New Year 2017 Wishlist: What Gadgets 360 Staff Are Looking to Buy for Themselves – and Why

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Predictably, there’s a couple of new iPhones in there
  • VR gets a couple of shouts too
  • Gaming seems to be the most in-demand category for 2017

Now that 2017 is upon us, the talk inside the Gadgets 360 lab has shifted to things such as CES, MWC, and of course, iPhone 8 rumours. And, since we spend too much time shopping for tech, we’re also predictably talking about all the gadgets we want to buy.

For many of us, this is also a bit of a break from reality – we’ve had people in our team dream of buying an Xbox One for a couple of years before taking the plunge – but who doesn’t enjoy planning that next big tech buy?

If you’re curious about the gadgets that will be filling the Gadgets 360 office in the coming months – hopefully – then read on to see everyone’s top pick for buying in 2017.

Abhinav Lal: HTC Vive – While this will also entail a PC upgrade for me, I want to enter the world of PC gaming VR, and the HTC Vive looks like the best bet so far.

Akhil Arora: 4K HDR TV – Good 4K HDR TVs are way too expensive right now. I was lucky enough to witness the capabilities of one such TV when it landed in our office, and when Netflix showed off the high-end version. Despite the lack of content heading into 2017, I’m sold on the idea of buying one – if money was no barrier – more so because of how much TV I tend to watch.

Sony Z9D

Devika Chitnis: JBL GO – I am in dire need of a portable speaker. JBL Go has a clean design which is awesome and comes in different pop colours that make the speaker look alive. I am eyeing the orange one. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an affordable portable speaker.

Gagan Gupta: Bose QC35 – Now that I’ve said goodbye to the 3.5mm jack thanks to my iPhone 7 Plus, I need a good pair of over the ear headphones that can keep out noise, expecially on flights and cabs. While the Bose QC35 may not be every audiophile’s headphones of choice, it’s still the best when it comes to active noise cancellation, and it sounds just right with my classic rock collection.

Gopal Sathe: Zotac VR GO Backpack – I’ve been interested in VR since the Oculus Kickstarter first got off the ground. That we are finally “there” is hard to believe. That you can now put on a backpack and enjoy a (largely) mobile yet high quality VR experience is nothing short of magical. If I have the money, I’d absolutely be getting the Zotac VR GO Backpack.

zotac vr go box contents

Jamshed Avari: Geforce GTX 1070 – It really is time to get serious about tackling my Steam backlog. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but looking at the kind of performance that both Nvidia and AMD have both brought to the table this year, it’s finally time. I’m leaning towards the GTX 1070 because I want enough performance headroom to drive top-tier games at 1920×1200 pixels for at least a few years. The specific graphics card will depend on prices and availability at the time of purchase.

Ketan Pratap: Next iPhone – I have been an Android user all of my life but I guess it’s about time to go for my first iPhone. Considering this year is the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone launch, I expect the next one to come with decent changes both in terms of innards as well as design.

Kunal Dua: What Gagan said.

Naina Gupta: Next iPhone – I have heard too much about iPhone around me but never used it. I want to take experience of 3D Touch, Live Photos, and other unique features of iPhone.

Pranay Parab: Board/ Card games – I’ve been meaning to reduce screen time and spend more time with my friends and family. Card games and board games sound like a way to accomplish this, without spending obscene amounts of money at cinemas and restaurants.

We’ve all played and hated Monopoly (aka Business), but there are great alternatives such as Pandemic, Resistance, Catan, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Rebellion. I’m also planning to play funny card games such as Exploding Kittens with my friends.

Ravi Sharma: Nintendo Switch – I am not much of a gamer, but the Nintendo Switch (and its hybrid form factor) may finally be the device that pulls me into the fold. The rumoured price tag of $250-300 makes the Switch cheap enough for me to afford it, without sacrificing my budget for a mid-range laptop that I am also planning to buy in 2017.

And games such new Sonic, Mario, Dragon Quest X, Legend of Zelda titles that are expected to be released for Nintendo Switch are enough to satiate my appetite for nostalgia, while the exclusives will hopefully be engaging enough to retain me on the platform.

switch

Rishi Alwani: Project Scorpio – The PS4 Pro has a one year headstart over Microsoft’s next iteration on the Xbox One, that will remain a highly competent piece of kit in 2017. However I’m extremely curious to see how Microsoft leverages its fantastic first-party franchises, such as Forza and Halo to make full use of Project Scorpio, more so with the likes of Scalebound and Crackdown 3 on the way.

Rohan Naravane: Google Pixel 2 – It was great to see Google finally taking hardware into its own hands, and launch the Pixel phones. Since there’s been only one Pixel phone till now, there’s no guarantee if, or when, we’ll see another one. If Google does release a ‘Pixel 2’, which I’m hoping will happen around the end of 2017, then I would certainly want to buy one.

Roydon Cerejo: Manfrotto Advanced Camera and Laptop backpack – I’ve been looking to replace my Lowepro Photo Hatchback (which is still serving me brillliantly) with something that can accommodate a laptop too. This particular Manfrotto backpack seem like the prefect combination of size, versitality and price, for me anyways.

manfrotto bag backpack

Sandeep Kumar Sinha: Sony Smart TV – I need to synchronise my playlists and other streamable content on the devices I own, and, in 2017, my television should have this feature. A Sony Smart TV is a likeable product that I am looking to buy in 2017 as most of the apps I use could be mirrored and projected easily.

Sanket Vijayasarathy: PlayStation 4 – I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the PlayStation 4 for a while now. I’ve played a bunch of PS4 titles at friends’ places, but seeing as how the console is now available for around Rs. 26,000 (for the 500GB model, whenever there’s a sale on), I think the time has come for me to move on to a current-gen console.

ps4 black white

Shekhar Thakran: Tekken 7 – I still have fond memories of playing Tekken 3 as well as Tekken 5 on my Playstation 2 from several years ago. As the game franchise is finally coming to PC with Tekken 7 next year, it is a no-brainer for me. With much-improved graphics and the same old characters, nothing that can go wrong.

Shubham Verma: Microsoft Surface Studio with the Microsoft Dial – The beautiful, large-screen monitor is worth swooning over, and the Microsoft Dial takes things to another level. I keep making different art designs on my laptop, and the Microsoft Dial and Surface pen would make this so much easier. While the price will probably keep me from ever actually buying this gadget, if I had the money, the considering the features and the advanced actions enabled by them, this would be the must-buy package of 2017.

iPhone 8 Dimensions, Renders Leaked; LG Reportedly Eyeing OLED Display Orders Next Year

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 dimensions tipped at 143.59×70.94×7.57mm
  • Renders tip an edge-to-edge display
  • It is expected to be thicker than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 8 rumours have been numerous in the recent past, and today’s leak brings more information on the dimensions of the iPhone 8. Renders have also been leaked alongside, and the iPhone 8 is seen being compared to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Samsung Galaxy S8+. Furthermore, LG is reportedly eyeing OLED display orders from Apple next year, and has made a large amount of investment to ramp up its OLED smartphone display production.

First up, iDrop News cites anonymous “factory workers with intimate knowledge” to report that the iPhone 8 will measure at 143.59×70.94×7.57mm. This makes the iPhone 8 wider and larger than the iPhone 7, but smaller when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. To recall, the iPhone 7 dimensions are at 138.3×67.1×7.1 mm and the iPhone 7 Plus measures at 158.2×77.9×7.3 mm. Looking at the dimensions, the iPhone 8 is also thicker than both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone 8 Dimensions, Renders Leaked; LG Reportedly Eyeing OLED Display Orders Next Year

The report is unclear about the weight, but it is anticipated to be more than the iPhone 7 but less than the iPhone 7 Plus. The report has also leaked renders of the smartphone, based on the information it received. The iPhone 8 is seen sporting an edge-to-edge display in the front with no Home Button in the front as well. There is a small lip at the top edge of the smartphone for integrating the front camera and sensors. At the back, there is a vertical dual camera setup with the Apple logo, but no sign of a fingerprint scanner. This further cements rumours of a fingerprint scanner embedded underneath the display.

Furthermore, the iPhone 8 is also pegged against the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+. To recall, the Galaxy S8 measures 148.9×68.1×8.0 mm, while the Galaxy S8+ comes in at 159.5×73.4×8.1 mm. If the rumoured dimensions are true, the iPhone 8 will be slimmer.

A separate report from ET News claims that LG is investing huge amounts of money to become Apple’s second supplier of OLED displays next year. This year, Samsung has reportedly bagged the exclusive deal for the iPhone 8’s OLED displays, but LG is reported to be ramping up its production facilities for OLED smartphone displays, and is switching from its previous focus on TVs.

“LG Display is planning to invest about $3.56 billion (KRW 4 trillion) into P10, which is its new factory in Paju, and construct production lines for 6th generation flexible OLEDs in 2018. Although it was planning to make investments mostly on large OLEDs for TVs initially, it is currently thinking about making investments on OLEDs for Smartphones first. It seems that LG Display is planning to secure its position as the second supplier for Apple iPhone by quickly increasing its production capability of OLED for Smartphone, the report said.

LG also believes that Chinese OEMs will follow Apple’s footsteps to integrate OLED displays, so if it doesn’t bag an order from Apple, it does have other options to partake from.

One in 10 brand new cars has to go back to the garage for repairs in the first year – but what’s the most reliable motor you can buy?

HUNDREDS of thousands of new car buyers are having to return cars to their dealer with problems, a study has found.

Electrical gripes, engine woes and rattling interior trim are leaving owners frustrated with their brand new motors.

Jaguar XF

2
Almost a third of owners reported problems in the first year with their Jaguar XF

Driver Power, the UK’s biggest car satisfaction survey, found 12 per cent of owners said their car had gone wrong within the first 12 months.

And with a record-setting 2.69million vehicles registered in 2016, it could mean more than 300,000 have already developed faults and needed repairs.

Figures from the Driver Power study – which quizzed drivers on cars aged between two and 12 months – show the Jaguar XF was the car with the most issues.

Cars with most recorded faults in the first year

  1. Jaguar XF: 31%
  2. Jaguar XE: 27%
  3. Land Rover Discovery Sport: 25%
  4. Range Rover Evoque: 24%
  5. Nissan X-Trail: 22%
  6. Skoda Superb: 21%
  7. Nissan Pulsar: 21%
  8. Subaru Forester: 20%
  9. Citroen C4 Cactus: 20%
  10. Subaru Outback: 20%

A third of owners (31 per cent) said their car failed in the first year.

And there was more bad news for British makers, too, with the Jaguar XE the next worst following by the Land Rover Discovery Sport – more than a quarter of owners reported problems with both.

The car deemed most reliable over long-term ownership was the Toyota RAV4.

Top 10 most reliable cars

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Skoda Yeti
  3. Audi Q3
  4. SEAT Leon
  5. Lexus RX
  6. Kia Cee’d
  7. Lexus CT
  8. Suzuki Vitara
  9. Lexus NX
  10. Volvo XC60

Dodgy reliability of new vehicles is supported by the record number of contacts The Motor Ombudsman has received for its dispute resolution service.

In the first four months of 2017, it saw a 45 per cent rise in disgruntled customers get in touch compared to 2016.

And the top reason for an owner to contact The Motor Ombudsman related to the quality of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Holly McAllister, head of customer service and quality at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Case volumes as a proportion of contacts remain low which demonstrates the great efforts that all parties are going to in order to resolve any disagreements before needing formal adjudication which is very encouraging for all involved.”

Land Rover Discovery Sport

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A quarter of Land Rover Discovery Sport owners had early issues

Amazon India Says It Has Doubled Its Seller Base in Less Than a Year

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amazon has crossed two lakh digital entrepreneurs-mark in just four years
  • It has also done partnerships with several national and state government
  • This will open online opportunity for thousands of Indian artisans

Amazon India on Tuesday announced it has crossed two lakh digital entrepreneurs-mark in just four years of its operations and in less than a year of crossing the one lakh seller-count last July.

“This fast pace of adoption of the Amazon India marketplace by retailers – online and offline as well as first generation digital entrepreneurs – has come on the back of various unique, India-first innovations like feet on street teams, self-service registration, Chai Cart and Tatkal that helped take this digital opportunity to lakhs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in tier II and tier III geographies,” the e-commerce major said in a statement.

Amazon India Says It Has Doubled Its Seller Base in Less Than a Year

The statement added that partnerships with several national and state government bodies was helping unlock this online opportunity for thousands of Indian artisans, weavers and craftsmen in the country.

 

“We have not only introduced Indian sellers to our globally successful offerings for sellers…but have constantly innovated specifically for Indian sellers to address their unique challenges,” said Gopal Pillai, Director and General Manager, Seller Services, Amazon India.

“Our teams have done an admirable job focusing on our core seller experience, seller enablement and seller success. The fast-paced adoption of our marketplace by sellers speaks volumes of their trust in us to help them grow and succeed,” he added.

Global platinum supply likely to fall 2% this year

Overall platinum supply is projected to fall by two per cent year-on-year to 7,330 kilo ounces (koz) in 2017, with both primary and secondary supply expected to decline.

According to the World Platinum Investment Council’s (WPIC)’s publication Platinum Quarterly for the March quarter of 2017, the global demand for platinum is projected six per cent lower (at 7,795 koz) than last year’s demand  but the demand-supply gap has fallen 82 per cent, while above ground stock is down three per cent. India’s demand for platinum in the jewellery sector is rising. WPIC said the demand was highest in 2016 with 11.5 per cent increase to 245 koz. Paul Wilson, chief executive officer, WPIC, said, “India’s jewellery demand is expected to grow even faster in 2017.”

Automotive demands, where the white strong precious metal is used as an auto catalyst in converters to reduce carbon emission, fell in 2016 by six per cent to 165 koz. India’s demand for the metal is five to six per cent of the total global demand, and a chunk of it comes from the jewellery and automobile sectors.  The metal is used in laboratory instruments and also has some other industrial uses.

“The full-year forecast for automotive platinum global demand is 3,405 koz, down from 3,435 koz in 2016. Despite the loss of diesel share in smaller cars in Western Europe and India, diesel is expected to retain much of the medium and larger car market, at least in the short to medium term,” the report said.

About auto sector demand, the council said, “In India, there are signs that automakers are stopping production of the diesel versions of some of their smaller cars, as diesel loses ground to gasoline. However, with implementation of the GST, this may boost consumer confidence and drive up sales, or the confusion may lead consumers to postpone purchases beyond 2017. These downside risks are likely to affect small cars more than larger ones, so the diesel impact is lessened.”

So far as investment in platinum in India is concerned, the market is yet to develop. India may now see some traction because WPIC has tied up with Muthoot Exim, the precious metals division of the Muthoot Pappachan Group, to launch India’s first platinum deity products.

Paul said, “Today platinum investment is an underexploited market in India, but based on the recent history of growth in jewellery and opportunities we are developing with partners in India, the platinum investment market in India has great potential.”

Global platinum supply likely to fall 2% this year

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition With 4K Support Coming This Year, Beta Signups Open

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Interested players can join the beta for the game
  • All civilisations from original game will be available in new entry
  • The game features both single player and multiplayer modes

In terms of visual fidelity, video games might have taken giant leaps in last two decades but very few games can match the nostalgia of playing Age of Empires on old-school computers back in the day. Seems like this nostalgia will soon be getting a resolution fix as at E3 2017 in the US on Monday, Microsoft announced during PC Gaming Show that the remastered version of the game – called Age of Empires: Definitive Edition – will be coming to Windows 10 PCs later this year in UHD.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will allow users to play the real-time strategy game from Microsoft Studios in up to 4K resolution and will feature upgraded art assets and a brand-new narrative. The remastered version of the game will feature hundreds of new as well as rebuilt sound effects.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition With 4K Support Coming This Year, Beta Signups Open

In terms of game modes, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will come with both single player and multiplayer modes. Additionally, there will be a classic mode that will provide users with the gameplay from the original series. Gamers will be able to play all the civilisations from the original Age of Empires and the Rise of Rome expansion as well, as per a post by game developer Forgotten Empires.

The game will be coming later this year but those who are interested can join the beta via the Age of Empires: Definitive Edition official website. Interestingly, Microsoft mentioned that this announcement is just a start and it will be rolling over to company’s Gamescom event, where some more information will be shared regarding the franchise. In all likelihood, this can be considered as a tease for the next entry in the game series.