These were 2016’s coolest tech toys

‘Tis the season to pick up gifts for family, friends or colleagues, and the latest tech toys might be at the top of their list.

But if you’re reading this, maybe you’re not quite finished with your shopping – or perhaps you haven’t even started yet – because you’re unsure what to buy.

After all, with a seemingly endless number of gadgets and gear to choose from at the store and online, finding the right holiday gift can be an intimidating proposition.

And so the following are a few recommended picks — a purely subjective list of 2016 highlights from my vantage point as a tech reviewer – with prices ranging from $29 all the way up to $3,299.

Plug n’ play

In case you haven’t used one before, Roku turns your dumb TV into a smart TV. The family of five new products range from the Roku Express for $29.99 to the top-of-the-line Roku Ultra for $129.99. While the premise behind these media players is the same — plug it into your television’s HDMI port, join your Wi-Fi and then access more than 3,500 on-demand channels (including streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video) — Roku Ultra supports 4K TVs (delivering four times the resolution of HD) and high dynamic range (for better brightness, contrast, and more vibrant colors). It’s also the only Roku with voice search across channels, a headphone jack for private listening, and a remote finder.

Different is good

Measuring just 4 millimeters thin, Lenovo’s Yoga Book is the thinnest 2-in-1 available. In fact, this tablet and laptop hybrid has a flat, virtual keyboard that illuminates when you type and offers haptic feedback, therefore each key vibrates slightly under your fingertips. A digital stylus pen means you can write, draw or sketch where the keyboard was and you’ll see it appear on the screen; real ink tips for the stylus are also included if you prefer to write in a paper notebook (included), and your words and images are also captured digitally on the screen. At any time, bend back the 10.1-inch screen on its 360-degree hinge to enable tablet mode. Battery life tops 13 hours. The Android version costs $449.99, while the Windows model sells for $549.99.

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