Technology is moving so fast that gadgets that we may have bought only a few years ago are now obsolete with newer versions that present new features and functions, making life simpler and easier. We’ve compiled a list of our most useful tech gadgets upgrading this year, that comes with plenty of features that create a functional, worthwhile and useful product.
Here are the Top 5 Most Useful Tech Gadgets to upgrade
1. External Hard Drive
There is a constant flow of new forms of high-quality media which demand more and more data. Being shortchanged with data requirements is a pain, especially if you take the time to upgrade your SSD. The most responsive action you can take to address such an issue is throwing an external hard drive into the mix. The goal here is pretty one-dimensional; get more data. That said, you also want a rugged, secure, and compact hard drive that can take a bit of force if any accidents occur. Newer external hard drives tend to have better waterproof ratings, and some are seemingly indestructible in a day to day life.
Upgrading your external hard drive will give you the most recent USB version to ensure the fastest data transfer possible. Modern hard drives use the latest USB power delivery protocols to transfer data much faster than older versions. The most recent USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is stated to achieve 2.5 Gbps compared to 60 MBps in the USB 2.0. A newer USB protocol will ensure smooth gaming and streaming from an external hard drive.
Newer hard drives will also have the most current encryption software to keep your data safe. The best external hard drives have 256-bit AED encryption and automatic backup software. These two work to keep your files free from unwanted viewing and unexpected data loss.
2. Network Router
Your home wireless router is one of the most important & useful tech gadgets in your home. It is the backbone of all your wireless devices by providing connectivity with the internet as well as between one another. Many people will stick with the router their ISP gave those years ago, but in this current year, some exciting innovations are happening in router technology to make them much more able devices.
One of the most notable developments is wireless mesh routers which address the issue of a Wi-Fi signal failing to cover all your square footage. The traditional router approach was to have one box that projects your signal, and it was up to you to get your devices within range. Big houses with many floors, walls, and occupants don’t always fair well with this tech. Mesh networks address this problem and allow users to cover over 1,000 square feet on a single floor.
The newest and best routers have firmware to enable them to set up multiple boxes which effectively pass on the signal to each other, with the possibility to reach the deepest corners of your household. These mesh networks are malleable in that you can add or take away boxes from the system whenever you need them. One drawback is that these setups can be expensive.
The best modern routers are also rapid. Many of these can exceed 500 Mbps, some even getting close to 1,000 Mbps. As Gigabit internet gets rolled out across the USA and beyond, these routers’ power will be fully harnessed. Gigabit speeds will get the most out of modern entertainment; 4K streaming, online gaming, and VR.
3. Smart Thermostats
The popularity of smart home technology is exploding and these are handy tech gadgets for us. The size of the market is projected to reach $123 billion by 2022, likely to become one of the greatest tech trends of our time, and for a good reason too. Smart thermostats are one of the devices which best encompass what smart home tech is all about; automation, extensive features, and saving money. If you have an old thermostat, then you should prioritize this upgrade. With a smart thermostat, you can expect to save 10-15% on heating and cooling costs annually. The best smart thermostat devices to look out for are the likes of Nest, Ecobee3, Ecobee4, and Honeywell Lyric.
Smart thermostat systems are typically comprised of the thermostat itself, a dedicated app, and other accessories to break your home down into programmable temperature zones. The system itself is mediated by a Wi-Fi connection to allow you and your other devices to connect and work with the thermostat.
The difference between a manual and smart thermostat is the ability to program a schedule of heating and cooling which tightly monitors and controls the energy usage of your HVAC system. The most advanced and effective smart thermostat is undoubtedly Google’s Nest (3rd Gen), owing to its smart learning software. This smart thermostat is effortless from the start; the temperature will automatically be adjusted based on the season and the information gathered from learning your schedule. Using motion detectors, the device can tell where residents are in a household and adjust the temperatures based on their presence. This creates the programmable temperature zones as mentioned above.
The dedicated app acts as a user interface for your smart thermostat, wherever you are in the world. This can instantly let you see if you’ve accidentally left the AC on at any time and avoid the unnecessary associated costs. The app also provides energy reports to display metrics related to your energy usage and costs.
4. Ultrawide/144Hz Monitor
People are lending more time than ever on their computers, and the main connection between the user and the machine is the monitor. Upgrading your monitor can make the experience of using your computer, for work and gaming, a much more pleasurable (and productive, too) experience.
There are plenty of features in monitors that are worth solely worth upgrading for, such as higher refresh rates – making gaming feel buttery smooth, and slick. Monitors currently offer up to 240Hz refresh rate, meaning 240 frames per second, with typical monitors today offering 60Hz. The most common upgrade if going for a monitor with a higher refresh rate is to 144Hz, which hits a nice price point versus a performance upgrade. After 144hz, the human eye will make it very difficult to distinguish any noticeable improvement from 144hz and above – so, in reality, it only makes sense to opt for the 144Hz monitor for maximum benefit relative to price.
The next worth-it upgrade to make for a monitor is increasing the monitor size, and specifically going from a standard widescreen monitor, with an aspect ratio 16:9, to an ultrawide monitor (21:9 aspect ratio), meaning that you have a noticeable increase in screen estate, meaning you don’t always have to minimize screens and actually have everything at the view, great for productivity. The 21:9 aspect ratio is excellent for cinematic viewing, too.
5. Graphics Card
This pick is more orientated for the PC gamers out there and benchmarkers, upgrading a graphics card is one of the best upgrades you can make to any PC, pre-built or custom. Whether your gaming PC is a few years old or you’ve bought a PC off the shelf, then they’re likely is a graphics card within your budget that will show a significant improvement in performance if you were to upgrade.
FPS rates will be higher, graphics quality whilst gaming will be improved, and in general, the whole gaming experience or even graphics-intensive applications (CAD, movie editing) will be much more pleasant and worthwhile.
There are always new generation graphics cards coming out onto the market, such as NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 or AMD RX Vega 64, so it is always best to keep up to date with these releases, and it is also important to consider which aftermarket graphics card to pick, as although the video card series model may be the same, there are multiple aftermarket variants/brands of the same graphics card – which can vary in terms of design, PCB layout and overclock performance – linked here is a useful resource for comparing graphics cards side by side and checking which graphics card is the best bang for your buck if you choose to ascend to a new graphics card!
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