The year 2016 has been an exciting year for the world of technology. If 2015 was all about game-changing phones, laptops and wearable tech, 2016 has been about embracing newer technology to turn these very quintessential gizmos into smarter devices. This new year, the launch of two flagship phones by notable tech companies, a pair of wireless headphones that lets you control the way you interact with your music and surroundings, and an upgraded version of the most trust-worthy Windows-based laptop took the world by storm.
Apple fanboys will attest to the fact that every iPhone has been an excellent iPhone but that only some have really been game changers. The iPhone 6, for example, was curvier and sleeker than any of its predecessors, while the 6S was every mobile photographer’s dream gadget. The iPhone 7, the new generation of Apple’s cult phone, is definitely one among the more revolutionary iPhones. For one, it features an entirely new camera system — an upgrade from the 6S — with a larger f/1.8 aperture lens and new additions like optical image stabilisation, wider colour capture and the all-new Quad-LED True Tone flash. Even the only real qualm that every Apple loyalist has ever had with the iPhone — an incredibly poor battery life — has been addressed. The iPhone 7 features the Apple A10 Fusion chip that not only offers an incredibly powerful graphic performance but also, and more importantly, the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. Plus, you can’t ignore Apple’s attempt to move away from the 3.5mm headphone jack with the introduction of its wireless AirPods, or that the phone’s reengineered enclosure turns it into a water-resistant device. The iPhone 7 is available in 32, 128 and 256 GB storage options and in the usual silver, gold and rose gold finishes. The availability of two all-new black finishes — in matte and glossy — also proves that Apple has been paying heed to customer demands.
Dell XPS 13
This year, Windows users were in for a treat with the launch of Windows 10 that offers a heavily improved interface, amazing AI support and great speed and performance. A high-performing ultrabook that exploits these impressive features was a rarity, until the launch of the Dell XPS 13 earlier this year. Powered by the 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor and an Iris Graphics 540 integrated GPU, and armed with a 128 GB SSD, the XPS 13 tops every hardcore gamer’s current wish list. It has a lightweight design and is quite compact, too. But, it’s Dell’s InfinityEdge display that’s one of the biggest game-changing features of the XPS 13. For a 13-inch laptop, the XPS 13 offers a tantalising display, thanks to the manner in which it is mounted in this laptop by making use of every inch possible.
The Pixel, Google’s first smartphone developed entirely in-house, has disrupted the tech landscape once dominated by Apple and Samsung. The Pixel runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and is quite possibly the best Android device we’ll have for a good while. With a wedge-shaped body crafted entirely from metal, and curved edges, the Pixel is a good-looker with a solid hold. It features a vibrant 5-inch full HD AMOLED display, while the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB RAM work together to offer a fast and powerful user experience. That Google has touted the Pixel’s 12.3-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 lens as the best smartphone camera ever is no empty claim; the Pixel’s camera processes the tiniest of details even in low light. The phone’s battery life of a day sounds good on paper, but usage over a longer period of time will shed light on this claim. Google Assistant, Google’s version of Siri, keeps you updated on the weather and news, while unlimited storage of photos at original resolution is always at your disposal. Plus, the Pixel is compatible with Google’s upcoming virtual reality headset, Daydream View — which, according to us, is the where the future of technology is soon headed.
Sony MDR-1000X Headphones
The Sony MDR-1000X headphones are the best wireless headphones on the market right now that pair both top-of-the-line noise-cancellation features and phenomenal audio quality. The Personal NC Optimiser function lets users own their listening experience by tailoring noise-cancelling features, while its upgraded filtering process and optimized dual noise sensor technology quite literally drown out every external sound. The ambient sound function lets users step out of their bubble to listen to music while catching external ambient sounds and voices. When in Quick Attention mode, activated by simply placing one’s hand on the side of the headphone, the volume automatically turns down. It’s nifty features such as these that have placed Sony several steps ahead of Bose in the wireless, noise-cancelling headphone race.
Fitbit Charge 2
There’s a sea of devices to choose from if you’re passionate about fitness and tracking. Yet, the Fitbit remains a popular choice for the average person because of its user-friendliness when it comes to both the band and the app. The newest launch in the world of wearable tech this year, the Fitbit Charge 2, packs in a punch when it comes to form, features and functionality. Although it offers many of the same features seen in its predecessors, Fitbit fans will immediately be able to spot the difference with the Charge 2. Its large vertical LED display gives users the convenience of viewing time, steps and heart rate at the same time. But, undoubtedly, it’s the Fitbit Charge 2’s ability to accurately measure your weightlifting session — a crucial feature absent until now — that’s really the draw. It also automatically, and quite accurately, tracks your activity of choice — be it running, cycling or walking.
Article by Beverly Pereira
Photographs credits: Websites of companies
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