Chris Duffill

Chris Duffill
Chris Duffill

Chris is a Senior Writer and reviewer at Bauer Media. He writes for What’s The Best as a tech specialist. He has extensive experience in technology and media, having worked in video production, digital design, marketing, and publishing.

His enthusiasm for film and TV is second only to a lifelong fascination with electronics, gadgets and game consoles of all kinds. From the tiny Nintendo Game & Watch to the huge Star Wars and Space Invaders arcade cabinets of the 80s, this new hardware, software and interactivity kickstarted a tech obsession. Chris grew up as personal computers were really taking off, with the arrival of legendary machines like the BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Later came PCs running MS-DOS and, of course, Windows. Since then Chris has built one or two modern PCs and modified many. Despite having owned every PlayStation and Xbox console, he still collects and plays classic PC games like LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island and, personal favourite, Interplay's Star Trek 25th Anniversary.

Chris' areas of expertise:

• Audiovisual tech, particularly speakers, turntables and TVs

• PCs and peripherals

• Video and DSLR Cameras and creative software

• Retro gaming

• Toys, electronic gadgets and prop replicas

• Cult sci-fi TV and classic film

Hi-fi and AV tech

Also a lifelong fan of hi-fi separates and stereo systems, Chris has owned and written about various audio tech - from amplifiers, speakers and streaming media players to headphones, earbuds and more. He prefers analogue listening, and has a sizable collection of vinyl records with both new and old pressings. But, you'll also catch him streaming Spotify to a Sonos or Alexa speaker regularly.

An early adopter of home cinema projectors and surround sound systems, Chris has owned and set up quite a few audiovisual setups in his time. It's probably the root of his obsession for all things tech, having started out with Betamax and VHS tapes of his favourite shows and movies on a tiny CRT TV. Cut to today (and many fairly expensive systems later) he now streams UHD content via Plex to 4K QLED or OLED TVs. Despite loving dedicated surround sound systems with Dolby Atmos and the like, he actually prefers the simplicity and quality of some of the best soundbars for everyday viewing.

Photography, cameras and video production

Chris' experience with photography started by using 35mm SLR cameras and an old-school darkroom for developing. This interest only grew with the advent of DSLRs - eventually leading to a career in video production; Handy, since it also involved yet more high-tech gadgetry to explore. He’s an experienced videographer and editor, having graduated from Manchester in the mid-nineties with a BA in Film and Television production. He worked in production as a writer, editor and and cameraman, using live studio cameras and mostly single-camera shoots on location. Since then, Chris has used 4K digital video cameras, GoPro-style action cams, and DSLRs such as the Canon 5D. He enjoys post-production has has used professional AVID suites and Adobe Premiere and After Effects based systems.

Publishing and marketing

As Digital Editor and Video Producer for a national publisher, Chris worked on a range of newsstand titles. This included running an online TV channel and creating monthly productions for several publications. He also built and deployed digital editions, including video content for subscribers and cover-mounted DVDs. Later, he ran the social media channels for Burghley House, and also produced various designs for print, as well as photographic and video content.

Creative design

As a graphic designer and illustrator, Chris has developed brand identities and logos, designed and built websites and produced animations for online content. He started a company that developed websites for the financial services sector and was a Creative Director for a number of years.

He still enjoys art and graphic design and usually over-specs his computer setup to suit. He’s normally at home when surrounded by several large monitors and a keyboard with as many extra function keys as possible. He likes to design using a pen and digital tablet and, as a lockdown project, started an online store with a range of apparel with designs inspired by pop culture.

Writing and editorial

Chris has a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from the University of East Anglia. Following graduation he co-wrote a screenplay based on the novel Elephant Song for the (now late) author Wilbur Smith. He’s written editorially for a number of print and online publications, including automotive, technology and historical features. In his time working in marketing, he also regularly wrote press releases and various online content.

What about his spare time?

"If I'm not watching movies on a 4K TV that’s a tad too large for the room, I'll probably be found making some sort of electronic gizmo from parts that aren’t supposed to do that. I earned my nerd stripes from shows like Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, Blake's 7 and too many more to mention. I once built a life-size replica of the TARDIS with lights and sound. It probably won't surprise anyone that I also like vintage toys and electronic gadgets. I can also be found listening to rock bands on vinyl, dabbling with electronics, or retro gaming. Actually, probably all three at once."

Chris’ top tips for tech buyers:

•  “Consider whether the product you’re looking at is going to make a real difference to your quality of life. No one wants a gadget that’s going to end up gathering dust. The key is to look carefully at what you really need. Identify what might make your life easier or more enjoyable. Following this advice is a great way to avoid the dreaded 'buyer's remorse' or wasting money on a mountain of tech that quickly becomes obsolete.

“As a massive fan of all things tech, I enjoy doing the legwork to help readers identify the key features and benefits of all kinds of products from smartwatches and smartphones to laptops, speakers and more. With more products out there than ever before, making a wise spending decision and getting a product that actually does what you need it to is paramount. So, always take your time and read through plenty of articles - it’ll really help narrow things down before you hit that ‘buy’ button.”.