The top 10 best tech gadgets and products of the year. And the worst.

The best, coolest, latest, cheapest, electronic technology and awesome tech gadgets of 2016

  • The 10 Best technology products of 2016

    While 2016 sucked in many ways, many great things happened in the world of technology. However, there were some absolute shockers too. Here we look at the 10 best and worst technology products of 2016. Click here to jump to the Top 10 Worst products of the year. If you have any additional ideas or gadgets or anything for either category, leave a comment below and we’ll consider adding it.

    10. Evapolar USB portable mini air conditioner

    While technically an evaporative cooler, this small gadget (which has been modified with Russian military technology) can make things very cool - even when running off a USB battery power pack. Suddenly, offices, tents and bedrooms can be transformed into much more-comfortable locations. At $179 it’s a steal. Full review here..
  • 9. Samsung Galaxy S7

    This was our phone of the year. It had every feature you could want in a phone but did away with gimmicks like a curved screen. Many rivals appeared throughout the year that couldn’t match what the S7 offered months beforehand. That’s why it’s on our list.
  • 8. Samsung 960 SSD and T3 USB drive

    This might sound a bit dull but Samsung’s M.2 960 Pro NVMe hard drive and its tiny, supersonic, high-capacity T3 External drive blew us away this year thanks to its 3D NAND technology. If you want built-in or removable storage then you need these.
  • 7. Tesla Powerwall 2

    Pays for itself in 6 years and then provides free electricity ‘forever’? That’s got to be attractive to home owners. Who knows, perhaps the investors who make up the bulk of the property market will buy into the idea in order to make their ‘investments’ more attractive and help save the world at the same time? j/k
  • 6. Netgear Orbi Mesh WiFi

    It seems so simple and yet few have managed it. Most homes and offices have WiFi and network deadspots and yet even with a decent WiFi range extender it can be a hassle to fill them. Orbi’s tri-band satellite system means that you can extend the same network anywhere (house or garden) just by moving a satellite around or adding a new one.
  • 5. Nvidia GTX 1080

    Crazy fast, but also capable of running at low-power. This graphics card didn’t just take VR and 4K gaming in its stride, it did so for portable computers too. As such we had backpack PCs and portable gaming laptops that didn’t sacrifice quality or framerates for portability.
  • 4. Google Daydream VR

    Since the beginning of VR there has been a chasm-like gap between the dumb VR headsets that were available for mobile phones and the high-powered, expensive headsets that need to be attached to monster PCs. Then Google introduced us to the Daydream VR system which lets you interact with high-powered applications and games – on your phone – using a responsive wand controller. Suddenly the gap is closing and you can experience amazing VR on your phone.
  • 3. Google Assistant

    It takes quite a lot to make the likes of Siri and Cortana feel dumb but the new A.I.-enhanced Google Assistant managed it. While still not perfect, you can now have useful conversations (and even funny ones) with Google’s new personal assistant – something that’s set to be enhanced with the launch of the Google Home system. Now if they could only give it a proper name…
  • 2. Space X Falcon 9 rocket

    Bit of an outlier here, but if you are in the market to launch something into a near-Earth orbit then consider Space X’s reusable Falcon 9. After weathering mocking jibes as the first four attempts literally crashed and burned, the Falcon 9 finally touched down safely introducing a new dawn of reusable rockets that can slash the costs of space deployment.
  • Credit: Hisense

    1. Tech product of the year: Hisense Series 7 ULED TV

    It might not be a space ship or be saving the planet but as consumer tech goes, few things disrupted more than this in 2016. Hisense’s 7 series ULED TV wasn’t just the best we tested for most of the year, it was one of the cheapest 4K TVs by a very long way. It blew rivals Sony, Samsung and Panasonic out of the water. We still can’t figure out how a side-lit LED TV can produce such true-black letterbox bars. Its colours and upscaling prowess are also amazing. You can currently buy the 55-inch variant for under $1300 in Australia. That’s absolutely ridiculous value and, along with Netflix will popularize 4K TV wherever it's sold. It already won Good Gear Guide’s TV of the Year, but now it's also PC World’s Tech Product of the year.
  • 10 Worst products of 2016

    Here are the products that made us swear, curse, want to inflict violence, made us laugh, made us apoplectic and in some instances, most of the above.

    10. Windows 10

    It’s not a bad Operating System, but literally tricking customers into “upgrading” was reprehensible. Many computers just stopped working while others, like ours, turned into crash-happy, unreliable boxes. Still angry about this.
  • 9. No Man’s Sky

    This game promised so much but received a backlash like few others thanks to its retrograde features and massive glitches. It was probably best summed up best by this simple review.
  • 8. Sony Xperia X Performance

    Sony’s flagship phone was less well-featured than its predecessor and uglier to boot. Yet Sony charged a top-end price despite there being better competitors everywhere in the market. After poor reviews and poor sales the price was slashed, but this was Sony’s most disappointing product for years. It was replaced by the Sony Xperia XZ just a few months later... which wasn’t much better.
  • 7. GoPro Karma

    We’re sad saying this because we like GoPro, but a drone that falls out of the sky for no particular reason is fundamentally flawed.
  • 6. McLaren MP4-31 Formula 1 car

    This was made by some of the world’s finest engineers. The two production models cost 50 million UK Pounds to produce. Yet it struggled to go fast (enough) or even last a full race distance. They should have run a P1 which would have, at least, been more entertaining.
  • 5. Designed by Apple in California $289 book

    When you’ve been slammed for arrogantly removing a standard feature on your phones and been heavily criticized regarding innovation on your laptop line, it’s probably not the greatest idea to release a $289 self-effacing book bragging about how great you are (well, showing pictures of your products – isn’t that called a catalogue? – Ed). Meanwhile Microsoft is getting on with wowing the world with its Surface and AR technologies and Google is destroying the joint with it’s A.I. and VR. Come on, Apple.
  • 4. Foxtel iQ3

    This turd of a device was surely the worst tech product of last year but almost two-years on it’s still terrible. The promise of seamless, future-proof on-demand and live TV viewing over cable and internet seemed so great at the initial announcement (which, by pure coincidence, came a week before Netflix launched in Australia) but this buggy, laggy, crash-happy disaster of a device hasn’t improved at all. It’s infuriating to use and on-demand content is sub-standard definition. And what did they do for their best customers? Raise the price. The Fetch TV Mighty and ancient Foxtel iQ2 are far better set-top boxes.

    [Edit: We've since published a guide on how to get rid of Foxtel, save money and get most of the same content for less].
  • 3. Mannatech Ambrotose gaming performance-improving powder

    This revolutionary powder apparently, “May have a positive, direct effect on player performance, which can be a big advantage for competitive e-sports players or those just trying to take down the bad guys in their favorite game.” It doesn’t.
  • 2. Lif3 Smartchip

    It plays on fears that non-ionizing radiation causes cancer despite a lack of compelling scientific evidence. Even Ricky Ponting’s Foundation cheerfully endorsed this device as potentially-saving young Australians. But the pseudo-science ignores the fact that most mobile device usage is done when looking at the screen and not when pressed against heads, that we live in a world of ubiquitous ionizing and non-ionizing radiation saturation and that isolating mobile phone emissions over 40 years in order to draw conclusions of cancer-causing effects is as ridiculous as it is impossible. Nonetheless, there are people who feel that they might be affected by invisible waves and this can act as some sort of safe-space for them to feel a bit better – like homeopathic pain-relief pills.

    If you want to go the whole hog, you can even buy these RF-proof underpants with silver strands turning them into a Faraday cage.

    The only issue? Science can’t actually demonstrate that this isn’t all real, and much of the human race could yet die out in a generation. So maybe it's better to be safe than sorry and embrace the quackery, eh?
  • 1. Worst Tech Product of 2016: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

    We could have tried to be cool and find something else to beat the well-tipped Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to number one, but this device is still getting so badly hammered that we almost feel sorry for it. There was much to like about the Note 7 despite it’s silly, curved, bezel-less screen but after obtaining a reputation akin to unexploded ordinance things just didn’t stop getting worse for the shiny, slippery sucker. An expensive recall and ‘fix’ still led to serious issues including and not limited to, fires on crowded aeroplanes. Samsung even had to invent a fireproof bag for the recall.

    There are still many in the wild and Samsung is still in negotiations to brick them all to stop them working. Meanwhile, anyone who has been to an airport in recent months will have seen signs at check-in and security saying that the phones are banned and Samsung constantly has to suffer the indignity of announcements on planes before they take off telling people that they're not allowed. The whole debacle looks to have cost Samsung over $6bn but having the products named and shamed, all over the world, every single day is a level of humiliation we’ve not really seen for a device… well… ever - so at least it excelled at something.
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