A lot of different devices make it across the ES Tech desk so we thought we’d round up some of our favourite gadgets from the past 12 months.
Here’s to lots more gadget fun in 2019.
Favourite smartphone: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
2018 is the year that Huawei came to dominate the smartphone scene. it managed to overtake Apple as the second biggest phone maker in the world, just behind Samsung, and the Mate 20 Pro is an emblem of all that hard work.
It’s the ultimate smartphone for this year. It has an eye-catching design, a great camera lens line-up thanks to Huawei’s partnership with Leica, responsive OS and unbelievable battery life. All supported by the Huawei Kirin 980 chipset, one of the most powerful on the market.
Huawei has its work cut out to top the Mate 20 Pro for next year.
Favourite camera: Polaroid OneStep+
The newest addition to the Polaroid family, the Polaroid OneStep+ is everything you want from a 2018 camera.
It combines the classic Polaroid style of gorgeous analogue photos with an intuitive, user-friendly app that brings some welcome digital additions.
The Polaroid originals app unlocks six new features for the device including double exposure, light painting feature, and the exciting noise trigger feature so that when you clap your hands, the camera takes the shot.
Fun for all the family.
Favourite headphones: Sony WH-1000X M3 headphones
London is a busy city and the only way to deal with all that excess noise is with a pair of decent noise-cancelling headphones. Sony took all the features of its previous headphones and made them better with the new M3 pair.
Design changes mean the M3 headphones are not as bulky as previous iterations and should fit snugly on your ears. There’s also been a switch to USB-C charging, necessary when most smartphones support this too, so you only need to carry one cable around, and that 30-hour battery life comes in handy during long journeys.
From £329.99, Amazon.com
Favourite smart speaker: Google Home Hub
There weren’t many surprises at Google’s annual Made By Google event but what Google lacked in surprise it made up for in great products.
The Google Home Hub is a welcome addition to the company’s growing smart home expansion, with all the power of the Google Assistant and the visuals of a tablet screen.
Use it to control your smart home devices, play music, cast the radio or tune into YouTube videos. If you use Google Photos, you can set up a slideshow of your favourite photo albums to relive happy memories.
It’s having easy access to the Google Assistant where you really benefit. Google can tell you your commute time in the morning, what the weather is going to be like, and notify you of any meetings and engagements that day too.
£109, down from £139, Store.google.com
Favourite console: PlayStation Classic
2018 may have been the end of the PlayStation 2 for good, but retro gaming is still a major trend in tech. Case in point: the PlayStation Classic release.
This fun-sized version of the OG PlayStation came out earlier this month and is full of your favourite PlayStation games, including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash and Wild Arms.
More titles are set to come in 2019 so this is really the gadget that keeps on giving.
Favourite coding toy: Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
In our tech-focused world, everyone should be learning to code whether they are eight or 80. The company making this fun and enjoyable is Kano.
This year, the East London-based company unveiled its Harry Potter Coding Kit, complete with its own magical wand. You build the wand yourself, connect it via Bluetooth to your laptop and get ready to start coding. There are more than 70 challenges in the Harry Potter universe, to teach you about sensors, data and how to create magic with the flick of the wand.
Favourite tablet: Apple iPad Pro 2018
Apple’s latest iPad Pro promises to be more powerful than the majority of PCs sold last year, and when you put it to the test, it’s easy to see why. There’s little you can’t do on this device, perfect for design-intensive tasks like Photoshop, or simple web-browsing and Netflix bingeing.
The newest iPad Pro is more secure too: gone is the home button in favour of Apple’s FaceID facial unlock. All this power is packed into an 11-inch or 12.9-inch device, depending on your size preference, making it perfect for on the go.
From £769, Apple.com
Favourite fitness tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 3
Chinese tech company Xiaomi finally arrived in the UK earlier this year, bringing its extremely affordable and effective gadgets.
The Mi Band 3 is here to take on your old Fitbit: it’s light, sleek and provides all the fitness tracking you need from step count, sleep tracking, a heart-rate monitor, water resistant up to 50m, and a minimum of 20 days of battery life.
The kicker with the Mi Band 3 though is the price. It’s only £26.99, whereas you would pay at least £100 more for competitor models.
Favourite e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite 2018
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite 2018 is hands down the company’s best e-reader yet. It packs in some of the best features from the more expensive Kindle oasis, including an IPX8 water resistant rating, an improved glare-free screen for reading in direct sunlight, and the addition of Bluetooth for audiobook streaming, at a lower price point.
There’s more storage to fit in all those books and audio books too: starting at 8GB and going up to 32GB.
Overall favourite gadget of 2018: Bose Sleepbuds
Of all the gadgets and tech we tried out this year, the Bose Sleepbuds are the one thing we didn’t realise we needed before.
These sleek earbuds block out city sounds, masking unwanted noise like sirens or snoring, and there are 10 sleep tracks including gentle waves and rustling leaves, to lull you into an easy sleep.
One of the most useful features is that you can set your alarm to ring in your ears, instead of your phone, something your partner will certainly appreciate.
Sleep deprivation is harmful to our mental and physical health so any gadget that aims to help with this is a necessary purchase.