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Best gadgets 2020: the top tech you can buy right now

16/01/2020

When you insist on only having the best gadgets in your life, money is no object. If you’re prepared to splash cash on the crème de la crème of technology, you want to make sure that you’re truly getting the finest gear on the market. And so you’ve come to the right place – TechRadar’s Best Gadgets guide.

From VR headsets and TVs to humble fitness trackers, there’s a huge range of gadgets to bring into your life, whether you’re looking for a way to slob through 2020 or get those New Year resolutions off to a good start.

To help you overcome the problem of researching your own superior tech set up, we’ve collated a list of the best gadgets available right now. The industry leaders. The best of the best.

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. We’ve updated this list for 2020, meaning you’re getting the very latest winners in each category, even if some of the long-standing choices (the iPad Pro 11, for one) still reigns supreme.

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 2020

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the best smartphone available right now, still. That covers both the S10 and the larger Galaxy S10 Plus, as there’s very little difference between the two handsets aside from size.

They take the very best of what’s on the smartphone market and put it together in a compelling package that we loved testing.

The Super AMOLED display has been measured as the very best around, with super colours, great dynamic range and, essentially, the very best viewing experience you can have on a mobile phone. Larger batteries, more camera shooting modes, a crisper screen make this a notable upgrade to the Galaxy S9 (which previously held the top spot).

f we had to pick one, we’d go for the bigger screen and dual selfie snappers of the Galaxy S10 Plus, but both phones deserve their best phone crown.

Read more: Galaxy S10 review | Galaxy S10 Plus review

  • Want to see the best of the rest? 
  • In the US, check out Best phone in the US for 2020: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested
  • In the UK, check out Best phone 2020: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested
  • In Australia, check out Best phones in Australia 2020: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested

Best laptop 2020

The Dell XPS 13 has been a regular of our best laptops list for years, and – even though the Huawei Notebook X Pro did knock it off this list for a short while – the 2019 model is a true return to form. It retains everything we’ve come to love from Dell’s flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it.

The Dell XPS 13 rocks an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, this Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular Windows laptop in the world. 

What’s more, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs. The 2019 model doesn’t bring a huge amount of improvements, but then not that much about the Dell XPS 13 needs improving. Its webcam has been placed at the top center of the screen, rather than at the bottom, which a lot of customers have been asking for. You also get a longer battery life in this year’s model.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

  • Want to see the best of the rest? These are the best laptops of 2020

Best TV 2020

Last year, the Samsung Q9FN was the TV to beat. It won plaudits galore for its features and image quality, not to mention its excellent, improved smart platform that came with Bixby support and Samsung SmartThings.  

However it wasn’t perfect and there were legitimate complaints about viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system that crushed detail just above black. 

Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms to heart, and directly addressed them in the Q90. The new model has a visibly superior viewing angle that holds its own against an OLED TV, and the local dimming delivers deep blacks without losing shadow detail. To that end, the new Ultra Black Elite filter is nothing short of a revelation, rejecting ambient light in a way that just staggers belief.  

The Q90 is able to deliver images that can directly compete with an OLED, with natural colors, bright highlights, deep blacks, and well defined shadows. It can also surpass any OLED when it comes to HDR, with images that are often breathtaking in their detail and dynamic range.

In fact our only real criticism would be that, unlike some of the competition, the Q90 doesn’t support Dolby Vision. However in all other respects the Samsung Q90 is an absolutely stellar TV that takes QLED to another level.

Read the full review: Samsung Q90R QLED TV

  • Want to see the best of the rest?  
  • In the US, check out this version of the Best TVs in the US for 2020
  • In the UK and Australia, check out this version of the Best TVs 2020

Best games console 2020

It’s a curious time in the console cycle, with the PS4 and Xbox One both nearing the end of their reign, and their next-gen replacements set to dominate the living room when they launch in late 2020.

But that transitional period means the handheld-home console hybrid Nintendo Switch – and it’s handheld-only sibling, the Switch Lite – are really the best choices for a new console right now, unless the PS5 and Xbox Series X finally release.

They offer a distinctly different experience from the mainline Sony and Microsoft consoles, at a lower price point and hugely convenient portable play. Add to that the host of first-party Nintendo exclusives – Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, etc – and third-party indie games that slot perfectly onto the console’s compact screen, and you’ve got yourself a great time-spender on your hands.

Read the full review: Nintendo Switch | Nintendo Switch Lite

Best fitness tracker 2020

Fitbit Charge 3

More refined than the Fitbit Charge 2, the Charge 3 is one of the company’s most accomplished devices. It has a more lightweight design than the last-gen, and it looks better on your wrist. It’s our number one all-round fitness tracker since the price has dropped slightly recently, and it offers a lot of insight into your overall health.

There’s no onboard GPS, and it doesn’t have the more experimental design of this guide’s previous winner, the Moov Now – which doesn’t even have a screen! the Charge 3 does, however, offer a full fitness suite including a heart rate tracker. It’s even waterproof too.

Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best fitness tracker 2020: the top 10 activity bands on the planet

Best camera 2020

The Nikon Z6 is one of the newest cameras we’ve had the pleasure to test, and it matches youth with excellent usability.

A full-frame mirrorless, it ticks all the boxes for features, performance, and price, with a 24.5MP sensor that offers superb color reproduction and pin-sharp detailing.

For the wobbly-handed there’s a 273-point autofocus system, alongside a 12fps burst-shooting mode for capturing every moment of a fast-moving scene.

Along with these smart touches, it’s an ergonomic body, easy in the hand with sensibly-placed controls and a massive, bright EVF.  If you’re already on the Nikon train, you’ll be pleased to hear that a simple FZT adapter will let all your existing F mount lenses work just fine. Whether a pro or an enthusiast looking to upgrade, there’s lots to enjoy here.

Read the full review: Nikon Z6 review

Best tablet 2020

If money is truly no object, there’s never been a finer tablet than the 2018 iPad Pro 11 inch slate. It’s a superb two-in-one when paired with its folio keyboard case, and a lovely large touchscreen tablet when flying solo.

Many of the grumbles from earlier iPad Pro tablets have been ironed out. The Apple Pencil finally connects to the tablet magnetically, the speakers now have the oomph to match the larger real estate, and the screen-to-body ratio has been improved to a point where it’s hard to see where Apple can go from here.

Is it a true laptop replacement? That’s still a tough question, and one worth considering before purchase – the iOS 12 software feels limiting when trying to multitask and perform laptop-like tasks. 

Another strictly mobile challenge: it doesn’t have a headphone jack. If you want the standard 3.5mm jack in a computer-like device, you’ll spring for an actual computer.

Those points taken into account, it’s a real winner. Just don’t go in expecting an actual replacement for your MacBook Pro and you’ll come away a happy techhead.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 11

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Check out the best tablets you can buy in 2020

Best smartwatch 2020

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Following on from the Gear S3 series and the Gear Sport in 2017, the Samsung Galaxy Watch comes much improved over its predecessors and rightfully knocks the Apple Watch off the top spot for this section of our best gadgets list.

Having played around with the larger 46mm version of the Galaxy Watch, you’re looking at a rock-soild four day battery life for the wearable – an incredible feat considering most usually conk out after just a single day’s use.

Tizen is an increasingly capable wearable OS, and the rotating bezel used here to navigate works like a charm.

The one drawback remains Tizen’s app availability, which pales in comparison to Watch OS and Wear OS. That said, there’s a lot of filler on those two platforms, and Samsung’s core offering hits all the right notes for what you’d like to get from a smartwatch.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best smartwatch: the top smartwatches you can buy in 2020

Best VR headset 2020

There’s little doubt that the Valve Index is the next-generation VR headset people have been clamoring for: it has an ultra-crisp display that runs fairly well even with older GPUs, a wider field of view, a higher refresh rate and Valve’s ‘knuckle’ controllers, which can track the movement of every finger. 

Around the house, there’s no doubt the Valve Index will be our default VR headset going forward. It’s a significant upgrade to the HTC Vive, and runs much smoother than the Vive Pro, a powerful VR headset that really struggled to deliver on the promise of high-end, room-scale VR. 

And yet, while the Valve Index is the best VR headsets yet released, it’s brought some of VR’s most annoying aspects along for the ride. Setting it up can be painful, updates can cause connection issues, and you may find a new error the next time you go to use it. It’s also not cheap hardware – but if you can look past those issues, this is still the best VR headset right now.

Read the full review: Valve Index

  • Want to see the best of the rest? The best VR headset 2020: which headset offers the best bang for your buck?

Best headphones 2020

Sony’s done it again. Despite being a new model for 2018, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are the best noise-cancelling headphones in the world two years in a row. How can that be possible? 

That’s because, even though there’s new audio wizardry going on, they are for the most part a small refinement of last year’s excellent WH-1000XM2.

So what’s changed? the WH-1000XM3 uses the newer USB-C charging standard instead of a legacy microUSB connection, and there is also a bit more padding along the bridge to keep your noggin’ comfy. But that’s about it.

At first, that lack of substantial improvement gave us some reservations about recommending them – especially when the 1000XM2 could be found for less online. But those days are over. If you want a critically-acclaimed noise-cancelling headset that’s brand-new for 2018 and has two-plus years of experience being the best, the WH-1000XM3 are the way to go.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

  • Want to see the best of the rest? Best headphones 2019: the best headphones for any budget

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