Tech talk: 2015 no doubt saw an era of new gadgets emerge. But there are those that stood out. Joash Yose brings you the top 10.
1.Mac book pro.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro was already a good laptop. Everyone agreed on that. The 2015 version, however comes with the innovative Force Touch trackpad, better battery life and the latest Intel processors. In fact, it is arguably the best all-round laptop you can buy. Since it combines uncompromised processing power, great battery life and a top-drawer screen in a body that is genuinely portable, it sets a very high bar for rivals to match.
2.Samsung UHD TV (UE48JU7500).
The key features of this model are its 48-inch LCD TV with direct LED lighting and its curved screen, plus a Tizen-powered Smart TV system. It is one of the smaller curved TVs on the market. The Samsung UE48JU7500 is a great-looking model. It comes in two colours; slim grey and black. It has a hint of backlight clouding, while whites are pure and colours are natural with 4K display. The 3D playback is good too, though there is a little motion blur. Its low input lag means this gadget is responsive enough to be used for gaming purposes too. The down-firing speakers are pleasantly loud, with detailed mid-range, though there is not much bass. This TV costs about Shs8m.
3.Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
Curving into the future with impressive specs, the samsung Galaxy six Edge tops the smart phone craze in 2015. It boasts as the world’s first dual curved display, with the screen bending on both sides. That combined with industry leading power, an amazing display, decent battery life, an excellent camera and amazing performance make it not only the best-looking smart phone, but one of the top two smartphones in the universe. The only setback is its price tag that stands at Shs2.3m for a 16 GB storage.
While much of the technology world is gaga over virtual reality, Microsoft is making a big bet in a similar way, but with a very different direction. Wear the HoloLens, and holographic images will suddenly appear around your physical environment. The headset is potentially useful for professionals ranging from surgeons to space astronauts.
The Amazon Echo is an attractively designed speaker, and its voice-control system, anchored by the soothing and smooth-sounding “Alexa”, works well within its current limited scope. The speaker’s Wi-Fi setup is straightforward, and you can also directly connect to the speaker via Bluetooth. Amazon has continued to add useful features since the product was first launched. The downside is the speaker does not sound great with music at high volumes, nor does it have a battery option, so it must be plugged in at all times. If your preferred audio service such as Spotify is not natively supported, the Echo is little more than a “dumb” Bluetooth speaker. Costing Shs350,000 only, this gadget is a perfect personal assistant, as Alexa can speak to the user.
6.Self balancing scooters.
A hot seller towards the end of 2015, this is going to be the new self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters. Also called a hands-free Segway, razor skooters or hoverboard, these scooters are getting tonnes of news coverage because celebrities and YouTubers are cruising around on them. Even when many criticise products of China, this gadget is made in China but with various brand/labels and range between Shs900,000 and Shs3.4m.
Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is a small fish in a very big pond, but it seems to grow fast. Its latest flagship phone, the OnePlus 2, offers top-notch specs at an entry-level price of Shs1.2m. This Android handset is the best medium range brand you can own. It has a solid build, quality and fast performance at 3GB of RAM. However, Oneplus2 has a sluggish camera and a rather boring design compared to top notch phones.
8.Microsoft Surface Book.
Microsoft’s new Surface Book, is a startlingly ambitious device that attempts to create its own market and seems to succeed at it. Surface Book is primarily a laptop but also a tablet, thanks to a display that detaches into something like a digital clipboard. With a starting price at Shs5.1m, the Surface Book is clearly priced on the high end of the laptop market, and the 1TB of storage is at twice the price of the latter. That is a lot of money to spend on a computer. Despite its design, unrivaled display and seamless tablet separation, the battery life barely lasts an entire working day.
Apple has done something rather special with the Apple Watch – wearable tech that feels friendly and has a little bit of quirky character about it. Android Wear, the Pebble, and the many proprietary operating systems installed on other less-known watches are workman-like and functional, but the Apple Watch is fun. It has unique communication methods which make it special. It also has an attractive design in multiple sizes, notification taps are subtle and watch OS 2.0 fixes some app problems. However, some third-party apps crash and one-day battery life and the price tag of Shs1m is quite hefty.
This year, taking selfies and posting them was trendy and when the tools to ease this popped on the market, they sold like hot cake. The most common type in Uganda is the looq selfie stick. It took stage because it is available in multiple colours, is affordable, costing only Shs70,000, extends to about 40 inches in length, has an adjustable phone holder section, and can fit any phone up to 3.35 inches wide. On the dark side, this gadget has no Bluetooth, pole collapses down to about 8.5 inches, which may be inconviniencing to carry and works with particular apps.