Tablets, smartphones, cameras and more: we pick the only gadgets you need from 2013
From Apple's latest shiny playthings to the best smartphones from Google, we pick our favourite gadgets of 2013
It’s been a vintage year for tech with lots of releases in every field make it hard to pick out just one, and there are so many categories. Let’s start with tablets, cameras, phones and home entertainment…
With analysts now declaring that we live in the 'post-PC' era and with sales of mobile devices expected to overtake traditional computers for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2013, it's no surprise that you couldn't move for new tablet launches this year.
Windows 8 popped up on some stunning machines including Nokia's Lumia 2520 and, of course, Microsoft's own Surface range. These machines are being touted as 'true' mobile productivity devices, but with Apple releasing their Office-competitor iWork for free on the thinner, lighter iPad Air, it's not quite as clear cut as that.
And away from the big-spenders, the budget tablets came out to play. These were a range of 7-inch devices, runing the gamut from the supermarket cheapies (Aldi's £79 Medion LifeTab for example) to quality devices like Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX. The surprise winner though was Tesco, with their £119 Hudl balancing price and power perfectly.
2013 has been the year of the Compact System Camera - otherwise known as mirrorless cameras - with standout devices from Sony offering big sensors and high-quality builds. Compacts has a good year as well with retro stylings from the likes of the Fjuifilm X20 (above) and powerful DSLRs in good supply as well.
Of course, if you're not getting online via your tablet then chances are you'll be using your smartphone. This year market analysts Gartner reported that for the first time ever smartphones outsold their non-connected brethren - the humble feature phone.
Apple proved that they're still more than capable of creating a frenzy over electronic goods, releasing a pair of new smartphones - the premium iPhone 5s and the bright and plastic iPhone 5c. Despite the hype, the 5s is undoubtedly the most powerful and best-looking phone of the year - that is, if you're not already hooked up to Google's ecosystem.
For those consumers who do prefer Google there were plenty of choices, with both the Motorola Moto G and the Nexus 5 offering stunning value for money. For those that like a more customized Android experience there was also Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 - proving that the South Korean company still makes the best phablets out there.
Away from the iOS vs Android fracas there was the continued rise of Windows Phone, with Nokia releasing a slew of handsets, many of which went unappreciated in the market. Out of the many Lumia models we picked the 1020, with its 41-megapixel camera and Nokia-built photography software, and from the lower-end, the Asha 503, as our favourites.
Best home entertainment
The big trend for TVs in 2013 has been 4K, otherwise known as 'ultra high definition'. This is the next step up from the current 1080p HD TVs and every major manufacturer from Sony to Samsung have made at least a couple of sets that support the new standard.
Despite blogs - and gamers - racing to declare one or the other console a 'winner', Sony and Microsoft have built their devices to last for between eight and ten years, so really we won't know which is 'best' for a while. Till then though we can at least tally up the wins and losses for both sides. Click below to find out more:
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