It's not an easy process. Testing gadgets throughout the year, then picking the devices that were the most innovative and useful--it takes time but it's worth the effort. Over the past year, I've thoroughly tested products that rose above the grade. These are my top picks.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
The big news with the latest iPhone 11 Pro is that it lasts longer--in my tests, about two days on a charge when I managed my apps and wireless connections. And, that rear-facing camera! I loved taking wide-angle photos on business trips and at family events.
Related: Please Read This Before You Buy an Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
My top pick for a business laptop, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is well-built, lasts up to 17 hours on a charge, and has a keyboard that worked well for my typing style. Dell moved the high-res webcam up above the display, but the laptop is still super-thin and light.
Related: My Pick for the Best Business Laptop of the Year (Hint: It's Not From Apple, Microsoft, or Google)
Apple AirPods Pro
Apple improved the audio quality on these long-lasting earbuds, which can charge wirelessly in their case. One setting blocks out background noise, another one (called transparency mode) lets you hear conversations. They also look more stylish than the original buds.
Hex Black Leather Wallet Case
My favorite case of the year, the Hex Black Leather Wallet Case uses strong magnets to hold everything in place. My iPhone 11 Pro stayed firmly in place, and I liked how the extra credit card holder also attaches to the case using strong magnets.
Samsung Space Monitor
I love it when there's a product that does something new, useful and innovative. The Samsung Space Monitor folds back against a wall when not in use, so you can regain your desk space. When you need it, the rigid stand holds the monitor perfectly in place.
Fossil Hybrid HR Smartwatch
I like it when a smartwatch looks more like a watch. The Fossil Hybrid HR Smartwatch still has many powerful features, including text notifications and alarms, but it also blends right in during a business meeting and doesn't look like a smartwatch.
Ember Travel Mug 2
Coffee is serious business. The Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug 2 lasts three hours on a charge and keeps your coffee warm and tasty. A digital display shows the battery level. It means you won't waste as much coffee--I tend to drink the entire cup nowadays.