Top Products of the Decade (and Must Haves for 2020)
by Madi M.
Posted on Friday, January 24, 2020
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2019 has come and gone, and the next decade has already been declared the new Roaring ‘20s--a nickname that reminds us of a time of remarkable prosperity, economic growth, and booming business. If the last decade is any indication, these next ten years will add to those accolades another hallmark: an unprecedented rise in technological innovation.
At this turning point, we take a look back at what products ruled the 2010’s as well as which products are poised at the cusp of greatness as we enter 2020.
Barely making the cut for this decade, Apple released the iPad in 2010. While this may not have been the very first tablet, it was the first time tablets reached the mainstream and defined the consumer version for the rest of the decade. Tablets have evolved since then, going from a reading and gaming device with little to no data capabilities, to an all-in-one device you may now see a young professional use exclusively for computing purposes. In the last decade other brands have jumped into the game including Samsung, Amazon, and even Barnes and Noble.
Despite Apple bringing tablets to popularity, over the decade, Android has managed to dominate the space and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e, in particular, holds the honor of being our recommendation for the tablet you need in 2020.
Smartphones are arguably the definitive device of the decade, becoming almost the symbol of an era. From their humble beginnings (remember when they were called PDAs?) they are now used to perform functions that were once only dreamt of in fantasy fiction. Not only do they perform essential business and communication functions, but they can also take professional-grade photos, allow you to video chat with your friends the moment you summit Everest (yes, Mount Everest has 4G), or play role-playing games that are startlingly realistic in both graphics and gameplay.
The iPhone ignited the smartphone revolution, but we give the Samsung Galaxy S10 the top accolades in this category. It sets a high bar with its hole-punch camera, foldable screen, and invisible fingerprint sensors, truly delving into almost science-fiction territory.
It is hard to imagine a time when headphones were used almost exclusively for military operations and telephone operators. Luckily, in the 1950s, inventive audiophiles discovered their other potential uses, and music history was never the same. But bulky headphones weren't conducive to listening to your favorite album while strolling through the park, and soon, creative minds developed more compact models using hearing aid technologies. Today, earbuds are incredibly well-equipped to provide superior listening experiences.
In nod to its high-quality sound and bass performance, wireless charging, effortless Bluetooth pairing, and the way customers rave about how comfortable the earbuds themselves fit (quite a feat with all things considered--at the end of the day, you are still sticking a piece of plastic in your ear) our pick for this category is the TOZO T10.
From keeping a pulse on your health (both literally and figuratively) to calendaring and email, smartwatches have emerged as the fashion accessory of the decade. Functioning like a computer worn on your wrist, they monitor fitness, help you stay organized, and even allow you to make phone calls (although talking to your wrist admittedly hasn't caught on quite yet).
Fitbit is a significant player in the smartwatch arena, and their Fitbit Versa 2 is our top pick. It combines many of the features Fitbit is known for, but also adds powerful smartphone capabilities, including Alexa. And if your smartphone is nearby, you can use it to receive calls, texts, and other notifications, helping you stay connected and keeping your hectic life organized.
At the intersection of technology and entertainment, there is one product that is dominating: the smart TV. With integrated internet capabilities, no longer are audiences confined to their dusty DVD collections; they can now choose between streaming services, browsing the Web, and more. Advanced applications even allow users to receive reminders about their favorite shows and sporting events, and to utilize other intuitive interactive elements (such as voice command).
Our pick in this category is the Samsung 4K UHD. With its superior picture quality, just about everything looks better (the device can even upgrade shows not originally filmed in 4K). Its connectivity features and streamlined design pack enough of a wallop to take on whatever trendsetting TV shows and movies are to come in 2020 and beyond.
Not only have drones changed the landscape of commercialization and shipping, but they have also become celebrities themselves with featured appearances in video games and TV crime shows. Undoubtedly, drones are taking over the skies; the FAA estimates that by 2020 there will be over 7 million of them. Drone enthusiasts love to fly, to race, and to take pictures with these high-tech gadgets.
While models can range in the thousands of dollars, our choice in this category is the Holy Stone HS120D. With its high-quality footage specs at 1080p and other savvy features, it is a solid choice for beginners and experts alike. It also boasts GPS-assisted flight, altitude holding settings, and even a follow-me feature—if your new gadget senses it is low on battery or getting lost, it will automatically return home (kind of like our favorite intergalactic friend, E.T.).
Whether it be surfing mind-boggling waves or tracing your mountain biking expedition as you teeter down a steep alpine path, nothing beats an action camera for capturing the moment with hardly a blur or a hiccup. Adventure-enthusiasts have caught on to the trend, and the numbers show it, with action cameras showing a staggering amount of sales growth in the past few years.
The Go Pro Hero 7 Black edition exhibits most of the features that have made action cameras a “must-have” product in the last decade. It boasts 4K footage capabilities, a waterproof design, and excellent image stabilization capabilities. So whether you are surfing the pipe in Hawaii, or skydiving over Victoria Falls, it isn’t likely to miss a second of the adventure.
If you aren’t a fan of limp french fries or soggy chicken wings then an air fryer might be your new best friend. Air fryers became a craze in the last decade for good reason—they give the perfect crisp to your favorite foods, without the grease or unsavory side effects.
In perfect timing with a generation that is increasingly aware of ways to better their health, we recommend the Cosori. Not only is it reasonably priced and equipped with BPA-free, removable parts that are easy to clean, it is also larger than many of its peers at almost 6 quarts--which is large enough to fit an entire chicken. Dinner made easy if you ask us.
Taking ideas from paper to physical objects, 3D printers have revolutionized the world of small things. From printing your own 3D chocolate (that’s right, there’s an edible version of 3D printing) to modeling jewelry you designed yourself to wear at your next social gala or cosplay event, 3D printers have become a haven for creatives and inventors alike.
The FlashForge Creator Pro exhibits many features 3D printing enthusiasts covet, including an aviation-grade metal build plate that prevents warping, a design focused on all-important temperature regulation, and an easy-to-use interface.
Wearable fitness trackers have become all the rage—nowadays, you can garner bragging rights by sharing how many steps you have taken that day, the number of calories you have burned, or how many miles you covered in your morning jog. Fitness trackers have become increasingly praised for motivating people to stay healthy. Keeping you on your fitness toes, they send you alerts when you have become too idle for too long, and even integrate social sharing elements that motivate you to keep in healthy competition with your peers.
Fitbits have been at the center of this movement since their first model debuted in 2009. The Fitbit Charge 2 exhibits all these features with a few additional bragging points, including continuous heart rate tracking and wireless syncing to connect to your other smart devices.
That wraps up our picks for the products that defined a decade and will continue to mold the future. These products have revolutionized the way we live—from the smallest of things (how we cook) to the most important (how we connect with our family and friends). If you haven’t purchased them already, maybe you should—the next decade is coming with a fury, and with technology evolving at an ever-accelerating pace, there’s no reason to eat soggy tater tots or wonder if you’re reaching your target heart rate during your next gym session. And with innovations like these, who knows what will come next? The roaring ‘20s, indeed.