Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8, Olympus OM-D EM-10 and more make the cut
Here we present the best gadgets available right now in 12 key categories, to save you the hard work of doing all the research yourself. In short, if you’re starting from scratch and want the very best there is, then this is your new shopping list.
This list will only be updated when something new emerges that is capable of toppling an existing product from its perch – there may therefore be months when the 12 products featured here don’t change.
But this is an exclusive club, and only tech that is capable of achieving a towering standard of excellence gets in.
1. Best smartphone – Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung hit hard with the S5, however, with the Galaxy S6 Edge it landed a knockout blow, taking out Apple’s iPhone 6S with aplomb. That combination of a stylish glass and metal build, gorgeous curved screen and stunning camera just blew us away here at T3 Towers and, as can be seen in our review, this phone has a unique ability to turn iPhone and Windows Phone users green with envy.
2. Best home audio – B&W Zeppelin Wireles
Want to know how to partner gorgeous high-concept design with best-in-class functionality? Well, look no further than the B&W Zeppelin Wireless, an absolutely killer speaker system that delivers an awesome audio range in a super stylish and sleek body. T3’s own resident audiophile Duncan Bell said: ‘I’ve sat through so many mid- to high-end audio demos where I’ve had to smile politely and say, “Mmm yes, very clear,” while counting the minutes till the meeting’s end, but the Zeppelin was not like that. It sounded like music rather than “hi-fi”, and it rocked.’
3. Best tablet – iPad Air 2
Despite the recent hype surrounding the iPad Pro, which is a very tasty piece of kit we have to admit, it is the iPad Air 2 that retains the crown of ultimate tablet. Why? A super sleek and sexy design, spectacular display and solid A8X processor deliver a fast and fluid tablet experience, allowing you to browse, watch and create with unparalleled ease. Oh, and it’s far more affordable than the Pro.
4. Best headphones – Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8
These headphones just encapsulate the word premium. Bang & Olufsen, the high-end audio company, really killed it with the BeoPlay H8, delivering a wireless pair of headphones that not only delivers fantastic sound but looks and feels superb too. The fact that these bad boys are made out of anodised aluminium and weigh just 255g tells you all you need to know about how they feel on the head. They’re expensive but, just… damn!
5. Best TV – LG 55EG960V
Ok, we know, that’s some serious brass to layout on a TV, however we can absolutely guarantee that it will be money well spent as this OLED 4K, ULTRA HD TV from LG is just stunning. With a sound system designed by Harman / Kardon, as well as packing a Smart TV interface, 4K upscaler and LG’s Perfect Black tech, watching both 2D and 3D content on this bad boy is simply a dream. A jaw-dropping combination of total black, cracking colour, judder-free video, a reflection-free curve and an innate ability to make standard-def sources ripple with realism.
6. Best smartwatch – Apple Watch
Apple’s first wearable isn’t perfect, however after selling out on launch and now a recognisable sight on the highstreet, there’s no doubting its impact. And, looking at the tech, it’s not hard to see why. The OLED display is beautiful, with great contrast, the battery life is solid and the functionality rich and varied. The Apple Watch is luxury over necessity for sure, but as luxury tech goes, it’s really rather attractive.
7. Best TV streamer – Amazon Fire TV
Delivering Ultra HD, 4K streaming capabilities at a budget price, the Fire TV is a great choice if you’re looking to augment your entertainment setup with a capable media centre. This is especially true if you’re a Amazon Prime subscriber, with its vast library of content slickly accessible through the Fire’s responsive and intuitive UI.
8. Best fitness tracker – Fitbit Charge HR
Yes, the Fitbit Blaze is incoming, however right now we’d plump for the excellent Fitbit Charge HR, which does everything you’d want a fitness tracker to do exceptionally well. It lacks the razzmatazz of some other smartwatch competitors, however the Charge HR’s narrow, slim-line design, rich array of tracking capabilities – including steps, floors, heart rate, calories and more – and mid-tier price point combine to produce a really tidy piece of kit. It’s not an either-or product too, with both a Charge HR and a separate watch easily wearable on the same wrist.
9. Best laptop – Dell XPS 15
Loaded with Dell’s InfinityEdge virtually borderless display, a GeForce GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5 graphics card and premium aluminium and carbon fibre chassis, the XPS 15 is one hell of a laptop. When you consider this machine at this price point comes stocked with 16GB of RAM, a Core i7 Quad-Core processor and a 1TB SSD, then you’re looking at a system with simply monstrous power and potential. If you can afford it and need a laptop, the XPS 15 is the obvious choice.
10. Best connected home – Apple HomeKit
Apple’s play at the connected smart home market, HomeKit is a neat piece of software with the ability to link together various pieces of hardware around your house and allow you to control them through your phone. HomeKit is baked into iOS 9 and, once you’ve named and grouped any compatible hardware – which of course is on sale through Apple’s online store – you can start turning off lights, switching on cookers and cranking up the temperature of your thermostat all through your phone.
11. Best camera – Olympus OM-D EM-10
The best Micro Four Thirds camera on the market, the E-M10 is a super slim, lightweight camera that can cover all your photography needs. It’s packed with a 3-inch, tiltable touchscreen, an in-body 3-axis Image Stabilisation system and an ultra-fast autofocus system which, when combined, produce very desireable results. The classic design makes it look really classy too.
12. Best automotive – BMW i8
The Tesla Model S is breathing down its back, however the i8 remains the king of this sector for now thanks to its excellent fuel consumption stats. That’s right, despite hitting 62mph in a tasty 4.4 seconds, the i8 has an average fuel consumption rating of 134.5mpg and CO2 rating of 49g/km. Those numbers make this one of the most economical and environmentally friendly vehicles on the planet. Supercar performance without the associated running costs and environmental concerns. Of course, you do still need to pony up the £112k!