There have been some great bits of tech to pass our way over 2016. Here are four of the best.
By Laith Abou-Ragheb
Priced and specced to compete directly with Apple and Samsung’s high-end smartphones, Google clearly has big ambitions for its new vertically integrated Pixel brand. Even though it’s actually manufactured by HTC, the sleek device sets itself apart from the rest of the Android pack thanks to the inclusion of Google Assistant and a typically fuss free UI. Plus, Google is providing free unlimited cloud storage for all the pictures taken with its best-in-class camera.
The Bottom Line: Apple and Samsung had better watch their backs: a new heavyweight competitor is muscling into their lucrative territory at the top of the market.
Price: From $650
Amazon seems well ahead of its rivals in the race to get digital assistants into our homes. You can ask this Alexa-enabled speaker to do everything from playing your favorite music tracks and reading out the latest news headlines, to turning your living room lights on and off and ordering a pizza or even an Uber. A smaller and cheaper version is also available in the form of Echo Dot.
The Bottom Line: The Echo provides an exciting glimpse into our always-connected future.
Mark Zuckerberg clearly sees great potential in VR; Oculus was just a humble startup when it was snapped up by Facebook for a cool $2 billion back in 2014. Very much representing the gold standard in current VR tech, the Rift delivers a truly immersive gaming experience. There are 50 games and apps available at launch, including the head spinning space shooter, EVE: Valkyrie.
The Bottom Line: There’s no doubt the Rift is an impressive piece of kit. But to experience what it’s truly capable of, it has to hooked up to an expensive, high-end PC.
No tech show these days would be complete without the unveiling of at least one new drone. Besides a giant drone that can transport a fully grown adult, the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held in Las Vegas at the start of the year, also saw the appearance of the Byrd. Billed as the world’s first truly portable quadcopter, it can be folded down to the size of an iPad, but is powerful enough to carry a mirrorless camera or DSLR weighing up to 2 kg.
The Bottom Line: A quadcopter that can easily be slipped into a backpack. What’s not to like?
Price: From $950