Best of techradar 2015: our articles of the year

Your old smartphone could help save the Amazon rainforest

By James Peckham, November 22

Rainforest Connection

"If we ever think about the environmental impact of our upgrade addiction, it's usually to berate ourselves for the damage it does. But there is an option for your old mobile that will not only reduce waste, but actively help to preserve some of the most threatened habitats in the world.

In the last 50 years, 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed - partly by climate change, but much of it through illegal logging to develop farmland. This is a terrible loss by itself, but it also deprives indigenous tribes of their homes and drives rare species of plants and animals to extinction. There are even wider-reaching effects too: because forests act as a carbon sink, the more we lose, the more CO2 is released into the atmosphere and the greater the potential for global warming."

More picks by James

Surface Book review

By Kevin Lee

Surface Book

"Now, Microsoft introduces the Surface Book as the "ultimate laptop." Like the Surface tablets before it, this laptop takes a unique spin on the notebook format that's been around for over 40 years. Between the 3:2 aspect ratio, 13.5-inch screen and its practically-trademarked "dynamic fulcrum" hinge, there isn't any machine on the planet like the Surface Book – and then, with the touch of a button and a gentle tug, it becomes a tablet.

It all sounds like an amazing idea on paper, and with the added "holy shit, Microsoft made a laptop" factor, the Surface Book sounds like a thoroughly amazing device. Let's see just how well Redmond made good on the hype."

Techradar on social media

This was also a huge year for techradar on the social media front. Our Social Editor Salwa Azar gathered up the highlights of our year in social - the posts that have set our emoticons alight, made us puke rainbows and generally made us go "Huh?".

  1. Self-aware robots - we wrote this story in July and it took social media, including Reddit, by storm.
  2. Our Star Wars clip from London Comic Con - with over 10,000 views, this was one of our most popular videos on Facebook.
  3. Chewbacca Furby - a surprise entry proving that you really do love all things Star Wars. While it was posted to Instagram and Facebook, it was on Vine that this video really went crazy with over 200,000 loops and counting!
  4. Wearable leggings - One of the more bonkers ideas we've seen in terms of content.
  5. Cat laptop - Yes, it comes with a mouse.

Our top lists on social media were:

Make sure you're with us for an exciting start to the New Year as we attend CES 2016 in Las Vegas, and things really start off with a techno-klaxon. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.