Top Five Innovative Products of 2018

A plethora of innovative products was announced in 2018 | Here’s our selection of the top devices, one each from five different categories, including a TV, smartwatch, smartphone, earbuds, and VR headset

Top Five Innovative Products of 2018

Samsung: The Wall – World’s First Modular MicroLED TV


Unveiled at the CES 2018 event in January, Samsung’s new modular TV, The Wall, has the potential to give LG a good run for its money – at least as far as screen technology goes.

The 146-inch screen is based on MicroLED technology, rather than OLED or the regular LED.

It’s no different from the OLED in terms of those perfect blacks and amazing colors, but with 1,600 nits of brightness, it’s definitely brighter.

It’s a kind of scaled version of the technology used in scoreboards and jumbo screens, involving millions of tiny LEDs to create images instead of a liquid crystal layer and LED backlights, used in regular LED television sets.

Samsung says: “Users can add or remove modules to make their TV bigger or smaller, in any configuration, removing previous limitations on screen size, with zero impact on performance of the display.”

We’ve already had a look at The Wall at last year’s CES but only as a prototype. This time around, however, it’s for real.

Samsung began taking orders on The Wall in June, which were limited to businesses, but the company is expected to make it available to consumers, soon.

With a cost expected to be upwards of $100,000, Samsung’s move to sell it to commercial setups first is probably a prudent business decision.

Apple Watch Series 4


Announced at the company’s “Gather Round” media event in September, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the first ever over-the-counter ECG-capable device.

It has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Heart Association and can, therefore, be relied on for accurate readings.

The 40mm model is 32 percent larger than the previous-gen 38mm version, while the 40mm variant offers 35 percent more screen space than its 42mm predecessor.

Despite the larger displays, the form factor remains the same as last year’s versions; in fact, they are even a little thinner this time around.

Apple made that possible by shrinking the bezels on the new screens and curving them ever so gently towards the edges to give them a contemporary look and feel.

It also boasts a bigger speaker, about fifty percent louder than the earlier version.

From a performance perspective, it is twice as fast as the Series 3 – thanks to the 4th-generation 64-bit Dual-Core S4 processor under its hood.

Series 4 ships with Apple’s latest smartwatch software – watchOS 5.

However, the most significant new feature that puts the Apple Watch Series 4 well ahead of the competition comes in the form of the device’s heart-rate monitoring system.

All you need to do is press and hold the digital crown for about thirty seconds to activate this truly life-saving feature, which then stores the ECG readings, privately and securely, on the Apple Health app.

It’s capable of detecting a slip, trip, or a fall, automatically giving you the option of dialing 911 with a single tap, should such a situation arise.

The cheapest GPS model of the Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399, while the Cellular version starts at $499.

Oppo Find X


Samsung’s Oppo Find X improves on the main innovative features that Vivo introduced on the Nex, in that it has concealed both the front and the back cameras, instead of hiding just the selfie shooter.

The device’s screen-to-body ratio of 93.8 percent is also better than the Nex’s 91.24 percent, which was the highest found in any smartphone until this came along to shatter its short-lived record.

The gorgeous seamless display, with that amazing screen-to-body ratio, is based on what the company calls a panoramic design – a fusion of technology and art.

The 6.4-inch OLED 1080p panoramic art screen practically covers the entire front of the device, somewhat reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

The feature that makes the Find X really a one of a kind smartphone is the “Stealth 3D” camera tray that slides up and out from inside the phone’s body to reveal a 25-megapixel front-facing camera and a dual 16- and 20-megapixel rear camera setup.

The tray mechanism is activated as soon as you open the camera app; when not in use, it stays hidden to give you that sleek, seamless surface – front and back.

Although the Find X does not come with an under-the-screen fingerprint scanner like the Nex, it does feature a 3D face-recognition technology called O-Face recognition.

The feature is made possible by a 3D-structured light module, also housed in the sliding tray, comprising a flood illuminator, infrared camera, ranging or proximity sensor, receiver, front camera, and dot projector.

The face-recognition module also supports mobile payment by integrating with Alibaba’s popular mobile and online payment platform, Alipay.

The device has a built-in Google Assistant for voice support, complemented by a smart low power-consumption mic with BSP module that ensures high activation-success rate.

The 8GB RAM + 128GB Storage model is available on Amazon for $779, while the 8GB RAM + 256GB version for $922.

Bose Sleepbuds


Undesired night-time sounds depriving you of your beauty sleep? Finding it difficult to fall off to sleep after a hectic night shift? Light sleeper?

Well, Bose seems to have the perfect answer to all of those questions – its brand new Bose Sleepbuds.

It may look like a pair of wireless headphones but it is not meant to play music – far from it, in fact.

Essentially, they are wireless earbuds designed to help you get a good night’s sleep while they stay nestled comfortably inside your ears, not on or over them, playing audio tracks that are not only soothing and sleep-inducing but also help in drowning ambient noise.

Weighing in at just 1.4 grams each, and measuring a little over one-centimeter in height and width, these Sleepbuds are the smallest product to have ever come out of a Bose facility, within the U.S. or overseas.

As already mentioned, the Bose Sleepbuds don’t play any kind of music, whatsoever; not by itself, nor from any other external device.

So, stop thinking Apple Music, Spotify, audiobooks, or podcasts, as music is not what the Sleepbuds uses to put you to sleep.

Its built-in miniature transducer is designed to play special pre-loaded “sleep tracks” – ten of them in all – stored on a tiny internal memory.

Although you can’t stream from your smartphone, you can connect through it using the Android or iOS version of the Bose app to control your Sleepbud settings like, for instance, choosing the sleep-track that you’d like to lull you to sleep; set the volume that suits you the best; and even set up your alarm.

The ten pre-loaded tracks are called Campfire, Circulate, Warm Static, Tranquillity, Downstream, Shower, Rustle, Altitude, Cascade, and Swell.

According to Bose, each of these tracks is engineered to provide optimal coverage across different frequencies, so it can effectively mask undesired night-time noises from sources such as loud partying next door, traffic, snoring partner, and other such disturbances.

While a pair of these sleep-inducing earbuds is going to set you back by a cool $249, be prepared to shell out an additional $249 if you happen to be a snorer too and wish to keep peace with your partner.

Lenovo Mirage Solo – Standalone Daydream Headset


The Lenovo Mirage Solo is an all-in-one standalone VR headset – meaning it doesn’t need to be connected to a smartphone or a PC to work.

This Lenovo-Google collaboration is what you can call the middle ground option between cheap phone-based headsets like the Google Daydream VR and the more elaborate options that need to be tethered to a PC, like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.

The Mirage Solo has a pretty sleek and clever design, with a sturdy plastic head strap that wraps around the head and can be adjusted using the dial on the back to give you a perfect cozy fit.

The orientation of the headband can be further adjusted using the button on the bottom of the headset, making it especially comfortable for bespectacled users.

While the 5.5-inch Quad HD LCD screen is a common factor in most VR headsets due to the fact that they are more vibrant with faster refresh rates, the one on the Solo is built to minimize ghosting and, one has to say, does a pretty good job of it.

The headset’s main USP is its WorldSense feature, which allows apps to track your position in the real world and reflect those movements in virtual reality – thanks to the two cameras built into the front of the headset; motion sensors inside the unit itself; not to mention the combined computer vision knowhow of both Lenovo and Google.

While a lot of people may call it splurging on luxury you could well do without, VR enthusiasts will find the Mirage Solo experience worth the $400 price tag attached to it.

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