When you insist on only having the best gadgets in your life, money is no object. If you’re prepared to splash cash on the crème de la crème of technology, you want to make sure that you’re truly getting the finest gear on the market. And so you’ve come to the right place – TechRadar’s Best Gadgets 2018 run down.
To help you overcome the problem of researching your own superior tech set up, we’ve collated a list of the best gadgets available right now. The industry leaders. The best of the best.
For each category there is only one entry and this will only be updated when a new challenger knocks the reigning champ off the top spot – so you know you’re seeing the very best gadget in its relative sector.
What that means is that sometimes the list doesn’t change for a long time. Quite a few of the items you’ll see below have been there for months, but seen off every challenger that’s come their way.
So if you’re the sort of person who just wants to know what the best is and you don’t care about the rest, welcome to your new shopping list…
Best phone 2018
TechRadar Senior Editor, Mobile and Buying Guides Matt Swider thinks the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the best phone on the market for a number of reasons, but the write-home-to-mother feature has to be the low-light camera.
Samsung is making a big deal about the camera on the S9 range and for good reason, on the back of the S9 Plus are dual 12MP cameras, both with an impressive f/1.5 maximum aperture. At the time of writing the S9 range is the only phone with a camera aperture this wide, making its low-light prowess second-to-none.
Add on top of that the ‘infinity’ screen that the Samsung Galaxy range is now famous for, and this big-screened beauty comfortably takes the top spot. We thought the AR Emoji feature was overrated, but if you’re in the market for the best screen and best camera on a phone, this is the handset for you.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
- Want to see the best of the rest?
- In the US, check out Best phone in the US for 2018: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested
- In the UK, check out Best phone 2018: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested
- In Australia, check out Best phones in Australia 2018: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested
Best laptop 2018
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is our new pick for the best laptop money can buy in 2018, after years of this list being dominated by the (still excellent) Dell XPS 13, which is now in second place. While Huawei hasn’t been making laptops for as long as more established manufacturers in this list, it has absolutely knocked it out the park with the MateBook X Pro.
This is a gorgeously-designed laptop with a stunning screen (albeit with a rather odd aspect ratio), and it comes packed with cutting edge components that allows it to perform brilliantly, and a battery life that runs rings around many of its rivals. It also has a very competitive price, giving you features, design and performance for quite a bit less money.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro
- Want to see the best of the rest? These are the best laptops of 2018
Best TV 2018
After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn’t surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs.
As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that’s brighter and more colorful than near any we’ve seen come from the South Korean manufacturer.
Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there’s very little doubt in our mind that this is Samsung’s best TV ever.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)
- Want to see the best of the rest?
- In the US, check out this version of the Best TVs in the US for 2018
- In the UK and Australia, check out this version of the Best TVs 2018
Best games console 2018
The battle between Sony’s PlayStation consoles and Microsoft’s Xbox series is hard-fought, but right now we think the PS4 Pro has the edge over the Xbox One S or Xbox One X, thanks to a combination of good hardware, great games, and a generous online offering.
An improvement on the already very strong PS4, the PS4 Pro supports 4K and HDR technologies; plus with advances in frame rate due to beefed-up processing speeds, gaming will look cleaner, crisper and smoother.
The only thing stopping the PS4 Pro from being the ultimate console is the omission of an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive. Instead you’ll have to rely on streaming to get your 4K media fix – or, if you’re using Sony’s PS Now service, the new download feature to play rented games without your patchy connection dropping the resolution.
Read the full review: PS4 Pro
- Want to see exactly how it stacks up against the Xbox One S? Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Which is better?
Best fitness tracker 2018
The Moov Now doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you would associate with a fitness tracker. It doesn’t have GPS tracking, it doesn’t even have a screen; but what it does have is a cheap price tag and six-month battery life. Yes, you read that right: six months.
During those six months you can track your steps, your sleep, your fitness, your running technique and a whole lot more. This may be an unconventional fitness tracker, but it’s a great one.
Read the full review: Moov Now
- Want to see the best of the rest? Best fitness tracker 2018: the top 10 activity bands on the planet
Best camera 2018
The Nikon Z6 is one of the newest cameras we’ve had the pleasure to test, and it matches youth with excellent usability.
A full-frame mirrorless, it ticks all the boxes for features, performance, and price, with a 24.5MP sensor that offers superb color reproduction and pin-sharp detailing.
For the wobbly-handed there’s a 273-point autofocus system, alongside a 12fps burst-shooting mode for capturing every moment of a fast-moving scene.
Along with these smart touches, it’s an ergonomic body, easy in the hand with sensibly-placed controls and a massive, bright EVF. If you’re already on the Nikon train, you’ll be pleased to hear that a simple FZT adapter will let all your existing F mount lenses work just fine. Whether a pro or an enthusiast looking to upgrade, there’s lots to enjoy here.
Read the full review: Nikon Z6 review
- Want to see the best of the rest? Here are the 10 best digital cameras in 2018
Best tablet 2018
If money is truly no object, there’s never been a finer tablet than the 2018 iPad Pro 11 inch slate. It’s a superb two-in-one when paired with its folio keyboard case, and a lovely large touchscreen tablet when flying solo.
Many of the grumbles from earlier iPad Pro tablets have been ironed out. The Apple Pencil finally connects to the tablet magnetically, the speakers now have the oomph to match the larger real estate, and the screen-to-body ratio has been improved to a point where it’s hard to see where Apple can go from here.
Is it a true laptop replacement? That’s still a tough question, and one worth considering before purchase – the iOS 12 software feels limiting when trying to multitask and perform laptop-like tasks.
Another strictly mobile challenge: it doesn’t have a headphone jack. If you want the standard 3.5mm jack in a computer-like device, you’ll spring for an actual computer.
Those points taken into account, it’s a real winner. Just don’t go in expecting an actual replacement for your MacBook Pro and you’ll come away a happy techhead.
Read the full review: iPad Pro 11
- Want to see the best of the rest? Check out the best tablets you can buy in 2018
Best smartwatch 2018
Following on from the Gear S3 series and the Gear Sport in 2017, the Samsung Galaxy Watch comes much improved over its predecessors and rightfully knocks the Apple Watch off the top spot for this section of our best gadgets list.
Having played around with the larger 46mm version of the Galaxy Watch, you’re looking at a rock-soild four day battery life for the wearable – an incredible feat considering most usually conk out after just a single day’s use.
Tizen is an increasingly capable wearable OS, and the rotating bezel used here to navigate works like a charm.
The one drawback remains Tizen’s app availability, which pales in comparison to Watch OS and Wear OS. That said, there’s a lot of filler on those two platforms, and Samsung’s core offering hits all the right notes for what you’d like to get from a smartwatch.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review
- Want to see the best of the rest? Best smartwatch: the top smartwatches you can buy in 2018
Best VR headset 2018
The HTC Vive is the best VR headset in the world right now. The controls are intuitive to use, the resolution is incredible, with a 1080p screen per eye, and the base stations mean you can play in a space that’s 13 x 13 feet in size – that’s some serious playing space to swing yourself around in.
HTC’s close rival Oculus still has designs on the crown, and the incoming Oculus Quest – a wireless VR headset with PC-quality performance, reportedly – could well swing the balance.
Like most of the entries on our list this is a premium product at a high price, but for now if you’re looking for the best first-generation VR headset around, then the HTC Vive is the one to go for.
Read the full review: HTC Vive
- Want to see the best of the rest? The best VR headset 2018: which headset offers the best bang for your buck?
Best headphones 2018
Sony’s done it again. Despite being a new model for 2018, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are the best noise-cancelling headphones in the world two years in a row. How can that be possible?
That’s because, even though there’s new audio wizardry going on, they are for the most part a small refinement of last year’s excellent WH-1000XM2.
So what’s changed? the WH-1000XM3 uses the newer USB-C charging standard instead of a legacy microUSB connection, and there is also a bit more padding along the bridge to keep your noggin’ comfy. But that’s about it.
At first, that lack of substantial improvement gave us some reservations about recommending them – especially when the 1000XM2 could be found for less online. But those days are over. If you want a critically-acclaimed noise-cancelling headset that’s brand-new for 2018 and has two-plus years of experience being the best, the WH-1000XM3 are the way to go.
Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3
- Want to see the best of the rest? Best headphones 2018: the best headphones for any budget