Smart Buying

Best Values in Tech

Best mobile wallet, best way to power up, best password manager, best smart watch.

Mobile wallet. With mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, you can use your phone to tap and pay only at stores that accept near field communication (NFC) transactions. But Samsung Pay (available on the Galaxy S6, Note5 and later-generation Galaxy phones) has NFC capability and a separate technology that allows contactless payments at most businesses that have a magnetic-stripe card reader. Plus, earn Samsung Rewards points—redeemable for Samsung products and gift cards from major retailers, among other options—every time you make a qualifying purchase.

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Power up. A portable charger can keep your devices running without a desperate search for an outlet. The RAVPower 12000mAh Power Bank ($22) holds enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 7 four times. Plus, dual inputs allow you to charge two devices at once.

Password manager. Creating (and remembering) strong passwords for all your accounts can be taxing. But password manager LastPass will do the heavy lifting for you. The free version will generate and save strong, unique passwords and store them for you securely. You only need to remember one master password. You can use the service to log in to your accounts from multiple devices. The site’s $24-a-year premium option adds a few security features and 1 gigabyte of encrypted storage, but families will do better with the $48-a-year family plan, which allows up to six people to use the service and share log-in information with one another for shared accounts, while keeping other accounts private.

Smart Watch The latest Apple Watch (Series 3, $329)—without the Dick Tracy–esque cellular capability, which has been reported to be sketchy—is an evolved version of its predecessor. It features faster processing speeds and a brighter display, and its built-in GPS and improved barometric sensor are boons for runners. Fans of Siri can interact with the digital assistant through the watch.

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