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The GadgetBubble Awards 2016.

Our top picks.

Some phones wowed us, while others left us thinking about fire extinguisher locations. Here, we award the best (and worst) consumer tech of 2016. Welcome to the GadgetBubble Awards.

Best Smartphone

iPhone 7 Plus

Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is simply an all-around great phone. It has stellar cameras, great social media support, outstanding battery life, the security of iOS, and more. iPhones tend to hold their value well over time, and they frequently receive software updates for the latest features and security patches.

Best Budget Smartphone

OnePlus 3T

The OnePlus 3T offers the flexibility, power, and customizability of Android at an outstandingly cheap price point. Consumers get a powerful processor, solid build, snappy fingerprint scanner, USB-C, and a refined software experience for almost half the cost of the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s also one of the fastest Android phones money can buy, regardless of price category.

M

Worst Failure

Galaxy Note 7

The Galaxy Note 7 could have been our favorite smartphone of the year, until the device’s launch started off with a bang. Numerous reports of the device’s battery combusting surfaced, creating a lot of bad publicity for the South Korean company. Samsung conducted a recall and subsequently released a “safe” model, which was also recalled as a fire hazard. Ouch.

Best Android Flagship

Google Pixel

The Pixel is Google’s first smartphone and a step into Apple’s and Samsung’s high-end market territory. Google’s own Android OS runs more smoothly than ever, while photos taken on the Pixel are consistently stellar. When paired with the promise of software updates, this phone is likely to prove irresistible to the stock Android fan.

Best Tablet

iPad Pro 9.7″

The smartphone contest is a close race. The tablet contest, however, is easily in Apple’s favor. Apple’s iPad Pro is remarkably powerful and has one of the best displays in a tablet. Additionally, an excellent camera capable of 4K video capture, alongside Apple Pencil stylus support makes the Pro 9.7″ a creativity powerhouse. No other tablet comes close.

Beauty and Brains

Galaxy S7 Edge

The Galaxy S7 Edge is Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, not counting the discontinued Note 7. With a best-in-class display, downright gorgeous design, and perhaps the best low-light camera on a smartphone, the S7 Edge is hard to pass up. The only reason that is isn’t higher on our list is because the phone is getting a little old now, as the S7’s successor is likely just weeks away.

Best Surprise

Apple AirPods

Apple’s AirPods were met with a primarily negative reception when they were unveiled alongside the iPhone 7. Really, though, AirPods represent Apple at its best: implementing advanced technology in a wonderfully simple way that just works. They seem to stay in well, offer improved sound, and boast impressive 5-hour listening battery life.

What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credits (from top to bottom): Apple, OnePlus, Samsung, Google, Apple, Samsung, Apple.

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