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The best and worst of tech in 2016: Part I

A line-up of the products that made a big difference to our lives this year

brunch Updated: Dec 24, 2016 20:13 IST
Rajiv Makhni
From upgrades in fitness bands to drones, 2016 has been quite eventful
From upgrades in fitness bands to drones, 2016 has been quite eventful

One of the great years for tech where blow-your-socks-off innovation mingled with blow-your-phone-off disasters. The best and the worst of 2016.

Amazon Echo Dot

If you can get over the fact that every conversation in your room is under surveillance, the Dot is an amazing start to voice-controlled digital assistants. Priced so that you can have one in each room – these work without effort and can change your life. Alexa, the assistant within, may become closer to you than most family members.

GOQii 2

Start with a Fitness band, add living breathing coaches, mix in digital payments straight from the band, stir in some real doctors on call and finally brew in some insurance benefits too. GOQii 2 may well be in contention for gadget of the year. Waiting for it to add in a real life masseur too.

GoPro Hero5 Black

No need for a protective case anymore, a rubbery outer texture, voice controls that work with any accent (almost), stunning 4K resolution and built-in video stabilisation makes this the best action camera of 2016. You go GoPro!

DJI Mavic Pro

Drones! The word that captivated the tech world this year. And this one broke every barrier and even did what no one had even thought about. It folded up. It easily fits in a backpack, takes stunning video and the new controller is a piece of art. Line up to get the best Dronie (selfie from a drone) of 2016.

Razer Blade Stealth

Razer built this for gamers but I’m going to tell you a secret. Buy it as a normal laptop and what you get for a very good price is a stunningly good-looking, super thin and powerful piece of computing. This is the sleeper hit of the tech world!

Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 is a refresh of one of the most popular fitness bands in the world. The bigger display and new features help to make it a great experience. With Fitbit buying out Pebble, let’s wait now for the Fitbit Pebble Charge 3 Smartwatch.

HTC Desire 10 Pro

The reborn HTC pulls off one of the best phones of the year with the Desire 10 Pro. A form factor very different from HTC legacy, outstanding features and a very aggressive price. This is a different HTC from the one we knew last year. Something groundbreaking is expected from them in 2017.

Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Can there be one single technology that affected us the most this year without us knowing it? That would be Corning Gorilla Glass. Almost shatterproof, indestructible and scratchproof, this glass tech is on many of our phones. Time for all of us to only buy a phone if it has Gorilla Glass on it! Nothing hurts more than a brand new phone with a broken screen.

Benq 4K projector

The future of all visuals and imagery is 4K. Anyone setting up a home theatre should only be getting a 4K projector. Except, they are hefty in price and size. Enter BenQ! A 4K projector with all the bells and whistles and no sticker shock. The picture is mind-bendingly crystal clear and the projector doesn’t look like a truck parked in your living room.

Philips Hue Smart Lighting

Smart Lighting is a tough place to play in right now. The user case is great but the prices are not. Philips Hue changes that equation dramatically. A starter kit that doesn’t plunge your heart into darkness, millions of colours and real intelligence built in. Heck, you can even programme it to blink when you get an email on your phone.

New Macbook Pro

Two words. Touch Bar! With that one thin strip of a display that replaces the function keys, Apple hit the innovation bandwagon with a bang. It’s completely customisable, changes as per what you’re doing and is truly a life saver. Can’t wait to see what the competition comes up with and more importantly what they name it. Maybe a TouchStrip (ooooh).

Lots and lots of stuff to still mark in this report card. These are just the best gadgets out there. Time to also mark the not so good, the downright useless and the absolute worst too next week.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, December 25

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