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Stuff Gadget Awards 2017

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Welcome, one and all, to the Stuff Gadget Awards 2017.

Yes, it's time for us to once more host the gadget equivalent of the Oscars, dishing out prizes for 2017’s finest phones, most creative computers, flashiest cameras and much more.

We've tested well over 400 gadgets, games and apps in the past 12 months as part of our constant quest to help you spend your money wisely. So we should know what we're talking about.

Time to put your tux on…

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Smartphone of the Year 2017: Samsung Galaxy S8

Let’s hear it for the champ. Such is the Galaxy S8’s brilliance, every other phone this year has been playing catch-up with it. Even now, nothing quite compares to this gorgeous mesh of glass and metal.

What makes the S8 such a stunner? It’s staring you right in the face. That 5.8in Infinity Display is just a gorgeous way to Instagram, flit across your inbox, and indulge in Amazon Prime Video’s latest and greatest.

Add to this an awesome point-and-shoot camera, all the speed you’ll ever need and an all-round design that’s tempted many an iPhone owner over to the Android side, and you’ve got a bona fide phone of the year. The only problem for Samsung: How will it ever top this beauty?

The runners up

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Budget Smartphone of the Year 2017: Honor 9

It’s long been true that you don’t have to lay down top dollar to own an awesome phone. The only flaw in this master plan? That same blower is almost guaranteed to resemble a knock-off iPhone. Personality comes at a price, you see. Or at least it did before we laid eyes on the Honor 9.

An all-glass thing of marvel, this sub-£400 wonder ranks alongside Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the iPhone X as one of the most striking phones to be released this year. Its curved, laser-cut back really is an awesome thing to behold. Add to this a fab dual-lens camera, a super-powerful processor and a slick take on Android, and you’ve got yourself a bargain that’s well worth flaunting.

The runners up

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App of the Year 2017: Affinity Photo

Photoshop on your iPad. That’s all you need to know about the audacious Affinity Photo. And although not literally Photoshop (it is, after all, by Serif rather than Adobe), it has everything you need, bringing properly professional image-editing to mobile.

Although the screen’s dotted with icons and toolbars, this is an approachable app, and it feels transformative whether you’re making subtle adjustments to photos or working up digital paintings from scratch.

Dials are twiddled and live effects fired from your fingertips. Anyone wedded to one-tap filters might be flummoxed; but for anyone who’s done with being chained to a Mac or PC to improve their pics, it’s just about perfect.

The runners up

  • Procreate
  • Brian Eno: Reflection
  • Plotagraph+
  • Tinycards
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Mobile Game of the Year 2017: Euclidean Lands

This beautiful puzzler wears its influences on its twisted sleeve. The minimal aesthetic evokes Monument Valley, and the turn-based mechanics are reminiscent of Hitman GO’s challenges. But in combining the two, wrapping everything around floating Rubik’s Cubes, and adding plenty of stabby violence, Euclidean Lands becomes a modern mobile classic.

In each level, the aim is simple: kill the enemies and reach the exit. But with the landscape constantly evolving, foes moving of their own accord, and bosses able to twist the cube how they see fit, this is anything but easy. Occasionally it does get a bit too brain-smashy, but the game’s so terrific that every defeat only makes you more determined.

The runners up

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Readers' Smartphone of the Year 2017: Samsung Galaxy S8

Did we really think this category would be won by anything other than the Galaxy S8? No, we didn't. But we went ahead and held a vote anyway, which duly saw you lot vote in your droves for Samsung's curvy wonder.

It was never even a close-run thing, with nearly 45% of voters naming it their phone of the year, way way way ahead of the iPhone 8 Plus in second. With the iPhone X about to hit shops and Google's Pixel line now looking like proper contenders, next year might be harder to call. But right now, the S8 reigns supreme.  

The runners up

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Games Console of the Year 2017: Nintendo Switch

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how the Switch was going to be an all-conquering success, but we’re not about to claim we saw this one coming.

After the Wii U proved about as good an idea as a snap General Election, the omens were particularly foreboding for this hybrid console. Then came Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and soon enough you couldn’t find the blasted thing in stores for love nor money. It was almost as if Nintendo knew what it was doing all along.

With Super Mario Odyssey now here too and Wolfenstein II and Metroid Prime 4 set to appear on Switch in the not too distant future, who cares whether this console became a smash hit by design, accident or a little bit of both?

The runners up

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Game of the Year 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There was no squabbling over the Game of the Year award – we left this one to you, the readers, and you voted as we would’ve done: for the latest The Legend of Zelda game.

Scrapping the traditional linear adventure, Nintendo created a massive open-world Hyrule for us to play within. With majestic sights to see, piggish grunts to slay and an incredible quest that would raise goosebumps under our armour, 2017 was definitely best spent playing Breath of the Wild rather than fretting over Trump and Kim Jong-un’s apocalyptic squabbles.

But it’s the subtle things that have made this game such a success, including the transcendent soundtrack and Link’s amusing humming as he cooks up a tasty treat. Simply wonderful.

The runners up

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TV Gadget of the Year 2017: Sky Q

It’s been a big year for Sky Q. Both Virgin’s V6 and BT’s YouView+ Ultra HD have come along aiming to oust it as the one and only box sitting under your television. But, be it through lack of content or confusing menu systems, neither quite managed to cut the mustard.

Just in case anyone thought this was a close-run contest, Sky Q decided to further cement its top-dog status by adding voice search and support for Dolby Atmos sound systems. So whether you’re watching Game of Thrones, one of the many blockbusters on Sky Cinema or Liverpool’s defence embarrassing itself yet again, Sky Q is the telly gadget for the job.

We can’t wait to see how it gets even better in 2018.

The runners up

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TV of the Year 2017: Sony KD-55A1 OLED

Usually when a product arrives with an incredible gimmick, it’s a distraction from many other shortcomings. So when we heard Sony’s first ever OLED would have no in-built speakers, and saw its stunning picture-frame design, we weren’t holding out a lot of hope for its picture quality. You know, the actually important thing about a telly.

And yet… after we tested the A1, it shot straight to the top of our Top Ten and has retained that place ever since. Not only is this the finest 4K HDR TV you can get your hands on – it also has a load of awesome tricks up its sleeve to boot. Basically it’s a gadget wizard, and that’s more than alright by us.

The runners up

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Streaming Service of the Year 2017: Netflix

Compared to last year, when both Tidal and Apple Music flung out exclusive after exclusive, 2017 has not been the most revelatory time for streaming services. Still, if you’re wondering which subscription gives the most entertainment per pound, the answer is unquestionably Netflix.

Spotify arguably does a smarter job with recommendations, but it’s Netflix’s roster of exclusive shows and movies such as OkjaStranger Things and Ozark that makes it essential. Plus, the way that almost every TV, phone and console supports its app means you have absolutely no excuse for missing any of them. Except for Sense 8, of course. Trust us, you can happily skip that one. No problem.

The runners up

  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Now TV
  • Spotify
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Fitness Tracker of the Year 2017: Fitbit Alta HR

Let’s face it, most people who buy a fitness band do so with the intention of taking it off as soon as humanly possible. Partly because chips and burgers are delicious; mainly because they were never that into exercise in the first place. But with heart-rate tracking alongside week-long battery life and the ability to discern what kind of exercise you’re doing, Fitbit’s Alta HR is the perfect motivator for layabouts with an inferiority complex.

Knowing this, Fitbit’s app is attuned to make you feel good about being healthy, with easy-to-grasp achievements and reminders to ensure you get back to it after a day or so of slacking. However long the Alta HR stays on your wrist, it’ll make for a welcome companion.

The runners up

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Smartwatch of the Year 2017: Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS)

Yes, we picked the one that can’t make phone calls. Why? Because you probably don’t need a smartwatch that’s capable of such a thing. In all likelihood, the standard-issue Watch Series 3 will do you just fine – and that’s an understatement.

With Apple’s new S3 chip powering it, plus the GPS and waterproofing skills of its predecessor, this Watch does pretty much everything you’d want it to without asking you to sign up to a brand new ‘phone’ contract.

Most importantly, it’s a truly great fitness buddy that provides accurate workout stats however you prefer to exercise. Add to this near-seamless integration with your iPhone and you’ve got the best smartwatch going by far.

The runners up

  • Garmin Fenix 5
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Samsung Gear S3 Classic
  • Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
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Car of the Year 2017: Tesla Model X

Before they were co-opted for the middle-class school run and their planet-bothering emissions became troublesome, 4x4s used to be cool. They were the cars you could drive anywhere. Then Janet and Gothrey from Flat 6 got one, and their mystique was eradicated. That is, until Tesla’s Model X came along.

Aside from doing wonders for your sense of moral superiority, this all-electric 4x4 has the je ne sais quoi its petrol-powered brethren have been missing for years – be that through its gorgeous glassy build, its assorted autopilot skills or those gurn-inducing gullwing doors. This thing is as happy in the Outer Hebrides as it is honking at Gothrey for parking across your bay. The dullard.

The runners up