another gadget that allows three people to watch three different movies or shows on three TVs at the same time.

I’ve narrowed down the list of gadgets to my favorite tech gadgets of 2018. Some on the list have been here before and still deserve mention.

The Apple Watch Series 4 was released a few months ago and it is gaining acceptance among people who never knew they wanted or needed a smartwatch. The Series 4 has EKG monitoring and a larger display. Those features are great but don’t miss out on big discounts on the Apple Watch Series 3. You might also find a Series 2 though Apple doesn’t sell them any longer. The 2 and 3 are both fine smart watches which do most anything the very expensive Series 4 can do. Smartwatches make it easy to check text messages, track activity, and sleep and instantly see the forecast.

The iPad Pro has been on my list for 3 years and remains there. Apple released all-new iPad Pros recently with a larger edge-to-edge display and faster processors. Again though, don’t think you need the new (more expensive) versions of the iPad Pro when last year’s model works just fine.

Pair that iPad Pro with one of my other favorite gadgets, the Brydge keyboard. I’ve tried other Bluetooth keyboards with the iPad and none, not even Apple’s comes close to the stylish and responsive Brydge.

Brydge keyboards come in the same colors as Apple’s iPads so it matches perfectly. It’s a beautiful addition to the iPad and adds virtually no noticeable thickness. The keyboard is backlit which makes it easy to type on in the dark. Several times I’ve been using it, others have asked if I was using a new model of the Macbook Air. The iPad can be removed quickly from the keyboard when not in use.  The iPad Pro and Brydge keyboard are the perfect travel companion too. Since I’ve been using them I’ve left my laptop at home when I fly or even while I’m watching television on the couch.

There are only a few things I use more than the iPad Pro and Brydge keyboard.

Another favorite tech product of 2018 isn’t a tech gadget at all. The Rocketbook Everlast and Wave notebooks are paper notebooks with tech built inside.

The Rocketbook notebooks allow users to take lots of notes on paper using a pen you can buy at any supply store. Take notes then scan the page using the Rocketbook app. Once the page is scanned it is automatically uploaded to your accounts in the cloud such as Dropbox, Google Drive, One Note, and Evernote. Once the notes are saved digitally, you can re-use the Rocketbook by wiping off the pages using a damp cloth.

The Rocketbook Wave has a bit more tech built inside. Rather than wiping it clean, you toss the Wave notebook into a microwave with a cup of water. After a minute or two, remove the notebook and you’ll find the pages are white again and can be used for more notes.

My final gadget (at least for now) is Amazon’s new Echo Dot. The 3rd version of the Dot performs all the skills that the 1st and 2nd versions do, but Amazon has redesigned the Dot so that it doesn’t look out of place on a shelf or table.

The new Dots are covered in dark grey or white cloth rather than the black hockey puck style with “AMAZON” emblazoned on the front. The speakers are louder and more clear as well. You can actually listen to music through the 3rd version of the Dot without needing another Bluetooth speaker.

These are just 5 of my favorite gadgets of the year. There are at least 10 more to come.

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