It’s that time of year again when we round up the top tech of the year, noting those that have made the greatest impact.
While there were quite a good variety of devices launched in South Africa in 2018, the most notable performers would definitely come from the smartphone segment. While 2017 saw a significant change in the face of the smartphone, with large, bezel-less screens, 2018 introduced a slew of new features, which included upgraded cameras and batteries, as well as the introduction of new software features.
While the Rand rallied at the start of the year, it continued to put pressure on South Africans and the affordability of the latest luxury items. The most obvious sign of the struggling Rand was the price of the Apple iPhone Xs Max 512GB, at a whopping R31,999.
That said, apart from the basic resources, if there’s one thing South Africans love is the latest and greatest tech, regardless of the cost. As such, a few categories have continued to perform well in terms of sales, most notably the gaming laptop and smartphone markets.
Top 5 Tech
5. Fitbit Charge 3
One of the most eagerly anticipated devices for 2018 thanks to the overwhelming success of the Fitbit Charge 2. The introduction of a touchscreen interface, along with improvements across the board, has made this another must-have fitness tracker in 2019. Fitbit Charge 3 Review
4. Skyworth G6 Android TV
Over the years I’ve reviewed many Smart TVs, many of which were limited to a handful of pre-installed apps. Even the few that have an app portal aren’t able to match the number of available apps provided by Google TV, on which Skyworth’s G6 TV is built upon. In addition, the introduction of a Bluetooth remote with integrated microphone and the Bluetooth gamepad makes this a truly smart, Smart TV. Skyworth G6 Android TV Review
3. Acer Predator Helios 500
The Helios 500 was the first gaming laptop we reviewed, which included the latest Intel® Core™ i9 CPU and coupled with the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 and 256GB M.2 SSD, the unit was more than capable of delivering some of the best mobile gaming performances we’ve seen over the years. Acer Predator Helios 500 Review
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung pushed the smartphone market to another level when it introduced the Galaxy Note 9. With a host of features to back up the claim as the most complete smartphone, it’s S Pen, as well as the now built-in DeX support, the unit delivered some great performances. Battery life was nothing short of amazing, easily lasting into a second day, even when playing a few games and hitting social media apps throughout the day. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review
1. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 took the smartphone game to new heights in 2018, Huawei improved on quite a number of features in comparison. While it may not offer as complete a software package as that of the Note 9, the improved camera and the introduction of the Wireless Desktop Mode was nothing short of impressive. It was a tight call in the end, but the Mate 20 Pro just shaves this one, beating everyone to the title of this year’s top tech of 2018. Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review
While it may not be outright tech, in the conventional sense, the introduction of the Rain Mobile network has been a relief for many South Africans simply looking for a solid data plan. While you won’t be hitting record-breaking speeds, or anywhere near it, the broad coverage, affordable uncapped packages and easy to operate dashboard definitely makes it stand out from all the other operators in 2018. Rain Mobile Review
Huawei P20 Pro
It may have fallen by the wayside as the year progressed, but let’s not forget that the Huawei P20 Pro set the early benchmark when it came to the camera capabilities a smartphone can produce, introducing the world to its brilliant triple camera. It’s not the first triple camera to have been bolted onto a smartphone, but at the time, it was the best that was produced with the backing of Leica. The image results were amazing. Huawei P20 Pro Review
Xqisit ANC Wireless Headphones
While the likes of Apple’s Beats 3 Wireless Headphones may outshine in its class, the Xqisit ANC Wireless Headphones proved that it is capable of matching certain aspects of the wireless headphone game with a device that costs less than half that of the Beats 3. Xqisit ANC Review
Logitech G903 and Powerplay
There were some technical questions that remained unanswered, mainly involving the proprietary implementation of the Logitech G903 and Powerplay pairing, but it brought something new to the market. Being able to wirelessly charge your gaming mouse as your use it and bringing the receiver closer to the action made for some pretty impressive and accurate results. No doubt we’ll see a lot more movement in this space in 2019 from other manufacturers, but Logitech has the early advantage on this one. Logitech G903 and Powerplay Review
Sony Xperia Touch
With the Xperia Touch, Sony proved that there are quite a few untapped markets when it comes to Android-based devices. This virtual touchscreen projector was a fun testament to that fact, which presented a few new ways of enjoying your smart device. Moving from a flat-top surface to work on, then switching it up into projector mode to enjoy a movie, all the while still being semi-portable, made this quite a unique device. There are still a few kinks to work out, as is the case for any newly introduced device, but it may just have been a once-off. There’s a lot to love about the Xperia Touch. Sony Xperia Touch Review