Gear of the year: TechRadar's top tech from 2013

ricoh gr

Ricoh GR

best in class

Best in class: Compact camera
Released: June 2013

In the GR, Ricoh has created a superb pocketable alternative to a DSLR. It has all the control over exposure that you need and it is responsive, with fast write times.

It produces very high quality images, that are generally well exposed, have natural colours and a very impressive level of detail. Noise is well controlled - especially in raw files, which at high sensitivity settings have a fine texture with no banding or clumping.

Ricoh isn't a widely recognised camera brand in the way that Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Olympus are, but its compact cameras have found favour with enthusiasts and professionals in the past. The new Ricoh GR is an excellent addition to the Ricoh Pentax camera lineup, and given its considerably lower price than the Nikon Coolpix A and Fuji X100S, it's a definite hit.
Ricoh GR review

canon 70D

Canon EOS 70D

best in class

Best in class: DSLR
Released: November 2013

Canon has produced a very well rounded camera for enthusiast photographers. It has all the specifications that we expect, along with a few modern niceties in a body that feels well made and comfortable in the hand. It should be serious competition for the Nikon D7100.

The new Dual Pixel AF system for Live View and Movie mode is very impressive. In bright light it's fast and decisive, being quickest in still mode and smoothest in movie mode. In low light, however, there's often some of the backwards and forwards adjustment that is typical of contrast detection systems rather than phase detection.

All things considered, however, the Canon EOS 70D is a very desirable camera that is capable of producing superb results.
Canon EOS 70D review


Olympus OM-D E-M1

best in class

Best in class: Compact System Camera
Released: November 2013

The E-M1 has a comprehensive feature set and its handling is well thought through. It also looks and feels like a 'proper camera'. It's weather-sealed so it can be used whatever the conditions, has plenty of direct controls with easy reach and has just about all the features an enthusiast photographer could want from a good walk-around camera. In fact it has such a wealth of features that some photographers are likely to be finding new modes and settings for some considerable time after purchase.

Happily the E-M1 isn't all style and no substance, either. It also delivers high quality, correctly exposed images with plenty of detail, good colour and well-controlled noise. The images look natural and sharp and although there is noise visible at relatively low sensitivity settings, it isn't intrusive and only visible if you look for it at 100% on-screen. Olympus OM-D E-M1 review


Spotify Premium

best in class

Best in class: Music streaming
Released: NA

Spotify was the first mainstream music streaming service and remains the best. Available on all kinds of devices, the high quality music library is as comprehensive as it gets and it's still getting better.

We'd like the web player to be improved, and the desktop client could do with a refresh. But these are moot criticisms because there is no the music service out there that can match Spotify for its ease of use and its incredible social features. Sharing and discovering music has never been easy and Spotify is the best of the best. Spotify review



best in class

Best in class: Video streaming
Released: NA

Netflix is totally worth the money. If it had Breaking Bad and Johnny Bravo and nothing else, it'd still be worth the asking price, but when you consider the massive amount of TV series, the Disney films and the ability to watch programmes on pretty much any conceivable device, then six quid is an absolute steal.

It isn't perfect - if recent movies are your thing then your money might be better spent on LoveFilm or on pay-per-view rentals - but when it comes to streaming video Netflix remains the service to beat. Netflix review

What was your gear of the year?

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.