2018 was a great year filled with a lot of new products and technology. We saw many new and exciting products released, with a few unexpected ones that surprised me.

I also got to review some vintage gear and while I didn’t attend any shows, I still was able to see and demo a number of products released this year. I think we are also getting to the point where most tech is coming down in price while still delivering great quality; examples include Sonos and McIntosh. Here are my top picks and wish list items from 2018.

Smart Thermostat – Nest Thermostat E – Top Pick

Simple to install, set up, and use; it has never let me down. I’ve been using Nest thermostats for years and they have been great. It keeps my home at a nice temperature with little input and the app lets me manage my climate control from anywhere.

Smart Soundbar – Sonos Beam – Top Pick

This smaller soundbar from Sonos is a real winner, packing some really good sound into a compact package. Amazon Alexa voice control combined with HDMI/ARC connectivity is solid on paper and takes some effort to get going, but once sorted out, it’s a solid package that’s fun to use.

Integrated Amplifier – Mcintosh MA252 – Wish List

This sweet-sounding hybrid tube amp with a built-in phono stage makes a great entry level McIntosh piece. It also has two sets of RCA inputs and a balanced input as well, a fantastic unit for the price. It’s sure to last for decades and you can upgrade the tubes to your heart’s (and ear’s) content.

Mesh Networking system – Eero – Wish List

The best wireless mesh network I’ve used to date, sure there are better deals out there, but Eero is the most powerful and stable system I’ve seen. If you have serious issues in your home with Wi-Fi and lack Cat6, Eero is the way to go.

Voice Control – Amazon Alexa – Top Pick

Alexa has her quirks, but I still find myself using her more than Google because of the sheer amount of home automation skills she has. I often use Alexa to control my TV, lighting, and timers.

Headphones – Bowers & Wilkins PX – Wish List

I really need to buy a pair of these. They sound great and have a really cool feature set inside their app. Another plus is they are not too expensive compared to others.

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Speakers – Wilson Audio Sasha DAW – Wish List

I’ve heard hundreds of speakers in my years of stereo listening. I’ve heard more expensive products, but I always come back to Wilson as my favorite sounding speakers. They are a bit over my pay grade, but maybe someday. We can dream right?

TV – Sony XBR65A9F OLED – Wish List

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I’ve owned a plasma before and sure, they look great, but they run hot and use a ton of power. The new OLEDs are incredible and use far less power while still having amazing blacks, the new A9F is brighter than the outgoing A8 OLED and it is impressive; the best TV I’ve seen to date.

Going into 2019…

Looking forward to 2019 I really hope to see improvements in networking. Mesh networks have gotten so much better, but I feel there is still room for improvement (and greater value). Also, OLEDs are slowly coming down in price. I can’t wait until we see 55 and 65-inch screens get to around $1000, that will be my buying point. Sonos always peaks my interest, I am sure they have some more products already in the pipeline, and I will be there to jump on a review. I hope everyone has an amazing and safe rest of the year, I look forward to more writing in 2019.