Best gadgets 2018: the top tech you can buy right now

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Choice paralysis is something that you may or may not have heard of, but you'll definitely have been affected by. It's the thing that happens when you're given so many options that you end up not being able to make a decision at all. 

You want an ice cream? Yes. Do you want vanilla? Chocolate? Pistachio, hazelnut, strawberry, peach sorbet, rum raisin, mint choc chip, chunky monkey? Suddenly, the idea of an ice cream doesn't seem so appealing.

Well, the tech world is rife with choice paralysis. For every phone, TV, or tablet there's a mind-boggling amount of options, which can make the process of buying a new piece of tech far less enjoyable than it should be.

To help you overcome this problem we've collated a list of the best gadgets available right now. The industry leaders. The creme de la creme.

For each category there is only one entry and this will only be updated when a new challenger knocks the reigning champ off the top spot. 

What that means is that sometimes the list doesn't change for a long time. So quite a few of the items you'll see below have been there for months, and have even endured major releases in their field. 

If you're the sort of person who just wants to know what the best is and you don't care about the rest, welcome to your new shopping list...

Best phone

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung’s best phone with a big screen and superb camera

Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm | OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: Dual 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Excellent low-light cameras
Super premium build
AR Emoji mode is overrated
Not all that different to S8 Plus

TechRadar Senior Editor, Mobile and Buying Guides Matt Swider thinks the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the best phone on the market for a number of reasons, but the write-home-to-mother feature has to be the low-light camera.

Samsung is making a big deal about the camera on the S9 range and for good reason, on the back of the S9 Plus are dual 12MP cameras, both with an impressive f/1.5 maximum aperture. At the time of writing the S9 range is the only phone with a camera aperture this wide, making its low-light prowess second-to-none.

Add on top of that the 'infinity' screen that the Samsung Galaxy range is now famous for, and this big-screened beauty comfortably takes the top spot. We thought the AR Emoji feature was overrated, but if you're in the market for the best screen and best camera on a phone, this is the handset for you.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

  • Want to see the best of the rest? 
  • In the US, check out Best phone in the US for 2018: the 10 top smartphones we've tested
  • In the UK, check out Best phone 2018: the 10 top smartphones we've tested
  • In Australia, check out Best phones in Australia 2018: the 10 top smartphones we've tested

Best laptop

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Our new pick for the best laptop in the world

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Beautiful design
Fantastic display
No SD card slot
Webcam not great

The Huawei MateBook X Pro is our new pick for the best laptop money can buy in 2018, after years of this list being dominated by the (still excellent) Dell XPS 13, which is now in second place. While Huawei hasn't been making laptops for as long as more established manufacturers in this list, it has absolutely knocked it out the park with the MateBook X Pro. 

This is a gorgeously-designed laptop with a stunning screen (albeit with a rather odd aspect ratio), and it comes packed with cutting edge components that allows it to perform brilliantly, and a battery life that runs rings around many of its rivals. It also has a very competitive price, giving you features, design and performance for quite a bit less money.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro

  • Want to see the best of the rest? These are the best laptops of 2018

Best TV

Samsung Q9FN QLED (2018)

The best TV ever? Could be!

65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FN

Spectacular HDR picture quality
Powerful, well-rounded sound
Limited viewing angles

After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn't surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs. 

As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung's 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that's brighter and more colorful than near any we've seen come from the South Korean manufacturer. 

Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there's very little doubt in our mind that this is Samsung's best TV ever. 

Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)

  • Want to see the best of the rest?  
  • In the US, check out this version of the Best TVs in the US for 2018
  • In the UK and Australia, check out this version of the Best TVs 2018

Best games console

PS4 Pro

Sony's souped-up PS4 Pro is amazing for 4K TV owners

Dimensions: 29.5 x 32.7 x 5.5 cm (W x L x H) | GPU: 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ based graphics engine | RAM: 8 GB of GDDR5, 1 GB DDR3 | Communication: USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0a, Ethernet, Optical Audio and PlayStation Camera ports, Dual-band 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 | Max Resolution: 3840 × 2160 | Maximum controllers: 4 | Storage: 1TB

First 4K HDR Sony console
1TB hard drive
No 4K Blu-ray player
Pro Mode support isn't universal

The battle between Sony's PlayStation consoles and Microsoft's Xbox series is hard-fought, but right now we think the PS4 Pro has the edge over the Xbox One S, thanks to a combination of good hardware, great games, and a generous online offering. 

An improvement on the already very strong PS4, the PS4 Pro supports 4K and HDR technologies; plus with advances in frame rate due to beefed-up processing speeds, gaming will look cleaner, crisper and smoother.

The only thing stopping the PS4 Pro from being the ultimate console is the omission of an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive. Instead you'll have to rely on streaming to get your 4K media fix. 

Read the full review: PS4 Pro 

Best fitness tracker

Moov Now

The no-screen wonder

Screen: No | Heart rate tracker: No | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes, through phone | Battery life: Six months | Compatibility: Android/iOS

Great battery life
Cheap price
Limited features
No screen

The Moov Now doesn't have all the bells and whistles you would associate with a fitness tracker. It doesn't have GPS tracking, it doesn't even have a screen; but what it does have is a cheap price tag and six-month battery life. Yes, you read that right: six months.

During those six months you can track your steps, your sleep, your fitness, your running technique and a whole lot more. This may be an unconventional fitness tracker, but it's a great one. 

Read the full review: Moov Now

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best fitness tracker 2018: the top 10 activity bands on the planet

Best camera

Nikon D850

High resolution meets high speed

Type: DSLR | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 45.4MP | Lens: Nikon F mount | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

Stunning image quality
Excellent performance
Slow Live View AF speed
SnapBridge connectivity

According to TechRadar's Photography Editor Phil Hall, the "fabulous D850 DSLR pretty much ticks every box".

It has a brillaint 45.4MP full-frame sensor, stunning image quality, and that's where the story starts. 

It has a sophisticated 153-point AF system and 9fps bust shooting speed. The D850 is just as home shooting wildlife, landscape, and portraits. He thinks it could perhaps be the most well-rounded camera he's ever seen.

Read the full review: Nikon D850

Best tablet

New iPad (2017)

The best iPad, giving you plenty of power and maximum bang for your buck

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: approx 8,800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Beautiful 9.7-inch screen
Cheaper than predecessor
Thicker than Air 2
No 256GB option

According to our Phones, Wearables and Tablets Writer James Peckham, the best tablet on the market right now is the new iPad (2017), with its sharp 9.7-inch display, beautiful design, and A9 chip – and all for a price that isn’t going to break the bank.

While the new iPad (2017) isn’t doing anything revolutionary, it's a solid update on an already five-star device, and at a much more palatable price.

The new iPad starts off at 32GB of storage rather than Apple’s usual 16GB, and considering it’s cheaper than the entry-level iPad Air 2, that’s seriously good value for money.

Read the full review: New iPad (2017)

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Check out the best tablets you can buy in 2018

Best smartwatch

Apple Watch 3

A better connection with the world's best smartwatch

OS: watchOS 4 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53" OLED | Processor: S2 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies drastically per watch size | Onboard storage: 8GB / 16GB (Non-LTE and LTE respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

Brilliant fitness tracking
Non-LTE version much better value
LTE is unnecessary expense
Battery too short for sleep tracking

Apple has managed to knock itself off the top spot for best smartwatch with the excellent Apple Watch 3. It will look very familiar to anyone who has the Apple Watch 2, as it's basically the same frame with different innards, but those innards make all the difference. 

One of the major changes is the addition of LTE connectivity, which is a great addition. For those that have been hankering for it, the feature has finally arrived, and for those that couldn't care less, you can pick up a non-LTE version for a cheaper price that still includes upgrades on the Watch 2 like longer battery life and faster speed when flicking through. 

The Apple Watch Series 3 is waterproof, has GPS capabilities, and looks good on the wrist. The real question is whether another company is going to be able to take the top spot off Apple, or if this space is going to stay the same until the Apple Watch 4 comes out. 

Read the full review: Apple Watch 3

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best smartwatch: the top smartwatches you can buy in 2018

Best VR headset

HTC Vive

HTC Vive wins the first battle in the VR war

Screen resolution: 2160 x 1200 | Compatibility: Windows | Field of View: 110 degrees | Play-space: 13 x 13 feet | Controllers included?: Yes | Weight: 470g

Best overall VR experience
Software partnership with Valve
Requires a high-end GPU
The most expensive option

The HTC Vive is the best VR headset in the world right now. The controls are intuitive to use, the resolution is incredible, with a 1080p screen per eye, and the base stations mean you can play in a space that's 13 x 13 feet in size – that's some serious playing space to swing yourself around in. 

Like most of the entries on our list this is a premium product at a high price, but if you're looking for the best first-generation VR headset around, then the HTC Vive is the one to go for. 

Read the full review: HTC Vive

  • Want to see the best of the rest? The best VR headset 2018: which headset offers the best bang for your buck?

Best headphones

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

The complete package... for a price

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: 4.6 feet | Frequency response: 16-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 28 ohms | Battery life: 25+ hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | NFC: Yes

Great sound
Good-looking
Exceptional battery life
That price

Choosing a 'best pair of headphones' is a tricky proposition, because everyone needs something slightly different from their listening devices. 

If you need a lightweight pair for the gym then you're probably better off with a pair of wireless earbuds; or, if you do most of your listening at home and want the best-possible sound quality, then a pair of wired over-ears might be better. 

But if we had to pick the best headphones overall then we'd go for the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless. They're wireless, which makes them more convenient for portable use, and they're noise-cancelling for those who want to use them on a noisy commute. 

And, most importantly, they do all this without compromising on sound quality, which still lives up to the high standards that Sennheiser normally achieves. Oh, and they look pretty good as well. 

There are absolutely better-sounding, better-looking and better noise-cancelling headphones out there, but none of them do everything better than the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, which makes them the best overall pair of headphones around right now. 

That said, if you do want to get the absolute best, purest, sound quality, we recommend the fantastic Oppo PM-3's. 

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best headphones 2018: the best headphones for any budget

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