Best gadgets on the planet: O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014 winners announced
And so, after months of nominations and voting by industry judges, journalists and Pocket-lint readers, it is time to reveal the best products in multiple categories that we all collectively think have made 2014 that bit more special.
There are 14 categories in total, from the best phones and phablets to cameras, games and headphones - definitely something for everyone. And the overall message is that should you choose any of the winners or even the runners-up to buy, you are guaranteed a product you'll savour as much as all those that voted do.
Of course, you might not agree with some of the results personally - that's a democracy for you. However, the voting process is a fair way of choosing as everyone had the opinion to elevate their favourites.
Some of the results were actually a little surprising too. For example, as remarkable as it might seem to some, Apple has never won a Pocket-lint Gadget Award for best smartphone before. And the best game went to what some might consider an underdog in the sequel-laden release frenzy at this time of year.
All the awards themselves were 3D printed from a totally original Pocket-lint design. Find out the whole back story in the link below.
So without further ado, here are the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014 winners and the highly-regarded runners-up...
Winner: Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation is one of the scariest, clever horror survival games we've played in years that is not only a great homage to Ridley Scott's original Alien, but possibly the greatest videogaming example of the use of "nothing".
READ: Alien: Isolation review
Alien: Isolation will mostly appeal to Alien's mighty army of fans as there are so many nods and winks to Scott's original that only true fans will pick up on them. It's the best Alien game ever - an excellent slice of tense, scary action that also takes a considerable time to complete.
Runner-up: Mario Kart 8
Best system camera
Winner: Panasonic Lumix GH4
The Panasonic Lumix GH4 offers 4K video capture at usable frame rates, which on paper, is untouchable at this level. It is also fast in all conditions, the movie mode is as good as it gets and it comes with a silent electronic shutter option, a fully featured screen and electronic viewfinder.
The GH4 sees the GH series finally land with a bang. It's not a budget device, but there are points of brilliance throughout all its important areas. The best-in-class video mode makes the GH4 one serious camera to be reckoned with.
Runner-up: Nikon D810
Best phone in association with O2 Refresh
Winner: Apple iPhone 6
Apple launched the iPhone 6 in September bringing a bigger screen to iOS users and while it didn't necessarily bring anything new to the smartphone arena, apart from Apple Pay, it manages to make everything work so effortlessly.
READ: Apple iPhone 6 review
The iPhone 6 is still missing a few things such as wireless charging, waterproofing and microSD storage expansion but features a beautiful design, exquisite build quality and faster processor than its predecessor, making it the best iPhone yet by far. And, according to voters, the best phone overall.
Runner-up: HTC One (M8)
Winner: Apple iPad Air 2
Apple's iPad Air was the best tablet the company had made so far, until the iPad Air 2 came along. The new 9.7-inch slate is lighter, faster, thinner and well, better. It comes with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that many were hoping for on the original Air and there are some screen improvements too with an anti-glare feature in place to limit reflections.
READ: Apple iPad Air 2 review
The iPad Air 2 starts at £399 meaning it isn't the cheapest tablet in the category but it comes with the best iPad camera so far, silver, gold and space grey colour variations and a fantastic build. The Apple iPad Air 2 is an amazing tablet that you won't be disappointed with and it well and truly claims the spot as the company's best yet.
Runner-up: Tesco Hudl 2
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 represents not only the most crucial big-screen device from the Korean company for a couple of years but, sub-genres brushed to one side for a moment, perhaps the most crucial smartphone in its line-up too.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a rare example of a phone that not only does shed loads, but does it all so well. The screen is fantastic, it's super powerful, the built-in S Pen stylus has some great features and the Note 4 does all of this with a decent battery life. It has its downfalls like any other device, but no other 5.7-inch screen looks better and put simply, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 rules.
Runner-up: Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Best laptop / 2-in-1
Winner: Apple MacBook Air 2014
Apple updated its beautifully designed MacBook Air with a faster processor and lower price this year, keeping the rest of the specs and design the same as the beloved 2013 model. While some were hoping for a Retina display on the new model, we stand by that we wouldn't want to sacrifice endurance for definition, especially not when the resolution of the Air is good enough.
READ: MacBook Air review
The new models upgraded internal hardware helps the MacBook Air maintain its position as one of our favourite notebooks and in our eyes, it's worth every penny as it delivers on that all day battery promise and continues to deliver a premium experience, as well as offering a stunning design.
Runner-up: Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Best home entertainment device
Winner: Sony PlayStation 4
Sony's PlayStation 4 is fast, powerful, small and packed with huge amounts of potential. There is no media streaming at present but the graphics are a cut above and it's a solid console that looks good while offering huge amounts of interior power.
It lacked the must-have major games when it first launched but these titles are now starting to arrive and with more still to come, this console can only get better. Sony fans won't be disappointed in the PS4. With the next-gen games continuing to launch, it's a console that will deliver the true knock-out it's capable of in the months and years to come.
Runner-up: Xbox One
Winner: Sony MDR-1A
The Sony MDR-1A headphones are smaller, lighter and more affordable than the company's "prestige" MDR-1R headphones and as they are capable of delivering high-resolution audio, whether you listen to YouTube streams, standard MP3s, or like to dabble in 24-bit WAV files, they'll have you covered.
READ: Sony MDR-1A review
From the moment you plug them in and pop them over your ears, everything sounds exceptional whatever your musical genre of choice. Bass response is top drawer, punchy without being over the top, while mid-level and higher frequencies are crisp and clear. The term "prestige" isn't used in the MDR-1A's product title this time around, but based on the audio experience we've had it might as well have been. These are exceptional headphones for the price.
Runner-up: Philips Fidelio M2BT
Winner: Sony KD-65X9005B 4K TV
Sony's KD-65X9005B is 4K and affordable, but not only that, it's one of the best televisions available to buy now and is future-proofed for years to come too. The £3,600 price might not be small but for the money, the overall experience is simply epic.
The Sony KD-65X9005B has a great design, all-encompassing screen scale, excellent upscaling, plus you're all set for more 4K content and apps as they become available. Put simply, it is one of the best TVs we've ever seen, not just from a picture perspective, but from an integrated audio point of view too.
Runner-up: Panasonic AX802 Freetime
Best smarthome device
Winner: Philips Hue
In 2012 Philips launched the original Philips Hue system - a set of three intelligent lights that, along with the Bridge connected to your home Wi-Fi system, allows for colour and brightness control of the lights from a smartphone or tablet. Two years on and the system has seen numerous software updates, plus an expansion into what the system includes from that original starter kit through to a range of different light bulbs and devices.
Hue is a brilliant system and while it isn't cheap, in many cases you might be able to justify the cost given the expanse of possible usage scenarios. If Philips can keep the innovation going at same pace as it has over the last two years, we suspect Hue will be an even greater product in the future, and the beauty of the system is that for the most part getting the new features is merely just about updating the app you've already downloaded.
Winner: Cambridge Audio Go V2
The Cambridge Audio Go v2 portable Bluetooth speaker is the second version in the series, updating the Go Minx, and while it drops the saucy name, the Go v2 still flirts with excellent audio given its price point.
It takes the already solid foundations of its predecessor, but is the better device by virtue of NFC one-touch connectivity and aptX Bluetooth. It may be a little more expensive than last year's model, but for those after a slice of the best of British, albeit on a budget, then the Go v2 portable Bluetooth speaker is an outstanding choice.
Runner-up: Ruark MR1 Bluetooth speakers
Best compact camera
Winner: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III is now in its third-generation and it features a 1-inch sensor, built-in retractable electronic viewfinder and rewrites the earlier RX100 rulebook with a new 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens.
It's a pocketable high-end compact camera that offers it all and although it is very much on the pricey side and has no touchscreen on board, the RX100 III is the benchmark pocketable camera for many.
Runner-up: Panasonic Lumix LX100
Best wearable in association with O2 Smart Tech
Winner: LG G Watch R
Hot on the heels of the LG G Watch, the Korean company released a new version of its Android Wear device in the G Watch R. It certainly looks the part: blurring the lines between traditional watch design and modern smartwatch functions to make it the best looking Android Wear device to date, and it also packs in a decent screen and solid battery life.
READ: LG G Watch R review
It even outlasts your phone, which is refreshing, and it kept us using the G Watch R more than any before it. If navigating from your wrist and tracking training from a Google platform appeal, as well as at-a-glance notifications, then the LG G Watch R is a great option. As it stands there's no finer Android Wear device than the G Watch R. It's a solid sign of progress.
Runner-up: Pebble Steel
Gadget of the year
Winner: iPhone 6
The gadget of the year award goes to a product that must have won its own category first and represents the best of the best. This year it goes to Apple for the iPhone 6, the company's first smartphone to ever receive a Pocket-lint award.
As previous years' best phone winners have invariably been Android devices, it is massive for Apple to have swept its own category and the best product overall. And remember, this is down to judges, journalists and the public, so the latest iPhone has really captured people's attention all round. Congratulations.
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
So that's all the winners and runners-up for this year's event. You can also check out the other nominees in our dedicated hub for the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014. Many thanks to everybody who voted, we couldn't have done it without you.