How to pick the best gadgets in 2018? Whether you're agonizing over your next handset, an upgrade to your television, or what smartwatch is going to help you keep fit, there are countless options and iterations available to you – and only so much time to sift through them.
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 – so you know you're seeing the very best gadget in its relative sector.
What that means is that sometimes the list doesn't change for a long time. Quite a few of the items you'll see below have been there for months, but seen off every challenger that's come their way.
So 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 2018
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
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 2018
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
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 2018
Samsung Q9FN QLED (2018)
The best TV ever? Could be!
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FN
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 2018
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
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 or Xbox One X, 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 – or, if you're using Sony's PS Now service, the new download feature to play rented games without your patchy connection dropping the resolution.
Read the full review: PS4 Pro
- Want to see exactly how it stacks up against the Xbox One S? Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Which is better?
Best fitness tracker 2018
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
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 2018
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
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
- Want to see the best of the rest? Here are the 10 best digital cameras in 2018
Best tablet 2018
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
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
Apple Watch 4
One of the best smartwatches just got better
OS: watchOS 5 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.78" OLED | Processor: S4 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies drastically per watch size | Onboard storage: 16GB | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: 50m ISO | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
The Apple Watch 4 stole the show at the launch of three new iPhones, and for good reason: where those were all just copying the iPhone X from last year, the Watch 4 feels materially different. This is Apple's best smartwatch - not just because it's the newest, but by a long way.
Not just for the upgrade in display and size, without adding that much heft, but in the way Apple is pushing it: the Watch 4 is now a health-focused device, something to help you get fitter or stay healthier if you’ve got a serious condition - or even just safeguard the more infirm for their loved ones.
Read the full review: Apple Watch 4
- Want to see the best of the rest? Best smartwatch: the top smartwatches you can buy in 2018
Best VR headset 2018
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
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.
HTC's close rival Oculus still has designs on the crown, and the incoming Oculus Quest – a wireless VR headset with PC-quality performance, reportedly – could well swing the balance.
Like most of the entries on our list this is a premium product at a high price, but for now 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 2018
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
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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