The world may have not come to an end as Mayan naysayers contended, but the year certainly has. As we move onto 2013 and all the tech to come, we’re taking a look back at the year that was, and the top ten gadgets of the last twelve months. Read on to see what made the cut, and chip in with your thoughts in the comments.
Apple iPad mini
It was slated on launch for its high pricetag compared to seven inch rivals, but Apple’s trimmed down tablet proved its worth with its pure power and premium build. Make no mistake, at some point soon this will soon be the iPad that everyone thinks of as the iPad.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
It’s rare for a company to invent a whole new category of phone, yet that’s exactly what Samsung’s done with its giant Galaxy Note series. Not only is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 turbo-charged with fantastic, speedy software, it’s single-handedly resurrected the stylus and put it to good use. Or two-handedly, anyway.
Google Nexus 7
Asus stunned pundits with its low price seven inch Android tablet this summer. Its speedy software puts Amazon’s Kindle Fire efforts to shame, and six months on – a century in tech terms – it’s still the best slate in its class. At £159, it’s a feat of engineering and software married together that’s worthy of Apple.
Humax DTR-1000 YouView
It was almost lost in all the media hubbub about tablets, iCloud and Android, but 2012 also saw the launch of YouView, the Freeview HD service with a twist. It beautifully integrates all your favourite catch-up service right into the EPG, so you can even watch the shows you forgot to record. Seriously classy TV.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime
It seems like a lifetime ago, but at the start of the year, Asus was the first to prove that somebody could create a tablet at the same price as an iPad that would actually sell. It was beautiful, thin and scorchingly fast, and regularly and promptly updated by Asus – if you were prepared to shell out for extra it even had a keyboard dock accessory to turn it into a laptop. A year on, the Google Nexus 10 has superseded it, but it was still an awesome tablet tech milestone.
Nintendo Wii U
If you didn’t get a Wii U this Christmas, it was only because it’s as rare as gold dust already. While the new console has its flaws, it’s wonderful to finally see Nintendo’s characters rendered in glorious HD, and it’s clear the Japanese gaming giant is only just getting started: the potential for the GamePad controller is vast. It also marks the start of the next generation of console wars, and we can’t wait to see what Microsoft and Sony are readying in response.
Nokia 808 PureView
Yes, as a phone, the Symbian-powered (or crippled) 808 PureView is awful. But as an example of what camera phones can be capable of, the 41 megapixel sensor around back is nothing short of breathtaking. Stunning detail and amazing low light performance point the way forward for 2013, and we’re already starting to see the tech emerge in Nokia’s more usable Windows Phones, like the Lumia 920.
Samsung Galaxy S3
With the epic, speedy Galaxy S3, Samsung finally arrived. The 4.8-inch beast is every bit the rival to the iPhone 4, especially now you can pick it up with 4G super speed connectivity. It’s a shame that Siri-rival S-Voice is utterly useless, but at least Google’s since filled that void with its own impressive Google Now service.
HTC One X+
One of the true tragedies of tech in 2012 has been the sidelining of HTC. The Taiwanese gadget company’s phones this year were nothing short of beautiful, and the beefed up HTC One X+ made this spring’s One X even better. With up to date Android Jelly Bean, a faster processor and new look, this is one future-proofed phone for design aficionados. Ignore at your peril.
The £49.99 Roku LT might just be the most improved gadget of 2012. Since launch earlier this year, the little HD rival to the Apple TV has been bolstered with extra channels and new services. But with a huge investment from Sky, it’s only going to get better next year: the Now TV channel will soon get sport and drama too, making it the world’s cheapest Sky box.
What were your favourite gadgets of 2012? Did we miss any? Let’s hear your views in the comments below!