2016 Technology Roundup: Best Smartphones and Drones

The year 2016 has been very revolutionary, but all agree that it has transformed through very critical changes leading to amazing opportunities for the year 2017. What it means is that we saw a great deal of new technology products and gadgets (smartphones, drones, laptops etc) for the consumer market but none of them were really refined enough to break the beat, but all of them added small precursors that now guides how technology takes shape in the years to come.

2016 Technology Roundup

We saw all through 2016 how Google DeepMind has been revolutionizing artificial intelligence and similar leaps and lags in the field of machine vision with Tango technology. Likewise, Hololens rolled out and so did its much-doubted opponent, the Magic Leap. The year also witnessed height of virtual reality development with products like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Google Daydream VR.

However, in our 2016 technology roundup, we are only going to consider the best of the products which rule the consumer market. As always, smartphones are the most used consumer end product, followed by rising trend: drones, since drone racing has literally turned into sports and the traditional aerial footage capturing is the only thing for photographers or nature enthusiasts.

2016 Technology Roundup: Best Smartphones

2016 best smartphones
2016 best smartphones

Best smartphones seemed like a vague term this year provided how the final strategies by top-notch smartphone makers ended up producing. In the category of note-making phones, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Edge was supposed to break the edge, instead, it began exploding. Apple could only bring an extra camera and waterproofing to the iPhone 7, and Galaxy S7 Edge came out somewhat as very refined but not completely different.

In my opinion, the unexpected came from the developments in the modular phones and android phones with a next-gen android smartphone by the company that owns and distributes the smartphone OS: Google. This was the first hardware product completely homemade that will help draw focus on its bake factory among other things.

Google Pixel

Pixel Phones
Pixel Phones

If I can think of just one reason Google had to evolve Google Cardboard into Daydream VR, it would be because the tech giant wanted to get into smartphone industry with a stunning entry-level phone and Google Pixel is just that. It the first #MadebyGoogle hardware product taking the privilege away from Huawei, previously responsible for the looks and jams of Nexus series.

I am putting the Pixel on the number one spot simply because there is no other way to settle the Apple vs. Android debate other than by choosing a side according to your liking. The entire tech community is divided on the opinion, and it wasn’t the case before Google Pixel. Apple used to be the undefeated king.

Even Apple fans can’t undermine the fact that while iPhones have been trying to perfect smartphone technology since 2007, but Google has blown it away with the winning first attempt: a powerful Daydream-ready android headset. This gives Google Pixel an edge over iPhone 7 because there’s a lot of room for improvement and the Alphabet subsidiary has just gotten started.

So now Google Pixel can attract not only the consumers from smartphone market but virtual reality market as well. It is planning on doing much more by introducing Android Things for IoTs.

Apple iPhone also has some winning arguments over the Pixel or any other smartphone, however, they are not everlasting. The most promising of which is the encryption technology which even FBI hasn’t been able to crack. So it is still a secret. The problem with this secret and philosophy of non-sharing is that truth eventually comes out, and it has to, to create a better secret, encryption technology.

Anytime along the future, Apple’s encryption is going to decoded by some random genius OR an iPhone will be laying on the table of FBI executives, holding the darkest scheme of a terrorist attack, at which point the now president-elect trump will issue an order demanding the secret of iPhone encryption, which (if you have been reading his ill-will thoughts about Apple’s foreign labor force strategy) he will do happily.

  1. Apple iPhone 7
Apple unveils iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7

The iPhone 7, is not doubt, a party-crasher, now offering true black offer to meet new customization demands. The dual camera does improve the quality of images, works well in light, but the real improvement has to be its waterproof body. Removing headphone jack somehow worked for Apple because consumers never tolerated the experiment when Samsung or any other mobile-maker ever did that.

Of course, Apple iPhone 7 has more credits as well, but remember we are not getting into detailed specs here. The 2016 iPhone 7 has the longest battery life and comes in two different screen sizes, as does the Pixel. However, there isn’t really much else to talk about except the iPhone 7 is slightly refined and what the company is posing as the “best iPhone ever” is the same as saying that it’s better than the last year’s iPhone.

People still follow the label and Apple is the brand to be reckoned with respect. It is the Original Smartphone remember and that’s its biggest selling point besides the fact that the promise of quality has always been delivered. The iPhone 7 is also backed up by an undefeated encryption technology that ensures you that your iPhone will break but never speak.

  1. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Galaxy S7 Edge can withstand water for a longer time

As you know, Samsung is a big company and but the Note 7 loss has divided the popular opinion among the stakeholders. So Galaxy S7 Edge has been the only reason the tech giant has been able to stand with its head high in the competitive smartphone market. The specs are awesome, so is the style and the double edge strategy is Samsung’s answer to iPhone’s double camera move.

2016 Best Smartphones Summary

The smartphone game looks really simple, a tech company has to introduce just one extra dimension to their flagship smartphone in order to compensate the tempting feature of the other. Apple did so with an extra camera and water resistance, Galaxy with edge-less-ness, and Google by throwing out Nexus and stepping into the arena once in for all, but Pixel’s real bet is on the Daydream VR headset.

2016 Technology Roundup: Best Drones

2016 best drones
2016 best drones

It’s not surprising that DJI is leading the drone industry which in itself is a nascent technology that has just started to rotate its propellers. The market has become very competitive as drone racing is on the verge, so much so that GoPro maker also tried to give it a shot with Karma drone, but failed to fully lift the product in the air.

Due to some technical fault, what otherwise was a fantastic drone model, had to be recalled by the company. Failure of Karma drone after months of teasing did take its toll on company’s revenue, but hopes are high because smaller GoPro Hero 5 series could save the day. So with the Karma out of the picture, let’s continue to the 2016 technology roundup for the best drones.

Getting the best out of a consumer drone means many things but stable HD pictures, HD videos, and portability. Other tempting variables include crash proofing, the range of altitude and distance, hovering stability in the wind, follow cam (AI) capabilities, VR view, and high-speed. Adjusting between these parameters is the real challenge for drone makers and that’s why best drones for 2016 are really aren’t at their best.

Add six propellers and the drone will still fly flawlessly but losing one for quadcopters means a lethal crash and money goes to the waste. At the same time, packing a six-propeller drone into a smart bag can’t be done without rendering the kit extra mass and clumsiness. DJI won the 2016 drone competition because it employed a different strategy to suit different consumers, so not surprisingly it leads the best drones race.

  1. DJI Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro drone
DJI Mavic Pro drone

DJI Mavic Pro is the smallest as it can get in the current year’s summary of drones. It is very portable, easy to set up, elegantly designed, and somewhat hard-built too. Autonomous navigation sets a standard with a really powerful artificial intelligence to guide it on the fly and save it from bumping into the obstacles. For your holiday vacation, Mavic Pro is the best choice if you want high-quality aerial footage in place which doesn’t deal with fast winds because that’s an inherent vice that comes with small size and four propellers.

The camera quality, flexibility of flight and portability is unmatched. The Mavic Pro can be remotely controlled using multiple options: smartphone, controller or the combination of both. You can speed it up to 40mph, but keep in mind flying your drone at higher speed also means shortening the mileage and this is also true for stronger winds because the propellers are really struggling to stabilize the quadcopter.

So it is not suit for professional photographers who are looking to work in a challenging environment and need more battery time to be burned off during long duration videos. In remote areas, re-charging huge batteries of drones isn’t possible unless you are packing a powerful solar panel, which in itself becomes a drag. Simply put, vacationers can choose the 2016 DJI Mavic Pro with eyes closed.

  1. Yuneec Typhoon H
Yuneec Typhoon H drone
Yuneec Typhoon H drone

So here’s something for professionals, a classic 6-roter drone to take on the challenges sweet little drones can’t. Yuneec Typhoon H hardboiled to handle rougher winds delivering crisp and clear footage. Extra propellers also add to its safety, so if one roter fails to functions, other 5 would compensate for the loss of power and you can still go on finish your photography or land it safely to get the damaged propeller fixed. The giant carrying case might prove a downer for the adventurer’s but that’s the price the professional photographers have got to pay if they don’t want to compromise performance in tacky winds.

  1. DJI Phantom 4
DJI Phantom 4 drone
DJI Phantom 4 drone

Yes, that one still holds a ridiculous position in the consumer market because people trust DJI Phantom. The Phantom was kind of first stable version of consumer back in 2014 that got the pioneers of drone racing into thinking, “hey, let’s race our drones and see who wins.” Its popularity spawned multiple versions that varied both by its price and performance, a range provided to suit the need of both households and professionals.

Best Drones 2016 Summary

Price, performance, and ease of use are defining criteria for best drones which automatically extrapolate to HD footage and portability. Over the next few years, new drone companies will emerge and state of the art drones will be built in an environment of fast growing competition.

2016 Technology Roundup: Final Words

In the 2016 technology roundup for the consumer products, we saw that all through the year tech companies have struggled to create something new. However, the market trends, like always, have forced them to put an annual update on the products with or without any decisive improvement. Like a politician’s words are controlled by what public wants to listen, the best drones and the best smartphones are molded around the desire of consumers.

Muhammad Waqas
Muhammad Waqas
Muhammad Waqas is an active technology journalist and news writer. He keeps his readers entertained with the hot and happening in the world of innovations and delivers the latest news as it breaks.

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