What were the gadgets that got us going and those that should not have made it to shelves? Nafisa Akabor rounds them up.
Google Home Mini
Smart speakers may still be in their infancy stages in South Africa but the Google Home Mini is a useful and nifty little gadget. As voice services become ubiquitous, the Home Mini will replace a browser, laptop or smartphone for Google Search. It also serves as an educational tool for the younger crowd and can be used to listen to audio books. And who doesn’t love switching their lights on or off by a single voice command, or controlling music playlists? It plays nicely with additional smart gadgets around the house, making the possibilities endless.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
It’s no surprise that DJI continues to build excellent drones, making it difficult for enthusiasts and professionals alike to select the right one.
The Mavic 2 Zoom is our pick because of its 2x optical zoom (a drone first) and the dramatic dolly-zoom effect popularised by Alfred Hitchcock.
It offers 4K video, 12MP stills and 31 minutes of battery life in a compact and foldable design.
Standard intelligent mode features include ActiveTrack, Boomerang, Course Lock and Waypoint.
DJI has made consumer drones next level. Although not cheap, additional batteries can be purchased separately now instead of upfront.
Price: R25 999
Fitbit’s second attempt at making a smartwatch is a clear winner. It’s well priced; looks good, even if it’s easily mistakable for an Apple Watch; and is the perfect combination for tracking your fitness with smartphone notifications. It offers sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, tracks individual work-outs and doubles as a personal trainer on your wrist with full video guidance. Smartphone notifications push through from supported apps but quick replies are not supported. A bonus is Fitbit Pay that allows payments from your wrist, currently supported by FNB; months later and the novelty has not worn off.
Price: R3 999
Fail of the Year: The Notch
The Notch has unfortunately crept up on us like a bad rash. Basically, it’s the cutout at the top of the smartphone that accommodates the cameras and sensors, such as proximity, 3-D and ambient light that is required for facial unlocking features and animojis. What started out as a design flaw on the iPhone X, albeit subjective, has become a feature for the majority of this year’s Android smartphones. Let’s be honest, it’s a sore sight for the eyes. The one redeeming quality about select Androids is the ability to disable it entirely – the first thing I do on test phones. Sure, you will eventually forget it’s on the iPhone, except when viewing anything on full screen. Here’s hoping for a notch-free future or, wishful thinking, a software fix.