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Best (and worst) Gadgets & Tech of 2013

FinancesOnline.com has sent us their picks for the best and worst tech products of 2013. Since I agree with most of it, I thought it was worth reposting their infographic. Topics covered include smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, laptops, wearable tech, mobile OS, apps, and other gadgets, which are each ranked into four categories:

  1. Winners: They’re a cut above the rest. Best in class. Clear standouts.
  2. Contenders: Would have been winners, but beaten to the tape by millimeters.
  3. Game changers: There’s something to them that might upset the old order and start a whole new way of doing things.
  4. Clunkers: Bright ideas when they were rolled out, but consumers didn’t think so.

Delve into the infographic below, and let us know what you think they got right and wrong.

Best Tech Gadgets
Made available by https://financesonline.com | Author: Robin Renford

Smartphones

  • Winner: Apple iPhone 5s [$649]. Beautiful design, super-fast 64-bit processor, and fantastic camera make this possibly the best smartphone ever made.
  • Contender: HTC One [$599]. Easily the most stunning Android smartphone, it’s highly praised by reviewers but suffers from anemic sales.
  • Clunker: Blackberry Z10 [$580]. This was intended to be Blackberry’s hero phone, the savior of a sinking ship. Didn’t happen.
  • Game Changer: Motorola Project Ara [$350]. First to build on the Phonebloks project, which promises to make all essential phone components upgradable. 2014 might see the first Project Ara “phone worth keeping.”

Tablets

  • Winner: Apple iPad Air [$499]. Slimmer and sexier, the iPad Air has a 64-bit processor for a total package that combines portability, power and productivity.
  • Contender: Google Nexus 7 [299]. The second-gen Nexus 7 has the highest resolution display ever seen on a tablet.
  • Clunker: Microsoft Surface RT [$500]. Nine months after the tablet’s release, Microsoft announced a $900-million write-down because of unsold Surface RTs.
  • Game Changer: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX [$229]. Using the Mayday button, customers get free 24/7/365 tech support via video chat.

Tablets

  • Winner: Apple MacBook Pro 13” Retina [$1,099]. Still the best all-around laptop you can buy, with amazing battery life that can go 13.5 hours.
  • Contender: Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus [$1,400]. Simply the best Windows laptop currently in the market, with an unprecedented 3200 x 1800 display running a full 12 hours.
  • Clunker: Google Chromebook Pixel [$1,299]. Gorgeous hardware with limited functionality at a price way more than more powerful competition.
  • Game Changer: Asus Taichi [$1,300]. Dual 1080p IPS displays on both sides of the lid, anyone? A productivity boost for business meetings, surely, but will consumers agree in 2014?

Gaming Systems

  • Winner: Sony PlayStation 4 [$399]. Absolutely and unashamedly focused on being the best game console in the market, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
  • Contender: Microsoft Xbox One [$499]. Mainly a fabulous gaming device, but with only a few fabulous games right now. Wants to take over your living room in the next decade.
  • Clunker: Ouya [$100]. Console shortages, half-baked firmware and a lack of apps plague this successful Kickstarter startup.
  • Game Changer: Oculus Rift [$300]. Designed for immersive gaming, it plunges wearers into a virtual world. Will cause a stir if released for retail in 2014.

Wearable Tech

  • Winner: Pebble Smartwatch [$150]. Pebble is taking smartwatches mainstream with an e-paper display, useful apps and a low price.
  • Contender: Misfit Shine [$100]. A quarter-sized activity tracker that awards users points for walking, running and swimming among other activities.
  • Clunker: Samsung Galaxy Gear [$300]. Overpriced, oversized, and overly dependent on a companion Samsung device.
  • Game Changer: Google Glass [$1500]. A wearable breakthrough, Glass lets you snap pictures, get directions, speak to text and a whole lot more. Projected to launch in Q4 of 2014.

Other Gadgets

  • Winner: Google Chromecast [$35]. Stream videos and other content from your laptop, tablet or phone to the big screen, no wires involved.
  • Contender: Nest Protect [$130]. A smoke and carbon-monoxide detector the delivers alarms in a calm female voice.
  • Clunker: HapiLabs Hapifork [$100]. Monitors how fast you’re shoveling food into your mouth, but can’t tell whether it’s healthy stuff or junk food.
  • Game Changer: Leap Motion [$80]. Leap Motion can read your hand gestures for doing everything from gaming to exploring the universe on your PC. An improved version with enhanced functionality is expected in 2014.

Mobile Apps

  • Winner: Waze [Free]. Turn-by-turn GPS directions, and alerts for speed traps, accidents and slowdowns provided by the Waze user community. You’re expected to contribute information to, too.
  • Contender: Blackberry Messenger [Free]. The handsets might be dying, but the Messenger lives on. 24 hours after release, it notched a combined 10 million downloads on iOS and Android.
  • Clunker: Twitter #music [Free]. Just because we both follow Barack Obama doesn’t mean we both like One Direction. ‘Nuff said.
  • Game Changer: Tinder [Free]. It’s changing the way people meet people in real life. The double opt-in algorithm means you get to chat with people you like who also like you. Continued success expected in 2014 and beyond.

Mobile OS

  • Winner: Android 4.4 KitKat [Free]. A stunningly good operating system that feels every bit as up-to-date and modern as iOS 7, if not more so.
  • Contender: Apple iOS 7 [Free]. iOS 7 with its new flat UI remains an excellent operating system but doesn’t match the power and flexibility of its rival.
  • Clunker: Blackberry BB10 [Free]. Not at the level of Android or iOS, but could have given Windows Phone a run for the money. Sadly, a lack of killer apps kills the whole package.
  • Game Changer: Ubuntu [Free]. Streamlined and more intelligently designed, all it needs is dedicated hardware to really fly.
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