Gear of the year: TechRadar's top tech from 2012

Read: iPad mini review

nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

best in class

Best in class: Budget tablet
Released: September 2012

The affordable seven-incher really came of age in 2012, and alongside the iPad mini above, Google's Nexus 7 leads the line. It's major competitors are Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD as similarly priced budget Android options. But the Nexus 7 rules the roost. It offers lovely stock Android Jelly Bean, a decent display and responsive control. And what's more, you're not trapped inside a shop window like you are with the Amazon/B&N options. If you're after a 7-inch Android tablet, there really is only one option and it's the Google Nexus 7.

Read: Google Nexus 7 review

dell xps 12

Dell XPS 13

best in class

Best in class: Ultrabook
Released: March 2012

We fancy the Dell XPS 13. It's very good looking indeed and there is no better Ultrabook out there right now, and it's not cheap. But if you're looking for a bitch-ass Windows 8 laptop to kick lumps out of a MacBook Pro, this badboy's your huckleberry. It packs Core i5/i7 CPU, 4GB memory, 256GB SSD. And despite the 13-inch display, the footprint of this thing is actually similar to an 11-inch laptop so we reckon you'll be surprised at how compact the chassis actually is. Of course, it's not touchscreen, which might be cause for concern. 2013 is going to be a year absolutely jam packed full of touchscreen Windows 8 devices, so there's some food for thought if you're wondering whether now is the time to upgrade.

Read: Dell XPS 13 review

hp g6

HP Pavilion G6

best in class

Best in class: Mainstream laptop
Released: July 2012

As budget laptops go, there are plenty of products we could pick as a favourite. But we've gone for the HP G6 for its all-round performance and generous price. You get a decent CPU and dedicated AMD graphics power which means it'll see you through most computing tasks with competence. Unlike Intel based laptops, the on-board graphics combine with the dedicated card to create a dual graphics setup, and this really helps in Windows, when photo editing, and on the web. The only drawback here is in build quality. It may be a meaty machine on the inside, but on the outside it's a bit of an ugly duckling.

Read: HP Pavilion G6 review

fuji x10

Fuji FinePix X10

best in class

Best in class: Compact camera
Released: Late 2011

The Fuji X10 is our favourite compact camera of the year and absolutely deserves the honour of being named Best in Class. Just as it did with the FinePix X100, Fuji managed to make a camera in the X10 that not only looks the part, but delivers on image quality and handling too. The well-constructed metal body is robust, easy to use and looks very smart. Image quality is as good as any high-end compact camera can deliver at the moment, especially if the EXR modes are used to their strengths, though the zoom is limited and battery life is a little short if we're being picky. It's a little pricey, but it's worth every penny.

Read: Fuji X10 review

nikon d800

Nikon D800

best in class

Best in class: DSLR
Released: March 2012

For those interested in stepping up to a full-frame camera, the D800 represents a cracking investment. You get pretty much all of the best features of the Nikon D4 in a more compact and lighter body, with a much higher pixel count for just shy of half of the price. You'll find that the D800 isn't just a triumph of numbers and that the 35.3MP sensor actually delivers on its promise – capturing bags of detail. The surprise bonus is that noise is very well controlled and the dynamic range is very impressive indeed.

Read: Nikon D800 review

panasonic g5

Panasonic Lumix G5

best in class

Best in class: Compact System Camera
Released: July 2012

We had to include a CSC in our list, and featuring a newly designed 16 million pixel digital sensor and the latest Venus Engine VII processor, Panasonic's G5 delivers images which are cleaner and freer of noise than we've seen before on a G series camera. Purchasing the camera as a twin lens kit, with the new ultra-portable 45-150mm lens would arguably make this the ultimate holiday combination.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.