Gadget of the Year 2016

Gadget of the Year Winner – DJI Mavic Pro

US$1,000 with all the extras

There are occasions when you play with a gadget that opens your mind to not only the possibilities of what you can do with it but also what others can too. 


The minute you hold the Mavic pro in your hand you realise you have something special, it’s so small and well designed compared to other drones that you spent the first few mins just staring. 


I have travelled with mine to the UK and US and confirm it is VERY portable. However, it isn’t until you fly it and wonder at the technowizadry that it really comes into its own. I found it amazing how (a) it stays so still despite it being windy (b) how crisp and detailed the video is with almost no lag (c) the slick controller which fits right over your smartphone making flying intuitive and fun. Being able to get footage or pictures that would previously cost hundred’s of thousands of dollars a few years ago at a fraction of the cost makes you look at the world in a different way.  


But I think the big difference that may make DJI succeed where GoPro failed is that they understand that it has to super easy to edit and upload footage taken from a drone.  Their app is intuitive and easy to use. You don’t end up with GB’s of unused video sat on your hard  drive (like I do with Go Pro) If you want to see my first drone footage ask me and I can send the link.


Oh and of course, Dronies are the new Selfies (link & link)


Note: If you get this remember to check out the no fly zones and don’t fly in crowded areas.  If fly in the US make sure you register with the FAA otherwise you could get arrested.




PS4 Pro (without VR)


I was very tempted to include the PS VR Headset with the PS4 Pro.  See below on VR as to why I didn’t include any of the VR headsets this year. In the meantime if you have a 4K TV and don’t own a PS4 then get this, if you already have a PS4 it’s not worth the upgrade TBH (Link)


iPhone 7 plus

The long anticipated iPhone came out and mostly it didn’t disappoint. One thing I would add to what you have probably already read is that


(a) more annoying than no headphone jack is that lack of good lightening headphones available so watch out for them in emails in 2017.  Apple’s standard headphones are still horrible, if you have a pair then throw them away immediately

(b) the camera is as impressive as I thought it would be and worth the upgrade from iPhone 6 all on it’s own

(c) get the biggest memory you can afford it fills up quick

(d) get the plus, you will get addicted to the bigger screen

(e) buy an iRing its ugly but SUPER useful




We all have someone in our lives, whether it’s a parent or another loved one that can’t use gadgets but want to see photos of your life but can’t figure out downloading photos. We have had digital photo frames for a while but this is a “real time photo frame”.  You can either send photos directly via the app, use dropbox or use the live video chat function.  Great present for parents (link)




I am in kind of two minds about these things. I had actually ordered one but decided that a portable charger (below) and a normal suitcase was actually way better. However if you really have road warrior gadget geek in your life whose suitcase is battered then this would make a great gift.



Iceworks Charger


If you need a portable charger then look no further, it has a built in Lightening and USB cable which is actually way more useful than it looks. This is a must have travel accessory.



Coravin wine System


If you have anyone in your life that likes nice wine but doesn’t want to have an entire bottle at a sitting then this is a must have accessory.  They have a patented system that pierces the cork and allows you to pull a glass replacing it with inert gas so the wine doesn’t spoil and you can have the a glass at a time.  Originally I had this in the email as they just released a plastic version but the mid-range model in the picture is now 40% off so it is actually cheaper than the low end model.



Polaroid instant printer


Party time. Let anyone connect and print with their iPhone.  Don’t bother giving out party favors, give them a picture instead and it will be much more appreciated. (link)


Osmo Coding


Kids can learn to code with a simple iPad app and some physical pieces.  My SF friends who are parents are going nuts about this toy. Given that a 1st year code in the valley earns more than a junior banker I am not surprised! (link)

Jaybird wireless headphones


For the third year in a row the best wireless workout headphones go to Jaybird, nothing comes close…again (link)

360Fly camera


With the advent of VR, YouTube 360 etc it also makes sense that they are starting to make 360 cameras as well, this one consistently comes out on top and can take your so called sports footage and ramp it to a whole new level (link)



I must say that I am guilty of this, walking around with headphones in, partly to cancel out the noise of the world and partly to listen to a podcast, book or be on a call.  The idea of smart noise cancellation is not new. Anyone who has the clunky Bose headsets for travel can tell you how blissful it is.  This takes that idea one step further.  The app has a bunch of pre-set environments that you can control and personalises it just for you.  Hat tip to AG




Things I still love….

In this section we have gadgets that are still v cool but not released in 2016 that I would still recommend buying


Annova Sous Vide – best cooking gadget ever (link)


Amazon Echo – Its slightly less useful if you don’t live in Amazon prime country but I use this everyday, awesome intelligent Speaker (link)



A word on VR

I have tried almost all the VR gadgets and been impressed to a lesser or greater extent.   The most amazing is Microsoft Hololens.  Technically its AR but you get the picture.  This to me really feels like how we will experience our compute in the coming years. However, its very expensive and aimed at the commercial user for now but they are doing amazing things and here you can truly see the power of VR for everyday use (link)


For consumer use the HTC Vive is by far the most impressive.  However you need to a pretty serious gamer to want one. Not only is there a tonne of sensors that need to be installed around the room but you need a US$1000 PC to make it work.  For a smartphone company to have pivoted this hard into VR deserves some applause. 


In all likelihood you will end up buying the PS4 VR (PSVR) with the PS4 Pro. They were codenamed Morpheus and Neo and so in theory should go together and odds are the first VR that most people will buy is still likely to be Sony. But it’s just not quite good enough to recommend yet. There isn’t enough content nor is the quality of the things like the controller good enough.


So sorry VR Sadly you will have to wait until next year to make the list.

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