November gave us a cornucopia of new gadgets, a grand feast of electronics that satisfied us like five pounds of mashed potatoes. From this, we picked out the very best. Like Thanksgiving leftovers, except it's only the good stuff.
This one was close: believe it or not, the scrappy little Moto X gives Google's Nexus 5 a run for its money. But Google's own phone boasts the least cluttered, most pure form of Android of any smartphone (no skins!) and promises to be way more future-proof thanks to fast updates directly from the mother ship. And for a phone of this caliber, $350 off-contract is super reasonable.
Windows 8 promised to usher in a world of touchable, swipable, foldable freak machines, and the newly-updated Yoga 2 is king among them. A great laptop that bends over backwards into a tablet, it's got a super hi-res display and sleeker design than last year's model. Unlike the Surface Pro 2, a tablet that sorta fakes being a laptop, the Yoga is a great laptop that can also work as a slightly bulky tablet. The only drawback? Battery life ain't grand.
If you're in the market for a 10-inch tablet, this is the one to buy. It's got blazing guts and a slim body, and it's thinner, lighter and just all-around better than any other tablet of its size. If that sounds like a caveat, it is, because frankly not everyone wants a big tablet now that the fun-size market is so good. But that's a decision we can't really make for you. Which leads us to . . .
The tiny tablet world offers more options, and better options, than we could have imagined a few years back. But the newly revamped iPad Mini finally gets the retina screen it deserved, which, coupled with its great proportions and the robustness of the iOS ecosystem, sneaks it ahead of the Kindle Fire HDX.
If you're just too fancy to sweep for yourself, Roomba's range-topper has tangle-free extractors (no plebeian brushes here), astonishing aplomb in corners and crannies, and it navigates transitions from carpet to bare floors like a champ. You can even program this baby to only come on when you're out of the house. But of course.
The Xbox One is a future machine. It plays games, but it's also so much more, in this really wildly ambitious way that it mostly manages to pull off. The voice commands and Kinect functionality feel positively space-age, the first time you start zooming around the interface by voice is a revelation, and every time the Kinect logs you in by face is a joy. But early adopters have run into some not-insignificant problems, so if you do decide to buy one, maybe wait until some kinks are ironed out.
Sony's A7 series packs full-frame 35mm sensors and interchangeable E-mount lenses in a slim, svelte body. Simply put, they produce the best quality images you are likely to achieve on a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. And with Leica's full-frame M coming in at an unworldly $8,000, paying less than two grand for the A7 stings a lot less.
Like a rice cooker for canning, this baby takes all the guesswork out of canning your own food. It has its limitations: mainly, since it's so danged automated, you can really only use it with the 50-odd recipes in the included booklet. But it uses a lot less water, and about 60% less energy, than the old-fashioned method, and its small footprint and one-plug power means you could put up pickles in your studio apartment. Wouldn't your grandfolks be proud.