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Best in gadgets 2013: year of innovation and change

india Updated: Dec 27, 2013 16:26 IST
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The year 2013 has been an exciting one for tech-heads around the globe. While technology giants such as Apple and Samsung aggressively introduced a big range of products, there were others that made it into our Top-10 because of their smart concept and expert design. Here is a list of a few devices that caught people's eyes and fancy:

Apple goes for a complete refresh
Apple unveiled two new phones - the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S - with iOS 7, the latest operating system, in a bid to revolutionise its presence in the market and to take on its competitors. The US-based firm also launched the iPad Air and a new version of its iPad mini to tackle increasing challenge in the tablet market.

The new iPhone 5C in five colours are placed together at Apple Inc's announcement event in Beijing. (Reuters Photo)

Samsung shakes up its stable too
South Korean giant Samsung announced the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Note 10.1 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch in September. The most striking change for the Note 3 and Note 10.1, hybrid phablets as they are popularly called, came in their design. The new design gave the devices a "premium appearance".

A woman tests a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Smartphone at the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Germany. (AP photo)

Tablets aplenty, but laptops are still in
The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with a retina display-equipped system was launched with power computing in mind. A powerful Intel Core i7 processor and swanky look made it one of the most discussed laptops of 2013. The new MacBook air also pushed the outside of the envelope in terms of balance between portability and performance.

The new Macbook Pro with a Retina display is seen during Apple's special event at the California Theatre in San Jose. (AFP photo)

It's the age of wearable technology

Smartwatches, health trackers and activity monitors - they all form a new and emerging technology landscape. But smartwatches have largely been the talk of the town. The Samsung Galaxy Gear, an Android-based smartwatch, serves as an add-on for Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets. The Galaxy Gear, with a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display, has an embedded camera in its strap which lets the user take memo videos and photos by just a swipe movement. When you get a call, raise your hand till the level of ear and you can start talking - James Bond style.



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Xbox One and PlayStation 4 battle it out
The launch of next-generation consoles - Xbox One and PlayStation 4 - took the gaming experience to a whole new level this year. While Microsoft sold more than a million Xbox One consoles within 24 hours of its launch in 13 countries, Sony made a similar claim for its PlayStation 4. The Xbox One, successor to the Xbox 360, the top-selling console in North America, debuted at $500 while Sony's PS4 was priced at $400.

The new controller for Microsoft's next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system is shown front and center with older-generation controllers behind it in Redmond, Washington. AP photo)

A whole new TV viewing experience

People were happy watching television shows and movies on their computers until they realised they were missing something - streaming video devices such as Roku, Apple (AAPL) TV and Google's (GOOG) Chromecast project video from Netflix (NFLX). These devices, acting as plug-ins, play audio and video content on HD televisions by streaming via Wi-Fi from the internet or local network.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/12/Roku.jpg The advent of wireless speakers

With the arrival of wireless technology, audiophiles can easily add external speakers to devices without the trouble of coping with lengthy wires or stumbling on them. The Bose SoundLink Mini - priced at Rs 16,200 - was the best in its class this year. Much more portable than the original SoundLink, it delivers full natural sound, while fitting in the palm of your hand.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/12/Bosesoundlink_mini.jpg Yes, light bulbs can be cool gadgets too

The 100-watt light bulbs have slowly started disappearing from stores because of many reasons, one being that they are energy hogs. In 2013, LED bulbs showed they could roughly match the 100-watters for size and brightness, but use far less energy. While Philips unveiled its SlimStyle LED Bulb, a Kickstarter-backed project that stood out was LIFX. LIFX is a Wi-Fi enabled, multi-colour, energy efficient LED light bulb that you can control with your smartphone!



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Because you can't let go of your precious data
With storage capacities running into terabytes, hard drives can now serve many purposes. You can store all the videos you love and thousands of other precious files you have accumulated over the years. The Lacie 5big drive combines five hard disks to form a 20TB capacity. With huge storage space and impressive speed, it seems like a must-have gadget among many other similar products from Western Digital and Seagate.

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