Top gadget reviews of 2011


24 Dec 2011

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The iPad 2

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We look back at some of the most notable gadgets we reviewed over the course of 2011.

iPad 2

The successor to the first iPad introduced a slimmer design, a faster processor and a front-and-rear-facing camera. Nine months on and the iPad 2 is still in high demand, with analysts predicting that 13.6m will be sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone. When we reviewed it back in March, we thought the iPad 2 was “smooth, sharp and sophisticated, oozes elegance and with its new smart cover technology, is dressed to impress.”

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

Many tech fans have been long awaiting a PlayStation phone and the Xperia Play aimed to answer their prayers. It offers a slide-out PlayStation games controller, as well as access to a number of PSOne games on the smartphone. In our review, we thought it was a “stand-out device for mobile gaming” but that the games catalogue would “make or break the phone.”

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo’s latest portable console offers 3D gaming on the go. With the rise in popularity of mobile gaming, Nintendo is still fighting to win back the handheld gaming market with this device. We took a look at the device in April and thought that while it was a unique console with interesting features, it needed a “stronger (gaming lineup) to make it an essential purchase.”

Motorola Xoom

The Xoom was one of the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices revealed at CES 2011. It has a 10.1-inch widescreen display, a front and rear-facing camera and supports up to 720p HD video. In our review, we thought the tablet had some great features, but at a price of €629 on its initial release, the iPad 2 seemed more appealing.

HTC Sensation

HTC released this high-end dual core phone back in June, with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a 4.3-inch screen. We took a look at it, saying it “will be a catalyst for digital entertainment services via the Android platform.”

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung released its flagship Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S II, this summer. The device boasted a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a Super AMOLED Plus display. We thought the device offered “one of the most compelling Android smartphones available today.”

Chromebook

Google took a step into the desktop operating system space this year with an interesting concept. The company would enable laptops – dubbed ‘Chromebooks’ – to use Google’s Chrome web browser as their operating system, which would store everything in the cloud. We took an in-depth look at a Samsung Chromebook and believed it had “plenty to make you go ‘wow’ but enough to make you go ‘hmm’, too.”

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung’s biggest Android tablet this year was the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was one of many devices caught up in endless patent disputes against Apple around the globe this year. In our review, we said the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was “a great achievement and would make a good rival to the iPad.”

Sony Tablet S

Next up in the Android tablet arena was Sony with the Sony Tablet S. It has a unique folded-back magazine design with media features such as a multimedia remote control and PSOne gaming. We took a look at the tablet and said it was “definitely among the top Honeycomb tablets” but needed to make more of its built-in apps available to make it shine.

iPhone 4S

The latest iPhone may have attracted disappointment initially, in that it wasn’t a complete revamp of the device, but it hasn’t hurt sales of the latest Apple smartphone. It’s still an impressive device, with an 8-megapixel camera and voice assistant Siri. In our review, we believed the iPhone 4S “has a lot more going for it than some of the early commentators suggested.”

Sony Ericsson Arc S

This was Sony Ericsson’s flagshop device for the Christmas season, with a 1.4GHz dual core processor, a curved design and the ability to take 3D photographs. We reviewed the smartphone, saying it was “one of the finest smartphones to emerge from the Sony Ericsson stable.”

HTC Titan

Microsoft released Mango, the latest version of Windows Phone. The new OS featured several updates to help it catch up with other competitors. It was included on the HTC Titan, a smartphone with a massive 4.7-inch screen and a 1.5GHz Scorpio processor. In our review, we thought that while the HTC Titan is “a fantastic phone with great specs and is very easy to use”, Microsoft “hasn’t quite got the OS to match the phone yet.” However, we thought it was “still a good OS for those who enjoy using Windows features.”

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Keeping with tradition, Google once again chose an OEM to create a smartphone which would show off the capabilities of the latest version of Android. This year, Samsung built the Galaxy Nexus, which featured Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. With its vivid screen, its speed and the new features of Android 4.0, we thought the Galaxy Nexus was “a strong start for Ice Cream Sandwich”.