1. The Nest Protect 2 ($99) is a smoke detector that sends alerts to your phone, even when you aren't home.
❄️ Main takeaway: Protect is designed to work with the entire Nest ecosystem (Thermostat and Cam), but you don't need them. One of the best features of the Nest Protect app is the ability to silence the alarm from your phone.❄️
A common theme among the Protect's thousand+ Amazon reviews is how easy it is to install the smoke detector and use the Nest app. The Protect knows the difference between burning pizza and a severe fire in the living room, and sends a notification to your phone when the battery is low. Plus, it acts as a nightlight by glowing when someone walks beneath it.
Note: The best-selling Nest Cam is Wirecutter's top pick for security camera because of its image quality. But it's poorly reviewed on Amazon mostly because the new version removed a geofencing feature that turned the camera on when you left the house, and off when returned. Nest claims it is reintroducing geofencing soon but, until the company delivers on its promise, I suggest you hold off on this purchase.
2. Amazon Echo ($180) is a voice-activated speaker with a virtual personal assistant built-in.
3. The Ring Video Doorbell ($200) detects when someone approaches your home, then lets you see and speak to them.
4. Google's Chromecast ($35) is the best TV streamer under $50.
5. The Apple TV 4 ($149) has a new voice-enabled Siri remote with a trackpad (no more arrow buttons!!).
6. The Fitbit Charge HR ($145) is a heart tracking, sleep monitoring, and step counting activity tracker.
7. Ringly ($195) is a Bluetooth-enabled smart ring that buzzes whenever you get a smartphone notification.
8. The Apple Watch Sport ($350) and Moto 360 ($300) are the best smartwatches for iPhone and Android, respectively.
❄️ Main takeaway: If you *must* have the newest gadget, then opt for the cheapest model of the Apple Watch and Moto 360, because the next generation of smartwatches is poised to be much better. ❄️
These are undoubtedly the two best looking smartwatches available. Each watch's voice-activated personal assistant – Siri for Apple Watch and Google Now for Moto – will help you look for information, text friends, and create reminders. Both watches have OK battery life (~14 hours), which means that no matter what you'll need to charge it over night.
Don't care about the display? Opt for the more affordable, e-paper Pebble Steel ($150), which has a better battery life and similar notification functionality.
Read BuzzFeed's full review of the Apple Watch here.
9. Mrice's E300 earbuds ($19) are crazy affordable and beloved by audiophiles.
10. Jabra's Move Wireless ($60) on-ear headphones are actually set up-friendly, unlike most Bluetooth sets.
11. The JBL Flip 3 ($97) is essentially the best of all worlds: portable, loud, splashproof, and budget-friendly.
12. The redesigned Sonos Play:5 ($499) delivers bigger and brighter sound.
13. Those with an iPhone 5S or below should upgrade to the iPhone 6s ($649 or $35/month) — everyone else should wait for the 7.
14. Nexus 6P ($499) includes an amazing camera, a lightning-fast fingerprint sensor, and the new Android M operating system.
15. The Olloclip 4-in-1 lens ($80) offers the most options, without any extra parts.
16. The Samsung Gear VR headset ($99) is a great gift for futurists.
❄️ Main takeaway: In terms of features, the two are pretty much the same. I personally like the rounded look of the Mophie case better, but the Lifeproof is more budget friendly. ❄️
Both of these cases provide complete waterproof protection (Mophie = 1.2 meters for 30 minutes, Lifeproof = 2 meters for an hour), plus one full extra charge. Mophie is backordered for 1 to 2 weeks, so if you're getting one as a gift, Lifeproof is probably your safest option. Neither comes in an Android option, unfortunately. They're iPhone 6 and 6S compatible only.
Read my full review of the Mophie H2Pro here.