After nearly a year of matching gadgets with our fans, it’s time for each GadgetMatch member to share his or her own favorite product of 2018.
To make things interesting, we’re excluding smartphones from this list. What you’ll see below are accessories, cameras, and other devices that have made our lives far more enjoyable this year.
Here they are:
Alven’s GadgetMatch: Wireless Earbuds
Without a doubt, my GadgetMatch of the year are wireless earbuds. As an Android user, we don’t have a clear-cut option of what to use the way iPhone users have AirPods, and I did experience a bit of struggle with “the curse of too many options.” Over the past year, I used two different wireless earbuds, like the Jabees Beebud and the iWalk Amour Air Duo. Not having to deal with wires has changed my life! Never again will I go through the struggle of untangling messy earphones before listening to music, and an added bonus: They look cool!
Pro tip: Make sure to get wireless earbuds with Bluetooth 5.0 specifications. Otherwise, there might be an audio delay when you watch videos.
Chay’s GadgetMatch: Xiaomi SOOCAS H3 Hair Dryer
There were three main considerations when I was looking for a hair dryer: price, power, and design. The moment the internet suggested the SOOCAS H3 Hair Dryer from Xiaomi, I knew it was a match. It has three heat settings and because I’m always rushing, I usually use the highest one as it fully dries my hair in only about 10 minutes. Not only does the aluminum alloy body make it look more premium than the usual plastic hair dryers, internally this is also one of the most powerful ones I’ve used. As an ionic hairdryer, it’s supposed to be safer and better compared to ceramic ones — it doesn’t leave my hair smelling burnt! Without going into details, the design also solves one of my peeves with hotel hair dryers: It doesn’t stop working from overheating. It’s only been two months and it’s been with me on every trip since, even if it’s not the most portable styling tool available.
Dan’s GadgetMatch: Dell XPS 13 (2018)
Who wouldn’t love an ultra-portable notebook that’s also incredibly powerful? The Dell XPS 13 continues to live up to its promise since being introduced to the market. The 2018 version refines everything, but kind of overdoes it by killing off its USB-A ports. USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 speeds is a godsend, but the basics should still be there, right? Anyhow, I can’t think of anything that I totally dislike about the latest XPS 13. It’s got a gorgeous edge-to-edge 4K display, beautiful aluminum and woven glass fiber design, and superb performance in such a small package.
Isa’s GadgetMatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch
A smartwatch that does not look like a clunky fitness wearable — that was the dream, and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch made it into a reality! It has all the great features of previous Samsung wearables that I love, plus it now has better battery time. And honestly, it’s been on my wrist since I got it because the rose gold face and blush straps are such a pretty look that matches all my outfits.
Kevin’s GadgetMatch: DJI Mavic 2 Pro
As a first-gen Mavic Pro owner, I was really excited to see how DJI would update its portable quadcopter. After two years of waiting, the Mavic 2 Pro seems like it was made for me. Almost all of the wishes I had for my Mavic Pro became a reality in the Mavic 2 Pro. From big improvements like its 1-inch camera sensor and a more reliable obstacle avoidance to the little updates like landing lights, the Mavic 2 Pro is definitely one of, if not the best consumer drone in the market right now.
Marvin’s GadgetMatch: GoPro Hero 7 Black
After seeing incremental updates in the Hero 6 Black, I was skeptical when GoPro said that “Shaky video is dead” for the Hero 7 Black. Boy, was I wrong to doubt them! The HyperSmooth stabilization in the latest Hero is unreal, and has made this action camera a must-bring to all of my trips. I’m especially fond of the TimeWarp feature, which automatically pushes my life on cam to overdrive.
MJ’s GadgetMatch: Sony RX100 VI
For someone who loves to move around and shoot photos and videos during my travels, I need a camera that’s fast enough to capture moments, but small enough to fit in my tiny hands. This is why I fell in love with the Sony RX100 VI as it can do what a full-frame mirrorless can but in a much smaller body, which means it’s lightweight and easier to hold without sacrificing the quality of my footage.
Rodneil’s GadgetMatch: Sony WH-1000XM3
I reviewed the WH-1000XM2 and absolutely fell in love with it. The WH-1000XM3 delivers the same sound quality with even better noise-canceling (huge feature especially when Isa is in the room 😂) plus it’s also lighter, charges faster, and now comes with a USB-C port instead of micro-USB. It’s a lot more flexible too, so it’s comfier on my large head and there are fewer chances for a klutz like me of breaking it. I just wish it had a better name.
GadgetMatch’s most-watched videos of 2018
A few brands dominated the charts
Ah, videos — GadgetMatch’s bread and butter. It’s been another great year for our YouTube channel, and we have the numbers to prove it.
These are our most popular videos of 2018, arranged from least to most viewed. Can you spot any patterns?
10. OPPO F9: All about that notch
Like it or not, OPPO is here to stay. While not the first to sport a tiny notch, the F9 definitely popularized it in 2018, and people loved it over the overly wide variety.
9. iPad Pro (2018) Unboxing
As the only tablet-centric video on this list, it certainly proves how iPads are still popular with the masses. The new iPad Pro in particular looks great right out of the box.
8. Huawei P20 & P20 Pro Hands-on
Was there any doubt about these two phones making the list? The flagship P20 pair set the standard for smartphone photography in 2018, and continue to dominate entering 2019.
7. ASUS ZenFone 5 Hands-On
Without a doubt, the ZenFone 5 brought redemption to ASUS’ lineup. It fixed everything that was wrong with the ZenFone 4 and came at just the right price.
6. Vivo V11 Unboxing & Review
Under-display fingerprint scanners are one thing, but to see them on a midrange phone is another. The V11 was a hit with this implementation, giving it enough reason to shine on this list.
5. OPPO F7 Review: Surprisingly powerful
Yup, another OPPO video! With a surprisingly fast processor and strong selfie game, the F7 made waves both on sales charts and our YouTube channel.
4. Vivo NEX Unboxing & Hands-On: The future!
When Vivo said the future had arrived, so did the views on this NEX video. We couldn’t get enough of its pop-up camera; no setup matches its style till now.
3. Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 Review
Sliding smartphones are so in right now! The Mi MIX 3 impressed us with its manual slider, and the fans came in droves. So much so in fact that this next video had its own boost in popularity.
2. Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 Unboxing: Comes with what!?
Yes, another Mi MIX 3 video! Xiaomi proved how much can be packed into a smartphone’s box without jacking up the price. We thoroughly enjoyed this unboxing and viewers wanted more.
1. Vivo V9 Unboxing and Hands-on
Surprised? Vivo’s V9 was a surprise hit for everyone. While it doesn’t have any unusual features like the last two smartphones on this list, viewers simply wanted to know if it was a good investment.
18 biggest hits and misses of 2018
More misses than hits once again
We don’t want to do it, but we have to. Twelve long months have passed and we need to look at both the best and worst of the year.
What you’re about to read are the biggest hits and misses in the tech, gaming, and lifestyle world for 2018. Let these be the basis of what’s to come in 2019 and beyond.
Miss: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable
This was a terrible way to start 2018. The exploits presented by Meltdown and Spectre shifted the security landscape for months to come — decades, in fact, if you count the damage they dealt.
Hit: Nokia reboots another classic: The 8810 4G
First we got the 3310 in 2017; this year, it was the 8810 — now with 4G! The banana phone we all know and love came back in a stylish yellow option, and it made us hungry for more throwbacks.
Miss: Huawei is spying on you, says US government
This was the start of several obstacles for Huawei in its pursuit of global product distribution in 2018. The investigations are still going on, and several countries have followed suit. This will likely continue to show up in headlines for the entirety of 2019.
Hit: India is now world’s second-largest mobile phone producer
Tech brands have been seeing the potential in India for both production and buying power, thus becoming the second-biggest phone manufacturer cements their place in the techie world order.
Miss: Uber sells their Southeast Asia business to Grab
What’s worse than a duopoly? A monopoly, sadly. Grab took over the ride-sharing space in Southeast Asia, resulting in no alternative for commuters who want options on their smartphones.
Hit: Thanos of Avengers: Infinity War comes to Fortnite
When you put together 2018’s most popular movie and video game in one package, you get absolute chaos that everyone can enjoy! It was madness that resonates to this day.
Miss: ZTE faces ban from using Qualcomm, Android on their phones
ZTE was another Chinese company that experienced misfortune in the US. President Donald Trump later came to their rescue, but the damage was already done to ZTE’s image.
Hit: The Roots, Jimmy Fallon, and Ariana Grande perform her new single with Nintendo Labo
Now this was a collab that we thoroughly loved! Ariana Grande’s hit song played with Nintendo’s cardboard Labo was a match made in heaven. LSS, anyone?
Miss: Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues
Losing files is never cool, especially when it happens without you knowing because of a major bug. Windows 10’s October update was a major headache for everyone, and took what felt like forever to resolve after even more mess-ups.
Hit: WHO officially recognizes gaming addiction as a mental health disorder
While mental health disorders suck, recognizing one as a legit problem is a definite hit. WHO reminded everyone in 2018 that video game addiction is real, and it can cause more harm than good.
Miss: Google is shutting down Google Plus after data leaks
The oft-forgotten social network got dealt its final blow after it was revealed that user data was leaked and Google+ was subsequently destined for closure. This is a Google-made product, mind you, making this breach even more worrisome.
Hit: Huawei takes Apple’s crown as second-largest smartphone brand
No one saw this coming a few years ago — except Huawei, of course! While Apple still enjoys record-breaking sales, the Chinese giant could at least savor the fact that all its hard work has been paying off.
Miss: Stan Lee passes away at 95
The most significant pop culture icon to pass away in 2018 was Stan Lee. It’s gonna be hella sad to no longer see his cameo appearances in upcoming superhero flicks. 😭
Hit: Apple is now worth $1,000,000,000,000
Those are a lot of zeros! With Tim Cook at the helm, Apple has been experiencing its most fruitful results since the company started. Watch them fight for that next trillion.
Miss: Tumblr will start banning porn this month
Tumblr has turned from being a haven for porn into a hub for… things that aren’t porn. While sexy creators scramble for another platform to share on, Tumblr struggles to form a newer, cleaner identity.
Hit: Esports added to the official sports for the 2019 SEA Games
What a victory for the competitive gaming community in Southeast Asia! Esports is finally getting the recognition it deserves, placing its PC, mobile, and console warriors alongside traditional athletes in 2019’s major event.
Miss: China bans Apple from selling iPhones
While the western world gives Huawei and ZTE problems, Apple is facing a serious ban in China. Although it only affects older iPhone models, the hit in sales could impact future sales in the world’s biggest consumer market.
Miss: Samsung will re-evaluate fake Supreme partnership after criticism
This made hypebeasts around the world go whaaaat. The partnership initially seemed too good to be true, and that’s because it was. After all the backlash, Samsung has been asking the cool kids in their departments how to fix this.
Best of 2018: Weekend Rewind
Let’s rewind 2018 before we fast forward to 2019
We’re switching up for the final weekend of 2018. Instead of giving you this week’s top news (which you can still get here), we’re sharing with you some stuff we’ve worked on to wrap this year up nicely
1. The team’s GadgetMatch for 2018
Let’s kick off this rewind by sharing with you what each member picked as their GadgetMatch for 2018. We firmly believe there’s a gadget you naturally gravitate toward, and this year, these are our picks.
For fun, we also shared what phones we’re currently using and what daily driver we would rather have. That should give you a better idea on what the team’s into, if that’s something you’re curious about.
2. Best Smartphones of 2018
Of course, we need to have this list, right? If you’re not sure what phone to splurge your hard-earned money on, this list should give you a good idea on what to get. You can’t go wrong with any of the smartphones listed here; you just need to know what your priorities on a phone are and select from the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, iPhone XS, ASUS ROG Phone, and more!
We’re not all about phones, though. We also put together a best products of 2018 list because you need more than just a daily driver to get by especially in today’s tech-driven landscape.
3. Best video games of 2018
All work and no play will burn you out real quick. So, make it a point to find time and play these titles that are more than worth your time.
With PlayStation 4 exclusives like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man leading the way, along with mobile hit Fortnite, there are plenty of titles to help you de-stress or just straight-up dive into a new world — something we all need from time to time.
4. Hits and Misses of 2018
It hasn’t been all happy and merry in 2018. While there were plenty of hits like esports being added as an official event for the 2019 SEA Games, there were also plenty of misses. Most notable of which was the passing of pop culture icon Stan Lee.
There was a lot that went down in 2018, and these are some of the events that should give you a nice snapshot of the year that was.
5. Where GadgetMatch has been
You can’t move forward without looking back a little. In 2018, we were literally everywhere, covering big tech events like CES and MWC as usual while also being present in other major tech events this year.
This list shows you where we’ve been and where we hope to see you all again in 2019.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Review: For those who like it small
A pocketable flagship-like phone
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX701) review
Refinement of a modern classic
OPPO A5s Review: Is it really any different?
Bang for the buck, at a cost of key features
Huawei offers a ‘Special Warranty Program’ that promises 100% refund
Taylor Swift and Katy Perry made up and Twitter is not calm
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Google Pixel 4 spotted in the wild, new camera layout confirmed
Huawei’s foldable phone is delayed to make sure it won’t be like Samsung’s
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