Here at the editorial office, a lot of exciting gadgets fly through the system. They arrive, are unpacked, set up, filmed, reviewed and quickly returned, and the system works so smoothly that we don’t really stop and wonder, “Hey, what experiences have I actually had?”
This is a pretty important question to ask yourself as a reviewer, because while a particular gadget may get a rock-solid review, there is a difference between the more down-to-earth assessment and what we consider our actual favorites.
These conversations usually take place at the end of the year, when we naturally begin to talk about what things we have returned over the year that we are considering investing in ourselves, which ones we are missing, which ones have left an impression.
So this category is mostly about celebrating the items that left that more immediate impression, and that we still talked about, discussed and remembered at the end of the year. A drone, an iPhone, a bag, a new series of graphics cards – it’s a motley assortment, to say the least. Okay, let’s get started.
Winner: OnePlus Open
We have repeatedly sung songs about OnePlus Open here on the editorial staff, so it should be relatively obvious why it is one of our overall favorites over the past year.
Not only has OnePlus finally dared to challenge Samsung, they’re doing it with a piece of hardware that puts the Korean tech giant to shame. Better screens, cleaner software, better cameras and more inspired hardware, OnePlus Open does not necessarily make foldable phones easier to recommend to the average consumer, but it has quickly become the foldable phone we would recommend.
Yes, it’s based on the only other competitor out there, but considering you could also import a Google Pixel Fold, or some prominent foldables from Xiaomi and Vivo, it’s still impressive that OnePlus has come so close to perfection with their first one.
Winner: AceZone A-Rise
AceZone was something completely new to us, a brand new manufacturer suddenly coming out of the woodwork. That in itself is a difficult position to be in, but when the first products landed on our table, it was clear that this project is something very special.
Sure, the headset costs £700, but you’re getting something that nobody else has, mainly because they can’t afford it, but you still have your headset if the others break down five times, and you can actually be heard when you talk. This is due to overwhelming ergonomics, great sound quality, an excellent microphone and generally just attention to detail that we don’t see to the same extent with the other major mainstream competitors.
Winner: LG G3
It used to be that one of LG’s strengths was that any given series of panels was the same, and it was the surrounding factors that determined whether you should buy a G, or even just a C. That’s no longer the case, now many of the wildest innovations have been singled out for this year’s G model, and while that annoys many, it’s also where you can once again see how LG can produce TVs like no other.
This time they have introduced MLA, or Micro Lens Array, a technology that retains the contrast and deep blacks of the classic OLED panel, but combines it with the brightness we see from QLED, for example. The result is a breathtaking picture to say the least, and that’s not even all.
There are four 4K/120Hz HDMI 2.1 ports, VRR, ALLM, Dolby Vision at 120Hz, enhanced WebOS23 software, the stylish design. The LG G3 is the ultimate television.
Winner: Sage Barista Touch
Here at the newsroom, coffee has been brewed en masse, and since nothing can cheer up a tired editorial staff like a delicious crema on a cold December morning, it’s clear that the Sage Barista Touch is one of our favorite gadgets here in 2023.
First, it is the build quality, which is sublime to say the least, but it is combined here and there with stylish little details, such as how wonderful the coffee baskets themselves are, and the heavy plunger that fits perfectly and provides a smooth surface.
But first and foremost, it is again the intersection between the automated and modern via the beautiful display with precise guides, to the more tactile and old-fashioned, where you have to take care of the coffee before the last shot (pun intended) to become the creation you want.