In no particular order, this list celebrates some of the coolest tech releases this year. These items may be expensive but put them on your Christmas lists anyway and if you’re on your best behaviour Santa may just get them for you. This isn’t necessarily a wishlist for tech lovers but, for me at least, I wouldn’t say no to any of the items here.
- 2015 Macbook:
Though the new Macbook has some questionable design choices; I’m looking at you 480p webcam but it’s hard to deny that the ultra-thin notebook is a marvel of technology. Sporting Intel’s newest Broadwell based Core M processor; the laptop is completely passively cooled, quite an achievement considering the performance it packs under the hood despite the processor’s low power design. In their quest to create one of the thinnest notebooks, Apple decided that traditional batteries weren’t good enough for them. They instead broke the battery down into smaller cells to allow it to fit into the tiny chassis. The traditional switches on the keyboard had to go too, though I was skeptical at first the new scissor switch design is a joy to type on. The last of the new additions is the USB type-C charging and data transfer port, though Apple should have included more than one port, it’s a strong statement on the future.
- Steam Machines:
This entry I technically a collection but Valve’s new Steam Machines are built by hardware partners in a similar way to how AMD and Nvidia license their video card designs. Valve, the unofficial ruler of the PC marketplace, decided that consoles have had their time and decided that it’s time to usurp their hold on the living room. They developed a specialised Linux distribution, based on Debian, built to play the latest games and with a user interface that is a joy to use on a TV. Having teamed up with partners like Alienware and Asus, Valve have produced PCs the size of consoles with the ability to play and stream games like we’ve never seen before. Despite the initial frame rate problems, I’m sure this entry will take off.
- Moto 360 2:
Smartwatches have been around for a while now and though the Moto 360 2 isn’t the biggest release of this year, I feel it’s certainly the most complete feeling and pleasant to use. Android Wear is intuitive and welcoming and links easily to your smartphone, whether it’s Android or Apple. The Apple Watch could have been here if it didn’t feel like a tech demo and didn’t cost upwards of £300. Motorola have managed what Apple could not; the 360 has an ‘always on’ watch face, good battery and snappy performance. Perhaps the next iteration of the Apple will succeed but their design philosophy will have to change.
- Remote Control Drones:
Remote control planes and helicopters have been replaced by drones. They are easy to fly, with either a specialised remote or with Bluetooth linked to a smart device. There’s just something cool about flying a drone around. Just don’t spy in people’s windows. Many people have been, strapping GoPros to them to take some fantastic high altitude landscapes. If you get the chance to fly one, don’t pass it up.
Segways are so last year, apparently. Gyroscopically controlled personal transport devices had a down-sizing this year in a fantastic Back to the Future style. There are a few variants, one wheeled or two but their purpose remains the same; letting you get around with a smug look on your face. That’s what that one guy that wheeled past me at the Library has led me to believe. Full recommendation from me, give them a go if you get the chance.
[Image:Alison Cassidy, image hosted on Wikipedia]