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Top Tech of 2015: People’s Choice Awards

Over the past few days, we’ve named Yahoo Tech’s top products of the year, based on hands-on reviews we’ve done over the past year, and a lot of arguing.

Now it’s your turn. Over the last month, we surveyed nearly a thousand regular Yahoo Tech readers, asking them to pick their favorite tech products in seven categories, from best smartphone to top technology and top tech person of the year.

In several cases (but far from all of them), our readers agreed with our choices. Here’s what you had to say about which products captured your attention this year.

Best Smartphone of 2015

Our pick: Apple iPhone 6s
Your pick: Apple iPhone 6s

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The phrase “great minds think alike” applies here, as our editors and readers both chose Apple’s latest, greatest handset as their top choice. We liked the new iPhone’s faster processor, 12-megapixel camera, Live Photos feature (which turns still images into 3-second mini-movies), and new 3D Touch technology, which gives you different options depending on how hard you press the screen.

Nearly half the readers who picked a favorite smartphone in our survey chose the iPhone 6s, and for similar reasons.

“I voted for the iPhone 6s because it’s the best in comparison to past iPhone designs,” says iPhone 6s owner Leslie H., who works for a marketing firm in Plano, Texas. “It’s faster, I am obsessed with the rose gold color, and the Live Photos feature? Fuggedaboutit.

Best Computer of 2015

Our pick: Dell XPS 13 laptop
Your pick: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch, Microsoft Surface Book (tie)

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In our estimation, the best computer to appear this year was Dell’s beautifully designed, surprisingly lightweight XPS 13. This svelte, Windows 10-based machine makes Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air look portly by comparison.

That’s not how our readers saw things, however. Their top two choices were the Microsoft Surface Book and Apple’s ubiquitous MacBook Air, which ended up in a statistical dead heat.

Best Game of 2015

Our pick: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Your pick: Fallout 4

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2015 has been a great year for games, which made choosing the very best one a challenge. After a lot of deliberation — and hundreds of hours of game play — we chose The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which combines a sprawling, open-world fantasy adventure with a compelling narrative. But The Witcher was just a hair ahead of the long-awaited cult favorite Fallout 4, and the surprisingly spunky car-soccer game, Rocket League.

Our readers saw no such uncertainty, opting for Fallout 4 by a huge margin. Just about half of our gaming aficionados picked this post-apocalyptic role-playing game, with Metal Gear Solid V a distant second. The reason?

“The game play is unreal, and the graphics are electrifying,” says Igor S., who works for a financial services firm in New York. “I don’t own a copy of Fallout 4, but my friend does, and I can play his game for days.”

Best Smartwatch of 2015

Our pick: Samsung Gear S2
Your pick: Apple Watch

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We liked the Android-powered Samsung Gear S2, thanks in large part to its innovative interface, which features a rotating bezel that makes it easy to access apps and change settings.

But our readers had other ideas. They preferred the Apple Watch by a margin of more than 3 to 1 over the Gear S2. Tellingly, though, about half of our readers had no opinion, confirming the premise that smartwatches still have a way to go before they hit the mainstream.

The main draw of the Apple Watch appears to be Apple itself. “I voted the Apple Watch as the best because I love the Apple ecosystem and how seamlessly every device works together,” says Dustin B., who works for North Carolina State University in Raleigh-Durham. He adds that while he does not yet own an Apple Watch, it is on his Christmas list (in case any friends or relatives are reading this).

Best Tablet of 2015

Our pick: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Your pick: Microsoft Surface Pro 4

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When Microsoft introduced its new Surface Pro 4 tablet in October, we were suitably impressed. It offers a terrific-looking 12.3-inch screen, a fast processor, an optional keyboard that’s actually pleasant to use, and Windows 10 built-in. Choosing it as tablet of the year was a no-brainer.

The Surface 4 easily outdistanced the competition among our readers as well, earning nearly 40 percent of the vote from readers who expressed a preference. Trailing 10 points behind was the Apple iPad Pro, the company’s new, perhaps too large, slate.

Best New Technology of 2015

Our pick: USB-C
Your pick: Motorola’s shatterproof screen

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Our choice for the most innovative technology of the year was a simple jack — but don’t let that fool you. The USB-C port will have a profound impact on nearly every device we think of as digital, creating a single connector that handles both data and power, and enabling for the first time a universal power charger you can use with virtually any device.

For readers, though, the most groundbreaking technology is a phone that won’t break when it hits the ground. That’s why they voted for the Motorola Droid Turbo 2’s amazingly tough Moto Shattershield screen, which emerged unscathed from a series of drops and torture tests.

“I work in a school where I often drop my phone,” says Samantha J., a special education supervisor in Lyons, Ill., who owns an iPhone but is thinking of switching to an Android model. “Phones are so expensive to begin with, so if you have a shatterproof screen, it helps with durability and longevity.”

Tech Person of the Year

Our pick: Elon Musk
Your pick: Elon Musk

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Yahoo Tech’s pick for person of the year was an easy one: Few figures in tech have had a greater influence than Musk on a wider range of industries, whether it’s electric cars, commercial space flight, or super-high-speed transit systems.

Given a choice between five worthy candidates — including Apple’s Angela Ahrendts, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, T-Mobile’s John Legere, and U.S. CTO Megan Smith — more than half of our opinionated readers also opted for Musk.

“As cool as Tesla or SpaceX are, I’m most interested in the Hyperloop Test Track,” says Ted Y., who lives in California and works for the federal government. “As someone who frequently travels between Northern and Southern California, I think an efficient, high-speed way to get between the two regions would be great.”

See? Great minds often do think alike.

The best (and worst) of Dan Tynan can be found on Twitter.

Check out Yahoo Tech’s other ‘Best of 2015’ stories: