Celebrating the best of the best

We’ve tested, punished and put 135 products through their paces. So here are the best tech products of 2016, according to us, of course.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

We’ve tested, punished and put 135 products through their paces. So here are the best tech products of 2016, according to us, of course.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony MDR-1000X

Sony’s MDR-1000X handily matches and in some situations, beats the noise-cancelling capabilities of the Bose Quiet Comfort 35s, and is amongst the best in the group in terms of sheer audio quality, with only the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless offering slightly better audio quality overall. Thus, it comes up tops as the best noise-cancelling headphone for this year.

• Audio technica ATH-MSR7NC
• Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8
• Beats Studio wireless
• Bose QuietComfort 35
• JBL Everest Elite 700
• Plantronics BackBeat PRO2 SE 
• Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

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Best sports activity tracker

Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 pulls ahead with a clean execution in features and accuracy. We consider Fitbit’s features as well-rounded, accessible, and sensible because of how it’s presented, on top of how users can easily find out more about their features through Fitbit – this helps to appeal to a broader range of fitness behaviors and it eases people into adopting a healthier outlook, beyond the gamification of personal high scores.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2
• TomTom Touch
• Samsung Gear Fit2

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Best 360 Camera

Ricoh Theta S

The Ricoh Theta S wins because it gives you great images in low-light, and handles flaring from bright sources fairly well. The in-camera blending also handled the best, with consistent exposure across images from both front and back cameras, unlike with the competition. It also comes with 8GB of internal memory, so you literally pick it up and start shooting straightaway. 

LG 360 Cam
• Samsung Gear 360

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Best solid state drive

SamSung SSD 960 Pro

For the last few years, Samsung has offered drives with very high performance and cost ratios and the new SSD 960 Pro continues this tradition. Thanks to Samsung’s brand new penta-core Polaris SSD controller, the SSD 960 Pro is the ultimate SSD for discerning users with deep pockets. It may be pricey, but it offers unassailable performance, support for hardware encryption, and very high endurance. 

• Plextor M8Pe
• OCZ RD400 

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Best smartwatch

Apple Watch SerieS 2

The Apple Watch Series 2’s feature set is the most comprehensive amongst all smartwatches and its two case sizes and choice of finishes, means there’s an Apple Watch to suit all styles. In terms of software, Watch OS 2.0 is both functional and easy to navigate, and there are thousands of third party apps available for it. 

ASUS ZenWatch 3
• Fibit Blaze
• Motorola Moto 360 Sport
• Pebble 2
• Samsung Gear S3 

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Best Gaming graphics card

Asus ROG Strix Geforce GTX 1080 OC

Custom NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080s exist in quite a crowded market, but the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 takes the lead thanks to its aggressive factory overclocks, attractive looks, and additional user-oriented features like the two 4-pin fan headers. The onboard Aura lighting can be synced with another ASUS motherboard, so you can get a fully color-coordinated rig. 

MSi GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G
• Palit GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock Premium Edition

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Best mid-range smartphone

Oneplus 3T

While previous OnePlus phones had to include some compromises to keep the price low, the OnePlus 3 is flagship-quality through and through, with a premium metal and glass design, powerful top-of-the-line processor, high-end AMOLED display and quality front and rear cameras. OnePlus has also done away with the troublesome invite system, so you won’t have any difficulty buying one.

Huawei Mate 8
• Oppo R9s
• Motorola Moto Z Play
• Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
• Sony Xperia XA Ultra
• Xiaomi Mi 5
• ZTE Axon 7

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Best Wireless Headphones

Sennheiser Momentum wireless on-ear

The Sennheiser Momentum On-ear Wireless stood out with its overall audio quality and features. It produces great detail, especially in the mid-range, and has ample bass oomph too. We loved how it handled classical and jazz pieces, and were surprised at how well it worked with rock pieces. Add to that great comfort as well as excellent battery life and you have an easy winner.

Beats Solo2
• JBL Everest Elite 300
• Onkyo H500BT
• Parrot Zik3.0
• Pendulumic Tach T1

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Best Business

Projector Nec MC331W

A 3,300-lumen LCD projector with a 1.2x zoom lens, the NEC MC331W is equipped with two D-Sub and two HDMI inputs. It has a loud 16W speaker, and you project with a flash drive by using its onboard USB port. Image quality-wise, data projections look great and it doesn’t suffer from rainbow effects like DLP projectors. If you’re looking for a great sub-$1K projector, this is it.

Casio XJ-V110W
• Sony VPL-DW240

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Best Portable External Drive


The ADATA SD700 is a rugged, portable external SSD that is dust proof and can stay submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for an hour. It also passes military-grade MIL-STD-810G516.6 shockproof requirements. These features are handy in a portable external SSD. Beyond its durability, it is also the speediest portable external SSD that we have ever tested.

Samsung T3

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Best Wireless router

Linksys EA9500 MAX-STREAMAC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router

The Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router is the winner because of its unbeatable combination of performance and features. On the performance front, it recorded very respectable and consistent numbers across all tested ranges. On the features front, the EA9500 router benefits from having Linksys’ excellent Smart Wi-Fi software stack. It also has a whopping 8 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports.

D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router
• TP-Link Archer C5400 AC5400 Wireless Tri-Band Mu-Mimo Gigabit Router

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Best 4K TV


A super-slim OLED TV with a clever integrated folding soundbar, the LG Signature G6 offers stunning picture quality too. Its black level and contrast performances obliterated the best LED-lit LCD TVs out there, and its support for Dolby Vision HDR means your huge investment won’t become obsolete so fast. Until HDR titles become commonplace, for everyday movie and TV watching, the G6 is hard to beat.

Panasonic Viera DX900
• Samsung KS9000 SUHD
• Sony Bravia Z9D

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Best Graphics chip

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 may be capable of blistering performance, but it has also proven itself to be a supremely power efficient card. The higher performance-per-watt figures versus the AMD Radeon RX 480, a card based on a Polaris architecture tweaked for power efficiency as well, only further cements its place as the best graphics card of 2016.

AMD Radeon RX 480 

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Innovation award

LG Gram 15

The LG Gram 15 is worthy of our Innovation Award because of its impressive design and incredible portability. Even though it is a 15-inch notebook with Full HD display and all the ports you would need, it weighs a mere 980g and at its chunkiest point, it is just 16.8mm thick. These are numbers that would put some 13-inch notebooks to shame.

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Game of the Year


Blizzard is without equal when it comes to taking a complicated genre and making it accessible. They did it with MMOs (World of Warcraft) twelve years ago, and now they’ve done it for a team-based shooter. In essence, Overwatch is a shooter where you don’t really need to be good at shooting, as it’s a game with dozens of different ways for you to successfully compete. Kudos to the designers for pulling this off without substantially limiting the skill ceiling for the best players.

Battlefield 1
• Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End 

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Best Premium Smartphone

APPLE Iphone 7 Plus

While the iPhone 7 Plus may not look that different from its predecessor, Apple has upgraded nearly everything on the phone: the display is brighter, the processor is faster, it has stereo speakers and a waterproof build, useful dual rear cameras, and a larger battery. If you can get over the lack of a headphone port, no phone offers more.

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe
• LG V20
• Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
• HTC 10, Huawei Mate 9
• Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
• Motorola Moto Z
• Sony Xperia XZ

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Best soho Color laser/led mfp


At $900, the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CM315 z isn’t cheap, but it compensates by offering a lot of features and a great performance. It prints at up to 28ppm for both mono and color, has a useful 4.3-inch touchscreen, and offers one-pass scanning through its duplex ADF. Its default 600 dpi output looks great, but it can up the game further by simulating 1,200 x 2,400 dpi.

Canon Imageclass MF729Cx
• Oki MC363dn

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Innoation Award

Sony Backlight Master Drive

In early 2016, Sony showed off a Backlight Master Drive-enabled TV capable of 4,000 nits peak brightness. While that particular prototype isn’t ready for market yet, we’ve a taste of what’s to come in the Bravia Z9D. Hitting 1,500 nits without breaking a sweat, the Z9D is arguably the best TV you can get to watch HDR. As BMD improves, it’s only a matter of time until we can have a 4,000-nit TV in our living room.

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Best Portable Gaming NoteBook


The Aorus X5 v6’s class-leading performance and slim and light chassis combine for a winning combination. It features an overclockable Intel Core i7-6820HK processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, all in a 2.5kg package. Portability is often one of the trade-offs of high performance, and the deft navigation of this relationship by Aorus helps it edge ahead of its competitors. 

Acer Predator 15
• Aftershock S-15
• Alienware 15
• Gigabyte P35X v6
• HP Omen 15
• MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro

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Best MotherBoard


The ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10 takes a zero-compromises approach to performance. Its rich feature set leaves almost nothing out, and it boasts strong overclocking performance and an impressive attention to detail in its efforts to make things easier for overclockers. From things like the dedicated OC Zone to thoughtful inclusions like 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi and five-zone RGB lighting, ASUS checks all the right boxes. 

ASRock X99 Taichi
• Gigabyte X99 Designare EX
• MSI X99A Godlike Gaming Carbon

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Best Mid-Range interchangeable lens camera

FujiFilm X-T2

The Fujifilm X-T2 consistently turned in better images with better detail and less noise than the competition in all the situations we put it in. We liked that it got both the internal upgrades from the X-Pro2 and the interface upgrades, as the focus-selector joystick certainly helps in terms of selecting focus points and in navigating menus, making it even easier to use.

Canon EOS M5
• Nikon D500
• Olympus EM-1 Mark II
• Sony A6500

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Best Aio Color inkjet Printer

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 prints at a fast rate of 24ppm in mono and 20ppm in color. Output quality is equally good, with well-formed text and graphics that don’t smudge easily. Other highlights include a 50-sheet ADF that supports one-pass, two-sided scanning, and HP Web Jetadmin, a free software product designed for easy administration of network printers.

Canon Maxify MB5470

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Best online Game


Overwatch is a complex, but accessible, team shooter that made a big impact this year. The near-future, paramilitary, pseudo-superhero world of Overwatch that Blizzard chose to tell us about was exhilarating. One of its greatest strengths is its presentation. It’s as clean and colorful as a Pixar movie (with murder), with expressive animations in every character, gun model, and ability effect. There’s no corner of any map that hasn’t been made to feel like a cohesive part of Overwatch’s politically fraught cartoon world. And oh, those Loot boxes.

Pokemon Go
• World of Warcraft: Legion

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Best 2-in-1 NoteBook

HP Spectre X360

The HP Spectre x360 is a refined 2-in-1 notebook that has very few weaknesses. It is slim and light, and since it is one of the first notebooks to embrace Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors, that has given it a slight edge in terms of performance. It also enjoys a long battery and has a wonderful keyboard.

Acer Switch Alpha 12
• ASUS Transformer 3 Pro
• Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1
• Lenovo Yoga 910

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Best Xbox One Game

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 is the culmination of Turn10 and Playground Games’ recent efforts to offer the finest racing game to date. Its impeccable level of detail, plethora of events – from the outrageous to the more grounded – and extensive roster of cars are but a few of the masterfully crafted components that make it the ultimate racing game on the Xbox One.

Fifa 17
• Gears of War 4
• Titanfall 2

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Best Professional interchangeable lens camera

Nikon D5

While the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is a great all-around per-former, the accuracy of the autofocus system in the Nikon D5 was the real distinguishing factor. There hasn’t been another camera we’ve tested that can track so accurately even in dim lighting conditions, and when you need to be absolutely sure that every image captured is in focus, that’s indispensable.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

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Best Playstation 4 Game

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4’s thematic strength is supported by technical marvels accrued through Naughty Dog’s time with the series. Facial animations are stirringly human, maps are open and gorgeous, yet level design always points you towards your goal. The entire journey is a lesson in greatness. An impeccable farewell to an iconic adventure series, Uncharted 4’s brilliant direction and unmitigated reflection will be remembered for years to come, and is bravely worthy of being the Best PlayStation 4 Game of 2016.

Dark souls III
• Final Fantasy XV
• The Last Guardian
• Titanfall 2

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InnovatIon award

Xiaomi MI MIX

The Xiaomi Mi Mix is the same size as an Apple iPhone 7 Plus, but its edge-to-edge design lets it pack a massive 6.4-inch display for an incredible 91.3 percent screen to body ratio. To achieve this, Xiaomi had to engineer a ceramic audio driver that converts electric signals to mechanical energy to convey sound waves and an ultrasonic proximity sensor placed behind the display itself!

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Best Gaming Monitor


The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q gets the edge over its competitors thanks to a combination of color superiority, build quality and an easy-to-use menu system. Thanks to that IPS screen, colors look great even from off-angles. The base is sturdy (and allows for lots of tilting, pivoting, and height adjustments) and the bezel is fairly thin, which is nice for a 27-inch monitor that’s already taking up a good deal of space.

Acer Predator XB271HU
• BenQ Zowie XL2735
• ViewSonic XG2703-GS

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InnovatIon award

Lenovo Moto Z

The Moto Z isn’t limited to itself because of the Moto Mods attachments that make up a huge chunk of its user experience. There’s also a decent selection of modules and all of them play nicely with the Moto Z device. It’s the best modular design smartphone we have seen so far, with a full hot-swappable experience - if you’re willing to pay the price.

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Best PC Game

Battlefield 1

2016 was a wonderful year for shooters, and a big reason for that is because everyone tried something different. DICE’s Battlefield 1 is a prime example of that. The franchise has been faltering for a whilenow , but the studio took its technical know-how to World War I, and focused on personal stories to do something that is fresh in this genre. The result is a brilliant game that recreates the visceral feeling of being in the war.

Civilization VI
• Doom
• Overwatch

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Best Gaming Console

PlayStation 4 Pro

The PlayStation 4 Pro is, without a doubt, the most powerful console in the world right now. Besides supporting native 4K and HDR that the original console could not, the PS4 Pro also brings along other tangible benefits such as improved framerates and visual improvements, even for older PS4 games. It’s also worth knowing that many renowned third-party developers such as Bioware (Mass Effect: Andromeda) and Kojima Production (Death Stranding) will be creating games that are best experienced on the PS4 Pro.

Microsoft Xbox One S

Text: Team HWM  / Art Direction: Ken Koh /  Pictures: Sony, Fitbit, Ricoh, Samsung ,Apple, Asus, Oneplus, Sennheiser, Nec, Adata, Linksys, LG, Nvidia, Blizzard Entertainment, Fuji xerox, Aorus, Fujifilm, HP, Microsoft Studios, Nikon, Xiaomi, Electronic Arts, Dice