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Top Tech of 2016 from Don’t Hate the Geek!

written by Jude Kasekamp December 31, 2016

2016 is over, so it’s time to wrap up the top tech of the year! In a year that definitely had its ups and downs, we got some of the best devices we could have asked for. Without further adieu, these are the picks of cool and innovative stuff you should be spending your money on.

Armastis’ Top Tech:

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung S7 Edge phone - top tech 2016

What happens when you merge the best parts of Samsung’s S series with their Note series? You get the Galaxy S7 Edge – a big, elegant device that punches above its form factor. With one of the best cameras we’ve ever seen in a device, a beautiful water-resistant glass and metal design, and a blazing fast processor, this is how you make a flagship phone. This is how you end up on this list of this year’s top tech.

What about that screen? Oh my god, that screen. How about more pixels within 5.5 inches than you could ever handle, with great depth and saturation? Then wrap that screen over the edges of the phone in an almost bezel-free design. This makes the S7 Edge stand out in a world of iPhone clones. You don’t have to blend in with the crowd of flat slabs of glass and plastic, with rounded edges. The best part of the screen isn’t the added edge features. It’s what the design does to the feel of the phone. It fits perfectly in the hand, in a way that belies its large phablet footprint. Apple has taken note.

I could go on about what makes this phone great. In fact, a testament to its legitimacy as a top tech finalist is the fact that after the Note7 went down in flames, the S7 Edge has been more than capable of carrying the flagship title for Samsung.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel in Quite Black - top tech 2016

Google’s first phone to not carry a third party’s branding made waves when it debuted this year. It was a big risk to scrap a successful line that had a legitimate cult following, throw the Nexus name in the trash, and start over from scratch. It was just as big of a risk to price that device well into flagship territory, and leverage the Google Pixel as a true iPhone competitor.

Is the Pixel perfect? Not entirely. If you don’t want to buy it for full pop, you have to be a Verizon subscriber here in the US. The mix of glass and metal on the back is an acquired taste to say the least. Also, a lack of water resistance is a big red X for many people who are spending comparable currency on iPhones and Galaxies.

Nevertheless, this phone is the doorway to a brave new world for Google. It isn’t just a great phone with great battery life, an amazing camera, and seamless software/hardware synergy. It’s a representation of what Google can do, and what we should expect from the search giant in the future. This is Android in its purest form, and this is Android at its best.

Google Home

Smart homes may very well be the next big thing. Manufacturers are invading your house with fridges, light switches, and locks that are connected to the internet of things. There has to be something to tie everything together, and that something should be Google Home.

The elephant in the room is obviously the competition with Amazon Echo. Why pick up the Google Home over a more established assistant, which is connected to more services at the moment? More people are wrapped up in Google’s ecosystem than Amazon’s. Chances are you have a Gmail account, and it’s also very likely you are reading this on your Android phone. Google Home simply fits more smoothly into your existing life.

From a hardware standpoint, it is more pleasant to the eye than the Echo. It looks more like a decoration or air freshener than the Echo, which will never be mistaken for anything besides a speaker. It is also more pleasant to converse with, as Google Assistant can determine context. What pisses people off the most when it comes to virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Cortana? Repeating the same thing again and again in an attempt to get her to understand. I’m getting frustrated just thinking about it.

What makes Google Home a pick for top tech of 2016? It will actually make your life better and more convenient, rather than cluttering it with just another piece of techy junk. “Ok Google, play the latest Don’t Hate the Geek video on the TV.”

Geek’s Top Tech:

iPhone 7 Plus

Another heavy hitter depending on who you ask for 2016 was the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Although depending on who you ask and what phone they prefer the iPhone 7 Plus has shown us to be one of the fastest, best equipped cameras, and longest battery lives in 2016.

Missing many changes and keeping with the same old form factor, many feel that Apple really missed the bus when it came to wowing the world with a new device.

I for one love the camera on the phone and put the 4K video up above any other phone of 2017. -Geek

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

With laptops shrinking and getting smaller every year, people are trying to find the most portable way to stay productive. This normally comes in the use of heavy laptops. I was one of those. Luckily Samsung sent us out one of their Galaxy Tab Pro S Windows 10 all in one. Now I have had mixed feelings in many tablets that have tried to be my go to computer. They always came up short in one area or another. I was happy to see that I had little to complain about with the Tab Pro S.

I still carry this everyday as my main main machine. I loved that Samsung included the nice keyboard with the purchase unlike the Surface competition. With a stylus and the keyboard you really have a portable full Windows machine that can do it all for you. You can check out the full review here.

Toymail Talkies

For you parents out there one of the hardest things is being away from the kiddos. You can always call them, you can FaceTime if someone at the house can control the device right? Toymail did one better. They made the cutest cuddliest creatures ever and made them be able to relay messages from our kids to us and back.

Through the use of an app on your phone (iOS and Android) you can set up your talkie (securely) so that it can only send and receive messages from certain people in certain groups. It works off of your wifi at home so no additional plans or data charges.

The kids push a button on the back and the talkie starts beeping. The kids record a voice message and it sends to your phone anywhere in the world. You can listen to it through the app then respond. The little talkie makes a noise to let the kid know they have a message and it then plays for them.

My daughters have loved these things. Throughout the day there is nothing better than getting some random message about something any five year old just needed to tell me about. I totally recommend this out there for you parents. You can check them out on Amazon here.

Summary

We have a lot to look forward to in 2017! Stay tuned to Don’t Hate the Geek for all the latest tech news this coming year. In the meantime, what are your top picks from 2016? Let us know what makes you geek out!


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