Tech Inventions 2017: The best of this year

More than any year in recent memory, 2017 saw the launch of many gimmick-free tech products. With careful curation, here are some best picks

DJI Spark

Nobody makes consumer drones better than DJI, and the company didn’t disappoint with the Spark. While not as small or powerful as the foldable Mavic Pro, the Spark’s greatest strength is its even more compact design (the body’s smaller than a soda can). And unlike bigger drones that require complicated controllers with lots of buttons and dials, you control the Spark entirely with gesture-based hand controls, like a Jedi.

Bolt-S Magnetic USB-C cable

Along with the headphone jack on the iPhone, Apple was merciless in excising the beloved MagSafe magnetic charging port from all its newer MacBooks. Fortunately, Vinpok has revived it in the form of the Bolt-S, a magnetic USB-C charging cable. The trip-proof Bolt-S works just like a MagSafe cable did and is great for charging all devices with a USB-C port.

Beats Studio 3

Beats Studio 3 cover the three bases that make wireless headphones great: They come in a bunch of hot colors, have active noise-cancellation, and last up to 22 hours on a single charge. And with Apple’s custom W1 chip, pairing the Studio 3 to iOS devices is as hassle-free as connecting AirPods.

Google Home Mini

Google Home, the air freshener-shaped answer to Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, received a little brother in the form of the Home Mini. Like the Echo Dot, the Home Mini strips the room-filling speaker down to its bare Google Assistant essentials. At $50, Google’s smallest smart speaker does everything the larger Home does, but at a fraction of the cost.

Boosted Board Dual+ with extended battery

The best electric longboard is still king. Boosted improved on its original board with the second-generation model capable of even faster speeds of up to 22 miles per hour (Dual+). However, the real breakthrough add-on is the extended battery (sold separately), which nearly doubles the range of the board from 7 miles to 12 miles. For many riders, that could mean one charge will last a day of getting around town.

Sphero R2-D2

The original cutest robot in the entire galaxy is finally getting some tech love. With two mini BB-8 robots under its belt, Sphero moved on to tackle R2-D2. The app-controlled droid stands at 1-foot tall and is one of the most movie-accurate robotic toys ever made. It bleeps and bloops. Its little head rotates. Its third leg extends and retracts into its body, and it even falls over just like in the original films. This is definitely the droid you’re looking for.

Nuheara IQbuds

Whether you’re cranking up the volume or shutting out annoying background noise entirely, the true-wireless earbuds’ innovative augmented hearing function gives everyone a shot at a super-powered sense experience. Add an extra-long battery life and low-profile design and you have a near-flawless everyday wear for your ears.

Moment Lenses

You don’t need a point-and-shoot or a DSLR to take photos that’ll wow everyone on Instagram. All you need is a new lens to augment your phone’s camera to get more interesting shots. Currently, Moment makes the most high-quality glass for the iPhone, Pixel 2, and latest Samsung Galaxy phones. Throw on a wide-angle, ultra-wide, telephoto, or a macro lens onto your phone and you’ll notice your picture-taking skills will improve with all the new perspective.

– Compiled by Ankita Das

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