The world of tech continued to pushing ahead at full throttle in 2019. While most brands push to provide more powerful, sleek and useful devices, there’s also the other end featuring bizarre and scary technology. We take a look back at the tech trends of 2019, as well as the top tech of the year.
As is most often the case, the Rand-Dollar exchange had a significant impact on the price of locally-bought technologies, not to mention the negative economic and the likes. But, while our pockets have felt the pinch, the continued increased size of the middle class ultimately meant that there is still sufficient market for the latest and greatest products on our shores. We have seen a few brands – some new and some well-established names – pull out of the South African market due to the decreased sales in certain categories, as well as the result of newer, more sought-after names having replaced them. Irrespective of the market’s ever-changing landscape, the fight for territory and winning over the average South African is as fierce as it’s ever been.
In previous years, most of the latest features and improvements have come from smartphones, always pushing the boundaries with what’s possible to cram into a pocket-sized device. From the improved camera to newly introduced features, the smartphone has become a necessity for a few billion users across the globe. That said, 2019 has seen a huge change in the tech landscape, with feature-rich products now being offered across the spectrum. With a focus on daily life and routine of its users, technology has advanced to impressive levels. No longer are companies simply throwing more power behind its products, instead, thinking out the box on how to evolve to the current market where edging out a small piece of the pie, offering features users can’t easily go without is key. The world of health has also seen a great improvement, as we move into an era where tracking everything from your movement to your sleep is important as well. Going beyond this, however, with elements such as predicting when you’re stressed, tired or in the window of becoming ill will be the big push in the upcoming months. It’s both exciting and scary where we’re headed in 2020.
Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Galaxy S10 launch wasn’t the major overhaul we had witnessed on the S9 range, in terms of the design. Many people were wondering whether the update would be worth it. I can assure you that it is. The S10 range, specifically the S10+, provided sufficient updates in the firmware, provided enhanced photography, introduced new features and improved slightly on its design to not only make it a worthy successor to the popular S9 range, but good enough to still outshine the Note10 when it was launched a good 7 months later in the year. Unless the S11 (rumoured to be named the S20) can add a few new features to make the S10+ seem inferior, I can imagine the S10+ could still be a worthy purchase even after the launch of the newer model in February/March of 2020.
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL704 Gaming Laptop
One of the ever-growing landscapes in the world of tech, especially in the South African market, is that of the portable gaming machine. While I’ve reviewed many gaming laptops over the years, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL704 was by far the most powerful consumer product I’ve ever come across. With its powerful CPU and GPU, coupled with 1TB m.2 SSD and 32GB RAM, there was nothing I could throw at the unit (referring to video games) it wasn’t able to successfully play on the highest settings. If you have the cash, this is definitely the go-to unit, although it is worth noting that the updated versions are available in South Africa today.
DJI OSMO Mobile 3 – Handheld Gimble
Every so often I stumble upon a piece of tech that when I review it, it’s hard to go back to the way things were before it came into my life. The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is one such device. While I was pretty content with standard filming on my smartphone, switching out to my DLSR whenever required, the feature-rich enhancements to the standard mobile photography makes the OSMO Mobile 3 a must-have to all content creators, especially those always on the go. With its built-in gyroscope and sensors, it creates the smoothest of videos for its size and price. Coupled with the timelapse and storyboard options, the possibilities are endless.
Acer Predator Thronos – Ultimate Gaming Chair
While I wasn’t able to do a full review of the Acer Predator Thronos, I was treated to two hands-on sessions with the beast. While it is labelled as a gaming chair, it’s far surpassed that title. The rig sports a full range of motion, from the armrests to the screens and more. The Thronos includes vibration and LED lights, which sync with the different games via specific software, it provides a truely engrossing experience. The unit also includes full massage features if you’re ever in need after a long day at the office. With three 27″ 4K monitors to provide an immersive wide view in-game, along with the latest 9th-generation Intel CPU and top of the range NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPUs, the unit also packs a solid punch when it comes to gaming.
Sony Alpha 9 Mirrorless Camera
The world of photography has expanded greatly in recent years. Spurred on by the push for better mobile cameras in our smartphones, the full-body cameras have also seen a big shift towards the introduction of new features and quality. While conventional cameras focused mainly on photo resolution and quality, body and lenses, there has been a change to providing a more seamless experience for photographers, from the way in which they upload content, to the built-in assistance in each device. The Sony Alpha 9 pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, especially for a mirrorless camera, matching, if not surpassing, some of the performances previously reserved for DSLR cameras. It’s eye-tracking and auto-focus capabilities alone changed the way we point and snap, making it one of the most elite units available on the market today. With the introduction of the Alpha 9 II, things are only set to improve.
There has been quite a number of tech in the last year that has improved the experience of the average user. This is a quick summary of a few of those:
- Samsung DeX for PC – It’s new dual-boot options shows potential growth of the technology into the future.
- Nintendo Switch Lite – Ultra portable and more affordable, the console is a great alternative for gamers who don’t care too much about the dock.
- DJI OSMO Action – Gaining some ground on the GoPro series.
- Folding Smartphones – Both Samsung and Huawei launched their respective models in 2019 and while the technology is still in its infancy – with a lot of bugs to iron out – there is great potential going forward, especially if the price can be reduced.
- Hisense Infinity H30 – The unit shows what is possible at superbly affordable price. The standout midrange unit of the year.
What’s been your favourite tech of 2019?