The year has seen many great gadgets being released and as technology grows, electronic devices will become more complex, intricate and exciting. IT News Africa has compiled a list of our biggest gadgets of the year, including smartphones, notebooks, tablets and gaming consoles. If this year is anything to go by, 2013 is sure to be one of the hottest years for consumer electronics.
1. Samsung Galaxy SIII
Samsung’s Galaxy SIII smartphone has become the company’s most successful mobile handset to date, managing to sell over 20-million units in its first 100 days of availability.
Just how quickly are the units selling? Samsung estimates it is selling about 200 000 units a day – making it even more popular than Apple’s iPhone 4. A follow-up from the successful Galaxy SII, the phone has a 4.8-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel rear-facing and 1.9-megapixel forward-facing camera, and runs on the latest version of Android — Ice Cream Sandwich. The smartphone also has NFC technology built into its design, and is equipped with a Super AMOLED HD (1280×720) screen. In terms of computing power, it is powered by a 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad processor, resulting in 20% less power usage.
2. Apple iPhone 5
Not much has changed in the iPhone’s iconic design since the launch of the iPhone 4, and the fifth version is no different. Taking on the same form factor as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, it is slightly bigger to accommodate the larger screen. Users will now be able to enjoy all the media content on a larger 4-inch screen which sports a 326 PPI Retina display, 1136 by 640 pixel resolution with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. The bigger screen has also allowed Apple to include a fifth row on the home screen for applications. In terms of computing power, it makes use of an A6 chip, providing twice the CPU and graphic output of previous versions. The chip is also 22% smaller than previous models. But with a stronger chip comes battery issues and Apple has also addressed that – the iPhone 5 exceeds the battery life of the 4S, which will now have 225 hours of standby time.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Lenovo’s is a combination of a tablet and notebook, and runs on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system – making the screen compatible with a keyboard as well as having full 10-point touchscreen functionality. Yoga 13 is powered by an Intel Chief River platform, using an Ivy Bridge processor, has 8 GB of RAM, and two SSD with 128 GB. The 13.3-inch display has a resolution of 1600 x 900, and the entire unit is only 17mm thick.
4. Sony 84-inch 4K Bravia
Sony’s 4K Ultra High Definition Bravia with LCD display is the industry’s largest 84-inch class, and display images at four times the resolution of standard High Definition, creating a crisper and clearer image – even from just 1.5 meters away. Pointing towards a growing trend in the home television market with other 4K launches during the year, Sony’s price tag of R276 000 makes the unit only attainable within a niche market, for now.
5. Apple iPad 4
Apple introduced its highly anticipated new iPad earlier this year and designed it to be 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad. The new device features a 9.7-inch Retina display, new Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera and ultrafast wireless performance. Apple has already sold more than three million units in just three days since the launch of its new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad – double the previous first weekend’s milestone of 1.5 million Wi-Fi only models sold for the third generation iPad in March.
6. Nokia Lumia
Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphones was the world’s first phones to make use of Microsoft’s Windows 8. The Nokia Lumia 920 also comes with Nokia City Lens, the latest addition to the Nokia location suite. By pointing the camera at a city street, City Lens overlays information about restaurants, shops, hotels and more on the surfaces of buildings, for the most intuitive way to explore surroundings. The Nokia Lumia 920 is the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphone, and includes the latest in Nokia PureView imaging innovation.
7. PlayStation Vita
This is not Sony’s first dip at the handheld console market – they launched the highly-successful PSP (PlayStation Portable) in 2004, and it managed to sell 71.3 million units up until 2011. The PlayStation Vita is definitely one of the best handheld gaming units that we have played around with in a long time. On the inside, the Vita sports a four-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a four-core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, making it one of the most powerful handheld gaming devices on the market. Thanks to the powerful GPU, it has the ability to produce really stunning graphics for such a little device.
8. Samsung’s 68cm Series 9 LED Monitor
Having a great computer setup is vital, but one aspect which users cannot skimp on is having a monitor to match. The 27″ S27B970D Series 9 LED Monitor is very impressive at first glance, standing tall on any desk, ready to display whatever is thrown at it. The natural display will jump to life on the 2560 x 1440 (Wide Quad-HD) resolution, which is a lot bigger than most monitors on the market. The monitor has a 178° / 178° viewing angle, as the display can be moved up and down (Height Adjustable Stand) on the back-support, as well as tilted forwards and backwards.
9. HP Compaq Elite 8300 All-In-One
All-In-One (AIO) computers are not as popular as they should be. For any business that relies on having the fastest equipment and office-bound staff, an AIO is a great option to save space and funds. HP’s Compaq Elite All-in-One is probably as good as AIO can get, as the machine has everything a user could possible want – while looking incredibly stylish. It features a stunning 23-inch diagonal TN widescreen WLED backlit LCD screen and has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, while there is the optional integrated 2.0 MP webcam and dual microphone array as well.
10. Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabook
Ultrabooks proved to be the latest trend in notebooks this year, with a number of manufacturers releasing their own versions of the sleek laptops. Dell’s XPS 13 falls squarely into the Ultrabook mould, and provides a quick and easy computing experience – with a 13-inch screen that neatly occupies the room an 11-inch normally would. The inner workings of this little machine pack a rather heavy punch. It features a Intel QS67 i5 or i7 chipset, 1.3MP webcam with dual array digital microphones, Intel Centrino Advanced-N Wi-Fi adapter and the 47WHr battery will provide just under 9 hours’ worth of power. Issues such as RAM need to be determined when purchasing the XPS, as several configurations exist.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor