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INQ’s best and worst of tech in 2017

WHILE THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY will no doubt be the back of 2017 for multiple reasons, it hasn’t all been bad news this year.

2017 has also witnessed huge breakthroughs in areas such as 5GBlockchain and quantum computingAMD’s long-awaited comeback and the launch of hundreds of exciting gadgets from the likes of the iPhone X to the Eve V convertible. 

We’ve rounded up our favourite tech from the past 12 months, and some of the, er, not so good gadgets.

Editor, Carly Page
There’s been a lot to get excited about in the world of technology this year, but nothing has come close, for me at least, to the Nintendo Switch.

I got given one for my birthday (I’m an only child, alright) and have barely looked up from the console since. From the relationship-ruining Snipperclips to the weekend-swallowing Super Mario Odyssey, the hybrid console quickly passed my already-high expectations and revolutionised the way I play games. Visiting the parents and being forced to watch Eastenders? Just fire up Zelda on the handheld console. Can’t be arsed to visit my mates for a Mario Kart sesh? I get into my pyjamas and battle online. 

Regular readers will likely be surprised to hear that Apple has topped my list of ‘worst tech’ in 2017. While last year I bemoaned the firm’s new 13in and 15in MacBooks costing which cost an eye-watering £1,749 and £2,349, respectively, this year I’m adding the iPhone X to my annual shit-list.

Sure, the 10th-anniversary iPhone has had (largely) good reviews and is said to be already outselling both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X is the first I haven’t been fussed about owning, and it’s largely because of that bloody notch. Yes, I know, it’s there for a reason, but it’s actually made me think that Apple, a firm once-famed for its market-leading design, might have lost its touch.

Associate Editor, Chris Merriman
Given that I am a little bit obsessed with smart home, a lot of my favourite gadgets have involved things that work with other things. I am besotted with my Tado heating system for example which can tell if I go out or have left the windows open and LIFX smart light bulbs that offer thousands of options that rivals just don’t. Blink has become my de facto indoor security system as it does away with most of the other sensors (temperature and so on) and outside, the Ring doorbell and cameras have changed my life. 

It’s really starting to feel like we live in the future, especially now the Google Home Mini is proving itself to be even better than Alexa.

Meanwhile, the things that I use most (every day in fact) are the Eve V 2-in-1 tablet and OnePlus 5T phones – proof that you can take on the status quo and win, and do it for a price that reflects affordability for even the poorest tech journalist. Then there’s the Flares Pro – which are the earbuds of my dreams.

Worst tech, sad to say, my beloved Google failed me, both with the glitch-ridden Pixel 2 XL, and the smart earbuds that let loads of noise in when you don’t want them to, and come in a box that looks and feels like an egg carton. As a Google columnist, it felt like a real kick in the teeth. 

Elsewhere, I think it’s generally fair to say that the big problem has been stagnation. Everything is moving forward so incrementally (apart from the Nintendo Switch) now that when a new phone or computer is announced, there isn’t the heart-fluttering excitement there once was. I’m really hoping for a game-changer in 2018. 

Contributing Editor, Roland Moore-Colyer 
This year has been pretty good for hardware in my humble opinion My highlights include the Samsung Galaxy S9 showing off just how good Android smartphones can be, while Google’s Pixelbook paints a compelling picture for the future potential of Chromebooks.

Apple also demonstrated it still has what to takes to create a compelling iPhone, although the iPhone X’s display notch is still polarising opinions. And the Xbox One X is an impressive feat of games console engineering; it just needs the game library to go with it.

However, my main highlight has to be the Nintendo Switch. Despite naysayers and concerns over the games on offer at launch, the Switch has been a riotous success for Nintendo after the lacklustre Wii U. Titles like the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey shows Nintendo’s first-party development is still stellar.

But it’s only when you have the Switch in your hands does the console’s full potential as a hybrid games machine really come into its own. The different ways it can be used and various controller configurations are excellent and it really is the device you can whip out in the pub for a bit of split screen Mario Kart and not feel like a fool. Bravo, Nintendo, bravo.

Of course, there we a few disappointments in the mix. Apple hasn’t refreshed the MacBook Air or iPad Mini line up in any compelling way for some time and 2017 was no different. Sure, the 12in MacBook looks to take the Air’s place but it’s still far from perfect.

Despite the debut of Nvidia’s Max-Q architecture, there’s still no perfect slim yet powerful gaming machine that I desire unless you’re willing to cough up a mound of cash for the Asus Zephyrus.

And would it kill the someone to make an Android smartwatch that can stand up to the Apple Watch? As that seems to be the case.

But really, this year has been good for tech hardware even if pretty much everything else has gone down the drain. µ

Source : Inquirer

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