TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2017

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TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2017

Good news, everyone! We survived 2017!

Each December, the TechCrunch staff members (our writers, editors, video, and social teams) get together and make a big ol’ list of our favorite things from that year. The apps, or gadgets, or movies, or music (or really anything) we loved.

We tend to be a pretty picky bunch, and these are the things that made, and continue to make, the cut. These are the things that made our year better, and made it through to the end of 2017 right alongside us.

Tap that right arrow to proceed — or if you’re on mobile, just scroll.


Matthew Panzarino (Editor-in-Chief): Propel's Quadcopters

This special edition of the Propel Tie Fighter is the craziest collector’s kit I’ve ever seen in a toy.

It comes with an insane amount of extra stuff that manages to justify the price handily, including great controllers, extra parts and a case that doubles as a light up display stand that plays John Williams tunes so you can show it off even when you’re not flying.

The initial setup can be a bear and there are some instructions in the manual that could use re-re-re-translating, but overall it’s fun and quality.


Matthew Panzarino (Editor-in-Chief): Adidas Futurecraft

Easily the shoe of the year, in my opinion.

The Adidas Futurecraft 4D features a Primeknit upper along with a midsole printed by startup Carbon3D’s proprietary “light synthesis” process. Basically it’s 3D printed by extrusion from a vat. Light activates the material which can be nearly anything, but includes the polymer used in these shoes.

It’s the first step towards Adidas’ vision of a completely custom shoe for each buyer, and a real glimpse into the future of manufacturing.


Matthew Panzarino (Editor-in-Chief): This Is Ground Voyager 2

This is Ground has been making leather goods for a while, but only in recent years have they become really top tier when it comes to quality and execution.

The Voyager 2 has a nice bespoke pocket for an included battery pack and an external-facing organizer that makes it easy to get your devices in and out while you’re traveling. I really like the small touches like the top-accessible pouch that makes it easy to shove pocketable items in when you’re on your way through airport security.

This one has traveled to three continents with me so far and it’s holding up like a champ.


Matthew Panzarino (Editor-in-Chief): Radio Flyer Landspeeder

I mean it is what it says on the tin. It’s a surprisingly loyal recreation of one of sci-fi’s most recognizable vehicles.

They went above and beyond to include the right kind of weathering and detailing like a panel of light-up buttons that recreate vehicle and environmental sounds as well as snippets of dialog. And it’s pretty darn quick with two limitable speeds that ensure fun for older kids as well as young ones.


Matthew Panzarino (Editor-in-Chief): GOAT/StockX

Goat and StockX have been a revelation when it comes to buying hot sneakers and streetwear on the resale market. Or, if I’ve gotten lucky, selling them.

When buying, I prefer GOAT’s very clean and tasteful interface, as well as its ability to let you buy used shoes as well as new shoes. But I sell a lot on StockX, where the real-time ticker gives you a good idea of what a piece of clothing, a watch, a pair of shoes or whatever they continue to add should actually sell for (or cost you). Both of these startups are churning out the features and are growing, so you’ll have options for a while.


Darrell Etherington (Writer): B&O Beoplay e8

These are the AirPods you’re looking for – they have way better in-ear fit, much better sound (better than most wired earpods) and a great look. Plus, the carrying case itself is a pebbled leather little marvel with backup power.


Darrell Etherington (Writer): Fufijilm X100F

Fujifilm’s X100F is the best all-around camera when it comes to balancing shooting prowess with portability and image quality.

Lots of manual controls, great low-light performance, and Fujifilm’s signature, magic color rendering and film simulation modes make this a must-have travel companion.


Darrell Etherington (Writer): Kindle Oasis

Amazon’s latest Kindle is the one that has it all – long-lasting battery, a high resolution e-ink screen, waterproofing and intelligent backlighting. If you’re very serious about reading, this is the e-reader to get.


Darrell Etherington (Writer): Amazon Echo

Amazon was on a roll this year, and the all-new Echo is the best smart speaker out there as a result. It’s got the best voice recognition tech in the business, and much better sound quality than its predecessor, at a very reasonable price.


Darrell Etherington (Writer): Nintendo Switch

Best console of the year, of the current console generation, and possibly the best console ever. Nintendo has nailed it this time, after a false start with the Wii U. Just get one.


Bryce Durbin (Illustrator): Libby

This intuitive combination e-reader and audiobook app is all about reading and listening to books from your local library. Once you’ve signed in with your library card, it’s easy to find and download books and, when necessary, to place holds if there’s a waiting list.


Bryce Durbin (Illustrator): DeathBall

A retro, arcade-only game in which you and a friend play wizards who jump/fly around trying to kick a ball into your opponent’s goal. If they score, you die. Simple, crazy fun. It’s currently available in San Francisco, Cincinnati and Columbus.


Greg Kumparak (Editor): The Big Sick

I held off on watching this one for far too long. As the name implies, it’s about someone getting sick… so I thought it’d just bum me out. It ended up being one of my favorite movies of the year.  I laughed. I cried. Then I watched it two more times pretty much immediately.


Natasha Lomas (Writer): Dubble

There’s so much noise in social photo apps it’s hard to enjoy them. Dubble is different. This niche photo-blending app is actually a relaunch of a 2013 idea.

(You can read the full relaunch story here)

Safe to say Dubble has still not cracked the mainstream app code. In the meanwhile I’m still enjoying being able to remix occasional camera snaps with a bit of algorithmic serendipity that can turn banal into bizarre via the wide-eyed lens of double exposure. If only they’d called the app Stranger Things…


Brian Heater (Hardware Editor): Thor Ragnarok

I stopped seeing superhero movies in theaters three or four years ago. But Taika Waititi brought me back, and I’m glad he did.

Thor is fun and legitimately funny, with just the right amount of Zeppelin.


Brian Heater (Hardware Editor): Nura headphones

I never get excited about headphones, but Nura’s customized audio fingerprints helped me hear some of my old favorites in new ways.


Brian Heater (Hardware Editor): Twin Peaks Part Deux

Pure, untethered David Lynch is the best David Lynch. A return to form that in outpaced the original network version in a number of ways. It’s weird, frustrating, and other worldly. This is 18 hours of wonderful, gripping TV.


Brian Heater (Hardware Editor): Katy Tur's Unbelievable

I’m a political book junkie, but I’ve read a lot of bad politics books lately.

Katy Tur’s first hand account of the the Trump campaign reaffirmed my love of the genre. This is an all-time campaign book to rival Hunter Thompson.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Insight Timer Meditation

I’ve been trying to work on my mindfulness by practicing meditation every day. This app offers a simple timer with a variety of starting and ending bells. It also has a bunch of free guided meditations.

The best part is the ability to see my meditation stats, like how many consecutive days of meditation I’ve completed, number of meditations in a year, etc. Oh, and I can compete with my friends. Supes mindful.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Airpods

Wireless earphones with quality sound. Bonus points for the fact they don’t fall out while I run.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Chef'd

It’s like Blue Apron, but without the subscription nonsense.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Timepage

Beautiful and functional calendar app. It’s SO beautiful.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

Small and portable. Waterproof. Boss sound.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): LastPass

I’m really not tryna remember all my passwords that are like “Gz158glc.^3^@(!” ya know? LastPass handles that for me.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Bitmoji

They’re so cute and way more communicative than words could ever be.


Megan Rose Dickey (Writer): Maven

On demand car rental from your phone. Great for ghost-riding the whip when you don’t have your own whip.


Devin Coldewey (Writer): The Voyager Golden Record

This Kickstarter project, shipping just in time to celebrate Voyager’s 40th anniversary, is a gorgeous and thought-provoking treatment of the material that we sent into space as a message to extraterrestrial civilizations.

I can’t wait to have a listening party.


Devin Coldewey (Writer): Blue Planet II

David Attenborough, my hero, narrates the sequel to one of my favorite documentaries ever, and this one is equally amazing if not more so.

It’s so fascinating that you often forget how technically (and technologically) demanding it was to make — but the making-of portions of the series show that off too.


Romain Dillet (Writer): Airplane mode

You’re spending more time than ever using your phone.

If you’re getting tired of checking your Instagram feed, then your Facebook feed, then your Twitter feed… If New York Times push notifications make you anxious..

Just forget about your phone for a minute, put it on ‘Airplane Mode’ or ‘Do Not Disturb’, look around and talk with people next to you.


Sarah Buhr (Writer): Stranger Things

This was the 80’s nostalgia we not only wanted but needed. It called back to my childhood, Goonies and kids who could save the day.

I loved Season 1 more but Season 2 really helped solidify the friendships and gave us a better understanding of the background of several characters. Looking forward to Season 3.


Sarah Buhr (Writer): The return of Curb Your Enthusiasm

I didn’t get into this show until my husband started watching season 9. I had to backlog a lot (and tbh haven’t gotten through all the previous seasons). For those who haven’t watched, it’s hilarious. Like Seinfeld (which makes sense, as Larry David is that show’s co-creator), it’s a show about nothing and it’s wonderful.


Sarah Buhr (Writer): iPhone X

The camera on this baby, wow!

Not having touchID admittedly took some getting used to, though. Now I find myself trying to just swipe up on other phones that lack Face ID because I’m so used to it.


Sarah Buhr (Writer): Babylist

Life saver for those of us who are about to have a baby and don’t want the restrictions of just one store for our registries. You can choose from items on Babylist or add whatever you want from other stores.


Sarah Buhr (Writer): Naps!

Necessary on Sunday afternoons…and in the first trimester of pregnancy anytime. I didn’t realize how damn tired I was going to be! So glad that part is over.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr


Sarah Buhr (Writer): Sonos

I got a few of these speakers as a package when I got married and have enjoyed having them around the home. You can sync all the speakers and have the same music throughout the house or choose different music for each room. Great sound quality, too.


Travis Bernard (Director of Audience Development): SNES Classic

Nostalgia overload. My wife gave this to me for my birthday and it has been endless hours of non-stop entertainment. This is a must have for anyone that loves video games.


Travis Bernard (Director of Audience Development): Killerqueen

Killer Queen (not the song) is a 10 person multiplayer arcade game, and it’s insanely fun.

There’s no online play and it’s only available in physical arcades, so it’s a great throwback to how arcade gaming used to be.


Travis Bernard (Director of Audience Development): Godless

This was one the best original series of 2017. While the wild west is often portrayed as “the land of the bleeding rifle,” you quickly realize that it can also be the land of reinvention and new opportunity.


Travis Bernard (Director of Audience Development): Echo Show

2017 was the year I jumped into the whole smart home thing, and it all started with the Echo Show. Every few months I’ve been adding new items to make my home smarter, including smart lights, smart switches, and more Echo devices. I get one step closer to my dream of being Tony Stark every day.


Yashad Kulkarni (Head of Video): Satechi Type C Pro Adapter

Do you sit around and reminisce about those wonderful times when we had all the ports we would ever need on our MacBook Pros?

Fear not! I have a solution and it comes in the form of this very expensive USB-C adapter from Satechi.

Its expensive and there are tons of cheaper options out there but I’ve found the build quality and connections on this one to be pretty solid.

Its great for when you just want to plug in a thumb drive, need to grab photos from an SD card or plug into a monitor via HDMI. This particular model is made specifically for the newer MacBook Pros which means its aluminum matches the color of your laptop and snaps easily onto either side via the 2 x USB C connectors.


Yashad Kulkarni (Head of Video): Ostritch Pillow Mini

This little guy is made by the same company that created the bigger, dome-shaped Ostrich pillow and is an absolute travel necessity.

Small enough to pack into a carry on, it can also double as extra padded protection for delicate tech like lenses or cameras.

And its super versatile! Plop it down on a table, slip it onto your hands or elbows for a quick snooze or stuff it behind your neck for some extra support. You can even slide it on an armrest!