2016 Alex's Favorite Tech

Everyone at Android Central has spent an amazing amount of time with mobile technology, accessories and gear throughout 2016. The goal is simple: use all of this stuff, find out what works the best and let you know the merits of what we determine to be the cream of the crop. 2016 was a fantastic year for new technologies to be released but also for older ones to mature.

Whether you're looking to buy for someone else or just get the best of the best for yourself this holiday season, here are my personal picks for my favorite tech of the year. It starts with phones, but goes so much further: accessories, smartwatches, headphones, fitness products and even some non-mobile gear. Read on and see what I've enjoyed in 2016.

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

This holiday season, give the gift of not exploding. Samsung's least incendiary flagship looks great, has arguably the best display of any Android phone, an enormous battery and one of the best cameras. You can expand the onboard storage with a microSD slot, and it also supports wireless charging so you don't need to worry about plugging in to juice up. And should literal, not metaphorical juice become involved, it's also water-resistant.

From $769 Buy Now

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3T

The OnePlus 3T comes shockingly close to rivaling most Android flagships, with the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB of RAM and an excellent 16MP optically-stabilized camera — at a criminally insane price of $439. The software's clean and fast, and it's in line for a refreshing to Android Nougat in time to cure the New Year's hangover.

$439 Buy Now

ASUS Chromebook Flip

It's a bad time to be buying a straight-up Android tablet, so there's a strong case for saying the ASUS-made Chromebook Flip is the most capable Android "tablet" you can buy right now. You get laptop-level internals for $259, along with the ability to run Android apps. And, of course, the eternal gratitude of your giftee.

$259 Buy Now

Samsung Gear VR

Google's Daydream may be the more up and coming VR platform, but Samsung's Gear VR is well established, and the only game in town if you're using a Samsung phone. Escape an increasingly terrifying and indeed doomed planetoid this holiday season by embracing the Gear VR's great ecosystem of VR content. What better way to drift into a post-holiday food coma?

$99 Buy Now

Chromecast Ultra

This is the Chromecast to buy if you've got one of those fancy new 4K TVs. Even if you haven't, a little bit more cash upfront will future-proof your streaming setup, and give you better connectivity than older Chromecasts, which stream at 1080p. You might as well mail the pixels to your eyes. So get an Ultra instead.

$70 Buy Now

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon's Echo Dot is the cheapest, easiest way to kick-start your connected home, with tiny cylinders of Internet-driven intelligence. Buy a few and dot them around your home. (Get it?) Get an extra one to keep as a faithful companion. Gently caress it each time you pass through the room, knowing it awaits your beck and call.

We're not judging, but your family members might. But they don't matter. Now you only care for your Amazon Echo Dot.

$49 Buy Now

Huawei Watch

The Huawei Watch (or Huatch, as we've taken to calling it), is the best looking Android Wear smartwatch available right now. Functionality is the same as all those other Android watches — including an update to Android Wear 2.0 next year — but you'll look so much more shuave with your Huatch.

$246 Buy Now

Samsung Gear S2

The new Gear S3 is all well and good, but if you're after a smaller watch that won't look like a dinner plate on your arm, the Samsung Gear S2 is a great buy. Samsung isn't discontinuing the wrist computer it debuted last year, but it is offering it at a substantial discount, so you can get basically all the S3's features at a considerable markdown. Works best with Samsung phones, but it won't judge you if you use it with something else. (We think.)

$229 Buy Now

Acer Chromebook R13

A step above the Chromebook Flip, the Acer R13, and it's a tier above the Flip, making it ideal for someone you love a little bit more than the person you bought the Flip for. It's sturdy and well built, and addition to beefier specs than other Chromebooks, it's also well equipped to handle Android apps from Google Play.

$399 Buy Now

Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC

Want to charge the everloving crap out of your devices? The Anker PowerCore 10000 QC has enough juice for multiple recharges of even the most capacious of gadgetry, along with Quick Charge 3.0 support to ensure maximum energization with minimal messing around. Also features snazzy blue lights, which frankly are worth the $24 asking price alone.

From $24 Buy Now

SanDisk 256GB microSD

Because we live in the future, you can store a quarter terabyte of own personal nonsense on something the size of a fingernail. Such is the black magic of the microSD card, which you can stuff in your phone, your camera or your laptop. This SanDisk card is also one of the speediest around, because a future person like you has no time to waste waiting for bits to transfer.

$70 Buy Now

OnePlus Messenger Bag

Turns out OnePlus also makes a pretty good bag. Store your various possessions in this surprisingly stylish messenger bag, which has enough space for a 13-to-14-inch laptop, a bunch of cables, power banks, a tablet and any other bits and bobs you might want dangling from your person. There's also a leather version available for $100, if you want to get all fancy.

From $50 Buy Now