From high-end smartphones to beautiful, mid-range Bluetooth speakers, from smart headsets to innovative fitness bands and smartwatches—there were a lot of interesting gadgets in 2017. However, it was not by any means an epochal one when it came to technology. It was more a year of the upgrades and not so much one of original ideas or concepts. Nandagopal Rajan & Shruti Dhapola list the best-performing and most desirable gadgets that 2017 had to offer
Apple iPhone X
The Apple iPhone X, clearly the most anticipated phone of the year, wins because it drastically changed the expectations from the iPhone series with a full, edge-to-edge display, FaceID for unlocking, payments on device, Animoji, Portrait mode on the front camera. Apple opted for a 5.8-inch OLED display for this with an all-glass and metal design but still smaller in dimensions compared to the 5.5-inch display of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple iPhone X is also the first to get an OLED display, and the bigger screen meant the end of the iconic round home button on the front. Apple instead went for a slew of hardware on top, aka, the notch with a TrueDepth sensing camera, infrared sensor, etc., to support its new FaceID feature. The new display also meant new gestures and a lot more swiping up and down to navigate on the iPhone X. On the camera front, the iPhone X offered improved performance for low-light conditions and image stablisation, thanks to the dual OIS feature.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S8 series was launched in the first half of 2017, and comprised the company’s first flagship phones after the debacle of Galaxy Note 7 from 2016. Samsung made a comeback with the Galaxy S8 series and played it safe, introducing the new ‘Infinity Display’ on its phones, which has now appeared on Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy A8 2018. The Galaxy S8 Plus came with a 6.2-inch display with 2K resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio, but the bezel-less design meant it was closer in dimensions to many of the 5.5-inch phones in the market. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus also saw the introduction of the voice-assistant Bixby from the company, which aims to be a challenger to the Google Assistant, Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Samsung stuck with a single camera at the back, but added improvements to 12MP sensor. The camera on the Galaxy S8 Plus pushed the boundaries of low-light performance when it was launched and this is still one of the best in the market.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
It is not common for a smartphone to make so much impact in a particular market as the Redmi Note 4 has. Originally an upgrade of the Redmi Note 3, this phone ticked all the right boxed and made all the right noises, thus hitting the sweet spot when it came to pricing and specs. This was the runaway winner of the year with million of units in sales, propelling Xiaomi to the top of the smartphone leaderboard in India. Along with a reliable battery and top class display, the impressive performance of the Redmi Note 4 helped it overcome the deficiencies on the camera and UI front. This was clearly the most popular phone in India last year.
Google Pixel 2 series
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL might not have had the most auspicious start thanks to all those launch issues, but there’s no denying that in the camera department, they beat the competition hollow. Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL showcased how the company took the camera to another level without relying on dual sensors on the back or the front, like other players in the market. Both phones have Portrait mode on front and back cameras, all powered by Google’s powerful software.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deserves a mention for its successful comeback. Thankfully, this one did not face any battery troubles and it was also Samsung’s first flagship to sport dual rear cameras. The Galaxy Note 8 also got the same Infinity Display as the S8 series along with Bixby voice assistant and a lot more features on the SPen. Read our review of the Galaxy Note 8 here.
OnePlus 5 and OnePLus 5T
OnePlus was back with its flagship killer and introduced a dual rear camera on the fifth phone in its series. Later, we got the OnePlus 5T with a bigger, 18:9 bezel-less display, and this one had a ‘Star Wars Edition’ as well on board. OnePlus 5 remains one of the best smartphones in the market for its price, considering the reliable performance, great battery life coupled with Dash Charging. OnePlus 5T just improves on this reliability with a bigger display.