Review of best gadgets of 2013

Review of best gadgets of 2013

Another year is coming to an end and much has changed in the mobile tech world, with wearable technology making an entrance to the market, together with other new creations such as bendable screens, innovative cameras, to name a few.

For the last column of the year, I'd like to share a list of my personal favourites of 2013.

Best Android phone of the year:

HTC One (1st half 2013)

Because the Android competition is so stiff and there's a new phone every other week, I've split the winners.

The HTC One is still one of the best phones money can buy. It looks good, it feels good to hold, it has an amazing camera and a great screen.

There really isn't much not to like about the HTC One except its battery life.

The phone is designed so well it looks great in all colours, silver, black, red, or whatever colour HTC can make it in.

LG Nexus 5 (2nd half 2013)

If LG had not released the Nexus 5 right after the G2, the G2 would definitely be winner.

With the Nexus 5, and Google's Android Kit Kat powering the phone, the Nexus 5 is the best Android device available now.

The processor is the most up-to-date and its camera may only have 8-megapixels, but it is sufficient to get very good pictures.

The phone is built well, but is the total opposite from HTC's One, with a rubberised panel. A new 5-inch screen makes it visible at any angle, and is not too large to put in your pocket.

Best thing of all, you can get it for less than $600 in Singapore or Malaysia.

Best Android Phablet of the year goes to:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Phablet being 5.5-inches and larger, Samsung has done it again with the best large screen phone around. The 5.9-inch Note 3 has a great screen, and a more intuitive stylus which can do things no other phone can do. Sony's waterproof Xperia Z Ultra is a close runner-up, with a larger 6.4-inch screen and a Bluetooth handset that comes with the phone, so you don't look too funny when answering calls.

Best iPhone:

iPhone 5c

I can actually include an iPhone in the list because Apple gave itself some competition.

I'm going with the 5c because of the price. It looks better, it's much more attractive and the 5s and 5c are pretty much the same thing.

When was the last time you needed to use your 5s' fingerprint scanner? Be realistic.

Best tablet:

iPad Mini Retina

iPad still has the best ecosystem for apps in tablets, but the Nexus 7 is coming right up behind Apple in the tablet market. A 10-inch tablet still feels too big for me, since ultrabooks are now 11 or 13 inches only. To me, seven inches seems like the perfect size for a tablet and the iPad Mini's 7.95-inch screen with retina fits the bill well.

Of course, price isn't on the consumer's side, but it's not too expensive with a smaller screen.

Best camera:

Olympus OMD-EM1

Olympus released the big brother to its successful pro-series OMD-EM5 Micro Four Thirds (MFT) late in 2013.

The 16-megapixel camera has now a touch-screen OLED screen, two control dials instead of one, high ISO range from 100-25,600 and 10 frames per second continuous shooting.

It also has built-in Wi-Fi and is weather-proofed.

Also new is a True Pic VII processor from Olympus and a 1/8000 second shutter speed, as well as focus peaking.

Best of all, Olympus included support for its old Four-Third lenses which are, by the way, really amazing (an expensive).

Best wearable tech:

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Google Glass is still not on the market, and instead of wearing technology on your face, you probably look less silly wearing it on your wrists.

Paired with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (or other higher end devices), the Galaxy Gear is more of a complimentary device rather than a stand alone, which is exactly what wearable devices should be created to be.

You can answer calls, read your messages, take pictures and work on your fitness life.

Near Field Communications round-up the list of features on the Galaxy Gear, which gives you quick access to sharing applications, pictures and such.

Expect much more wearable technology to come in 2014.

Best living room tech:

Google Chromecast

Google is doing it right with a US$35 ($45) device that plugs into any television with an HDMI slot. With that you can connect your TV to your devices and stream content from YouTube, Google Chrome and in the US, even more apps like Netflix or Hulu, Google Play Movies and Music.

The number of applications that are compatible with the Chromecast is getting larger, and if you can still get it at $50 or so, don't think just buy.

Best laptop:

Lenovo Yoga

This bendable ultrabook from Lenovo is one of the best looking devices out there and ultrabooks are the way to go these days as they are light, durable, have great battery life and are powerful as their thicker counterparts.

Lenovo is currently one of the best laptop makers and always run stable. The added bend-ability on the Yoga is an added feature that lets you go either tablet, laptop or pitched up as a tent.

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