Editors' Choice

GadgetMatch Awards: Best products of 2017

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What a year 2017 has been! There was never a shortage of first-rate products that we deemed worthy of being someone’s GadgetMatch.

As we approach the end of the year, it’s about time we hand out awards for what we feel have been the best of the best we’ve experienced.

In no particular order, here they all are:

Best Premium Smartphone — Apple iPhone X

We’ve been blessed with countless premium smartphones this year, but nothing tops the iPhone X. The overall performance is unmatched, and with the class-leading OLED display and dual-camera setup, you have a smartphone for the ages.

Best Midrange Smartphone — OPPO R11s

Without a doubt, 2017 has been the year of midrange smartphones, and the OPPO R11s has led the pack. It takes everything that made the original R11 great and added an even more gorgeous build and AI-powered selfie camera.

Best Budget Smartphone — Xiaomi Mi A1

Xiaomi has always made fantastic budget-friendly smartphones, but they really hit it out of the park with the Mi A1. With its pure version of Android and solid overall specifications, you almost forget how affordable it actually is.

Best Productivity Smartphone — Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Losing the Galaxy Note 7 was such a blow to consumers, but the Note 8 more than made up for the loss. It’s not just the most gorgeous Galaxy Note ever, it also has the best set of cameras we’ve ever seen on a Samsung, as well as a perfect match between the AMOLED display and iconic S Pen.

Best Selfie Smartphone — Huawei Mate 10 Pro

The only things more beautiful than the Mate 10 Pro are the selfies you can get out of this phone. As great as the image quality of the rear cameras is, the front-facing shooter produces the best portraits we’ve seen on any handset this year.

Best Special Edition Phone — Nokia 3310

Nothing hits tech fans harder than nostalgia, and no product did it better this year than the new Nokia 3310. It retains the best qualities of the original 3310 — durability and ease of use — and modernized itself to fit seamlessly into 2017.

Best Laptop — Apple MacBook Pro

If you need a laptop that can do it all while looking absolutely perfect, you must go for Apple’s latest MacBook Pro. You can’t go wrong with the impeccable build quality, superb display, and innovative touch bar for unmatched levels of productivity.

Best 2-in-1 Convertible — Acer Switch 7

It’s difficult to believe that such a slim convertible can have a dedicated graphics chip — without a built-in fan no less! But here we are with the Acer Switch 7, the first of its kind. It even comes with a battery-free stylus and fingerprint reader right under the display. Talk about tech overload!

Best Gaming Machine — ASUS ROG Zephyrus

NVIDIA and Intel’s latest components have made gaming laptops slimmer than ever, and ASUS has maximized their full potential with the ROG Zephyrus. Its innovative cooling system and gaming-optimized display only add to its already powerful design.

Best Wearable — Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Making a gadget both stylish and highly functional is tough, but Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 Pro manages to pull off both with ease. Take it with you on a swim or run to track all your vital stats while looking cool at the same time.

Best Professional Camera — Sony A9

Sony’s A9 is the culmination of years of mirrorless camera evolution elevated to the next level. It shoots so fast at full resolution with its full-frame image sensor, making it perfect not only for sports photography, but for professional-level videos, as well.

Best 360 Camera — Insta360 ONE

The Insta360 ONE proves that 360 cameras don’t have to be clunky and difficult to operate anymore. It’s such a joy to use with the sensational photos and videos it can produce, and shooting is as simple as plugging into a phone and playing away!

Best Action Camera — GoPro Hero 6 Black

This is the action camera you want to take with you on your next adventure. As the successor to the highly popular Hero 5 Black, the Hero 6 Black ups the quality and shooting speed while keeping the signature rugged and waterproof design GoPro is famous for.

Best VR/AR Experience — Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

Becoming a Jedi has never been as fun and simple as this! Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges places you in the world of lightsaber battles, Holochess, and strategic combat using a trio of easy-to-install augmented reality accessories.

Best Drone — DJI Spark

DJI has had class-leading drones for the masses for a while now, but it was the Spark that truly set the standard for what a more affordable drone can do. It’s as compact as a smartphone and can be controlled using just hand gestures!

Best Vehicle — Ford Ranger Wildtrak

A pickup truck has to be tough, roomy, and powerful; the Ford Ranger Wildtrak is all that and more. With new features centered around comfort and safety, this vehicle is perfect for getting you from one point to another with the least amount of resistance.

Best Toy — Sphero Spider-man

How’s it going, Spidey? Sphero once again brings an iconic character to life with this super-cute Spider-man toy. With loads of voiced content, animated eyes, and easy connection to your wireless network, you’ll never feel bored in your home again!

Best Gaming Console — Nintendo Switch

Was there any doubt about the Nintendo Switch taking home this award? With a growing library of games on top of its already stellar lineup and strong emphasis on multiplayer mayhem, this is the gaming console you’ll want to spend time with at home and on the go.

Best Smart Speaker — Google Home Mini

We’re already attached to our Google Home from last year, but this smaller, cuter model is even more lovable. The Google Home Mini does everything its larger and more expensive sibling can do, including intelligently answering all your questions and handling music duties like a personal DJ.

Best Printer — Prynt Pocket

Who says printers have to be boring? The Prynt Pocket blew us away with its ability to print a photo which we could scan and turn into a video using a smartphone. It’s the perfect mix between traditional media and new-age, always-connected technology.

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Awards: Best of IFA 2017

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Image Source: Joshua Vergara (Nintendo Switch)

Editors' Choice

Best of 2019: Our favorite smartphones

So many choices, so we narrowed them down for you

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There’s really not one best smartphone. We all have different needs and thankfully, the options that brands give us is not lacking at all. Whether your priority is photography, gaming, or just something basic, there is definitely a smartphone for you.

Here are our favorites.

Best smartphones for photography: iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4

How good are the cameras? That’s always a topic of conversation when new phones are released. While other brands have made huge strides, the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 4 continue to dominate this category. The iPhone is a no-brainer choice for most people. Consistency is key and Apple has been pretty much consistent with the cameras on the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Google’s computational photography on the Pixel 4 continues to wow reviewers and casual users. Like the iPhone, the Pixel has consistently been one of the best in this category and it appears it will continue to be in the foreseeable future.

Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro

Best Android flagship: Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+

While the S Pen continues to set the Galaxy Note 10 series apart, the latest iteration of this Samsung flagship does so many other things at a high level as well. It is still a smartphone that’s literally for anyone, especially with the Galaxy Note 10 being made for people with smaller hands. Audio enthusiasts will lament the lack of a headphone jack for HiFi audio but more casual users are buying wireless earphones for their devices.

Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10+

Best implementation of a foldable display: Motorola razr

While the Samsung Galaxy Fold dominated this year’s headlines — and not always for the best reasons, it was the Motorola razr that showed us that while it’s notable to be the first, it’s more important to be the first to get it right. The new razr is a buzzer beater entry in this category but it’s also a slam dunk. The device, at launch, just works. No creases, no displays you can tear off, and no threat of software support being banned.

Best smartphone with a 64MP camera: Realme XT

The only two other phones in this category are the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Vivo NEX 3. We think that of the three, the Realme XT offers the best value. You see, other than the megapixel count, what sets smartphone cameras apart is the phone’s post-processing. The Realme XT consistently produces images with great detail and fantastic color reproduction. It doesn’t hurt that the phone’s white variant looks pretty good too.

Best value smartphone: Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (Redmi K20 Pro) 

This is 2019’s flagship killer. Not only is it equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 that’s present in most flagships today, it also has a modern all-screen design with a pop-up camera plus its rear cameras more than holds its own against phones that are similarly priced. But the price, that’s where this phone truly sets itself apart. For less than half of most flagships today, you get very near-flagship performance. There’s almost nothing else like it.

Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T, Realme 5 Pro

Best budget smartphone: Realme 5

Realme broke out in 2019 like no other brand. They’ve strengthened their foothold in key developing markets by launching devices that punch above their weight class. The Realme 5 is one such device. As one of the few budget smartphones with a quad-camera setup and is capable of basic gaming, it’s a well-rounded device and is perfect for anyone looking to get their first smartphone.

Honorable Mentions: Redmi Note 8, Samsung Galaxy A20s

Best smartphones for videography: iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max 

iPhones have been far and away the best smartphones for taking videos for a while now. The same is true in 2019. The iPhone 11 series has put even more emphasis on the cameras and just took what it was already good at and just became better at it. No one’s touching the iPhone in this category but the challengers have been gaining on them.

Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, OPPO Reno2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Best gaming smartphone: ROG Phone 2

It’s not even about the accessories. Yes, those are cool, but what really makes this a gaming smartphone is its design. We’re not just talking about how it looks. Design should always be how form and function come together. The ROG Phone 2’s features and little touches here and there like the second usb-c port for charging, the flat display, the front-firing speakers — these are all design decisions that address a mobile gamer’s needs. It’s extremely thoughtful of its target market.

Best Android smartphone without Google Mobile Services: Huawei Mate 30 Pro 

Heh. Sorry Huawei, we just had to. ✌

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Cameras

Best of 2019: Our favorite cameras

Carefully curated for your camera needs

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Just like any other consumer product, asking for the best product of all time is a lot. Various products were made to cater to the needs of different people. Even though smartphone cameras are fast-evolving, cameras are slower to develop but are far from being obsolete.

Here’s a list to help you decide the next best camera for you.

Best cameras for vlogging

Portability and flip screens — two among the many features that vloggers and content creators want to have in a camera.

Sony RX100 VII

If you want to have the lightest and most compact camera for vlogging, the RX100 VII is your best pick. Unlike other cameras in the list, it doesn’t feature interchangeable lens. Don’t worry, it’s equivalent to a 24-200mm f/2.8-f/4.5 lens, giving you the flexibility to shoot photos and videos on-the-go. It features real-time eye AF and tracking, a 180-degree flip screen, and 4K 30fps video shooting, as well as 960fps slow-mo shooting.

SEE ALSO: Sony RX100 VII: full-frame features on a compact camera

Sony a6400

If you’re already invested with Sony’s E-mount lenses, this new camera is for you. It’s one of the few cameras from Sony with interchangeable lenses that also has a flippy screen. It features a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, higher ISO expandability at 102,800, and even a weather-sealed body.

SEE ALSO: Sony’s new A6400 mirrorless camera is for professional vlogging

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

Successor to the EOS M6, Canon brings the M6 Mark II to the table with a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, faster shutter speed (together with the electronic shutter), higher ISO sensitivity range, and more AF points. It now features 4K 30fps/1080p 120fps shooting, a huge bump up from the old video resolution settings. Forget the lack of optical viewfinder! The 3-inch tilting LCD is helpful enough to make it an ideal vlogging companion.

SEE ALSO: Canon EOS M6 Mark II Philippine launch

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Editors' Choice

GadgetMatch Awards: Best of IFA 2019

Everything from your work to your home

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IFA has always been home to some of the best tech releases each year and IFA 2019 is no different. This year we got a device that’s the first of its kind, machines for creators, and plenty of smart things useful for your home.

Here are the best of the bunch.

Nokia 7.2

The follow-up to our favorite from last year, the Nokia 7.2 continues HMD Global’s tradition of building excellent, affordable, premium smartphones.

Veering away from the usual aluminum unibody in favor of a polymer composite, the Nokia 7.2 maintains durability while keeping the weight down to make room for a larger battery.

The phone is headlined by a 48MP camera sensor along with two other lenses: one that’s ultra wide and one that’s a depth sensor. Nokia developed new camera software to go along with the usual Zeiss hardware. This makes for photos with stunning image quality.

The Nokia 7.2 is in every respect what a flagship killer needs to be — combining the best of what the brand is known for, excellent hardware, pure software, and top-notch optics.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s new Pièce De Résistance, a device that gives users a taste of the future today.

After a major setback following its initial launch, Samsung went back to the drawing board to work on a fix. And if there’s any company that knows how to jump back up after a crisis it’s them. At IFA, the Galaxy Fold made its global return, the new and improved Fold is tougher and more resilient than ever, and most likely, THE foldable phone to beat!

Samsung BeSpoke Refrigerator

Have you ever wished to have a fridge that fits exactly with the design of your new home? There’s nothing more customized than Samsung’s BeSpoke Refrigerator.

Customization is king for this fridge. You can choose your refrigerator size, the number of doors, and a multitude of color combos. Name it, and Samsung will build it. That’s more control than you ever thought was possible with refrigerators.

Bosch Cookit 

Thinking about what to have for dinner and actually preparing it can be cumbersome. But it doesn’t have to be with the Bosch Cookit.

You can think of it as either an all-in-one food processor with cooking function. Or an all-in-one cooker with the slicing and dicing built-in. But perhaps the best thing about it is how you can connect it to the Home Connect App for a step-by-step guide on a variety of dishes you otherwise probably wouldn’t even think about preparing yourself.

Being able to prep and cook in the same machine is exactly what we need, where do we sign-up?

ASUS ProArt StudioBook One 

There are laptops for creators, and then there are machines for those who need even more power. Engineers, industrial designers, video editors working for video production houses.

For all these users and then some there’s ASUS ProArt StudioBook One — possibly the most powerful laptop in the world today.

Powered by the latest Intel Core i9 processor, and the new NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 graphics card it can literally handle anything you throw at it — rendering 8K videos, 3D graphics and animation,  you name it, this beast of a machine can handle it.

Lenovo Yoga C940 14 and 15

For many years, Lenovo’s Yoga line has set itself apart as the premier 2-in-1s, and this year’s Lenovo Yoga C940 14 and 15 are no exception.

Easily our favorite laptops from IFA 2019, they come with up to a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor, supercharging workflow and performance. You can even get it with the NVIDIA GTX 1650 to boost overall graphical performance if you need that extra oomph for video editing.

The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a powerhouse 2-in-1 designed for creators and creative professionals.

Lenovo Smart Display 7

We’ve been fans of Lenovo’s lineup of smart displays since they were first launched a year ago. But because of its size, the Lenovo Smart Display 7 has got to be our favorite. The device is petite enough to squeeze into an already cramped bedside table, or in a corner of your kitchen counter.

And for the uninitiated, a smart display is Google Assistant on steroids. It can show and tell your schedule, answer your questions, entertain you with music, videos, and music videos, and keep your hands-free when you’re trying to follow a tutorial.

Lenovo Smart Tab M8

It’s very clear which role the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 wants play. It intends to be your go-to device for entertainment.

With its 8-inch LCD panel display, it’s perfect for more intimate Netflix or YouTube sessions. But when you’re not holding it up, it also comes with a docking station and can function almost like the Smart Display 7.

Huawei Freebuds 3

Huawei has never been shy about putting their products up against Apple’s. And the Huawei Freebuds 3 is no exception. It’s essentially the AirPods, but better.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 clearly has its crosshairs on the AirPods. One look and you know that’s what Huawei was going for. It’s not the earbuds that some people find intrusive. These fit nicely in your ear without feeling invasive.

The other thing that sets it apart is adaptive noise cancellation. The Freebuds 3 is supposedly capable of 15-decibel ambient noise reduction. That’s remarkable for its size and easily blows the AirPods out of the water.

Oh and, it comes in black.

Huawei Kirin 990

Huawei’s Kirin 990 feels like a chip infused with the speed force.

Unlike other chips, the Kirin 990 incorporates 5G components on the same die. It saves space plus enables devices it’s equipped with to reach download speed up to  2.3Gbps, and upload speed of up to 1.25Gbps.

It uses two big, two middle and four little cores to optimize multitasking, with clock speeds of 2.86GHz, 2.36GHz, and 1.95GHz respectively. It’s flat out a speed demon.

LG G8X Dual Screen

LG is staking its claim on dual screens and the company might be onto something.

The LG G8X Dual Screen is an improvement of the similar tech employed on the LG V50 ThinQ. You connect the secondary screen via USB-C (USB-C everything!) instead of pogo pins. It does pretty much everything the first iteration can, but better.

You can tilt the second screen at any angle you like and it also folds all the way so you can use the LG G8X like you would a regular phone. You can go as far as calling this a semi-foldable and we wouldn’t hate you for it.

It also doesn’t hurt that LG opted to keep the headphone jack along with discrete Quad DAC that audio enthusiasts love so much.

While its competitors are going foldable, LG’s approach to innovation is practical, and we cannot recommend it more.

Philips Hue Vintage Bulbs + Smart Buttons + Smart Plugs

If you’re the type to go for a classic look, then the Philips Hue Vintage Bulbs will make you light up.

It’s reminiscent of the old incandescent light bulb, but made with light-emitting diodes instead of glowing tungsten. These new smart bulbs, much like everything on the new lineup unveiled by Philips will now work with Bluetooth. This will make it easier to invite users as you now only need to buy a single bulb to see if you’re open to getting more. Previously, the Philips Hue Hub was a required purchase since the system only worked with Zigbee but Bluetooth changes all that.

Philips also showcased new Smart Buttons and Smart Plugs. The button offers multiple controls. Press once to turn on/off. Press twice to change moods, and long press to dim up or down. The Smart Plug, meanwhile, will let you add lamps and string lights into your entire setup. Pretty neat and handy!

TCL Ray Danz Soundbar

TCL already makes some of the best TVs in the market today, so an equally excellent soundbar was only a matter of time.

The TCL Ray Danz Soundbar, much like anything on TCL’s lineup, promises good quality without exorbitant price tags. It has front-firing and sideways-firing speaker drivers to create a natural and wider resonance to elevate your Netflix and chill experience.

It also worked with Dolby Atmos to produce a 360-degree surround sound without the need for extra upward-firing drivers. As important as is a great display, is great audio, and if you’re looking for an excellent soundbar that doesn’t break the bank, look no further.

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