2013 has seen a pleather of gadgets and devices released, we have had new iPads, new Surface devices, games consoles and plenty of new smartphones and I thought I would share some of my highlights and I would like to hear from you about your highlights.
For me it’s a tough choice for the best device of 2013, my highlights include the Xbox One and the Surface 2 interestingly both from Microsoft. I love my Surface 2, I get fantastic battery life and I have used it to write every blog post on TDL since October on it. It’s light, fast and the collection of apps is increasing every day, I even wrote my own Flickr app for Windows 8.1 which works great on the Surface. Flipboard was one of the apps I wanted to see and that arrived in November. I am still missing an app for editing video and audio but the ecosystem is improving all the time.
The Xbox One is more about future potential than it’s current usage, I was hoping to have my Sky+ box connected to the Xbox but the video quality reduction meant the Xbox One is still on HDMI 2 on my TV (see my review). Owners of the Xbox One in the US get the nice OneGuide EPG but that isn’t available in the UK so we are not seeing it at its full potential yet. The media apps that are available work very well, the Netflix app is a particularly good and is a great implementation. What is a shame is that there are no apps from Sky, ITV or the BBC hopefully they will arrive in 2014 but if Microsoft want to push the Xbox as an all-in-one entertainment device they are going to have to get the TV companies on board.
From Apple there were new iPhones and iPads. I was tempted to get an a new iPad Mini as I like the smaller form factor and the new Retina display you means you don’t have a comprise from the larger device but in the end I kept my money in my piggybank. I wasn’t really tempted to get the iPad Air, Apple always make great devices and the Air is no exception but my 3rd gen iPad will do for now.
Other devices that piqued my interest was Google’s new Nexus 7, a spec bump over the 2012 device that I already have and Android now works really well on tablets but as with the iPads the difference over the older version wasn’t worth the change. There was also plenty of other Android tables from Samsung and others.
I reviewed the Acer B1-170 Android tablet which I quiet liked but it did feel a little plasticly and there are plenty of low cost Android devices on sale now. There are also a batch of new 8″ inch Windows tablets from Toshiba, Dell, and Lenovo which look very interesting and are pretty cheap, I think we are going to see more of this form factor in next year and hopefully a Surface Mini.
When it comes to phones we have seen some great devices, there is Nokia’s Lumia 1020 with its fantastic camera, the iPhone 5S and the Nexus 5 (which I recently reviewed). Android works best for me so when it came to getting a new phone the Nexus 5 was my best option. I do like Samsung’s Galaxy range and have reviewed the S4 and the Zoom but I would much rather had the native Android experience than Samsung’s TouchWiz layer. When it comes to Windows Phone the only option seems to be Nokia, not only do they the best Windows Phone hardware they also ship a great selection of apps with their phones and as my podcast co-host Jason says to me every week I should have got a Nokia. Windows Phone’s growth seems to come from having good low cost phones like the 520 and Nokia kept the interest of enthusiast with the high-end 1020, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to the Lumia range once it becomes part of Microsoft.
This year has seen the rise of Chromebooks, I reviewed a Acer C7 back in June and I liked the simplicity of Chrome OS but the devices have limited functionality (the OS is basically a browser). The low price point is appealing but Chrome OS is not for me at the moment.
There have been some great Windows notebooks and a great variety form factors, I really like the Acer W700 hybrid tablet and I was impressed with the S7 Ultabook. I reviewed Lenovo’s Z500 touch screen notebook back in May and was so impressed I am now using as my full time machine at work.
So 2013 has been a good year for tech gadgets and I know there are plenty of other devices I haven’t talked about. I think I would pick the Surface 2 as my device of 2013 but I know it would not be everybody’s choice. I would love to hear your thought on what would be your device of 2013, let me know via our contact form, twitter or Facebook and we will discuss them on the podcast in a couple of weeks.