Earlier this year we introduced our Top Picks of 2016 program, one that will continue in 2017 as well. The Top Picks are items or games that we’ve reviewed that the reviewer feels is worth of an extra mention for one reason or another.
One of my favourite things about writing for Techaeris is the fact that I get to review all kinds of tech and games. I can’t even begin to count the number of products I’ve personally reviewed over the past year here, and sometimes when I look at my current review pile I cringe at how big it is. Nonetheless, I still do enjoy it and love being able to get a hands-on look at some pretty unique and interesting products.
Quite a few items I reviewed were awarded as Top Picks of 2016, but there are definitely a few that stand out. Here they are, in no particular order.
Moto Z/Moto Z Play & Moto Mods
I’ve reviewed my fair share of Android and Windows phones in the past couple years, but lately they’ve all started to feel the same. Standard shape, standard build quality, similar screen resolutions… in my opinion there really hasn’t been anything really unique and innovative in the smartphone industry.
My tune changed when I was sent the Moto Z, Moto Z Play, and the first four Moto Mods to test and review. If you’ve read my previous article about my experience with the Moto Z and Moto Mods, you’ll know that I truly feel that Motorola is onto something with a modular smartphone system that is easy to use and actually works. Both phones are great performers, the Moto Z has the advantage of being light and slim with a faster processor while the Moto Z Play is thicker and has insane battery life. The Moto Z recently received the Android Nougat update and with that came Daydream View compatibility as well.
In case you missed it, you can read my Moto Z/Moto Z Play review which links to the various Moto Mods reviews as well to find out why this was a no-brainer for a Top Pick of 2016.
A very recent addition to our Top Pick of 2016 category, the Piper computer is an excellent STEM learning tool targeting kids aged 8-13. Not only do you get to build a computer from scratch, the build and design quality of the wooden case, as well as all the included components, give any kid a great start to electronics, problem solving, coding, and more. The Piper runs off a Raspberry Pi computer and learning is done through the PiperCraft mod for Minecraft.
Check out my full Piper review to find out more about this excellent learning tool.
Even H1 Headphones
Headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth speakers… these are things that we get in abundance here at Techaeris. I’ve reviewed everything from $20 earbuds to $550 on-ear headphones and it really is amazing at how different companies tackle build and sound quality. Like smartphones, the only thing that really starts to set headphones and speakers apart from one another are sound and build quality, and of course price.
One company with a unique solution to how you listen to music is EVEN. The EVEN H1 headphones come with their proprietary EarPrint technology which personalizes audio for your ears. In a nutshell, if you wear glasses chances are your eye prescription is different for each eye, so why would you think that your ears hear audio the exact same way? The fact is they don’t, and once you run through a 90 second EarPrint setup you’ll hear music like you’ve never heard it before.
Check out my Even H1 headphones review to find out why it made the Top Pick of 2016 list.
SteelSeries Rival 500 Gaming Mouse
Although the SteelSeries Rival 500 gaming mouse with its 15 button layout suitable for MOBA and MMO players, I found that it’s also a great mouse for enhancing productivity. Being able to map each of its buttons to different functions, keys, or macros and store them into different configurations which can be set to auto-launch when a specific game or app loads has saved me many keystrokes since I reviewed it. Even simple tasks like copying and pasting to more complex macros like exporting an image from Photoshop with a single click certainly saves time.
In case you missed it, check out my SteelSeries Rival 500 review.
Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
Most of the computers that we get through the doors to review here at Techaeris are Dell and Lenovo machines with an Acer here and there. For the most part we’ve been pretty impressed with both Lenovo and Dell’s offerings but for me the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 really stood out with its fantastic build quality, premium looks, 1080p display, great sound, decent performance, and decent battery life — and it was one of the first laptops we reviewed with a USB-C port.
We also reviewed the 17″ version of the Inspiron 13 2-in-1 as well and while the build quality was there, in my opinion, 17″ is just too big and unwieldy for a 2-in-1.
Check out my full review of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1.
Logitech G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel
There’s no question I’m a gamer at heart, and ever since Forza Horizon was announced my series of choice has been the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series. There’s nothing better than sitting down on the couch, firing up the projector, and heading onto the race circuit in Forza Motorsport 6 or blazing through the outback in Forza Horizon 3 (my favourite game of the year). One thing that’s been missing from that was a racing wheel, something I’d become accustomed to using on my Xbox 360.
The problem with racing wheels is that they cost way more than an Xbox One, so you really need to be into racing games in order to be able to justify picking one up. The Logitech G920 racing wheel for the Xbox One and PC wasn’t exactly the cheapest when we reviewed it but has come down in price to around the $300USD mark on Amazon. However, the anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and hand stitched leather with solid force feedback more than makes up for the price and deserves to be in the possession of any gamer who loves racing games.
In case you missed it, check out my Logitech G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel review.
Of course, this is just a small sampling of the products that made our Top Picks of 2016 list but are definitely the ones that sitting here looking back over the past year definitely stand out in my mind.
Do you own or have you used any of the products listed above? If so, what are your thoughts on them? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook and be sure to keep reading Techaeris for many reviews to come over the next year.