The Best Gadgets (Including Gizmodo Reader Award Winners)

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 » [clear]

Best Android Phone: Nexus 5

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no skins!


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 » [clear]


The Best Smartphone Display
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
2011 15-inch Core i7 MacBook Pro

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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


Best Budget Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420


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 » [clear]

Best Processors
Core i5-2500Kcheck this list


Best Desktop Graphics Cards

Best Motherboard
Asus Rampage III Extreme


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 » [clear]

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. [clear]

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. [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]

PC Case
Silverstone Temjin TJ11

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.[clear]


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 » [clear]


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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of its size

iPad Mini Retina

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betterKindle 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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


Readers’ Choice: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Galaxy Tab 10.1


Editor’s Pick: Asus Eee Pad Transformer

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 »[clear]

Best Midrange DSLR
Canon 7D


Best Midrange Pro DSLR
Canon EOS 5D Mark III


Best Expensive DSLR
Nikon D4


Best Video DSLR
Canon 5D Mark III

The Best DSLR Alternative: Sony A7, A7R

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Best Affordable DSLR Alternative
NEX-C3


Editor’s Pick: Canon EOS 600D


The Best Premium Point-and-Shoot
1-inch Exmor R image sensor tilting three-inch LCDMore »

Best Pocket Camcorder
Kodak Playfull

Best Inexpensive Point-and-Shoot Wi-Fi Camera
Canon IXUS 240 HS

Best Phone Camera


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


Best Camera Lenses
well-priced, excellently performing lenses


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 » [clear]


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
More »

Best Blu-ray Player
LG BD570

Best Receiver
Pioneer VSX-1020-K

The Best Game Console: Xbox One

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Best TV Streaming Box
Apple TV


Best Affordable Amplifier
Topping TP-30

Best All-In-One Home Entertainment
LG LHB976


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 » [clear]


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. [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]

Best Speakers
A5 speakersA5+ is a direct upgrade


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 »[clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]

Best Lightweight Portable Headphones
Sennheiser PX 100-II


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 » [clear]

Best Headphones
Bowers & Wilkins P5s


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 »[clear]


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 » [clear]


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. [clear]


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 »[clear]

Best Home Audio Streaming
Sonos

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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]

Best Solar Charger
Joos Orange


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 » [clear]

Best Bluetooth Headset
Jawbone Era

Best Cloud Storage Service
SugarSync


Best Online Music Streaming Service
Spotify


Best Urban Winter Jacket
Mountain Hardware “Downtown Coat”

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. [clear]

Best Stroller
B.O.B. Ironman Jogging Stroller

Best Mobile Bluetooth Keyboard
Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard


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. [clear]


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. [clear]


Best Mobile Broadband


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 » [clear]


Best BBQ Grill
57cm Weber One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill


Best iPad Keyboard
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


Best e-Bike
They’re for lazy people. They’re so ugly and clunky looking.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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


The Best LED Torch
M3XMore »


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]


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 » [clear]

The Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner: iRobot Roomba 880

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fancy

The Best Canning Machine: Ball FreshTech Auto Canner

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