The Christmas season is finally here, and with it comes the holiday shopping sprees! Christmastime is the biggest technology buying time of the year, but the market can become very confusing at times. Here, I review the top 10 tech products of the season, to help you decide on which products to buy.
10. Nokia Lumia 1520
The Finnish phone company Nokia has gained some lost ground over the past few years and has started to release colorful, fresh Windows phones with sleek designs and amazing hardware. The Lumia 1520 is Nokia’s first “phablet,” or large-sized phone. Its screen is a whopping six inches, making it an amazing mini-tablet but also an awkwardly large phone. This phone makes the iPhone look like a dwarf! It has a gorgeous 1080p screen and runs Windows Phone 8, made by Microsoft. It is $99 with contract from AT&T.
9. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader on the market, period. Made by the online shopping giant Amazon, the updated Kindle Paperwhite offers a nice backlit display, multi-touch, a massive selection of e-books from the Amazon store, a built-in dictionary, dark text, and more. The improved e-ink screen makes it so that there is no screen glare at all, even in bright sunlight. The Paperwhite starts at $119, so it’s practically a must-have for book lovers.
8. Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display
We all expected it: Apple’s brand-new iPad mini, now updated with a beautiful Retina display and iOS 7. If you’re looking for a mini tablet, there is no competition. This tablet comes with a 7.9-inch screen with 256 pixels per inch, making for a gorgeous viewing experience. If you are willing to pay $399 for a mini-tablet, this is definitely the right choice .
7. Samsung Galaxy S4
Nicknamed “the everything phone” by CNET, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is packed with many great features such as Android 4.4 (the most recent version of Google’s mobile OS), a powerhouse processor, a big screen, near-field communication (NFC), a stellar camera, and much more. There are little to no downsides to this phone, with it being relatively cheap at only $99 with contract.
6. Nokia Lumia 1020
Best known for its titan of a camera, the Lumia 1020 is the flagship Windows Phone designed by Nokia, Microsoft’s close partner. It has an unbelievable 41-megapixel camera built in, giving you without question the best photos on any smartphone. Nokia builds on its already superior low-light photography power, improves optical image stabilization (which removes shakiness from videos and photos), and adds its feature-packed Pro Camera app, producing amazing results. Amazingly, its camera adds little weight to the phone and only protrudes about a tenth of an inch from the back. It starts at $99 from AT&T. Along with its sturdy polycarbonate build and other features such as the great Windows Phone 8 OS, the Lumia 1020 makes for a phone that you won’t regret buying!
5. Microsoft Surface 2
The Surface 2 is Microsoft’s update to its first ever company-designed tablet. It has a new sleek look with a silver backplate that Microsoft says shows the natural color of the magnesium that the Surface is made out of. Of course, the Surface is incomplete without its signature keyboard covers, brilliantly combining a tablet cover with a very usable backlit keyboard. The base model comes with Microsoft’s tablet OS, Windows RT 8.1, and includes the full Office 2013 suite. The Pro model comes with the more fully-featured Windows 8.1 desktop OS, with full support for legacy programs as well as apps. The only downside would be the expensive price – $449 for the Surface 2 and $899 for the Surface Pro. Microsoft is also offering their original Surface at a cheaper price of $379.
4. Apple iPhone 5S
The latest in the long line of Apple phones, the iPhone 5S comes with a slew of new features such as an improved camera and a fingerprint sensor. The 5S comes preloaded with iOS 7, which is the first major interface update to iOS since its launch. However, the design of the phone is similar to the previous generation, and its screen is relatively small at 4 inches. If you have a previous iPhone model, it’s not a worthwhile upgrade; however, Apple lovers will be sure to purchase this new phone!
3. Google Nexus 7
Long hailed as the best Android tablet, the recently updated Nexus 7 comes with a bunch of improved features such as a better screen, zippy performance, light weight, and longer battery life. The Nexus 7, designed by Google, comes with Android 4.3 and is priced at $199, making it the best choice for any Google tablet buyer.
2. HTC One
The HTC One is an absolutely gorgeous new Android phone made by the Taiwanese tech company HTC. Its beautifully designed exterior is made out of metal, and it comes with an amazing camera that takes great shots. The HTC one runs on Android 4.3 and has very fast performance with a quad-core processor. The only major flaw is the lack of an SD slot for memory expansion. Coming in at only $99 with contract, the One’s superb design and performance make it a close rival with the Samsung Galaxy S4.
1. Microsoft Xbox One
Exactly eight years after the release of the Xbox 360, the calls for an update to Microsoft’s gaming led to the release of the Xbox One. The new Xbox’s dashboard mimics the tiled interface from Windows 8 and Windows Phone, a much improved Kinect system, and an excellent new controller. It integrates more of the living room into the console, making it an entertainment box with features like Skype and online video, as well as brand new voice control that allows you to communicate with it without using your hands. Aside from a few post-launch bugs, gamers will love it. It starts at $499.