For gaming, 2016 was truly a year of growth. The AAA space started to evolve in major ways, the indie scene produced some truly interesting gemss, and long-gestating passion projects finally saw the light of day. While there’s still much for developers and publishers to learn in practically every area of design and storytelling, this past year truly felt like a further maturation of this medium we love to get lost in, to lavish praise on, and to sometimes tear apart.

Here are some of the pieces of technology that grabbed us in 2016. The ones that pushed us to stepped back and admire how far technology has come.

To discover even more of the best tech of 2016, pick up the Best of 2016 issue.

Motospeed CK108 Mechanical Keyboard
(Reviewed by Cole Watson)

Motospeed CK108 Mechanical Keyboard (Hardware) Review 5

The Motospeed CK108 mechanical keyboard offers almost the same build quality and features as reputable brand names, for just a fraction of the price. If you’re a user who hasn’t experienced an RGB board because they always seem so expensive, or you want something that’s a better bang for your buck, the CK108 is definitely a top contender to consider when you make your next online purchase.

Lenovo Zuk Z2
(Reviewed by Brendan Frye)

Lenovo Zuk Z2 (Phone) Review 1

At the end of the day, the ZUK Z2 is an excellent phone at a fraction of the price of other flagship models. From the performance to the battery life, the Z2 feels premium. Combine that with a solid camera and a striking design, and ZUK has a winner on their hands.

Asus GL702M Gaming Notebook
(Reviewed by Cole Watson)

Asus GL702VM Gaming Notebook (Hardware) Review 27

The Asus Strix GL702M is a great gaming notebook for the student that can afford its $1399.99 price tag. Unlike previous years where notebook performance would only improve marginally, the inclusion of desktop dedicated hardware has made a substantial difference in the results of this machine.

 Roku Express Plus
(Reviewed by Cole Watson)

Roku Express Plus (Hardware) Review 4

The Roku Express Plus has access to all of the 2,500+ apps and channels offered on the Roku Platform. Whether you’re in the mood to watch movies, TV shows or anime, this device streams them all.  The Roku Express Plus may be weaker then its Streaming Stick brother, but it still delivers one of the most accessible and fluent content viewing experiences on the market.

SteelSeries Rival 500 Gaming Mouse
(Reviewed by Cole Watson)

SteelSeries Rival 500 Gaming Mouse (Hardware) Review 2

 The Rival 500 is a great eSports oriented mouse, and comes high recommended for that set. While it is more geared towards MOBA and MMO players, the Rival 500 is great feeling mouse that you can use across all titles in your Steam library, unlike the niche Razer Tarturus.