Editors' Choice Awards 2017, Part One - Gadgets

Everyone likes a good gadget. Something small and cutting-edge that fits nicely into your pocket or a gap in your lifestyle that you didn’t necessarily realise needed to be filled. Something that catches your eye and goes onto provide a convenience that, sure, you could probably live without but are enriched by regardless.

Here are our picks for the best gadgets of 2017.

You can find the full list of 2017 Editors' Choice nominees here.

Best Smart Speaker of 2017

Winner: Google Home

When it comes to the genuinely (and refreshingly) new, it’s difficult to think of a gadget that that had more of a profile and presence in the Australian tech world this year than Google Home did. Courtesy of an enormous ad campaign, Google Home has done an enormous amount to take smart speakers mainstream. For a category still arguably in its infancy , Google Home drew in more than just those already-entrenched in the smart home and automation tech niches. It drew in the masses in a way that's easy to doubt could be done quite so handily.

Credit: Google

Even though it still occasionally feels like a first-gen product with plenty of limitations, the continued absence of competitors like Alexa and Cortana meant that Google Home was free to act as the defacto torchbearer for the category. Even if it’s no longer the only game in town, Google’s smart speaker is still the original and best on offer.

You can read our full review here.

Runner Up: JBL Link 100

Best Smartwatch of 2017

Winner: Apple Watch Series 3

Credit: Apple

There’s a pretty good reason - aside from the obvious brand loyalty the company inspires - that Apple have managed to remain a consistently dominant player in the smartwatch space. Much like the iPhone, the Apple Watch is simple, clean and works. However, unlike the iPhone, the Apple Watch is competing in a category where almost all of the major players are playing with a pretty similar (and oft-limited) set of cards. As such, it’s all in the execution - and, more specifically, the software - of the experience.

It’s here that the Series 3 Apple Watch makes its strongest case. Regardless of whether you shine a spotlight on the first or third-party apps, Apple’s WatchOS ecosystem is just plain more mature than that of the competition. What’s more, this year saw Apple make the jump to cellular. While they weren’t the only (or first) smartwatch vendor to do so, it’s expected that - like their embrace of Qi wireless charging - their move will set the stage for the next year’s smartwatches in a way that their competition won’t.

Credit: Apple

All told, even if you don’t opt for the more extravagant options on the table, the Apple Watch is still the gold standard for smartwatches.

You can read our full review here.

You can also find our in-depth feature comparing the different fitness-focused wearables available from Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin and Huawei.

Runner Up: Fitbit Ionic (you can find our full review here)

You can find the full list of 2017 Editors' Choice nominees here.

Next Page: Best True Wireless Earbuds of 2017 and Best Headphones of 2017

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Best True Wireless Earbuds of 2017

Winner: Sony WF-1000X

Credit: Sony

While we’re going to be branding Sony WF-1000X as the best wireless earbuds of 2017, there’s a really strong case for the runner-up in this category. Samsung’s second-gen Gear IconX offer up more battery life, a bevy of fitness-freak features and on-board storage. These are all good improvements. However, at the end of the day, they are just more of the same.

By comparison, Sony’s WF-1000X true wireless earbuds bring something new to the equation. Specifically, noise-cancelling. This inclusion makes for a significant improvement to the overall experience over pretty much every other option out there. It’s also something that’s likely to find plenty of imitators this time next year.

Even if there’s still plenty of room for improvement, Sony’s WF-1000X pushes the boundaries of what can be expected from true wireless earbuds, and that’s an easy to tune to sing along with.

You can read our full review here.

You can also find our in-depth feature comparing the different true wireless earbuds available here.

Runner Up: Samsung Gear IconX (2018)

Best Headphones of 2017

Winner: Sony WH1000X M2

Credit: Sony

When it comes to wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, Sony’s original WH-1000X are seen as many to be the easy winner for the category. Sure, if you’re a dedicated audiophile there are definitely other options worth considering. However, if you’re just looking for a downright solid set of travel headphones, the WH-1000X did an admirable job of hitting the mark.

As such, it shouldn’t surprise that their natural successors do a good job of matching that luster. Throw in a price-drop and up to 38 hours of playback and you’re golden.

Just as we said in our review, “whether you’re in it for the hi-res audio, noise-cancelling, competitive-price or long-haul battery life - these headphones feel like a slam dunk.”

You can read our full review here.

Credit: Sony

Runner Up: AKG N60 (you can find our full review here)

You can find the full list of 2017 Editors' Choice nominees here.