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Design of the Year 2016

Awards Winner
There are plenty of existing Polaroid cameras still in the world, all of which owe their continuing functionality to the Impossible Project, which rescued the original manufacturing machines from a Dutch crusher and markets film cartridges (new) and cameras (refurbished) to enthusiasts. But this year, Impossible realised its dream by releasing an entirely new camera. Indeed, the first Polaroid-style ‘instant’ format camera to be launched in over 20 years, and this one has a bang-tidy matt black finish and lens-surrounding LED ring flash. It also has Bluetooth and a phone app, for remote triggering, manual settings and creative craziness such as double exposures. But the basic instant fun is there: the click and buzz of the mechanism followed by the extruded, obscured photo and the waving it about to make it develop. But remember, as with Polaroid cameras of yore, those prints aren’t free like digital.

The runners up

Yes, you could buy a standard Kindle and have enough change for 20 bestsellers to read on it. But then you feel the Oasis’s light materials and magnetic battery case, and you're sold on this one.

Deconstructing record player fundamentals such as ‘having a place to put the record’ is the kind of design drama Kickstarter was made for, and the radical Sfera is now on its way to production.

Leica surprised us by launching the £215 Sofort instant camera this year, but its super-manual, displayless digital is too good an example of money-be-damned design to pass up.

We haven’t been so excited about a PC form factor since the Sony Vaio UX. Even if the Yoga Book’s haptic keyboard and real pen input turn out to be gimmicks, we salute it for being different.