10 gadgets to look forward to in 2012

6. PlayStation Vita

PlayStation vita

In the face of the casual gaming revolution from the DS and App Store, Sony has stuck to what it knows, and its latest handheld is going to be a beast of a machine when it comes to raw power. And that pleases us greatly.

The Vita packs a quad-core graphics processor, making even the impressive graphics in the iPad 2 [link] look small-time in comparison. The graphics can shine on the qHD screen, and there are touch controls as well as dual analogue sticks, to keep both hardcore gamers and the Angry Birds crowd happy. With amazing-looking versions of Sony's games, including a new Uncharted offering, coming, the Vita is definitely a gamer's device, and potentially an awesome one at that.

7. Asus Padfone

Asus padfone

The Asus Padfone raised quite a few eyebrows when it was announced at Computex, as much for the odd presentation as the unusual device itself. A phone that you can slot in a tablet shell to give yourself a larger device seems to come firmly under 'just crazy enough to be crazy', but as time goes on, it's started to make more sense.

What's got us really interested now is the news that not only will the Padfone come with Android 4.0, but with Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core CPU as well. Android 4.0 makes perfect sense for the device; it's designed to unify the tablet and phone versions of Android, just as Asus is trying mash the two physical devices together. But with a launch planned for Mobile World Congress, we could be about to see the first quad-core phone released, and that's really going to make things interesting.

8. Sony PlayStation 3D Display

PlayStation 3d display

3D is still somewhat stumbling towards mainstream relevance, with more and more new TVs integrating it, but the PS3 can do 3D games and 3D Blu-ray playback, so Sony's making it simple to watch 3D without having to replace your entire home cinema setup. The PlayStation 3D Display can also cleverly use its 3D abilities to display two different images to two different players if you're playing multiplayer, as an alternative to split-screen gaming.

As a relatively low-cost (compared to big home cinema displays) 3D screen that's not too big, but features some cutting-edge 3D technology, Sony's display ticks all the boxes. It's a brilliant way to get into 3D gaming without totally breaking the bank, and is great for bedroom gaming or a second screen beyond your main TV.

9. Android 4.0 tablets

Android 4 tablet

You might wonder what Android 4.0 actually brings that Android 3.2 doesn't offer now, but the answer isn't as simple as a list of better features. In our Android 4.0 review, we found that the big steps forward is in the little things. It's much more streamlined, and more easy to use, and that's vital for making it seem as appealing as the iPad to those who don't care about hardware specs.

But more than that, we want to see what it inspires in the tablet manufacturers. We see all sorts of different app choices, custom widgets, hardware differences and philosophies from the different companies making Android tablets, and we can't wait to see what Ice Cream Sandwich brings out of them.

10. Ultrabooks that get it right


With Intel's push to make Ultrabooks - MacBook Air-like ultrathin laptops with speedy SSDs - the next big thing, we're seeing many of the big companies come out with their attempts. Some of them have been very good, but there's always a niggling problem making them imperfect, such as keyboards that are too small and uncomfortable, or dodgy trackpads.

No company has nailed it yet, but we're sure that one will next year, and that's what we're excited for: a super-thin, super-light PC that offers all the quality of the best normal laptops, but without the weight and size. Someone will get it right soon, and that will be a hell of a laptop.

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.