Asus VivoBook.
Asus VivoBook.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

In December, it is our job to consider all the nice shiny things we got to play with during the year, rank them - and have you disagree with us in the comments section. It is a good tradition; let’s get started.

BEST BRAND YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF: SKYWORTH TVS

It’s like an Apple TV inside your TV… but Android. This TV experience cuts out the middle man and delivers content directly to you and for the surprisingly reasonable price range of R3,499 to R20,000, depending on screen size.

Skyworth TV.
Skyworth TV.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST MUSIC DEVICE: MIGHTY VIBE

Sure, who needs a music player these days, when your whole life is on your phone? However, sometimes it’s nice to go to the gym or jog them streets without having to answer an email. Mighty Vibe is like an iPod shuffle for your offline Spotify account and is hella cute to boot. Get into the groove.

Mighty Vibe.
Mighty Vibe.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST FIN TECH: SAMSUNG PAY

There has been a lot of play in this area this year but few have come close to living up to Samsung Pay. Its ability to allow you to pay on any old machine is so beyond helpful and convenient. Now we just need more banks to use it. 

Samsung Pay.
Samsung Pay.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST TECH FOR GOOD: RAINBOW

AI for Good, in partnership with Sage and Soul City Institute, launched an AI Facebook chatbot that acts as safe space for women who are victims of domestic violence to ask for help. Designed with SA in mind, thanks to our domestic violence pandemic, users can talk to the bot “when something doesn’t feel right” and get warm and insightful answers at any hour.

Facebook chatbot rAInbow.
Facebook chatbot rAInbow.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST ARTFORM: VIRTUAL REALITY

Although Bjork was all over this a year ago, SA is breaking amazing ground in tech and VR art creation thanks to TMRW Gallery in Joburg. The exhibitions of Mary Sibande and Lady Skollie were a revelation and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.

Mary Sibande's VR installation at TMRW Gallery.
Mary Sibande's VR installation at TMRW Gallery.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST GAMING CONSOL: SONY PS4

Although the Xbox one X is still the most powerful consol on the market, it was Sony’s game exclusives that put them out on top this year. God of War is a masterpiece and Spider-Man was the most fun. Sometimes your ex-boyfriend is right - it’s not the hardware, it’s what you can do with it.

BEST LOCAL GAME: SEMBLANCE

The local games community continues to grow in leaps and bounds and we should support them wholeheartedly. Semblance was a colourful romp and all the better for the fact that it was made in Joburg. Give ’em your money, already!

Local game Semblance.
Local game Semblance.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST LAPTOP BRAND: ASUS

We loved pretty much everything that the Taiwanese brand threw at us this year, from their insanely powerful Republic of Gamers machines and the fun, colourful VivoBook to that sexy signature pop-up heel extension on their slick ZenBook – even if the screen pad is a little excessive.

Asus ZenBook.
Asus ZenBook.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST TABLET: LENOVO

Take your pick of the IdeaPad, Tab and the Yoga but Lenovo basically own the multifunctional tablet system. Why have one thing, when you can have many? Especially if they are done right - and the new Yoga C630 is done very right.

Lenovo Yoga C630.
Lenovo Yoga C630.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST TOY: NINTENDO LABO

It’s more than just a fun cardboard piano, giant robot or fishing game, it’s a fun entry into the world of coding and software engineering, powered by one of the world’s best gaming consoles. Plus, the piano makes cat noises - what more could you need?

Nintendo Labo.
Nintendo Labo.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BEST WEARABLE: APPLE WATCH 4

There is no denying the Apple Watch is a wonderful thing. It is slick, pretty, max customizable and has next-level integration with the handset. I mean, I don’t need to be told when my face hits the pavement but I guess it’s nice to know it will inform me if I’ve fallen or had heart issues, nonetheless.

Apple Watch 4.
Apple Watch 4.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY: IPHONE XS MAX 512GB

I know it’s not the importers’ fault that Tim Cook is a greedy guy but R32K for a phone is ridiculous. There was no justification for Apple to charge that price - except they know people are so brand loyal they will pay it. The 128GB is all you need.

BEST PHONE: HUAWEI MATE20 PRO

Sorry, ’Merica! Ban it all you like but this phone is fantastic. From the handling and design to the Leica camera, the other Leica camera and that other wide-lens Leica camera, the newest Mate is a work of modern tech art. Plus, it comes in R15K under the previously mentioned phone. Shrug emoji - it is what it is.

Huawei Mate20 Pro.
Huawei Mate20 Pro.
Image: Supplied / Sylvia McKeown

The comment section awaits you …

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