- Valentine’s Day is upon us.
- If you’re looking to get something for the person (or people) you love, consider technology, which makes life easier and more enjoyable.
- We’ve rounded up the best tech that you can share with loved ones.
The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is made for bringing people together.
On solo flights, I’ve made friends with my seatmates just for taking the Switch out of my bag.
But I spend the most time playing Switch at home with my wife: The console is made for multiplayer experiences, or handing the controller back and forth. As I’ve written before, the Switch has been great for my relationship.
The Reminders app
“A free app? What gives!”
Reminders isn’t just any free app. It’s the best app made by Apple, and it’s designed to make your life way easier.
The Reminders app is great for jotting down your individual to-dos, but you can also make shared lists with anyone.
My wife and I have a shared list on the app for our groceries, so we can add and subtract items in real-time.
In general, the Reminders app is perfect for sharing to-dos and notes across multiple people and accounts.
Splitwise is one of the best apps you can download, especially if you’re in a relationship.
Equity isn’t always easy to achieve, but Splitwise makes it simple. You can keep track of all of the bills you’re splitting with your partner, decide how you want to split it, and the app automatically keeps track of what you owe each other.
At the end of each month, the app automatically tallies what you owe each other. This makes it so you can pay each other back just once a month, instead of every time you pay for something.
Venmo — or for the international crowd, Transferwise
If you’re in a loving relationship, you’re going to end up paying your partner for some things – maybe they ran some errands for you, bought you some new deodorant, and you want to pay them back.
If you’re in the US, Venmo is one of the best apps for paying people back and forth. I used it all the time when I was living in the States.
Now that I’m living in Canada, I use Transferwise, which removes the headache of currency conversions to ensure the person you’re paying gets exactly the amount they’re owed, in their native currency.
Note: Both apps may require a small fee for some transfers, depending on your method of payment, so be sure to read the fine print in each app to minimise any fees.
If you’re one of the 91+ million people who owns a PlayStation 4, consider the console’s best accessory: PlayStation VR.
Virtual reality is still nascent, but Sony is one of the first to market with a solution that feels good to wear, and more importantly, is a ton of fun.
Games like “Astro Bot” and “Beat Saber” make PSVR worth your purchase.
But what really makes the accessory invaluable is putting your loved ones into virtual reality, and witnessing their reactions. Seeing my wife, or her mother, try VR for the first time are moments I’ll never forget.
I’ve written about it countless times, but it bears repeating: The Amazon Echo has made life at home significantly easier since I got one more than four years ago.
The Echo is perfect for playing music, setting timers, asking for the weather, or learning a random fact. It can also control all of the smart devices around your home, like turning on your smart lights, for example. It’s also great for anything you’re doing in the kitchen.
I have the first-generation Echo, but you might like an Echo Dot, or the Echo Show, or one of the other styles available. You and your partner will love it.
Price: From $US50 to $US180
This may seem obvious, but if you and your partner don’t have one of the best streaming services out there right now, you’re missing out.
Netflix has new, great stuff added to its library every single Friday, every month of the year.
Bonus: It’s great to have one account, but if you’re really worried about your partner’s viewing habits messing up your recommendations, you can always create separate user profiles.
Price: From $US9 to $US16 a month
iCloud Photo Sharing
Sharing photos on Facebook is so yesteryear.
If you really want to share photos with loved ones, the best option is Apple’s iCloud Photo Sharing service. It gives you better control over who sees your photos, and it’s totally private.
If you’re worried about sacrificing features to use iCloud instead of Facebook, don’t. Apple’s solution also lets you comment on photos, and even if you don’t have an Apple device, you can still view any album or photos shared with you through iCloud.com.
The Nintendo Switch and PlayStation VR are already on this list, and most games on those platforms are pretty great for either multiplayer or handing off the controller.
Still, I thought it’d be good to round up my favourite games that I personally play with my wife – you might enjoy these with your partner, too:
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)
A wacky and wild racing game for up to 12 players, starring Nintendo’s famous mascots.
Hohokum (PlayStation 4)
A gorgeous and easygoing puzzle game about exploration and friendship.
“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” (Nintendo Switch)
The ultimate beatdown starring the most famous characters in the history of video games.
Ruzzle (iOS, Android)
A timed puzzle game where you have to spell out words, and get points, using a single grid of letters.
“Astro Bot: Rescue Mission” (PlayStation VR)
“Super Mario 64” for virtual reality, “Astro Bot” lets you navigate incredible 360-degree worlds from the perspective of an adorable robot who can run, jump, and punch.
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (Nintendo Switch)
The best adventure game ever made, “Breath of the Wild” is also truly accessible to newcomers. No two people will ever have the same experience.
“Super Mario Odyssey” (Nintendo Switch)
Perhaps the best “Super Mario” game ever made, “Odyssey” is pure joy and creativity.
The Jackbox Party Pack (Almost every console/TV streaming device you could think of, PC/Mac)
Jackbox provides the perfect party atmosphere, with fun games that only require players have a smartphone and an internet connection.
“Kingdom Hearts 3” (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
“Kingdom Hearts 3” is a weird but loveable game – and despite the story that will make no sense to most people, it’s still a joy to play and explore its massive, Disney-inspired worlds.
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