GadgetMatch Awards: Best products of 2017
What a year 2017 has been! There was never a shortage of first-rate products that we deemed worthy of being someone’s GadgetMatch.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s about time we hand out awards for what we feel have been the best of the best we’ve experienced.
In no particular order, here they all are:
Best Premium Smartphone — Apple iPhone X
We’ve been blessed with countless premium smartphones this year, but nothing tops the iPhone X. The overall performance is unmatched, and with the class-leading OLED display and dual-camera setup, you have a smartphone for the ages.
Best Midrange Smartphone — OPPO R11s
Without a doubt, 2017 has been the year of midrange smartphones, and the OPPO R11s has led the pack. It takes everything that made the original R11 great and added an even more gorgeous build and AI-powered selfie camera.
Best Budget Smartphone — Xiaomi Mi A1
Xiaomi has always made fantastic budget-friendly smartphones, but they really hit it out of the park with the Mi A1. With its pure version of Android and solid overall specifications, you almost forget how affordable it actually is.
Best Productivity Smartphone — Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Losing the Galaxy Note 7 was such a blow to consumers, but the Note 8 more than made up for the loss. It’s not just the most gorgeous Galaxy Note ever, it also has the best set of cameras we’ve ever seen on a Samsung, as well as a perfect match between the AMOLED display and iconic S Pen.
Best Selfie Smartphone — Huawei Mate 10 Pro
The only things more beautiful than the Mate 10 Pro are the selfies you can get out of this phone. As great as the image quality of the rear cameras is, the front-facing shooter produces the best portraits we’ve seen on any handset this year.
Best Special Edition Phone — Nokia 3310
Nothing hits tech fans harder than nostalgia, and no product did it better this year than the new Nokia 3310. It retains the best qualities of the original 3310 — durability and ease of use — and modernized itself to fit seamlessly into 2017.
Best Laptop — Apple MacBook Pro
If you need a laptop that can do it all while looking absolutely perfect, you must go for Apple’s latest MacBook Pro. You can’t go wrong with the impeccable build quality, superb display, and innovative touch bar for unmatched levels of productivity.
Best 2-in-1 Convertible — Acer Switch 7
It’s difficult to believe that such a slim convertible can have a dedicated graphics chip — without a built-in fan no less! But here we are with the Acer Switch 7, the first of its kind. It even comes with a battery-free stylus and fingerprint reader right under the display. Talk about tech overload!
Best Gaming Machine — ASUS ROG Zephyrus
NVIDIA and Intel’s latest components have made gaming laptops slimmer than ever, and ASUS has maximized their full potential with the ROG Zephyrus. Its innovative cooling system and gaming-optimized display only add to its already powerful design.
Best Wearable — Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
Making a gadget both stylish and highly functional is tough, but Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 Pro manages to pull off both with ease. Take it with you on a swim or run to track all your vital stats while looking cool at the same time.
Best Professional Camera — Sony A9
Sony’s A9 is the culmination of years of mirrorless camera evolution elevated to the next level. It shoots so fast at full resolution with its full-frame image sensor, making it perfect not only for sports photography, but for professional-level videos, as well.
Best 360 Camera — Insta360 ONE
The Insta360 ONE proves that 360 cameras don’t have to be clunky and difficult to operate anymore. It’s such a joy to use with the sensational photos and videos it can produce, and shooting is as simple as plugging into a phone and playing away!
Best Action Camera — GoPro Hero 6 Black
This is the action camera you want to take with you on your next adventure. As the successor to the highly popular Hero 5 Black, the Hero 6 Black ups the quality and shooting speed while keeping the signature rugged and waterproof design GoPro is famous for.
Best VR/AR Experience — Star Wars: Jedi Challenges
Becoming a Jedi has never been as fun and simple as this! Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges places you in the world of lightsaber battles, Holochess, and strategic combat using a trio of easy-to-install augmented reality accessories.
Best Drone — DJI Spark
DJI has had class-leading drones for the masses for a while now, but it was the Spark that truly set the standard for what a more affordable drone can do. It’s as compact as a smartphone and can be controlled using just hand gestures!
Best Vehicle — Ford Ranger Wildtrak
A pickup truck has to be tough, roomy, and powerful; the Ford Ranger Wildtrak is all that and more. With new features centered around comfort and safety, this vehicle is perfect for getting you from one point to another with the least amount of resistance.
Best Toy — Sphero Spider-man
How’s it going, Spidey? Sphero once again brings an iconic character to life with this super-cute Spider-man toy. With loads of voiced content, animated eyes, and easy connection to your wireless network, you’ll never feel bored in your home again!
Best Gaming Console — Nintendo Switch
Was there any doubt about the Nintendo Switch taking home this award? With a growing library of games on top of its already stellar lineup and strong emphasis on multiplayer mayhem, this is the gaming console you’ll want to spend time with at home and on the go.
Best Smart Speaker — Google Home Mini
We’re already attached to our Google Home from last year, but this smaller, cuter model is even more lovable. The Google Home Mini does everything its larger and more expensive sibling can do, including intelligently answering all your questions and handling music duties like a personal DJ.
Best Printer — Prynt Pocket
Who says printers have to be boring? The Prynt Pocket blew us away with its ability to print a photo which we could scan and turn into a video using a smartphone. It’s the perfect mix between traditional media and new-age, always-connected technology.
SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Awards: Best of IFA 2017
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Image Source: Joshua Vergara (Nintendo Switch)
Best of MWC 2023
From concepts to market-ready tech!
After two to three years and a global pandemic, Mobile World Congress came back with a bang. MWC in Barcelona, Spain is home to the best of what mobile technology has to offer and the 2023 conference did not disappoint.
Familiar brands, especially those to smartphone news followers, like HONOR, OnePlus, and OPPO led the way. But their partners Qualcomm and MediaTek showed out too, showcasing promising tech that more of us can experience in the near future.
Here are our picks on what MWC 2023 had to offer.
OnePlus Active CryoFlux Concept
Showcased through the OnePlus 11 Concept, Active CryoFlux is an experiment in smartphone cooling.
While most smartphones today use graphene to dissipate heat, OnePlus’ concept mimics the pipeline system used in today’s gaming PCs. In concept, the smartphone will use the pipelines to circulate its own cooling liquid composed of water, oil, and mica powder.
WATCH: OnePlus 11 Concept First Look
OPPO Find N2 Flip
Launched globally in London, the OPPO Find N2 Flip is easily the top contender against Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip series. Both are clamshell-type foldables but OPPO one-ups Samsung by adding a much-larger cover screen.
Naturally, there’s more to the Find N2 Flip than just that. If you’re looking for one that’s globally-ready and is NOT as pricey as the Galaxy Z Flip4, then the Find N2 Flip might just be your GadgetMatch.
WATCH: OPPO Find N2 Flip Unboxing and Review.
HONOR Magic Vs
While we’re on the topic of foldables, why don’t we take a look at HONOR’s first one to make it to the global market – the HONOR Magic Vs. The hardware does a lot in making this a device one could reasonably use for a while. The software needs work but isn’t a total dealbreaker.
What HONOR has with the Magic Vs is a challenger-in-the-making. They only need to stay the course and work out the software issues in order to truly stand against the reigning champion of foldables.
SEE: HONOR Magic Vs review: Galactic Outside, Harmonious Inside
realme 240W SuperVOOC Charging
Zero to 100 in nine (9) minutes and 30 seconds. realme puts the “Super” in SuperVOOC with this ultra-fast charging technology. In case you’re unable to wrap your head around 240W – that’s a lot of power.
Laptop chargers ship with 65W, 96W, and 180W chargers. The amount of power needed to power a gaming laptop can now charge a smartphone? That’s how big of a deal this is! Watch our Charge Test to see how it works.
Xiaomi 13 Pro’s 1-inch sensor
Xiaomi is going all-in on mobile photography even more by equipping their latest flagship with a 1-inch ultra-large sensor. And they double that down by emphasizing how their partnership with Leica goes deep both in hardware and software.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro might just be the company’s best smartphone for mobile photography to date. The company worked closely with its camera brand partner Leica to achieve what they call the “Leica Authentic” look for their photos.
SEE: GadgetSnaps: Xiaomi 13 Pro in Barcelona
Got rizz? Moto, apparently has. motorola has a Rollable Concept Phone and they’re calling it the “RIZR”. This phone has one long flexible display that wraps around its backside
In its compact form it’s a 5.1 inch smartphone that’s more squarish than tall. The magic happens when you double press the power button. The screen expands into a 6.5 inch phone.
In this orientation the phone feels and operates just like any other Android phone. And because the display rolls instead of folds. It doesn’t have a crease.
Lenovo Rollable Laptop
From a rollable smartphone, we’re moving on to a rollable laptop. Lenovo continues to experiment when it comes to form factors. And this one is pretty awesome. At first glance, it looks like any other laptop. But flipping a switch on the right side of the laptop rolls up the display.
It goes from a 12.7-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio to a 15.3-inch display with an 8:9 aspect ratio. The rolling process takes a while but it’s usable in both modes so you don’t always have to roll up the screen.
Qualcomm Stable Diffusion
This one is a little too technical and is tough to explain. But if you’re familiar with the Lensa AI app, what the Qualcomm Stable Diffusion does is “kind of” similar. Big emphasis on kind of.
Essentially, after a few prompts, the phone should be able to produce the image. But unlike Lensa, all the AI things are happening just on the device.
Image generation is just one of the applications. Qualcomm says it can be used for image editing, style transfer, super resolution, and more.
Here’s a more detailed explanation from Qualcomm.
MediaTek Satellite Connectivity
Mediatek will put out 3GP Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) technology. It will allow users to communicate with others (especially authorities) during emergency situations in hard-to-reach areas. Brought by Bullitt, MediaTek’s MT6825 chipsets will grace two motorola devices first: the motorola defy 2 and the motorola defy satellite link. It will also come with the Cat S75.
In the coming years, the company hopes to move on to 5G New Radio NTN technologies. Unlike the current zeitgeist, NR-NTN technology will open up communications to allow bigger media transfers and video calls
Huawei Watch GT Cyber
The Watch GT Cyber is an offering that allows users to choose from different cases which serve as both the watch’s housing and wristband. The device comes in both the Urban Edition and slightly lighter Sport Edition.
There are three “quick-to-change” cases to choose from: Space Grey, Golden Black, and Midnight Black. Users will only have to hold the case and press to remove, while Smart Movement shows dynamic effects while changing cases.
Best of 2022: Lifestyle Favorites
Which one matches your lifestyle?
This year, the GadgetMatch team found another set of gizmos that fit perfectly in our lifestyle. These lifestyle favorites proved that technology, when done right, can elevate the way you live.
Travel accessory: instax mini Link 2
The instax mini Link 2 may be a rehash of an already modernized novelty, but it still tops our favorite gizmos that we love to have in our lives.
It can print your favorite moments using your smartphone and even personalize all the film prints. Turn your memories into something tangible!
True wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro exhibited an already excellent product refined to be better. It’s now a pair of true wireless earbuds celebrated by fitness enthusiasts, audiophiles, and the everyday consumer.
Styling device: Dyson Airwrap 308c
The Dyson Airwrap has got to be one of the most talked-about hairstyling tools in the market, probably because it can give you quick, pro-blow-out at home and an efficient way to look stylish any way you want it, wherever you are.
Device feature: Apple’s iOS 16 Visual Look Up
Visual Look Up has just got a new trick on its sleeves this year, and we’re certainly lovin’ how useful the feature has been. With iOS 16, the feature lets you select a subject on a photo, cutting it out as if it was done in Photoshop or Canva.
You can copy, share, or save the image, and even make stickers out of it. The possibilities are endless!
Disney changed the streaming game when it unveiled Disney+ across more countries, allowing access to hundreds of films and TV series from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic, and more.
It certainly created a buzz, captivating the youth and young-at-hearts as they bonded among classics, modern adaptations, and unique shows.
Gaming accessory: JBL Quantum Stream
There’s a reason why JBL bagged an award for the Quantum Stream, a dual-condenser microphone with a reversible 360-degree stand.
With its proprietary technology that helps bridge crystal-clear communication among callers along with its features that make everything simple and easy, it’s undoubtedly an excellent pick for anyone looking for a microphone.
Form factor: Huawei Mate Xs 2
The Huawei Mate Xs 2, for what it’s worth, showcased how elegantly refined a foldable can be. Thanks to the marriage of engineering, technology, and design, Huawei was able to put up an innovative marvel that isn’t just pleasing to look at, but comfortable enough to use, too.
Home appliance: Dyson V15
Dyson has been a champ when it comes to cordless vacuums. With the V15 Detect Absolute, Dyson delved into making the best cordless vacuums into something even better that got a lot of vacuum owners smitten.
It’s complete with technology, ergonomic design, and the right attachments that make cleaning easier.
TV: Samsung The Premiere
You never know if you want a high-end projector until you got one. Samsung’s The Premiere may come with an exorbitant price tag, but the technology it packs makes it one of the best ultra-short-throw projectors you can get in the market right now.
Imagine building your home theater dream. Yes, Samsung The Premiere can make it happen.
Smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch5
The Galaxy Watch5 proves to be the best Android smartwatch yet. It has a better battery life that accompanies athletes, and even fitness enthusiasts, in their quest to improve their bodies and performance.
Add to that is a holistic set of health and fitness features that sync exceptionally within the Samsung ecosystem.
Wellness device: Arcwave Voy
Arcwave Voy offers men a unique technology and mechanism that elevates pleasure using a toy. With an adjustment system that works seamlessly to fit all kinds of penis, an ergonomic design to make it easy to grip and hold, and a compact design that allows it to be stored just anywhere, Arcwave Voy may be the toy to help take care of your sexual health and wellness wherever you go.
Vehicle: Ford Territory
The Ford Territory delivers the right power you’ll need for your short and long drives. It’s filled with creature comforts that keep all riders entertained throughout a trip.
It’s like a gift of adventure to anyone who’ll handle this vehicle as a daily driver.
Speaker: JBL PartyBox Encore Essential
The JBL PartyBox Encore Essential made every occasion memorable. With a 100-watt speaker, a compact design, and seamless connectivity — it’s not difficult not to love and make the device a part of every moment in your life. Through highs or lows, it’s a worthy companion.
Tablet: HONOR Pad 8
The HONOR Pad 8 is an affordable gateway for students and young professionals looking for a well-rounded tablet that caters to productivity and entertainment. It’s a supersized device packed with multimedia excellence, all at a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Smartphone case: Mujjo
Mujjo continued to top as our favorite smartphone case, thanks to its elegant cases that get refined each year. The Dutch label retains all the best things from its last line of cases while adding nifty improvements to adapt to the latest iPhone design.
It’s simply an accessory that looks and feels gorgeous and lasts enough to accompany your iPhone before your next upgrade.
Color: Bora Purple
2021 was all about the different shades of Green, and 2022 is all about all shades of Purple. With Samsung taking on the posh color as part of its signature shade across all its smartphones and other bespoke devices, we found ourselves falling in love with Bora Purple.
It’s adorable, and majestic, and offers the right amount of sophistication that you can be proud to wear.
Best Games of 2022
Because every year, the gaming gods bless us
Another year has passed, and we are continuously spoiled with brand new games to keep us sane and occupied. From remastered old favorites to entirely new concepts, this year had its fair share of bangers and here’s a list of what we thought were a cut above the rest.
Without further ado, let’s look back at some of the best games 2022 had to offer:
Ever need another FromSoft game to give you headaches to roughly start off 2022? At first glance, Elden Ring basically gave players literal chills the moment they started the game — and for good reason. Once again, FromSoft managed to create a game that is monumentally difficult for the common man, with impeccable visuals, an open-world experience unlike any other, and non-stop death at every corner.
Dubbed as arguably the hardest game of 2022, Elden Ring takes players through rather desolate worlds in search of the missing pieces of a literal ring that grants you god-like powers. The end goal of your arduous journey is an opportunity to claim power for yourself and rule the world, with multiple enemies coming to stop you dead in your tracks. It’s as riveting and difficult as everyone makes it out to be, and welcomes anyone to the challenge of absolute power.
Gran Turismo 7
As a PlayStation exclusive and the first one since 2013, Gran Turismo 7 revisits driving styles and mechanics that everyone will enjoy in a modern format. Essentially, this game takes racers back to their roots, from the feel of the engine to the terrain players will be racing on. Also, Gran Turismo 7 features a massive collection of cars all at your disposal, with the goal of collecting as much as you can to race with.
With its rather beginner-friendly settings and different modes, it comes with its own set of variety that makes it unique against another racing simulation game on the greener side. When you want to ease yourself into the game and its mechanics, you can do so quite easily without thinking of crashing your expensive car. Accompanied by fantastic visuals left and right, it feels right at home as a next-gen racing game.
God of War: Ragnarok
The fact that the God of War series finally received its own next-gen title and did not miss a beat makes this game a no-brainer for this list. God of War: Ragnarok basically improved the storytelling, fine-tuned the gameplay and combat mechanics the series was known for, and the presentation of everything to make the game as immersive as possible. Best of all, it even added some form of customization at your disposal.
Everything in this game was aligned to provide the best experience possible with zero compromises in between. It even provided players with different sets of challenges to keep the gameplay itself varied and interesting enough, too. All of this is tied into a story of a father and son yearning to go through life answering the world’s greatest mysteries and a prophecy to fulfill.
While it is just a relatively more refined version of the previous years, NBA 2K23 provides the usual feel of a basketball simulation game with a bit more refinements. From the shot timing to the pace of the games, it feels like the whole core of the gameplay received minor yet significant tweaks to improve the overall experience.
This iteration of the game also brought in new game modes such as The Jordan Challenge and MyNBA Eras, along with several major changes to existing game modes like MyCareer, The W, and MyTeam. These were great enough to provide a different and long-lasting experience that, even if it isn’t totally out of this world, still cements NBA 2K23 as the go-to basketball game.
If you wanted to experience a relatively easy-peasy tutorial to skateboarding, OlliOlli World definitely gives off that kind of vibe. Although this is the third game in the franchise, it has improved from its predecessors significantly, from the visuals to the customization options for your skater. Along with some of the best music you will hear in a cartoon-style skateboarding game, it’s a welcomed improvement to the series.
Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t steer away too far from its predecessor with the addition of tougher obstacles and a chance to compete with your friends or other players. It’s still quite a fast-paced, timing-based skateboarding game with not much of a story to particularly analyze. Of course, the addition of Void Raiders DLC took this game to an interstellar skateboarding trip, which is an easy recommendation to try out.
We know, it feels like a big patch update of the original Overwatch game from a few years back, but hear us out. Overwatch 2, essentially, follows the story and lore of its predecessor and even fine-tunes the gameplay a little bit. Of course, this game just brings everything from Overwatch, including the maps, champions, and even game modes for both casual and competitive players.
However, Overwatch 2 does bring (and will continuously bring) new champions like Kiriko, Sojourn, and Junker Queen into the fold. Also, this game expanded group play to be a 5v5 affair, which is especially good for those who have a lot of friends to five-stack with. Although it ain’t a perfect game and it’s just like its predecessor in many other ways, it’s still an improvement.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
One of 2022’s earlier game releases saw the Pokémon franchise shift in an entirely new direction, gameplay-wise. Pokémon Legends: Arceus became the franchise’s first purely open world title, straying away from the traditional formula that was linear to a tee. In this game, although you still progress with the main story in a rather linear and more logical sense, you’re free to explore the region of Hisui and challenge yourself every step of the way.
Even as you complete the main story, there is much to do in between and after that through side quests and post-main content. Also, this game introduced some of the key changes to the open world catching mechanics that would later on make its way to the Generation 9 games. It had set the stage for what the Pokémon franchise is bringing to all their future games – basically, setting the standard.
Honestly, what’s not to love about a game that sees you going around the street as a cat? The basic premise of Stray sees players be a literal stray cat, going around the overworld and interacting with its environment. In this game, you had obstacles to jump over, puzzles to solve, machines to operate, and enemies to evade to kill – pretty standard for an adventure game in an underground city.
Yet what makes Stray particularly riveting was the storyline. As you are a stray cat that wandered into an abandoned facility, you find yourself in an underground city with no signs of human life. Progressing further, you’ll learn the truth of humanity’s downfall and must work your way to get back up to the surface to salvage whatever legacy they have for the world. It’s a simple storyline to progress through and through, partnered with great visuals and simple game mechanics.
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