Stuff magazine recently hosted its annual Gadget and App Awards for 2016 where the HTV Vive and WeChat app were among the top winners.
The HTC Vive and WeChat app were among the top winners at Stuff magazine’s annual Gadget and App Awards for 2016, named last week.
The Vive won The Gadget of the Year award, and WeChat Wallet was named Financial App of the Year. WeChat also took home the award for overall App of the Year.
Readers of the South African edition of Stuff were asked to vote for their favourite gadgets and apps of the year via the Stuff website, and there, too, WeChat took top honours in the financial services category. Meanwhile, the Readers’ Choice Award for Gadget of the Year went to GoPro’s Hero Session action camera.
TV of the Year went to LG’s outstanding OLED65E6V display, while TV Gadget of the Year went to the DStv Explora. Watch of the Year was won by the Apple Watch Series 2, and Computer of the Year — always a hotly contested category — went to the Dell XPS 13, unseating Apple, which has dominated the category in recent years with its MacBook Pro and Air devices.
Other Gadget Award winners include the iPhone 7 Plus, which took home the Smartphone of the Year Award; Fujifilm, which secured both System Camera of the Year and Compact System of the Year honours for the X-T2 and X70 respectively; and Garmin’s Vivoactive HR, which won the award for Health & Fitness Gadget of the Year.
On the local app front, category winners included video-streaming service Showmax, which took home Entertainment App of the Year; Forgood, the winner of the Social Responsibility App of the Year award, which connects organisations and causes in need with people looking to help; and food-delivery service UberEats, which won Service App of the Year despite having only launched in the second half of 2016.
“Apps have become an integral part of consumer tech experience, so it’s only fitting we include them when recognising the best tech of the year,” says Stuff editor, Craig Wilson. “With so many developers doing such excellent work in the app space in South Africa, we expect to see twice as many categories — and nominees — this year.”
The full list of winners follows below:
Smartphone of the Year — iPhone 7 Plus
International App of the Year — Prisma
Audio Gadget of the Year — Ultimate Ears Boom 2
Action Cam of the Year — DJI Phantom 4
Headphones of the Year — AKG N60NC
Home Gadget of the Year — Samsung PT SmartCam
Health & Fitness Gadget of the Year — Garmin Vivoactive HR
Watch of the Year — Apple Watch Series 2
TV Show of the Year — Game of Thrones
TV Gadget of the Year — DStv Explora
TV of the Year — LG OLED65E6V
Streaming Service of the Year — Netflix
Computer of the Year — Dell XPS 13
Car of the Year — Tesla Model X
Design of the Year — Impossible Project I-1
Game of the Year — Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Games Console of the Year — Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
Indie Game of the Year — Inside
Mobile Game of the Year — Pokémon Go
System Camera of the Year — Fujifilm X-T2
Compact Camera of the Year — Fujifilm X70
Readers’ Gadget of the Year — GoPro Hero Session
Gadget of the Year — HTC Vive
SA App Awards
Financial App of the Year — WeChat Wallet
Entertainment App of the Year — Showmax
Social Responsibility App of the Year — Forgood
Service App of the Year — UberEats
Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets
Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.
Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.
Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps.
Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.
Vodafone Smart Kicka 4
At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.
The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018.
Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games.
Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.
Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer.
The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past.
Huawei Y3 (2018)
The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are.
Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.
Comparing the 3
All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker.
Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.
SA gets digital archive
As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive.
The southafrica.co.za site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.
Designed as a nation building, educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.
The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.
At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.
Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.
“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.
Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.