Gadgets

The Best Gadgets (Including Gizmodo Reader Award Winners)

“What gadget should I get?” is a timeless question. To answer it, here’s our current leaderboard of favourite gadgets, including smartphones, laptops and cameras — updated with the latest and greatest of the whole year, as well as the winners from the 2011 Gizmodo Awards.

UPDATED DECEMBER 12, 2013.

We know you don’t want to blow that pay on merely the shiniest, or the the simply newest. So we’ve considered a balance of price, features, reliability and quality to make sure you’re choosing a gadget that isn’t just great, but one that’s sensible. We’ve updated our roster of Giz-approved gadgets, and you’ll find these picks below.


The Best Smartphones


Best Smartphone
After waiting in line to buy and spending seven days with the iPhone 5, living with it, owning it, I can say confidently that it’s the best smartphone you can buy. More »

Best Android Phone: Nexus 5

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This one was close: believe it or not, the scrappy little Moto X gives Google’s Nexus 5 a run for its money. But Google’s own phone boasts the least cluttered, most pure form of Android of any smartphone (no skins!) and promises to be way more future-proof thanks to fast updates directly from the mother ship.


Best Windows Phone
Nokia has been alone on the vanguard of worthwhile Windows Phone hardware for a while now. But that’s no longer the case. Here’s HTC’s 8X. And it’s got enough firepower to go toe-to-toe with anything on Android or iOS. More »

The Best Smartphone Display
It’s amazing to hold a beautiful full HD 1920×1080 mobile computer display and HDTV in the palm of your hand. But only one of the smartphones tested here qualifies as a beautiful display — the Huawei Ascend D2, because it delivers superior picture quality with accurate colours and images. More »


The Best Computers

The measure of a computer isn’t just a mess of specs and benchmarks: it’s the confluence of performance, design, usability, and the machine’s fit to its particular task and pricepoint. These are the computers we think bring the total package.

Best Power/Pro Laptop
The new 2011 15-inch Core i7 MacBook Pro is beefier than ever.

Best Laptop
Like last year’s update, the 2012 MacBook Air is entirely in the guts. The 2011 bump into present-day usability was enough to make it one of our best gadgets of the year. This year’s update is more of the same, which is actually a good thing. More »


Best Ultrabook
The Lenovo X1 Carbon does the impossible. It makes a business laptop — a business anything — cool. Cool because it looks good, sure, but also because it works the way it’s supposed to. More »

Best Budget Laptop
The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 is a less fancy-looking version of the very nice ThinkPad Edge E420s. It’s got a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-2350M processor, a 14-inch 1366×768 anti-glare display, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive.


Best Gaming $1500 Gaming PC
The Origin Bitfenix Prodigy system small enough to sit unobtrusively on top of your desk, but spacious enough that you should be able to upgrade parts without having to find your Operation tweezers. Powerful gaming performance aside, its SSD makes it a great PC too. You can’t beat this machine for the price. More »

Best Processors
The Core i5-2500K hits the critical bang/buck sweet spot for smooth gaming. Otherwise, pick your budget and check this list.

Best Desktop Graphics Cards
The best combination of top-notch performance and moderately reasonable price you’ll find right now is probably the Radeon HD 6970.

Best Motherboard
The Asus Rampage III Extreme barely edged out the competition in our new motherboard roundup.


Best Router
Apple’s AirPort Express (2012) is pretty, fast, wonderfully simple and appropriately capable. Unless you’re a mega-power networker with a need for intricate customisation or put off by the less sophisticated Windows version of AirPort Utility, the 2012 Express is the ultimate buy it and never think about it again object — and for a router, that’s the ultimate praise. More »

Best Solid State Drive
Better NAND pushes the Pyro SE past its stablemate and into the rarified air at the top of the SandForce-powered heap. With sequential read and write speeds at 482MB/s and 300MB/s, respectively, as measured by CrystalDiskMark, the Pyro SE is quite fast, and its 4KB random write speed, at over 91,000 IOPS is preposterous.

Best Hybrid SSD/Hard Drive
If you want a taste of SSD speeds but can’t afford one, or simply need more storage and don’t feel like Frankenstein-ing your rig with a combo SSD/HDD setup, the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Drive isn’t a bad deal at all for $US180. An SSD for with a third of the storage costs twice as much. But definitely get the 750GB model-not only do you get more storage, you get double the flash cache and interface speed.


The Best Portable Wireless Drive
Seagate’s new Wireless Plus portable hard drive has 1TB — double that of its predecessor, for the same $200 price. It lets you stream to your iPad by creating its own Wi-Fi network. It’s very useful — that is, if you have very specific needs. More »


Best Thunderbolt Hard Drive
If your computer has a Thunderbolt drive, odds are it’s been pretty neglected. Some external storage options are good, but no one choice is a no-brainer. Until now, that is. LaCie’s vivid orange drive is the best way to back up files, superfast. More »

PC Case
The Silverstone Temjin TJ11 is nine inches wide by 25 inches high and 25 inches deep. It’s massive and expensive and absolutely a preposterous thing to own. But it has amazing build quality, thermal control and moddability.

Best Networked Storage Alternative
Some aspects of the TS-459 Pro II hardware are comparable to the competition, and in other respects, it’s just head and shoulders above the rest. A 1.8GHz dual-core Atom powers the TS-459 Pro II, and 1GB of DDR3 RAM comes preinstalled, though you can upgrade to 3GB yourself. QNAP also offers more connectivity options than most mortals will know what to do with, and it’s strong on the software side too.


The Best GPU
The Titan is Nvidia’s “Big Kepler” GPU, and has double the transistors and almost double the CUDA cores of the mid-range GK104 chip found in its flagship GeForce GTX 680 GPU. Though it runs at a lower clock speed in stock trim, it should still offer a sizable performance improvement over the already capable GTX 680. More »


The Best Tablets

It feels like the tablet market has been bursting at the seams, but for now the top choices are still relatively straightforward. Expect this list to get a lot more crowded in the coming months.

Best Tablet: iPad Air

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If you’re in the market for a 10-inch tablet, this is the one to buy. It’s got blazing guts and a slim body, and it’s thinner, lighter and just all-around better than any other tablet of its size. If that sounds like a caveat, it is, because frankly not everyone wants a big tablet now that the fun-size market is so good. But that’s a decision we can’t really make for you. Which leads us to…

iPad Mini Retina

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The tiny tablet world offers more options, and better options, than we could have imagined a few years back. But the newly revamped iPad Mini finally gets the retina screen it deserved, which, coupled with its great proportions and the robustness of the iOS ecosystem, sneaks it ahead of the Kindle Fire HDX.

Best Android Tablet
After months of leaks and hints about the Nexus 7, it was clear what we were to expect from Google’s first tablet. The major question was: “Can it possibly be as good as it looks and only cost $250?” The verdict is in. More »


The Best Windows Tablet
The Microsoft Surface was the biggest new tech of 2012. Its first iteration — Surface RT, a confusingly named and marketed tablet-with-a-keyboard — bombed. Pretty hard. So why believe in the full-powered Surface Pro? Simple. It’s a braver and more divergent take on the laptop-tablet convergence than anyone else has risked so far. More »

Readers’ Choice: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Even if the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is exactly the same as the Xoom and every other Android Honeycomb in terms of power, performance, features — this is the new Android tablet to buy. Because it’s the first one to feel right.

Editor’s Pick: Asus Eee Pad Transformer
The Transformer offered something different and exciting in the tablet space; not only was the keyboard a design idea rather than a bolt on section but it also added battery life as well.


The Best Cameras

The great megapixel race is over. But now what the hell are you supposed to do? These are the best cameras of the post-megapixel world.


Best Budget DSLR
More than two years ago, the Canon EOS 550D set the standard for beginner DSLRs. The camera proved that you could get beautiful photos and slick HD video for less than $1500. With an auto-focus video and an incredible touchscreen, the EOS 650D is the most refined version of this camera yet.More »

Best Midrange DSLR
The Nikon D300s and Canon 7D deliver for the money, but the 7D delivers more, since it’s packed full of newer technology and for the people who want it, the video component is truly killer.

Best Midrange Pro DSLR
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III inherited the venerable legacy of the Mark II by improving its already excellent HD video and its low-light performance. But what really blows this camera — and the photographer — to stratospheric feelings of image-taking euphoria is Canon’s new 61-point autofocus system that makes getting sharp pictures in harried situations a breeze.

Best Expensive DSLR
Here’s the thing about the Nikon D4: There’s basically nothing it can’t do. Need to take it into ultra-dark conditions and walk away with usable shots? You’re covered. Need speedy continuous shutter performance to capture quick journalistic photography at a protest? You’re covered. And now that Nikon’s top-end cameras have caught up with Canon’s video capabilities, it’s hard to argue you’d want any other camera.

Best Video DSLR
The Canon 5D Mark III‘s autofocus system alone is enough to justify choosing the Mark III over the Mark II. But it’s all of the refinements-the sum of the Mark III’s parts-that make it the best camera you can spend $4000 on.

The Best DSLR Alternative: Sony A7, A7R

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Sony’s A7 series packs full-frame 35mm sensors and interchangeable E-mount lenses in a slim, svelte body. Simply put, they produce the best quality images you are likely to achieve on a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. And with Leica’s full-frame M coming in at an unworldly $8000, paying less than two grand for the A7 stings a lot less.

Best Affordable DSLR Alternative
The NEX-C3 performs much better than the other cameras in its class in nearly every situation. It’s better, bigger and heavier. The 18-55mm kit lens isn’t collapsible, so this camera is never going to fit in your pocket. While taking a quick shot in auto is easy enough, you’re going to want to spend some time learning the menus and programming the camera’s customisable buttons to get the most out of it. In terms of image quality, the 16.2MP, 23.4mm x 15.6mm sensor blows the rest of the cameras in its price range away.

Editor’s Pick: Canon EOS 600D
Canon’s EOS 600D offered an excellent range of modes for those stepping up to a full DSLR model; while it’s nowhere near the best DSLR in Canon’s range it’s a really solid camera option.

The Best Premium Point-and-Shoot
The key differences between the RX100 and RX100 II are a completely new 1-inch Exmor R image sensor, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, as well as a new tilting three-inch LCD display and a new hot shoe. More »

Best Pocket Camcorder
The Kodak Playfull is a very capable shooter with several great features and one major shortcoming — a too-small display — but the fact that we found it online for under $100 goes a long way to make up for that deficiency.

Best Inexpensive Point-and-Shoot Wi-Fi Camera
The Canon IXUS 240 HS (also known as the 320 HS) is a little more complicated to configure, but once it got going, the Wi-Fi features were faster, and the design was a notch better than the Samsung WB150f, its main competitor.

Best Phone Camera
The iPhone 4S camera is lightning fast and really gorgeous. It’s not as super in-your-face saturated as the iPhone 4 was, which gives it truer-to-life colours. It’s also got excellent autofocus.


Best Rugged, Waterproof Camera
In our tests, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 took the clearest, most vivid outdoor and underwater stills. It generally found very nice balance in light levels its competitors would blow out, and it really makes colours pop (especially greens). Panoramic shots are excellent, at up to 360 degrees. It’s generally able to attain focus faster than the others, and it’s the fastest and cleanest at night-time shooting with a flash. And it feels rock solid. More »


Best Action Camera
We’ve been putting GoPro’s highly anticipated Hero 3 Black edition through some rigorous testing. And it seems pretty safe to say it’s still at the top of a very rugged mountain. More »

Best Camera Lenses
We’re adding our roundup of well-priced, excellently performing lenses to the list, for those of you looking for an upgrade.


The Best Smartphone Camera
A zillion new smartphones are going to be announced soon at Mobile World Congress, each promising camera advancements that may or may not live up to the hype. But with what’s on the market right now, Nokia’s Lumia 920 has the best smartphone camera you could hope to find. More »


The Best Home Theatre and AV Gear

In the absence of the side-by-side benchmark comparisons when you find when shopping for computers, home theater gear can be particularly hard to get a handle on. Giz has your back.

The Best HD TV Set
When it comes to high-end HD sets, you get what you pay for. And in the case of Panasonic’s new top-of-the-line VT60 plasma set, it’s worth every penny. It’s a THX-certified flat-screen television, and arguably the single best-looking plasma set on the market right now. More »

Best Blu-ray Player
The LG BD570‘s key virtue is file compatibility — you can use this thing pretty much like an HD media player, a full-fledged Apple TV killer. The PlayStation 3 still holds its own, though.

Best Receiver
The Pioneer VSX-1020-K is controlled by your iPhone, and anyone who’s slagged through their fair share of shitty AV receiver menus-whether on screen or on the receiver itself-knows what a boon it is to have a nice GUI in the palm of your hand.

The Best Game Console: Xbox One

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The Xbox One is a future machine. It plays games, but it’s also so much more, in this really wildly ambitious way that it mostly manages to pull off. The voice commands and Kinect functionality feel positively space-age, the first time you start zooming around the interface by voice is a revelation, and every time the Kinect logs you in by face is a joy. But early adopters have run into some not-insignificant problems, so if you do decide to buy one, maybe wait until some kinks are ironed out.

Best TV Streaming Box
Despite its ugly new interface, the Apple TV is still the best of its breed. But thanks to its newfound stellar video quality, it now straddles two categories — sure, it’s the best streaming box, but it might actually give you a reason to avoid (or ditch) a Blu-ray player.

Best Affordable Amplifier
The Topping TP-30 is the best audiophile-worthy amplifier to be had for under $US500.

Best All-In-One Home Entertainment
The home theatre doesn’t have to be a patchwork affair of gear you put together one layaway at a time. The LG LHB976 all-in-one does a downright enviable job, with solid speakers, a great user interface and an iPod dock.


Best MP3 Player
Seven generations of iPod Nano evolution have culminated in something pretty special. The latest iteration of Apple’s mini music player is its thinnest, has the biggest screen ever (for a Nano), and tosses in Bluetooth to boot. More »

Best iPod Dock
The Octiv 650 nails a near perfect harmony between sound quality, easiness and price, with a few unique features to boot. If speaker docks are unremarkable almost by definition, the Octiv 650 is a shooting star.


Best Audio Converter
Using the AudioEngine D1 USB DAC and headphone amp any type of hardware, makes your music instantly come to life, with greater clarity, response and a little extra punch to the bass. More »


The Best Digital-to-Audio Converter
The Meridian Explorer takes the digital audio from your computer’s USB port, puts the code through some very fancy electronics, and spits out an analogue signal to your headphones or stereo. More »

Best Speakers
Audioengine’s been proving that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a good set of speakers for a while now. Their A5 speakers last year were our favorites, and the A5+ is a direct upgrade. It has an improved cabinet design, better thermal management, a remote control and a bunch of other nice improvements.


Best AirPlay Speaker
Most AirPlay speakers have failed at their central purpose. Life is not made easier. Your liberation from wires comes with a monstrous configuration headache. But not with Pioneer’s portable XW-SMA3. It finally delivers high-quality wireless audio in an easy, awesome package. You heard right! More »


The Best Wireless Soundbar
Sound bars don’t immediately benefit from Wi-Fi connectivity the way music systems do, because you usually use them with your TV, and your TV isn’t something you need to put in your pocket and walk around with. But that doesn’t mean that Sonos’ wireless music features don’t benefit from its first sound bar. Just the opposite, in fact. More »


The Best Subwoofer
A few years ago we had the pleasure of reviewing a pair of odd, conical, ceramic speakers by California-based designer Joey Roth. They were spectacular. Now Roth has built out the system with a beautiful ceramic subwoofer designed specifically for use with his speakers, but theoretically, they could work with any audio system. More »

Best Lightweight Portable Headphones
Every detail has been attended to on the Sennheiser PX 100-II. The headphones fold into a slim compact package. Their build is sturdy. Though the earphones are only lightly foamed, they’re not the least bit irritating. The PX 100-II delivers lovely, textured bass of the kind you’d expect from much more expensive headphones. But what’s really impressive is that the PX 100-II sound full-bodied without losing a bit of detail from the music.


Best Headphones for Running
Back in April, the Sennheiser PMX 680i headphones became our pick for the Best Headphones for Running. We just got our ears on Sennheiser’s 2013 models, the PMX 685i, and, oh my. More »

Best Headphones
We’re finally recommending an official pick for cans, Bowers & Wilkins P5s — and they’re a doozy. As our Joe Brown says, they are, in a word, “DOPE”.


Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones
There’s a lot to love about the Audio Technica ATH-ANC9s. The plush leather pads on the earcups are so soft that they don’t put much of a pinch on your head. On the inside, the cans have a great, slightly bottom heavy sound that doesn’t blow up the clarity or detail on other frequencies. As for the sound of silence, the ANC 9s have three different levels of noise-cancelling like the Sonys do-the only difference is that it, in this case, it really works. More »


Best $250 Headphones
When it comes to cans around the $250 mark, there aren’t many that can top the Harman Kardon CLs. Are there better-sounding headphones out there? Of course, but they’re all likely bigger, bulkier, more expensive or open-air. The CLs are a near-perfect combination of price, design, portability and sound quality. More »

Best Budget Headphones
With a closed-back, over-the-ear design and a durable design that has some portability, the Sennheiser HD280 cans are the king of the budget earphone mountain. They’re not the cheapest, or the smallest, or the best-looking, but they strike the best balance between clarity and resolution and the ability to handle multiple genres of music old and new.


Best Bluetooth Headphones
Even with the Phillipe Starck flashiness (which can singlehandedly ruin things sometimes), the Parrot Ziks are the best-looking headphones in this Battlemodo. Plus, there’s the capacitive touch panel on the right ear, which allows you to control playback with gestures. The NFC capabilities allow you to automagically pair with compatible Android phones, and a sensor stops playback whenever you take your headphones off. All of this adds up to an unrivalled user experience. More »

Best Home Audio Streaming
We’ve added the dreamy Sonos system to our end of year list — read Brian’s lifechanger-status writeup and you’ll understand why.


Accessories and Miscellaneous

Some of the coolest stuff you own doesn’t fit into a broad, big box category. Here are some odds and ends that we love.


Best Bike Lock
Despite its fat locking mechanism, the OnGuard Pitbull STD is a breeze to use. The lock clicks into a sturdy, secure mounting bracket that doesn’t bounce around while you’re riding. Hand tolls like hacksaws and bolt cutters won’t do any damage to the lock, and even when we attacked it with an angle grinder it held up for a full two minutes. More »


Best Portable Power Pack
The HyperJuice Plug is the only charger you need. The stalwart brick will power up an iPhone and your iPad simultaneously, and filling them both up without running itself dry. The manufacturer claims it can charge a phone 12 times before it goes dark. In a little over an hour, the Plug zipped the iPhone from 29 per cent to a full charge. Meanwhile, it was also nourishing the iPad, which went from 39 per cent to max power in an hour and a half. And the HyperJuice still had more power left in it. More »

Best Solar Charger
Gizmodo Editor Emeritus Brian Lam said the Joos Orange is the “best solar charger [he'd] ever tested”. It’s rugged, works in weak light and can charge an iPhone four times with just one full charge.


Best $150 Bluetooth Speaker
The Soundfreaq Sound Kick is a winner, not because it’s the most ultra-portable, but because it sounds so darn good. It delivers BASS — that’s not something we’re used to hearing from a Bluetooth speaker. Awesome, satisfying, music-enhancing bass. Delicious. More »

Best Bluetooth Headset
The Jawbone Era already has downloadable voices (“You have… two hours… of talk time remaining”) and runs lightweight apps. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision future apps that utilise the motion sensitivity.

Best Cloud Storage Service
It’s SugarSync — with a few caveats. SugarSync was the best confluence of price, ease of use and features, but if you’re looking for pure, sheer simplicity for sharing your sharables with the lovable luddites in your life, Dropbox might still be the better option. And if you’re a total cheapass, maybe take a look at Google, or Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Best Online Music Streaming Service
Spotify‘s main draw over the competition — even more than the free access — is the ability to meld your local library with Spotify’s streaming catalogue. We’d note, though, that Rdio still has the superior mobile app.

Best Urban Winter Jacket
Brent didn’t think he was going to like a jacket called the Mountain Hardware “Downtown Coat”. It sounded pretentious and he didn’t think it would hack it. Turned out to be love at first wearing. It’s a thigh-length coat that provides ample booty-warmth, and it has the best pockets ever. Overall, this is a winner.

Best Voice Command System
In terms of speed and accuracy, Google Voice Actions was ahead of Siri in almost all of our tests. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and both are handy convenience features. Siri has a little more colloquial chops and is more “fun”, but Voice Search is ultimately a faster, more efficient tool.

Best Stroller
The B.O.B. Ironman Jogging Stroller rolls like Curtis Mayfield circa 1972. It flies. Its ultralight frame and spin-happy hubs make for a delightfully easy ride.

Best Mobile Bluetooth Keyboard
The Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for tablets came out on top of our mobile Bluetooth keyboard deathmatch. It doesn’t fold or roll up like some of the other ones, but after using the it for a few minutes you forget it’s undersized. The individual keys have some separation between them, making keyboard errors less frequent, and it’s attractively priced.

Best Bluetooth Keyboard
The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 hit the sweet spot. First off, it’s compatible with everything you can throw at it: OSX, Windows, Android devices, iOS devices, they all pair easily and you’re good to go. They keys have great click to them. They’re slightly stiffer than the Logitechs’, but they’re not at all hard to press. There’s a very slight curve to the keyboard, making it gently ergonomic without alienating people who are used to a straight tray.

Best Wireless Mouse
The Logitech Performance Mouse MX takes everything that’s great about the Marathon Mouse — the same wonderful scroll wheel, the same smooth glide, similar (but better) thumb buttons — and improves upon it. The laser it uses to track its position will even work on clear glass, which is crazy. It’s also rechargeable.

Best Mobile Broadband
Telstra’s done a lot to shed its appearance as the “high cost” mobile broadband provider; while it’s still charging more for its data than competitors, the difference is lesser while the coverage and speeds have largely remained very solid. Being the first (and to date, only) ISP to offer 4G data services.


The Best Minimal Running Shoe
These shoes are great for helping you maintain good form. The flatness of the shoe, plus the way it hugs your foot and lets you spread your toes really lets you feel the ground below you, and it allows you to make little micro-adjustments when you feel something is a little off. Other minimalist shoes do that too, but these do it better. More »

Best BBQ Grill
You don’t need an expensive, complex backyard grill to cook amazing food. You want a 57cm Weber One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill. It costs around $400 and will serve you well for years.

Best iPad Keyboard
If you have your heart set on buying a keyboard/case hybrid for your iPad, then we suggest buying the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. It’s the best of all the lousy keyboard cases out there, and it’s inarguably better than trying to type with Apple’s crappy on-screen keyboard.


Best Ice Cube Tray
No surprise here: OXO dominates kitchenware, and now it’ll own your freezer. The OXO Good Grips tray doesn’t have any fancy iron lever or pinch tabs — just an extremely sturdy plastic body and a cover that slides with ease. Really, do you want to have to think about the ice cube tray more than you think about the drink the ice is going into? OXO gets that, and our Bestmodo nod in turn. More »


Best Computer Mic
No matter what computer you have, the built-in microphone will almost always be a piece of junk. But at just 65 grams, the Blue Microphone Tiki might be the first USB mic designed well enough to be used by anyone. More »


Best Laptop Bag
You probably had a Jansport backpack in high school. You probably decorated it with a bunch of buttons and Wite-Out. This laptop bag is not that; it’s much better, and it just edged out the Flatiron. It was a close race, but this took the prize because $US50 is an unbelievable deal for such a fantastic bag. More »


Best Bike Light For Less Than $120
This is what we were looking for: The NiteRider Lumina 500 is a super-bright, incredibly even pool of light. It’s so perfectly focused that you can see even small objects when travelling at high speeds More »

Best e-Bike
E-bikes are much-maligned by the cycling community and non-riders alike. They’re for lazy people. They’re so ugly and clunky looking. But Specialized has come up with an answer for both crowds. You will want to hate the Turbo. You will fail. This thing is so damn fun. More »


Best Rolling Camera Bag
The LowPro Pro Roller X200 nails its primary function-storing gear securely in a solid, roomy, well-organized compartment. An intuitive, simple layout fits two DSLR bodies with lenses attached, 2 extra lenses, microphones, accessories, and 15-inch Macbook Pro.More »


Best Mirrorless Camera Bag
This is a terrific camera bag. Sure, it looks a bit corporate, but it’s shockingly functional, with lots of varying storage with sublime structural integrity. Perhaps the best part is the zipper on top that gives immediate access to your camera without even having to tear at any velcro. The Tenba is larger than the others we tried out. We even comfortably carried a 5D Mark III with a lens. If you don’t mind that bit of extra girth, it’s an all-around delight. More »


The Best Gadget-Charging Bag
Your gadgets just beast through their battery life. That can be a real pain if you’re on a flight or just generally out and about. But at least in the span of about a day, you don’t have to worry about it thanks to Timbuk2′s Power Commute messenger bag. Carrying two full iPhone charges, at the very least, it’ll get you from point A to point B without ever losing touch. More »

The Best LED Torch
The M3X is shaped like a normal torch light but much skinnier than similar-length Mag Lights, measuring just 2.5 inches in diameter. This light has a big, beautiful beam bright enough to illuminate a wall 15m away in broad daylight and a maximum range of about 500m at night. More »


The Best Gadget Bag
A good bag is just about as important as the gadgets it carries. Your electronics are fragile and expensive to replace, and your back is fragile and impossible to replace. Ogio’s Renegade RSS bag is damn near as good as it gets at protecting both. More »


The Best Electric Shaver Under $100
If you’re taking your first steps out into that brave new world of electric razors, with all the various features and price points, it can all be a bit bewildering. The Philips Norelco Click & Style is for newbies, with everything you could need to start, and nothing more confusing than that. More »


The Best Camping-Friendly Stove
Stoves have come a long way since the humble primus: turbo flames, jet boilers and ultra-light portables are just some of the options around. But now there’s the BioLite, a stove that burns twigs and charges your phone all at once. More »


The Best Activity Tracker
After a couple years of gestation, Basis’s B1-watch-like activity tracker-has finally arrived. But unlike the FuelBands and Fitbits and UPs of the world, Basis offers a unique look into one’s health, however cursory as it might seem. More »


The Best Workout Aide
I know what you’re thinking and no, the Under Armour Armour39 is not another sportswear company entering the wearable tech arena to cash in on all of you suckers. This is different, and that’s a good thing. It’s not an activity tracker, like a FuelBand or Fitbit, but an electronic performance aide that tells you how hard you’re working when you’re working it out. More »

The Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner: iRobot Roomba 880

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If you’re just too fancy to sweep for yourself, Roomba’s range-topper has tangle-free extractors (no plebeian brushes here), astonishing aplomb in corners and crannies, and it navigates transitions from carpet to bare floors like a champ. You can even program this baby to only come on when you’re out of the house. But of course.

The Best Canning Machine: Ball FreshTech Auto Canner

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Like a rice cooker for canning, this baby takes all the guesswork out of canning your own food. It has its limitations: mainly, since it’s so danged automated, you can really only use it with the 50-odd recipes in the included booklet. But it uses a lot less water, and about 60 per cent less energy, than the old-fashioned method, and its small footprint and one-plug power means you could put up pickles in your studio apartment. Wouldn’t your grandfolks be proud.


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