Wearables is a rather new category in anyone’s Gear of the Year awards, but in our readers’ poll it became quite clear that there is really only one company whose wearable tech people want draped on their bodies: no prizes for guessing it’s Apple.
Fitbit and Pebble did well, though, clawing back at least some of the votes, but still not enough to offer a serious threat to Apple’s total dominance. Not even our own writers proved immune to Apple’s charms, as you’re about to see.
There really was no competition for the best wearable of 2015 in our reader poll – the Apple Watch won by a country mile. Maybe it’s Apple’s legendary design or the easy integration of the Watch into the lives of iPhone owners, or maybe it’s the Watch’s impressive responsiveness that has everyone staring googly-eyed at it.
Regardless, the fact remains that despite only just having arrived in South Africa and costing about as much as a high-end smartphone, the Apple Watch is easily the mostdesired piece of wearable tech around. The closest competitor attracted less than half the Watch’s vote tally.
Nick’s usually hype-proof eye for PR guff wasn’t enough to help him resist the allure of Apple’s Watch: even he succumbed to the Watch’s beauty, simplicity and the fact that “it just works”. His only criticism is around its price, which he says puts it out of reach of a lot of tech enthusiasts.
While Clinton doesn’t get on well with watches, he got on swimmingly with the Jawbone Up2. It gave him the stats he wanted, integrated into the apps he already used and was comfortable enough to sleep with so it could track that too. He says it’s not the best looking thing, though, but it works really well.
We’ve had a very good year when it’s come to gaming accessories, having seen many of the big-name companies really up their game in terms of the features, quality and functionality of the keyboards, mice, controllers and other gaming-related hardware.
But none of them came close to impressing gamers as much as Microsoft did with a redesign of what has proven an already-great controller, into one that’s even better according to our readers, and even some of our team.
Xbox Elite Controller
What do you get when you redesign a very popular gaming controller to promote better accuracy, interchangeable parts intended to suit various play styles and a high level of customisability? You get the Xbox Elite controller, an overhauled Xbox One controller.
It comes with two removable D-pads that can be switched out at will, magnetic paddles that can be set up according to the player’s preferences and hair trigger locks that give players some serious control over how they ﬁre their in-game weapons.
The new additions are so impressive, readers voted the Xbox Elite Controller their number one gaming accessory of 2015, even though it costs just shy of half the price of the console it’s intended for.
Intel 750-series PCI-e SSD
If you want to supercharge your desktop-based PC gaming, forget about a regular solid state hard drive – what you want is one of these, an SSD that uses the far faster PCI-express interface.
It’s Deon’s pick for gaming accessory of the year thanks to performance that’s up to four times faster than a regular SSD. That extra speed means less time watching loading screens, fewer seconds spent waiting for Windows to boot up or programs to load, and all-round better performance.
It may be expensive – you’re looking at over R7k for a 400GB SSD – but it’s worth it if you want a speed boost you’ll notice across everything you do with your PC.
Xbox Elite Controller
Clinton’s choice for gaming accessory of the year mirrors that of our readers. Having handled the controller extensively at this year’s rAge, he is utterly convinced it’s the best gaming controller he’s ever used.