We're nearing the end of October which means that the Pocket-lint team is gearing up for the annual Pocket-lint Gadget Awards. We'll be announcing the nominations at the beginning of November, but we want your help.
As in previous years, we want to know which gadgets you'd like to see on the shortlist. We've perused the Pocket-lint vaults to find a few highlights from the past year to jog your memory, so all you need to do is let us know what you think in the comments box below. Keep your eyes peeled over the next 2 weeks, as we'll be providing you with a selection of the best gadgets from each category every day.
The last year has seen plenty of innovation in the laptop sector, with the introduction of Intel's family of Core i processors and many models moving towards solid state memory. Other nice touches that we've seen on models throughout 2010 include backlit keyboards, 3D capability and LED-backlit screens which not only look better, but also save on battery power. There have also been a steady flow of new models with Nvidia's Optimus technology which promises automatic graphics switching.
While substantially proportioned laptops like the Dell Studio 17 and Apple MacBook Pro i5 offered potential as desktop replacements, a few super-slim models also slinked onto the market, including this year's re-designed Apple MacBook Air with it distinctive, tapered profile. We also saw plenty of models, such as the Acer Aspire 4820TG, which although not quite small enough to make it into the netbook section, are still small and light enough to carry around all day. There were also a few models, such as the Sony VAIO Z series, offering a lightweight chassis with some heavyweight processing power and automatic graphics switching.
We saw plenty of laptops with powerful graphics processing credentials that have been designed specifically for gamers, such as the Alienware M15x. As well as gamers, film fans were also catered for with many Blu-ray enabled laptops hitting the shops, Toshiba's slick-looking Qosmio X500-116 being a prime example. Some models simply took a no-frills approach, offering a solid performance with an affordable price such as the Samsung Q330 and the Packard Bell EasyNote TM. We also saw plenty of new models with stunning aesthetics, not least the Asus Bamboo U53JC which, as the same suggests, its partially constructed from bamboo.
The early notebooks that came out a few years ago, may have been compact, but their tiny screens and keyboards coupled with very limited processing power made them hard work to use. Thankfully, things have moved on since then and 2010 saw the launch of numerous products, with plenty more manufacturers getting in on the act. Many netbooks are now even equipped with dual-core processors and some decent graphics offerings as well.
Models like Samsung's N150 took a back-to-basics approach offering little more than web browsing, emailing and basic word processing, albeit at a bargain price. Some models came at things from a more design-oriented angle, like the Toshiba NB305A with its chic casing and exceptional battery life and the MSI Wind U160 with its distinctive central barrel. A new generation of processors in 2010, such as Intel's Atom N450, offer longer battery life as we saw on the MSI Wind U135.
Popular with students and even school-goers, many models are offered in a selection of youngster-friendly colours, such as Sony's VAIO VPCM12M1E/P. As netbooks are made for portability, battery life is the main concern, and there were plenty of brands that launched updated versions of previous models (such as the Acer Aspire One 532h) with improved batteries. Last of all high-powered gaming went micro with the smallest member of the Alienware clan, the M11x.
Nettops and all-in-ones
Despite the previous trend in these areas, there hasn't been very much to speak of in the nettops and all-in-ones sector this year. What has been around, frankly, we haven't been bowled over by apart from a few notable exceptions. ViewSonic launched its VOT 132 nettop which is equipped with Nvidia's low-power Ion GeForce 9300 graphics chip for HD capability and, of course, 2010 also saw the launch of Apple's elegant Mac mini 2.4GHz and the iMac Core i range as well. Maybe we'll see a bit more excitement in this category for next year's awards.
If you haven't heard about tablets then you must have been living on the moon. These touchscreen devices bridge the gap between smartphones and netbooks. Whether that's a gap that really needs to be bridged remains to be seen, but these are the products that have made the biggest headlines in recent months.
It all kicked off earlier this year with Apple's iPad and ever since then, we've seen a steadily increasing onslaught of products hitting the market. The most likely competitor to Apple's crown comes in the shape of Samsung's Galaxy Tab, but it doesn't stop there. The diminutive Dell Streak has been around for a few months now, but it was the IFA tech in Berlin that saw the introduction of a sizeable selection of tablets.
Most of the devices on offer are powered by Android, including the Toshiba Folio 100 and the Archos 101. There are even a couple that offer both Windows and Android, such as the Tegra v2 and the Viewsonic ViewPad 100. Most of the tablets on the market are prohibitively expensive for us mere mortals, but there are a few budget options around, such as the Disgo Tablet 6000.
These are just some of the fantastic choices we've had in 2010. What would you like to see held aloft as the winner of Pocket-lint Best Computer 2010? What have we missed out? Which are your unsung heroes and, of those we've already mentioned, which would get your vote? Let us know in the comments below, and you can help our panel decide which make the shortlist of nominees to be announced here on Pocket-lint on 8 November.