Smartphones are not the only gadgets in town, but they tend to be the ones that represent most individuals’ relationships with technology. As such, they make up the bulk of the choice for gadgets of the year. However, consumers who turn their attention towards both larger and smaller gadgets will find incredible advances on all fronts.
We kick off with handsets, though, and look both at the flagship devices and the lower end of the market.
Smartphones of the Year
High-end smartphone of the year
The high-end is the most difficult category in which to choose a winner, as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG and Sony continually push the boundaries. It was a tough decision, but the accolades finally go, jointly, to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Samsung Note 9. The iPhone. The Mate packs in the entire legacy of Huawei’s efforts to become the technology leader in smartphones, while the Note 9 comes into its own as a productivity gadget.
The Apple iPhone XR, with the best single camera on the market, and the LG G7 ThinQ, with advanced artificial intelligence, came close as joint runners up.
Mid-range smartphone of the year
There are numerous high-quality, high-spec mid-range smartphones, but our stand-out was the HiSense H11, with full high-definition display and an excellent camera for its price of around R4 500. It is currently (at time of writing) available on Takealot for a deeply discounted R3000.
Entry-level smartphone of the year
At the entry-level, again, two phones share the honours.
The Huawei Y3 2018, one of the best phones to run the new Android Go data-light operating system, is absurdly good value. For a phone with a 5-inch display and 8MP rear camera, the price tag of R999 from Vodacom and Takealot looks like a mistake, but is in reality the best phone deal of the year.
One could say the same of the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4, also running Android Go. It is the device that takes minimum phone size up to 4-inch screens, but bringing the price down to an astonishing R399.
Both would make great gifts as first-time phones for kids, for students, or for those upgrading from basic feature phones.
Continue reading about the top TV and music gadgets of the year