COMMENT: Our favourite gadgets in 2008
With 2009 finally here, what gadgets, technology or gizmos have the Pocket-lint team most enjoyed in 2008? Below, in our own words, are our favourites.
I might work at the so called coal face of gadgets but that doesn't mean that I necessarily love the latest and greatest. My favourite gadgets this year have been my Canon EOS 40D digital SLR camera and lately the Speedlite 430EX flash that I've bought to accompany it.
Why? While the camera is the size of a small child the combination of the two make for some great pictures. You'll find that most of the live pics I take for the site are using the Canon camera and from November most have been taken using the Speedlite flash.
To say that it's changed my photography for the better would be an understatement. Even without trying the camera and flash mean that there is rarely a blurry picture taken.
Okay - so the 40D was officially announced in 2007 and the flash in 2005, but these are the gadgets I've most enjoyed this year.
Using the TomTom Go 740 Live as TomTom want, i.e., as an everyday companion to your driving, it soon became my favourite gadget for 2008. So much of it is very similar to previous TomTom satnavs, but the real killer is HD Traffic.
Being able to cut your way through Christmas shoppers or those heading to the sales is brilliant. It has also taken time off my regular routes, revealing new shortcuts I've been driving past for years. It does all the thinking for you and on many occasions I've raised an eyebrow at TomTom's route, only to be rewarded with the sight of queuing traffic elsewhere as I skirt off on an alternative route.
The Sony Reader PRS-505 may not have received the very best score in our review (though 8/10 is not to be sniffed at) but it appeals in terms of looks and ease of which text can be read as it uses a high contrast E ink display that uses little power, meaning battery life is also decent.
The real benefit of course, is that you can carry around over a hundred books in one slim, portable and user-friendly device.
Though this one device is not perfect, it may be that e-books, when the hardware comes down in price, in time will become what Jeff Bezos, the Amazon boss said they could - the iPod of reading.
I still hope that there will be a place for books in all homes - since I believe there is something very personal and tactile about a hard copy - however the concept of an accessible media source that may encourage people to read a wide variety of texts really appeals, and that is why I've given this my vote.
My favourite gadget of 2008 isn't necessarily what I think is the best launch from the year, but one that offers something different - and arguably what every gadget should offer - something really useful.
Sonim's Xtreme Performance 3, is a rugged "all weather" GSM mobile phone. The follow-on from the XP1, the XP3 is the SAS of the mobile phone corps with a hard-as-nails spec that makes it the ultimate practical mobile.
Anyone whose phone has suffered from water damage would appreciate that fact that this model can be fully submersed for 30 minutes in one metre of water.
In addition, the XP3 gets an IP-57 rating and Mil-Spec rating of 810F against salt, fog, humidity, transport and thermal shock.
And, unlike many manufacturers of more flimsy products, Sonim is happy to stand by the hardy spec of its product offering an unconditional, no-questions-asked, 3-year replacement warranty if the phone does break - no matter how you manage to bust it.
That alone, in an industry where year-plus warranties are an extra revenue generator, is something to warm the cockles of my heart.
I kept all of my old games consoles – my Master System with built-in Alex Kidd, my Mega Drive, and both my NES and SNES – for as long as my old cupboards would allow. But when I moved to my own, considerably smaller place a few years ago, I had to give in and get rid. As an out-and-out retro gamer, it was a heartbreaker to say the least.
Then in mid-2008, a gadget came out that immediately grabbed my attention. The Handheld Megadrive by Blaze. Tucked neatly into a slim shell no bigger than that of the original Megadrive gamepad, the portable console features 20 built-in games that are complete childhood-relivers. Think Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Sonic and Knuckles, Ecco the Dolphin... the list reads like my book shelf some 18 or so years ago. And although I know gaming has moved on light years since then, I just can’t help but hold a special place in my heart for gold rings and paper-scissor-stone fights.
Another winning feature for me is that you can play the games on the handheld’s LCD screen when you’re on the move, or hook it up to your TV when you’re at home for bigger, nose-to-the-screen play, just like the good ol’ days.
So, it has to get my vote as my favourite gadget of 2008. It may not be cutting edge, and it may not have been a headline-hitter like my Macbook Air or iPhone 3G, but as it made me smile like a six-year-old on Christmas Day unwrapping her first 16-bit Megadrive – it gets my vote.